A lot goes on to make sure that 150 to 160 girls and coaches have the best time they can in Delaware. But not everything can always go as planned.
A group of 29 organizers has been meeting since the Senior League World Series ended in August 2004 to make sure the 2005 World Series goes off without a hitch. First and foremost was to take care of the housing. But luckily for Lower Sussex Little League Director Bruce Layton and company, Josh Freeman, president of Carl M. Freeman Associates, took care of that by providing housing at Bear Trap Dunes.
The second part of the struggle was raising enough money to make sure all the girls and managers would be able to eat at the Pyle Center, in Roxana. On opening night, Sunday, Aug. 7, they ran out of food in the Pyle Center and were forced to go out and get more.
“We are always going to have some small problems,” Layton said. “We can take care of them on the spot.”
A big problem for the tournament came up before the games and opening ceremonies commenced. Asia Pacific’s representative from the Philippines pulled out of the tournament. They wanted to come a week early and see some sights, as they did last year. But when they got over here, only three players and one coach made it.
Tournament Director Martin Donovan said he received a forwarded e-mail from Little League Inc., saying that the Philippines couldn’t financially make it to the United States for the tournament. However they received notice too late to redo the schedules.
Every team in Pool B now gets an extra day off on the day when they were supposed to play Asia Pacific. When the time comes for pool play to be over, the fifth-place team in Pool A will end the tournament in ninth place.
“It’s a shame,” Donovan said. “They had the talent to play. The best game we had last year was Asia Pacific and Latin America.”
One other small problem arose Sunday. The rains came into town and delayed the opening ceremonies by about 15 minutes, but the games went on as planned at 5:30 and 8 p.m., as they were able to get tarps on the field during the storm.
“We have a good grounds crew,” Layton said.
Layton had to also secure the grounds crew in the planning stages. Tracey Littleton and Joe Lucido stepped in and took the role, along with Millsboro Little League, who pitched in its grounds crew.
Something new this year that has helped out the district tremendously is each of the nine leagues in Sussex County is taking a night and sending people to work at the Lower Sussex Little League Complex.
The Lions Club and the Moose Lodge are volunteering members to help guide the parking. Last year Layton went to the clubs’ respective meetings and they were receptive to helping, but this year they called Layton to offer their services. The Lions Club Lionesses are helping out by working at the concession stand.
The meetings started in September after the first series ended. The next came in November and January, with plans on improving their product.
“We first discussed on how we fix it,” Donovan said.
Meetings became more frequent in June and July, as they started meeting every other week and then every week.
One thing Donovan said is that next time they need to do everything a little bit earlier, but planning overall went well and the biggest problem or issue they have had is making sure there are enough people to work, and if there aren’t, then those in charge have to take quick action to make sure everything is covered.
Even though they had housing secured, there was one little problem. Many of the teams come in on Friday and leave on Sunday, but they aren’t allowed into the housing until 5 p.m. on Saturday and have to be out the following Saturday morning, so the district had to find hotels for everyone to stay in for a night both times, a task that can be daunting in the area.
However hairy the planning and logistics might have been, one part of the tournament was expected to go as planned.
“Once we get to the ball park, everything pretty much runs itself,” Donovan said.