News and Tribune

Homepage

July 23, 2011

STATE OF THE STATE: Little League tourney kicks-off in Jeffersonville

JEFFERSONVILLE — One Little League Baseball team from Indiana will get the chance to live out a dream and play a trip to the Little League World Series.

But before any child steps foot on the field in Williamsport, Pa., they will take to the diamonds at John and Shirley Woehrle Field in Jeffersonville.

The Jeffersonville Little League park is this year’s host to the 11- and 12-year-old state championship tournament, which held its opening ceremony Saturday morning.

“Twelve-year-old is ‘The’ Little League ... it’s the big tournament,” said Paul Northam, board president of Jeffersonville/GRC Little League, this year’s host organization.

It’s the first time in more than a decade that Jeffersonville has hosted the state competition.

“It only rolls around every 14 years,” said District V Administrator Shelly Gaither, who oversees Little League in Clark, Floyd, Washington and Scott Counties.

Each region — of which there are 14 in Indiana — rotates hosting the state tournament. So, even for veteran administrator Gaither, it is only the second time she has been involved in organizing a state tournament.

Her ties to the Little League game go much farther back than the last time the tournament was in town. Her father coached and her brother played on the Jeff/GRC team that won the state title in 1965 and went on to the Little League World Series.

In addition to a few members of the 1965 championship team, members of the 2008 Jeffersonville/GRC team that competed in the Little League World Series were on hand at the opening ceremonies.

While there was certainly a nod to the past, the ceremony was still about kicking-off this year’s tournament.

Fourteen regional teams will face off in a pool-play style tournament with the championship game to be held Thursday night. During the opening weekend of the tournament, each team will play and those surviving out of pool play will begin single-elimination games.

Gaither said she was pleased that all 14 regions are being represented in Jeffersonville.

“I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way than to bring all 14, because I think they all deserve to be here and they all deserve a chance,” she said. “We used to bring just eight in. This way everybody has a fair chance.”

She added there was something else a little different about this year’s tournament.

“This is a much grander scale than any we’ve held before,” Gaither said.

While she was referencing all of the teams that were playing, skydivers bringing in game balls, an American flag and Indiana state flag helped to make her point Saturday morning.

“I just love having them here,” Gaither said of the teams.

As part of the opening ceremony, there was a timed throwing competition for all the Little League teams. The New Albany Little Leaguers, the District V representative in the tournament, are hoping it was a good omen that they won that contest.

The winner of the state tourney will advance to the regional competition in Indianapolis. The winner of that moves on to Williamsport.

Although the tournament is clearly centered around a competition, and winning can provide the youngsters with a unique opportunity, the hosts were sure to emphasize the greater importance of the tournament.

“This should be about having fun and not about winning and losing,” Northam said. “So many times parents and coaches get wrapped up in the winning and losing, and they lose sight of what it’s all about — having fun.

“I’ve been in this 10 to 15 years, and what I know about kids is an hour after they lose a game they’ve forgotten and they’re off doing something else.”

• Read coverage of the tournament all week in the News and Tribune, including a special page each day Monday through Friday dedicated to the action.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
07_29_ed_giftcard_01w.jpg

Jamie Collins, Scottsburg, works on lesson plans in her classroom at Scribner Middle School on Monday afternoon. Collins was the recipient of a $100 gift card to the Your Educational Supply Store from the New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. Education Foundation. All first-time teachers in the school system received a gift card to help them set up their classrooms.

LATEST NEWS POSTS
SOUTHERN INDIANA SPORTS

LOCAL OPINIONS
LOCAL FEATURES
EVENTS CALENDAR
ntxt alerts
e-EDITION
Clark County Readers' Choice
2014 4-H Fairs


Images from the Floyd and Clark County 4-H fairs

You Need To Know Now!
SEASONAL CONTENT
Big Four Bridge opens
Must Read
Facebook
Twitter Updates
AP VIDEO
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
MARQUEE TEXT ADS