With the last state having finished its tournament Sunday, the Little League Southeastern Region Softball Tournament is ready to get underway.
Seven teams will meet at the region headquarters in Warner Robins, with games starting Thursday, to determine who will move on to the Little League Softball World Series in Oregon.
One team is just a stone’s throw from the park as Warner Robins American Little League makes its first appearance in regional play since 2010, when the team won the World Series title for the second year in a row.
At the helm of that team was Roger Stella. Stella is back as manager, and he hopes he can make it back to the West Coast.
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The week before the tournament, Stella had his team practicing four days a week.
“We worked on live hitting a lot this week,” he said.
Although this is a different group of girls than he had five years ago, when the regional headquarters were brand new, Stella is expecting a big local crowd to come out for the games.
He has already prepped the girls for the possibility.
“We may have a bigger crowd than they are used to, so they need to block everything out and keep it back playing the game. The rest will work itself out,” Stella said.
The region is also prepared for the crowds now that a local team is in the tournament.
Matt Weber, assistant region director, has already met with law enforcement in the area to help with parking and policing the park. The list of prohibited items is listed on the website at www.eteamz.com/llbsouth/files/VisitorInformation.pdf. Bags will be checked coming into the park.
On the field is where the action happens for the 11-12 year olds.
“The field’s in really good shape. It’s the greenest I’ve ever seen,” Weber said.
With more than 100 volunteers at the ready, the tournament is ready to take off.
The hopefuls this year are: from Florida, Windemere Softball Little League; Georgia, Warner Robins American Little League; North Carolina, Rowan Little League; South Carolina, Irmo Little League; Tennessee, Daniel Boone Little League; Virginia, Atlee/Ashland Little Leagues; and West Virginia, Mountaineer/Clendenin/Madison Little Leagues.
The North Carolina and West Virginia delegates are new to the tournament this year.
Irmo LL is the only team to have brought either a baseball or softball team to the regional tournaments every year since the site moved to Warner Robins in 2010.
The double elimination tournament starts Thursday at 11 a.m. The cost for entry and parking is free.
For more information, visit www.eteamz.com/llbsouth.