President of Antigua Little League (ALL), Adolfo Pena, said his organisation would welcome the inclusion of players living abroad but still eligible to represent the country’s national baseball teams in major tournaments.
His statement comes on the heels of Antigua & Barbuda’s poor showing in the Little League World Series qualifying tournament played here over the past week and from which the Dominican Republic emerged winners.
“Of course, yes, the door is open because the Little League baseball is Antigua’s stuff and we would like to have, not only in the training and practice but we want the Antiguans to be part of the committee to handle this business,” he said.
The national team lost all three of their encounters with the largest margin of defeat being a 28-0 loss to Curacao on Monday. The home team had previously lost to 27-0 to Puerto Rico and 8-5 to St. Maarten in their opening contest.
The players, Pena said, are still in high spirits despite their winless run.
“Up to this morning [Friday] we sent them on a tour and today [Friday] they went to Betty’s Hope and Devil’s Bridge and they were excited. They don’t see this as a beating up because in Little League baseball there are no losers, we are all champions but the Dominican Republic earned the right to represent us at the World Series but they are representing us, the Caribbean,” he said.
The baseball head suggested also, that it would take some time for the Antiguans to get to the level of those players on teams in the baseball-playing nations.
“You have to practice baseball to get the game from baseball so you can’t come yesterday for today and expect to dominate. You have to train hard and you have to train three hours per day for years to compete against countries like Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Curacao and Aruba who have more than 60 years playing in this thing and that is a lot of baseball,” Pena said.
The tournament doubled as a qualifier for the Little League World Cup slated for August in the USA.