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Excitement builds for 1st Little League Classic

Sunday's Cards-Bucs game in Williamsport, Pa., to celebrate youth baseball
MLB.com

The home of the Little League World Series, Williamsport, Pa., will host its first MLB regular-season game when the Pirates take on the Cardinals on Sunday at Historic Bowman Field.

The MLB Little League Classic is the latest initiative in MLB's youth outreach. The partnership between MLB and Little League aims to foster interest in youth baseball and softball activities. The partnership will yield a full weekend of events culminating in Sunday's game, which will be broadcast on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball at 7 p.m. ET.

The home of the Little League World Series, Williamsport, Pa., will host its first MLB regular-season game when the Pirates take on the Cardinals on Sunday at Historic Bowman Field.

The MLB Little League Classic is the latest initiative in MLB's youth outreach. The partnership between MLB and Little League aims to foster interest in youth baseball and softball activities. The partnership will yield a full weekend of events culminating in Sunday's game, which will be broadcast on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball at 7 p.m. ET.

Video: McCutchen remembers Little League experience

This year's Little League Baseball World Series began Thursday with the first round of games. Players from both the Cardinals and Pirates will attend LLWS games Sunday.

Video: Little League players' role in Little League Classic

The Little League players will continue to be involved as the action shifts to the professional level Sunday night. Bowman Field, the home of the Class A Short-Season Williamsport Crosscutters, is a 2,366-capacity ballpark -- which will make it the lowest-capacity MLB game in history. It will be primarily filled with players and families of the 16 teams competing in the LLWS. The crowd will also comprise residents of Lycoming County and local youth leagues.

The LLWS teams in attendance will be introduced as part of a pregame ceremony Sunday, and LLWS representatives will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Williamsport native Sloan Wood, 14, will perform the national anthem.

Video: Carpenter shares favorite Little League memory

Both clubs competing Sunday night feature a number of ties to Little League. The alumni include the Cardinals' Matt Carpenter, Randal Grichuk, Lance Lynn and Kolten Wong and the Pirates' John Jaso and Wade LeBlanc. Grichuk played in the 2003 and '04 LLWS with Lamar (Texas) National Little League, and Lynn competed in 1999 with Brownsburg (Ind.). Little League.

Video: LeBlanc, Jaso on Little League experience

Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen and Jordy Mercer have both played Minor League games at Bowman Field, the home of the Class A Short-Season Williamsport Crosscutters. Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle also once called the ballpark home as manager of the Williamsport Bills in 1991.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals