OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Athletes Unlimited Softball announced Friday that it will temporarily move its entire operation to play two games during the Little League Softball World Series this summer.
Athletes Unlimited will move from Rosemont, Ill. to the home of the Little League Softball World Series in Greenville, North Carolina, to have a doubleheader on Aug. 9 at East Carolina University’s softball stadium. The “Athletes Unlimited Pro Games during the Little League Softball World Series” games will be played in front of Little League players and their families.
Athletes Unlimited players will also visit Stallings Stadium at Elm Street Park, the home of the Little League Softball World Series, and interact with the 12 participating teams.
Cheri Kempf, senior vice president of Athletes Unlimited and its head of softball, said this has been in the works since the league started softball four years ago. She hopes it becomes the equivalent of Major League Baseball’s Little League Classic. Since 2017, MLB has played a regular season game each year in Williamsport, Pennsylvania – home of the Little League World Series.
“Whether or not our players played specifically Little League softball, they all played softball as youngsters,” Kempf said. “And so they have fond memories of that, and I think there is a huge element of nostalgia to be around that. So I think in that way it’s really rewarding for our players.”
At least nine players on the Athletes Unlimited Softball roster played Little League Softball, including 2021 Athletes Unlimited Softball champion Aleshia Ocasio. The first Athletes Unlimited softball champion, Cat Osterman, is enshrined in the Little League Hall of Excellence.
“I am excited Athletes Unlimited is teaming up with Little League to play the first professional games during the softball World Series this summer,” Athletes Unlimited pitcher Rachel Garcia, a former Little League softball player, said. “It will be an honor to meet and play in front of the future stars of our game on a national stage.”
The fourth championship season of Athletes Unlimited Softball runs from July 28 to August 27. The five-week season will feature 60 of the world’s top players competing for a championship.
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