For the first time in 16 years, the town of Bridgewater will host the 11-12 age division Virginia State Little League Tournament from July 18-22 at Oakdale Park.
The Little League district that represents Bridgewater was notified of Little League International’s decision in May 2013, after the local branch wrote a proposal and applied for the role earlier in the year.
The news fell on ready ears.
“We were very excited,” said Ginger Griffin, president of the Bridgewater Community Little League and coordinator of the 2014 tournament.
Since then, BCLL representatives set about creating a grand stage for the tournament. The board of directors spent hours meeting, planning and fundraising, a preparation process that started last August.
“We do all of our own fundraising,” noted Patricia Landes, a member of the board of directors and concession manager, adding that the nonprofit raised much of the funds through sponsorships.
“Any money raised is done ourselves.”
League officials are now putting the finishing touches on that groundwork, with the tournament set to begin in a little more than a week.
The seven-day event will kick off with an opening ceremony slated for 7 p.m. July 17 at Jopson Field at Bridgewater College, during which teams from across the commonwealth will be introduced.
The ceremony will also feature family-oriented activities and games, in addition to a community picnic. The Parade of Championship will include past district, state and regional victors.
“We encourage the players from those teams to come back and carry their flag as part of the opening ceremony,” added Griffin.
Games are slated to start the next day.
The team that eventually emerges victorious during the game slated for 10 a.m. July 22 will move on to a regional tournament, to be held later this summer in Warner Robins, Ga.
The regional champions will then travel to Williamsport, Pa., to compete in the nationally-televised Little League World Series tournament, which includes teams from as far away as Tokyo and Taiwan.
“You have players that eat, breathe and sleep baseball, in order to prepare for this tournament,” said Griffin.
“You’re going to see good baseball, players who have really worked hard and are really dedicated to the sport.”
Those seeking more information about the VSLL Tournament, or interested in volunteering, should contact Griffin at email@example.com.
Contact Matt Gonzales at (540) 574-6265 or firstname.lastname@example.org