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Little League team from Vermont heading to Cuba to play ball

PORTLAND, OR - AUGUST 13:  A general view of the Little League Softball World Series Championship game between the Southwest (Waco, TX) and the South (Naples, FL) at Alpenrose Dairy Field on August 13, 2003 in Portland, Oregon.  Southwest defeated South 16-10.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

PORTLAND, OR - AUGUST 13: A general view of the Little League Softball World Series Championship game between the Southwest (Waco, TX) and the South (Naples, FL) at Alpenrose Dairy Field on August 13, 2003 in Portland, Oregon. Southwest defeated South 16-10. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)  (2003 Getty Images)

A Little League team from Vermont is heading to Cuba to play ball for a week.

The group is allowed to travel to Cuba as part of a special education exchange and organizers hope the games and cultural exchanges will lead to a lasting connection between the island nation and the state, Vermont Public Radio reported (http://bit.ly/1qvg2TG).

The team of 11- and 12-year-olds from Burlington, Essex, Shelburne and Bristol arrive in Havana on Sunday.

"I don't think they quite understand, grasp the history of this," said Jim Carter, the faculty adviser and coach for the University of Vermont Club baseball team, who helped organize the trip and will be coaching the team.

They will play against five different Havana Little League teams. Cultural events, including dinners with local families, have also been arranged for the students and their parents, Carter said.

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It's the not the first such exchange.

Young baseball players from Vermont and New Hampshire traveled to the island in 2008.

The coaches hope that Cuba-American relations will improve so that the Cuban players could visit Vermont and play some baseball, Carter said.

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