Central Region Tournament Milestones

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The North Region was formed in 1957, and since the region's initial four-team, single-elimination tournament was held, the region's structure has undergone a series of changes. The region became the Central Region in 1973, and will be divided into Great Lakes and Midwest divisions beginning with the 2001 International Tournament. Key events in the evolution of the region's structure include the following:

1957The North Region tournament is inaugurated as a four-team, single-elimination tournament. The Illinois state champions automatically qualify for the tournament, as do two of the three state champions from Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. The final slot is filled by the champions of the Division 1 tournament, which covers the Dakotas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.

This tournament format is used through 1972, and the tournament moves annually to a new host location. During this time, many of the Division 1 states do not crown state champions, as instead district winners from multiple states meet in sectional tournaments to determine which league will qualify for the Division 1 tournament.

1973The North Region's name is changed to the Central Region. Also in 1973, in a one-year experiment, all Central Region state champions advance directly to a twelve-team region tournament.
1974The Central Region reverts back to the original four-team structure used prior to 1973. By 1977, it is the only U.S. region not to invite all state champions to the region tournament.
1981The Central Region tournament adopts a double-elimination format. The 1983 Jackie Robinson West LL squad from Chicago becomes the first U.S. league to lose a game at the regional level but still advance to the World Series.
1982While the Central Region tournament still does not have a permanent home (it is the only U.S. region tournament without one), the Division 1 tournament is permanently located in Baxter Springs, Kansas. Every Division 1 tournament held until the divisional format is discontinued is held at the Baxter Springs LL field, and players from visiting teams are billeted with families throughout the small community.
1985The region eliminates the divisional qualifier for the Indiana/Michigan/Ohio area, and expands the region tournament to a five-team event.
1989The Central Region tournament finally finds a permanent home as ground is broken on a new region headquarters near Fort Benjamin Harrison on Indianapolis' east side. Construction of billeting facilities is not yet complete, so the tournament remains a five-team, double-elimination competition in 1989.
1990For the first time since 1973, all Central Region states (except the Dakotas) send champions to the region tournament, as the new region complex hosts a twelve-team, single-elimination tournament. North and South Dakota continue to compete as a single district.
1991The Central Region tournament converts to a double-elimination format.
1997The region tournament's format is changed again, as officials establish two pools and conduct round-robin competition within each pool during preliminary round competition. The top team in each pool advances to the championship game.
1998Officials modify the pool play format so that the top two teams in each pool advance to semifinal round matchups, with the two winners meeting in the tournament's championship game.
2000In preparation for the World Series expansion set to occur in 2001, Kentucky moves into the Central Region, and Oklahoma migrates to the South Region.
2001Little League Baseball expands the World Series field from eight to sixteen teams. As a result, state champions in each of the four U.S. regions are split into two divisions. The Central is split into Great Lakes and Midwest Divisions, and the winners of these two tournaments advance to the World Series. Both tournaments continue to be held at the Reuben F. Glick Little League Center in Indianapolis.

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Last revision: 04/28/2002