Little League World Series to return

For one week each year, Easley becomes the baseball capital of the world.

For the 15th year, Easley will be hosting the Big League Baseball World Series beginning later this month, welcoming teams, players, coaches and fans from around the world.

The tournament will be held once again at the J.B. “Red” Owens Recreation Complex in Easley.

The series offers fans a chance to see tomorrow’s stars today. “Before they’re famous, they’re here,” is a slogan of the tournament.

Eleven teams — five international teams and six U.S. teams — will be coming in from around the globe to play ball.

The tournament kicks off July 26 and runs through Aug. 2. The first night of the tournament has traditionally been designated Easley night.

Play will begins at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, when the U.S. West team takes on the U.S. East squad.

A full schedule can be found at

Among the teams is the tourney’s host team, S.C. District 1, managed by Easley Recreation director Gregg Powell and coached by Bobby Youngblood and Todd Freeman. S.C. District 1 is made up of players from the Upstate.

This year’s S.C. District 1 team, unveiled at a special event hosted by BLWS sponsor Hendrick Honda last month, is led by seven Easley Green Wave.

Hometown boys on this year’s team include Andrew Stanifer, Trevor Weisner, Logan Chapman, Mason Stewart, Chase Stephens, Aaron Schaff and Austin Morgan.

Others on the roster include Gavin Agin and Ryan Powers of nearby Powdersville High School, T.L. Hanna’s Tyler Kirkland and Chase Christopher, Westside’s Jordan Gilbert and Bryce Austin, Seneca’s Tristen Hudson and Alex Medlin, Walhalla’s Seth Holcombe and Carson Barrett of Anderson University.

Chinese-Taipei leads all teams with 17 championship wins in series history. South Carolina is second with seven championship wins. Teams from South Carolina have won seven of the last 12 championships.

Once again, the championship game will be televised. ESPN will broadcast the championship game at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 2.

“The whole world will be watching,” tournament director Jon Humphrey said at a recent Easley City Council meeting.

Humphrey began volunteering with the tournament in 2001 and became director in 2007.

ESPN commentators Jason Bennett and Doug Glanville will be announcing the championship game.

The series is offering a variety of promotions to entice the public out to the ballpark and thank groups for what they do.

Tuesday, July 26, is Educators Night. Educators can come to the main entrance with their teacher or administrator identification to receive free entrance for the entire family.

Wednesday, July 27, is First Responders Night. Any and all first responders who would like to enjoy a baseball game just need to show up at the main gate with identification to receive free entrances for the entire family.

Little League players who dream of one day playing in the Big League World Series can get an up-close look at the tourney on Saturday, July 30, Little League Night. Little Leaguer players can gain free entry that night just by wearing their Little League jerseys (the jersey with the Little League shield on the left sleeve). All Little League players will be invited to come onto the field and perform the Little League pledge prior to the 7:30 p.m. game. Once you are inside the park, please come to the first-base dugout at 7 p.m., and someone will be there to give you further instructions.

The night of the championship game, Tuesday, Aug. 2, is also Alumni Night. All former BLWS players and coaches are encouraged to come out to the ballpark that night. They’ll enjoy free entrance that evening. Just sign in at the main entrance. Between the third and fourth innings, all former BLWS players will be invited to take the field to be recognized, so fans can so their appreciation.

In preparation for this year’s event, city officials have added some upgrades to the recreation complex, including permanent bleachers behind home plate, a new ticket office down the first base line and a new “Baseball Wall of Fame,” honoring some of the best players to ever play at the BLWS.

The tournament is a great way to introduce the world to Easley. Each year, the Big League World Series brings an economic impact to the Easley are of more than $750,000.

Humphrey said the tournament would not be a success each year without the many volunteers who assist with it each year. Last year, about 270 volunteers gave of their time and talents to help out with the 2015 Big League Baseball World Series. Many volunteers, including Humphrey himself, use vacation days from their jobs to assist with the tourney.

“We have a very giving community,” Humphrey said.

Tickets for the Big League Baseball World Series are already available online and can be purchased at

For more information, visit