EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years since Williamsport actually welcomed the world, since there was no World Series in 2020, and international teams weren’t part of the field last year, due to the pandemic.

But now the stage is set for not only the tournament to get back to normal, but for more teams to participate than ever before. The 75th edition of the Little League World Series will also be a first, as 20 teams overall will make the trip, expanded from the 16-team field that had been customary since 2001.

Two American teams have been added to the competition, in the US, the newly formed “Mountain” region will represent Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada, while the new “Metro” region will include New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

That means the existing “Mid-Atlantic” region, which includes Pennsylvania, is now comprised of just the Keystone State, Maryland, Delaware, and Washington D.C.

Two international regions have been added as well. There will be teams representing Panama and Puerto Rico this year. However, there will also be a “Cuba” region that will be included in future tournaments, on a rotating basis.

Eyewitness News asked Brian McClintock, senior communications executive with Little League International, as to why the decision was made to expand the field starting this year.

“As we look at our growth around the world, being able to provide that opportunity, give more options and more chances to have that experience is really the driving factor behind expanding. But we’re excited to do it and welcome 20 teams to Williamsport in August.” said McClintock.

Because of the expanded field, the World Series will start on a Wednesday this year, as opposed to the traditional Thursday start. The tournament will still take a little over a week and finish on the second Sunday.

And on the first Sunday, the MLB Little League Classic returns for a 5th time. Held at Historic Bowman Field in Williamsport, this year’s game will feature the Orioles and Red Sox in a rescheduled matchup from 2020.

While some things have changed, one thing is for sure, it will be an exciting 11 days of baseball in South Williamsport, and it all starts on August 17th.