Antigua Contests Group B Of Little League Tournament

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Antigua & Barbuda will compete in Group B of the Little League Baseball competition which will be held here from July 7-17 at two venues, namely the Coolidge Cricket Ground and the Police Recreation Ground.
The home team has been drawn alongside St Maarten, Curacao and Puerto Rico while Group A consists of the Bahamas, St Thomas, Dominican Republic and Aruba.
Antigua & Barbuda will face the Bahamas in their opening game at 11 am on Saturday at the Coolidge Cricket Ground, formerly the Stanford Cricket Ground.
Notably missing from the line-up is powerhouse Cuba, and Jamaica and Bonaire.
President of the Antigua Little League, Adolfo Pena, explained that the Cuban team did not get the required permission to attend the tournament while a host of other issues played against the participation of the other teams.
“Well, they haven’t gotten the permit from the Cuban government and up to last night [Thursday] they didn’t get through and they should be here no later than 2 pm [on Friday to be eligible] but we don’t have anything from them because the Cuban government haven’t released the permit for them to travel. So far, we have Aruba, Curacao, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, St Thomas, Dominican Republic. Bonaire couldn’t not get a flight to come and Jamaica couldn’t make it either,” he said.
The tournament, which opened on Friday with a brief ceremony at the Coolidge Cricket Ground, doubles as a qualifier for the Little League World Cup slated for August in the USA.
The Antigua & Barbuda team, Pena said, is ready for the task at hand.
“Our team has been training hard for the last three months every day and they are being trained by two professional trainers, so in terms of preparation we are ready but I think Curacao will be our biggest competition,” he said.
Over 400 people, inclusive of players and other team officials, family members, friends and relatives are currently in Antigua for the tournament. The finals and semifinals will be televised by ESPN.

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