After more than 30 years since it was last held in Williamsport, the 28th Little League® International Congress returned to the birthplace of Little League on June 10-13, 2022, as nearly a thousand District Administrators (D.A.s), volunteers, and other special guests gathered together to talk about the future of the Little League program.
With the event officially concluded, it is time to look back at what transpired during the 2022 Congress:
Opening Convocation (Community Arts Center)
Before officially getting underway, the 28th Little League International Congress began with a tribute to those who were lost in the tragic shooting that took place at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022. To honor and support the Uvalde community, Little League International announced Uvalde (Texas) Little League as the recipient of the 2022 Carl E. Stotz Little League Community Award, which was presented to Rachel Lathe, Texas District 21 Administrator, on the league’s behalf.
Following the tribute, attendees were greeted with a welcome video by 1989 LLBWS alumnus and Little League International Board of Directors member, Chris Drury, and former LLBWS broadcaster, Brent Musburger, which was also complimented with a live, staged reenactment by youth members of the Williamsport Community Theater League.
After opening remarks by Williamsport Mayor Derek Slaughter and Pennsylvania Senator Gene Yaw, the Little League Chairman’s Award was presented to retired MLB umpire, Gerry Davis, for his ongoing support and dedication to the Little League program. Little League International also recognized Karen Stotz Myers, daughter of Little League founder Carl E. Stotz, with a surprise bouquet of flowers.
Attendees then had the opportunity to look back at the past four years since the last Congress in New Orleans, and remember those who were lost with a retrospective video, before Tim Hughes, Chairman of the 28th Little League International Congress, welcomed the field directors of the Little League International Board of Directors to announce their delegation in attendance and officially kick off the weekend’s event.
Finally, to wrap up the night’s festivities and celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Little League Baseball® World Series in August, Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO, welcomed a trio of former LLBWS Champions in Luke Ramirez (2009), Todd Frazier (1998), and Jose “Pepe” Maiz (1957) to the stage for a panel discussion to talk about their experiences playing in Williamsport and the memories they made.
Welcome Reception, Presented by A.D. STARR (Pennsylvania College of Technology)
Following the Opening Convocation, attendees were welcomed over to the Madigan Library at the Pennsylvania College of Technology for a Welcome Reception, presented by A.D. STARR, to give the D.A.s and other guests from around the world the opportunity to connect and share their stories heading into the weekend’s festivities.
Education Sessions and Panel Discussions (Penn College/Community Arts Center)
Throughout the entire weekend, Little League staff and other experts (including representatives from the Positive Coaching Alliance, DotCom Therapy, The Aspen Institute, and more) shared their insight, expertise, and guidance to help plan for the future of the organization in a series of panel discussions, educational opportunities, and question and answer sessions. During the sessions, Little League International also announced the pilot launch of its new Little League Diamond Leader Training Program, a free coaching education tool focused on social and emotional learning.
Umpire Clinic Featuring Gerry Davis (Little League International Complex)
Hosted by Little League International and featuring Retired MLB Umpire Gerry Davis as a guest instructor, the In-Person Umpire Clinic provided District Umpires-in-Chief and other district staff the opportunity to train and learn how to help train volunteers to officiate games using a two-umpire system on Howard J. Lamade Stadium.
Volunteer Recognition Luncheon (Genetti Hotel)
On Sunday, June 12, 2022, Little League Baseball and Softball’s highest-level volunteers from around the world were honored for their service during a luncheon ceremony at The Genetti Hotel. The selected D.A.s were presented with the Little League International Meritorious Service Award while the A.D.A.s were presented with the Assistant District Administrator Little League International Commendation. Both awards are only presented every four years at the Little League International Congress.
Chairman’s Celebration (Little League International Complex)
Rounding out the weekend’s festivities was the Chairman’s Celebration at the Little League International Complex, the annual home of the Little League Baseball World Series. Following an Open House to allow attendees an exclusive inside look at some of the facilities around the complex used by the teams each summer, members of the Little League Challenger Division® from East Lycoming Little League (Hughesville, Pa.) and Jersey Shore (Pa.) GSV Little League took to Volunteer Stadium for a Challenger Exhibition Game.
After a lunch buffet for the volunteers on the concourse, guests headed over to Lamade Stadium to watch the first ever Little League Sandlot Fun Days event to take place on the Little League International Complex, with players from East Lycoming Little League (Hughesville, Pa.) and Jersey Shore (Pa.) GSV Little League taking to the field in a player-led, unstructured opportunity where the kids make the rules, make the lineups, and make the calls.
Once all the fun on the field was over, Hugh E. Tanner, Little League International Board of Directors Chairman, announced James L. Easton as the winner of the 2022 Peter O’Malley Distinguished Little League Ambassador Award, given to an individual who has made a contribution to the advancement of the Little League program, both domestically and abroad. Earlier in the day, Little League International also recognized Joe Patterson and Plinio Castillo-Ruiz as the Peter J. McGovern Distinguished Service Award recipients, as well as Bob McKittrick as the Little League President’s Award winner.
Before officially closing out Congress, A pair of local Little Leaguers® from Pennsylvania District 12, Alexandra Maeulen and Jacob Mercado, worked with Little League’s Mascot, Dugout, to help randomly select the baseballs and softballs to decide this year’s first-round matchups for the 2022 Little League Baseball and Little League Softball World Series events.
Finally, rounding out the exciting weekend in Williamsport was an exclusive acoustic performance by rising country music artist, Conner Smith, who last stepped onto Howard J. Lamade Stadium as a 12-year-old playing for the South Nashville (Tenn.) Little League in the 2013 Little League Baseball World Series.
Throughout the entire weekend, attendees also had a chance to check out a brand-new exhibit in the Madigan Library at the Pennsylvania College of Technology that celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the Little League Baseball World Series. The exhibit will be on display on the third floor of the Madigan Library from June 7 through August 25, 2022.