PONY Baseball and Softball has announced that it will hold the 2021 DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series from August 13-18 at Lew Hays PONY Field in Washington, PA.
After canceling all World Series play in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, PONY Baseball and Softball President and CEO, Abraham Key, was delighted to announce the annual August classic will return to Washington County this summer.
“PONY is proud to announce the dates for the 2021 DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series,” said Key. “As you can imagine, the last fifteen months have been challenging, and we are not yet back to 100% operational. However, there is significant domestic and international interest in resuming a normal tournament season, including the DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series.”
World Series Tournaments, Inc., PONY’s host organization for the event, echoed Key’s sentiments. “World Series Tournaments, Inc. is once again excited to be hosting the DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series on behalf of PONY Baseball in Washington County,” said Nathan Voytek, President of Tournaments, Inc. “The tournament is a staple of summer for our community and region, and we look forward to again seeing the top thirteen- and fourteen-year-old youth baseball players from around the world compete on historic Lew Hays PONY Field.”
Although it is certain that there will be a 2021 tournament, it is not certain which of PONY’s international zones will be represented. Thus far, PONY has announced that, due to international travel restrictions, its Mexican and European zones will not be represented, causing the field to be reduced from ten to eight teams. PONY is still working on securing a representative from its Caribbean and Asia-Pacific Zones. However, PONY will have all four of its domestic zones represented, along with the Host-Area zone and the host team, Washington County.
In response to questions about the decision to host the 2021 event, both Key and Voytek acknowledged the decreasing severity of the pandemic and the relaxing of Pennsylvania’s Covid-19 restrictions. On June 1, 2021, PA Governor, Tom Wolf, announced that all events could return to 100% capacity, followed by a removal of the state’s mask mandate on June 28.
Washington County Tourism Promotion Agency President, Jeff Kotula, also recognized the significance of the tournament’s return. In 2019, almost 25,000 attended the World Series at Lew Hays PONY Field, helping the week-long event generate a regional economic impact of over $4 million. “Based on a 2019 study commissioned by the county tourism agency, 39% of spectators attending the PONY League World Series are first-time visitors to Washington County,” said Kotula. “As such, this event continues to present a significant opportunity to showcase the county’s many historical, entertainment, and cultural attractions, and we are proud to continue our longstanding support of the event.”
Key, Voytek, and Kotula also acknowledged the sponsorship support from DICK’S Sporting Goods as a key reason for the event’s return this summer. Further, all three were pleased to announce a three-year contract extension with DICK’S Sporting Goods, helping the World Series to continue to grow in future years.
Fans who plan to attend this year’s tournament can expect the baseball action to kick off at Lew Hays PONY Field on Friday, August 13, with the championship game being on Wednesday, August 18. During the evening of Thursday, August 12, fans can also attend the Ansys Fan Fest at the Washington, PA, DICK’S Sporting Goods location. Further updates and details can be found on plws.org as they become available.
World Series Tournaments, Inc.
World Series Tournaments, Inc., a nonprofit organization in Washington, PA, is the host organization for the DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series. This all-volunteer organization is responsible for the funding and staffing requirements of the event, along with all other related operational activities. WSTI solicits funding from businesses and individuals to cover the expenses and invites additional volunteers and workers to handle the variety of activities prior to and during the World Series. More information is available at plws.org.
PONY Baseball and Softball, Inc.
PONY Baseball and Softball is an international youth baseball and softball organization headquartered in Washington, PA. Founded in 1951, PONY has over 500,000 annual participants ages 4-23 in over 50 countries. The name PONY comes from the acronym of “Protect Our Nation’s Youth.” Member leagues are designed as a method of community action to help young people develop into better adults through participation in organized and supervised recreation. More information is available at pony.org.