Cuba could join the list of teams set to compete in the Little League Baseball Tournament slated to run from 7-17 July here at two venues.
This is according to President of the Antigua & Barbuda Little League Baseball (ABLLB), Adolfo Pena, who said they are awaiting final word from Cuba as to whether the highly ranked team will join the 10 others already
confirmed for the tournament.
“Well we have 10 countries [excluding Antigua & Barbuda] in Aruba, Bahamas, Curacao, Bonaire, St Martin, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and probably Cuba and this could be the first time we have a team out of Cuba. They are just trying to sort out a bureaucracy hiccup with the state department but once it’s clear, they will be coming,” he said.
The national team, Pena said, continues to prepare for the important tournament which doubles as a qualifier for the Little League World Cup slated for August in the USA.
Former Dodgers player, Esteban Segundo Pena, is one of the coaches working with the national team.
“The team is very well prepared because we have to coach at a professional level and the reason that he [the coach] did not go to the major league is because he had an accident so they live in Antigua and they are giving our children academy level training so we are prepared and they train every day, from Monday to Friday, and on Sunday we are going to practice our long range batting at Potters playing field,” the president said.
Meanwhile public relations officer for the ABLLB, Jermaine Lewis, has commended the government’s role in aiding the organisation’s preparations for the tournament.
“The government came on board and they started to help. The Prime Minister [Gaston Browne], Mr Adolfo Pena met with him and explained the vast need for the support of the government and everyone is coming on board to help us to put this tournament together,” she said.
Over 400 people, inclusive of players and other team officials, family members, friends and relatives are expected to travel into Antigua for the tournament. The finals and semifinals will be televised by ESPN.