For the second year in a row, Hills Little League from Sydney, Australia, will make the trip to Williamsport as the Australia Region representative after emerging victorious at the 2017 Little League Baseball® Australia Region Championship. Following torrential rain and flooding over the last few weeks that forced a postponement and relocation of the championship weekend, Hills Little League was able to defeat Swan Hills, 8-4, in the championship game on July 9 to punch the second of 16 tickets to the 2017 Little League Baseball World Series.
Hills Little League got out to an early start in the tournament, opening the event with an 11-0 victory over Central and a 20-1 win over Ryde Little League in its first two games. The Championship game against Swan Hills was no easy feat, however, as Swan Hills Little League pitcher, Elijah Hewett, was able to strike out seven-consecutive batters early on in the game. Fortunately for Hills Little League, starting pitcher Stephen Courtney was able to match the performance, striking out nine batters in four hitless innings while picking up four RBI and a home run to help lead the team to victory.
Throughout the entire tournament, Hills Little League performed well at the plate, outscoring its opponents, 67-17. With the victory, Hills Little League becomes the first Australian chartered league to attend the Little League Baseball World Series in back-to-back years. This year’s Hills Little League team features three players who will return to Williamsport from last year’s squad: Stephen Courtney, Ethan Treble, and Harrison Wheeldon.
LEARN MORE: Australia Region Tournament
The entire tournament featured great plays, competitive games, and outstanding sportsmanship from all involved. Last year, tournament volunteers had to rally to prepare fields for the tournament after significant flooding, and this year, weather once again played a major role in the tournament. Championship weekend had to be postponed due to a long stretch of inclement weather that battered the entire east coast of Australia, forcing a relocation of the tournament from Lismore to Sydney. Play was finally able to resume on July 8 and 9, when Hills Little League was able to earn its championship victory. For more information on the 2017 Little League Baseball Australia Region Tournament, visit LLBWS.org.
Australia remains one of the fastest-growing Little League® countries in the world. This year marks the fifth year that the Australia Region Champion receives an automatic berth in the Little League Baseball World Series. For the first time this year, Australia will also earn direct entry into the Senior League tournament, giving the country direct entry in three of the four tournaments after the Junior League granted them the honor last year. Adelaide Armada and Hills Little Leagues will be the 2017 Australia Region representatives in the Senior and Junior League tournaments, respectively.
The first-round pairings for the 2017 Little League Baseball World Series were drawn and announced on Thursday, June 15. Australia will be facing the winner of the Japan Region on Friday, August 18. Spanning the course of 10 days, 32 games will be played in the 2017 Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, culminating in the Championship Game, which is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sunday, August 27. For more information on the 2017 Little League Baseball World Series, visit LLBWS.org.