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Slight rule changes for Little League World Series

AP - Sports

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) -- No matter how many players a team carries in the Little League World Series, a rule change has made it easier for coaches to manage their rosters.

Some teams had 11 players this year, others had up to 14.

A Little League rule previously stated each player had to bat once and play defense for six consecutive outs. This year, teams with 13 or more must have each player bat once, but they don't have to play in the field.

Teams with 12 or fewer players have to go by the old rule.

Also, the pitch count rule was slightly altered. Pitchers who reach the maximum limits while in the middle of an at-bat can finish up before being replaced.

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TORRE AWARD: Major League Baseball executive vice president Joe Torre will receive the William A. ''Bill'' Shea Little League Graduate of the Year award on Sunday.

The award is presented to a person who best exemplifies the spirit of Little League. Torre will receive the award prior to the second-round game between Westport, Conn., and Sammamish, Wash.

The 73-year-old was the first person to win 2,000 games as a big league manager and record 2,000 hits as a player.

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WELCOME, MATE: Australia sent a team to the Series for the first time this year and didn't get a run in two losses. The newcomers, though, have scored wildly with fans both in the stands and at home.

Manager Glen Tovey said he's stayed up until 1 a.m. nightly to thank fans on social media.

''I responded individually to each one,'' he said. ''God bless you. We love you. We so appreciate your emails.''

His team had a cheering section during Saturday's 4-0 loss to Puerto Rico, and the Australians tipped their hats to the crowd after the game.

''We wanted to acknowledge the fans,'' Tovey said. ''I said to the boys on the mound, 'Listen to this place, listen to the people following you.' For some of them, this may be the best experience of their life.''

Fans in Williamsport seemed to adopt the team from Perth, Australia.

''It might have something to do with that funny accent,'' Tovey said. ''We walk around and the kids stop for photographs if they're asked to, stop for autographs if they're asked to, give the young ladies a hug if they're asked to. I think that's what it's all about, being a good human being.''

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