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Alaska State Tournament Milestones

The structure of Little League Baseball's international tournament in Alaska has changed several times since the first state tournament was held in 1960. Key events in the evolution of this structure include the following:

1950sAlaska's initial leagues are formed in the early 1950s, and begin competing in the international tournament in 1953. In the early years, geographic considerations mean that one Alaska league advances to a sectional tournament, where they face multiple district champions from British Columbia, and the winner of that tournament advances to the Region 8 tournament. In the decade's later years, Alaska leagues hold a state tournament that is outside the structure of the international tournament.
1960Alaska leagues rejoin the international tournament, and hold the first annual state tournament. Thirteen leagues descend on Ladd Air Force Base in Fairbanks, and compete in a single-elimination tournament that determines the state champion. Alaska's champion advances to the Western Region Division 1 tournament, which encompasses teams from several Western states and Canadian provinces.
1962Alaska begins holding area tournaments that feed into a four-team state tournament. One area encompasses leagues in Southeastern Alaska, one includes leagues based in the interior and is centered in the Fairbanks area, and two are based in the Anchorage area. The state champion continues to advance to the Division 1 tournament.
1972The Alaska state champion begins advancing directly to the Western Region tournament in San Bernardino, California, as that tournament is expanded to include champions from fourteen Western states.
1973A second Alaska district is formed. District 1 now covers the Anchorage area, and District 2 encompasses two areas: one in the interior (Fairbanks area), and one in Southeastern Alaska. Distance makes a single-elimination format impractical -- the only way to avoid a flight between Juneau and Fairbanks for a district championship game would be a 19-hour ferry/driving combination -- so all levels of Alaska tournaments use a double-elimination format beginning in 1973. (The rest of the U.S. is required to use a single-elimination format for district tournament competition until 1980, and in all post-district play until 1981.) In 1972, district tournament losses carry over to the state tournament, but in subsequent years, these losses do not carry over.
1995District 3 is formed, as leagues in the Northern area of District 2 are split into a separate district.
2001Alaska is assigned to the Northwest Region as Little League Baseball expands the Little League World Series from eight to sixteen participants.
2002Eielson Air Force Base Little League wins the District 3 tournament but elects not to compete in the state tournament due to the cost of travel. District 3 would again compete in the state tournament in 2003 and 2004, but not in subsequent years, and the district is eventually dissolved.
2010Alaska modifies the state tournament format, and uses a best 3-of-5 schedule rather than a best 2-of-3 format.

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Last revision: 04/15/2014