Czech Republic latest Little League World Series rookie

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South Williamsport, Pa. • The Czech Republic is headed to the Little League World Series, joining Australia as rookie participants at youth baseball's biggest tournament.

The South Moravia league beat Italy in the European and Africa Region championship July 20 to become the first Czech team to advance to South Williamsport. The World Series begins Aug. 15.

A squad from Australia has also qualified, meaning the World Series will have two countries making their debuts in the same year for the first time since Guam and Russia made inaugural appearances in 2001. Australia got its own region this year after a Little League realignment to account for international growth.

On the international side, teams from Taiwan, Japan and Mexico have also qualified this year. American participants will be decided in the next few weeks.