It’s that time of year again, when the Pyle Center goes from a local venue for softball to an international one, as the Little League Softball World Series is set to make its way back to Delaware for the 11th consecutive year.
“I think it’s good for the community, and you can see it in the crowds — they keep coming back year after year,” said longtime Lower Sussex Little League president and current Vice President Bruce Layton. “It’s a good community function that brings everybody together.”
For the second year in a row, Roxana will host both the Senior League and Big League World Series, after hosting just the Senior League series for the first nine years. The larger venue calls for more lights and more coverage from ESPN, necessitating adding lights to Bruce Layton Field for television broadcasts.
“The only thing different is we got more games on ESPN,” explained Layton after noting that this year should feature six televised games — four on Friday, Aug. 8, and two on Saturday, Aug. 9.
By now you may have heard of the “Skateboard Cop.” And before you make any assumptions on what that is if you have not heard of it, let me clarify — it is not the sequel to “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” featuring a portly Kevin James, who needs to learn how to skateboard in order to save yet another mall from yet another absurd premise, solidifying my long-held theory that Adam Sandler isn’t even trying anymore and is, in fact, just messing with us now.
As two evenly matched teams vying for a Big League Softball World Series bid, it’s no wonder that Millsboro and Laurel need an odd number of games to determine which team will represent host District III in next month’s Little League World Series in Roxana.
Millsboro led what was supposed to be a 12-game series 4-2 heading into a tripleheader last Monday, July 21, but lost all three games of the series, to fall behind 5-4. However, the team would bounce back in another tripleheader on Tuesday, July 22, winning the first two games of the night before falling in the third and allowing Laurel to even the series at 6-6, necessitating a final matchup between the teams this Friday.
“I think the first game took the steam out of us, kind of put the momentum in their court, and we didn’t recover after that,” said Millsboro coach Monroe “Monnie” Hudson of the Monday-night series after the third consecutive game on Tuesday. “The girls did a great job tonight. They bounced back, and they pulled out the first two, which is huge.”
“We had some timely hits. The girls just came out and fought,” added head coach Guy Wilkins. “They’re warriors. They’re battlers. They’re gonna do everything they can do to win a game, and backs were against the wall, so they came out and played great softball.”
Some of those timely hits came from some timely hitters, as centerfielder Alexis Burger and catcher Morgan Smith took turns knocking each other home for key runs in Tuesday’s wins.
For years, prospective college soccer players from the area have had to travel over the Bay Bridge or up north to Pennsylvania for a chance at playing on their state’s Olympic Development Program team or to garner attention from college coaches.
However, thanks to River Soccer, local players now have another option — which is not only more convenient, but also more affordable, while offering a different spectrum of competitive advantages that many programs do not.
“Around here, we noticed that the ones that really shine, they have to go across the bridge or start heading to Philly, and it’s a lot of money,” said River Soccer Director Allison Bescak. “We’ve got kids that are leaving these amazing programs. We’re keeping it on a low-cost scale and really pushing the college aspect.”
Some of the premiere girls’ high school soccer stars are coming from not only local schools including Indian River and Sussex Tech, but from northern schools such as Dover, and Maryland schools as far as Easton, as well. Even with the mix of rival schools, Bescak said that the team meshes well.
“They all come together for this team,” she explained, “for the greater good of getting each other into college.”
The Delmarva Shorebirds are back down to .500, at 16-16 on the second half of the season (as of Coastal Point press time on Wednesday, July 23), after losing three consecutive games to Washington Nationals’ affiliate the Hagerstown Suns.
People are too easily offended these days. We live in a society that demands politically correct terminology, to the point where I don’t even know what the right term to call anyone is anymore. One term offends one person and a different term offends another. It’s exhausting — ridiculous, even — and it’s certainly other adjectives that further emphasize the point I’m trying to make.
After the Lower Sussex All-Stars Major League Softball team took the District III title with a sixth-inning inside-the-park grand slam, with two outs, off the bat of veteran LSLL All-Star Airelle Parker — needless to say, they were excited.
However, they didn’t let the warranted celebration distract them from their next goal of winning states and advancing to regionals — a goal they were able to accomplish last Saturday night with a 9-8 win over the Smyrna Little League team.
“It was extremely exciting — we’ve done something that hasn’t been done at that level, as far as anyone can tell me,” said head coach Sam O’Shields.
Not only had no Lower Sussex Major League softball team won a district championship in more than a decade, but Saturday night’s state championship victory was the program’s first ever for the age group.
Like the district championship game, the state championship went down to the final inning — despite the All-Stars’ 9-3 lead. Smyrna would string together five runs to make it 9-8 but, ultimately, it was the Lower Sussex defense and pitching that would ensure the victory, getting out of the inning with a strikeout from pitcher Nicole Patille.
Legendary pro surfer Kalani Robb has traveled all around the world. Whether it was competing on the World Tour and once being touted as “the next Kelly Slater,” or stealing the spotlight in Taylor Steele movies for the better part of 20 years, the Hawaiian native has been and surfed practically everywhere — except Delaware.
That is, until last Monday, when Robb, along with the rest of the Catch Surf team, paid a visit to the First State on their “Get Wet” tour, giving local groms the chance to test out boards and compete in a Catch Surf-style contest.
“I’ve been to the East Coast a few times. I haven’t been here in Delaware, so that’s something new,” said Robb. “It doesn’t matter if it’s totally pumping or if it’s kind of small, it’s just about having fun, and everybody out here knows how to have fun.”
The event was hosted by K-Coast Surf Shop and featured a laid-back competition in which local surfers and bodyboarders could test Catch Surf products, such as their signature “Beater” board and soft-top surfboards including the “Odysea Stump.”
After competing at the NSSA College Men’s East Coast Championships as a member of the Flagler College Surfing Team, Seth Conboy returned home only to showcase his talents once again at the Surf Shop Showdown at Dew Tour.
While that might seem overwhelming for some, for the 19-year old graphic design major and lifelong surfer, it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
“I started competing the same year I got really into surfing, when I was 14,” said Conboy. “I started doing all the local ESA contests. After I started feeling more comfortable surfing heats, I branched out to more contests, such as NSSA contests up north in New Jersey and several other Pro/Am contests in the South.”
Of course, getting to contests up and down the East Coast in those early years, without a driver’s license, wouldn’t have been possible if his parents weren’t on board. But, according to Conboy, surfing has always been a family affair.
The road back to the Big League Softball World Series certainly offers its fair share of potential speed bumps for the Millsboro team. Obstacles to overcome include balancing time between work and softball, frequent doubleheaders and Laurel pitcher Reagan Green.
However, after trading wins in Monday’s doubleheader against Laurel at the Pyle Center in Roxana, the team finds themselves with a 4-2 advantage in the 12-game series that will decide which area team represents host District III at the World Series next month, right there at the Pyle Center.
“I think we’re looking good,” said Millsboro coach Monroe ‘Monnie’ Hudson. “Defensively, we’re good. Pitching, we’re good. We just gotta string the hits together, and this game we just couldn’t connect the hits.”
The Delmarva Shorebirds finished their series last week against Lakewood with three wins and a loss, coming on the heels of a 2-1 series against West Virginia, which was also on the road.
Their 10-4 win last Sunday, July 13, put the team at 14-11 for the second half of the season, but they would fall to Greensboro last Tuesday, July 15, to fall to 14-12.
Beginning in 2003, the Highway One Group each summer has sponsored a series of runs and walks in Dewey Beach. On Saturday, July 26, starting at 8 a.m., Races2Run will present the 100th run. It will also be a historic day for runners and Hall of Famers Jerry Denny, Jerry McNesby and Jules Woodall, who have run every one of the 100 races.
I hope you had a chance to catch this year’s Dew Tour. I didn’t get to go, but Coastal Point readers like me got to follow the action along with the more than 100,000 folks who converged on Ocean City for an incredible 10th season. The world’s best skateboarders put on quite a show, and who wasn’t excited to see Baltimore native Bucky Lasek become this year’s Skate Bowl Dew Cup champ?
I’ve spent the majority of my Fourth of Julys in Fenwick Island — usually working, sometimes lucky enough to get to the Fenwick Fourth of July party on my street before the fireworks go off or my Uncle Pat drinks the last beer.
Sussex County surfers traded in their fireworks for front-side airs last Friday, July 4 — celebrating America’s birthday with a short window of waves, thanks to Hurricane Arthur.
With such a limited opportunity, surfers had to get their plans right, and Micah Sklut of SwellInfo.com emphasized the importance of keeping an eye on the forecast and conditions.
“Arthur was a really quick-moving system,” explained Sklut. “For coastal areas worried about damage, it’s probably one reason why North Carolina didn’t see that much damage. Here in Delaware, we received a fair amount of rain, but it kind of came and went really quickly. We saw a very quick shot of surf.”
After waking up to typical summer shore break, wave riders’ fortunes took a turn in the early afternoon, when conditions started to improve rapidly. By mid-afternoon, the lineup was stacked with some of the best surfers in the area — including in Ocean City, Md., where local rippers put on an aerial show for the cameras and the crowd.
Every year, Lower Sussex Little League hosts the Big League and Senior League World Series at the Pyle Center in Roxana. However, with no Big League or Senior League teams from Lower Sussex to represent District III, the 9-10 and 11-12 girls’ softball squads are the local teams to watch as they battle for regional bids to Bristol, Conn., and possibly a World Series ticket to Portland, Ore.
University of Delaware Associate Head Tennis Coach Austin Longacre has been named acting head pro at Sea Colony for the 2014 summer season. In addition to teaching private lessons, Longacre will conduct the sold-out Nike Junior Camps and the Nike Tournament Training Camp. No stranger to Sea Colony, Longacre spent summer vacations as a seasonal pro at the Sea Colony Tennis Center.
Austin Wynns was the hero for Delmarva on Tuesday, July 8, driving in teammate Creede Simpson on a ninth-inning RBI shot to the mound, to give the Shorebirds a 3-2 victory over the West Virginia Power.
The ’Birds struck early in the first inning of that game, with Simpson knocking a double to left field and scoring Jeff Kemp. Chance Sisco added an RBI on the next play, to score Drew Dosch.
I don’t get star-struck very easily — especially since getting into journalism. I’ve interviewed some of the best surfers and surf-film makers in the world and, yes, I would like to take this opportunity to name drop all of them — Craig Anderson before he had his own movie and signature board, Matt Meola after he won Taylor Steele’s first ever “Innersection” contest and Taylor Steele himself. This past winter, I got to interview WNBA star Ellena Delle Donne.
For years, pro surfer Colin Herlihy and pro skimboarder Bill Baxter have been showing up at the beach on Garfield Parkway in Bethany Beach every Monday night from 6 to 7 p.m. for the Bethany Beach Surf Shop Skim Jam. And, for years, it has been the premiere weekly summer event for skimmers across Sussex County.
“I think the kids, they count down the days until Monday,” said Herlihy. “They love it.”
“There was a kid last year who used to take the bus from Seaford and used to ride the bus for two hours to get here,” added Baxter, also recalling another skimmer from Frankford who would ride his bike all the way to Bethany every Monday.
This year’s turnout has been just as impressive as that in recent years, and both Herlihy and Baxter noted that none of it would be possibly without Bethany Surf Shop owners Jimmy and Sheila McGrath.
“It varies from week to week depending on holiday weekend and stuff like that, but we always have a good turnout,” said Baxter. “Once we moved up here to this, Colin and I teamed up, and it [has] just kind of blown up to this.”
Lower Sussex notched a Delaware Little League District III championship last Monday, June 30, with a 6-3 victory over Nanticoke.
All-Star tournament veteran Airelle Parker pulled off an inside-the-park grand slam in the sixth inning, adding four runs that would ultimately be the difference in the game. The line drive to right field came with two outs in the inning.
Baltimore native Bucky Lasek was this year’s Skate Bowl Dew Cup champion, crowned amidst the record-breaking crowds at last weekend’s Dew Tour Beach Championships held at the boardwalk in Ocean City, Md. More than 100,000 people made their way to the temporary skate park on the beach to see some of the world’s best skating and BMX talent.
BMX pro Jamie Bestwick also made Dew Tour history, with his 10th consecutive BMX Vert Dew Cup. Bestwick put together a finals run score of 90.75, to edge out Vince Byron’s 90.00. Byron would finish in second place.
“It is the most pressure I’ve been under for any contest,” said Bestwick. “So it was nice to have my whole family here to help me pull through. The Dew Tour is a landmark event that you want to win every year. My 10th Dew Cup in the Dew Tour’s 10th anniversary year caps off one of the best years of my [career].”
In the Skate Bowl, Dew Tour veteran Lasek edged out two of skating’s most promising young shredders — 14-year-old Tom Schaar and 15-year-old Cory Juneau.
Some of the best skateboarders in the world flocked to the Ocean City, Md., boardwalk last weekend to compete at the Dew Tour Beach Championships. One of them was 26-time X Games medalist and Brazil native Bob Burnquist.
“It’s fun. I got my family with me here, and we just kinda cruise the boardwalk and hang out. And then I go skate. And then I’m done,” said Burnquist of the venue. “As far as venues go, this is one of the best ones. There’s something for everyone. It’s one of those venues where it’s family-friendly.”
After checking out the boardwalk, Burnquist balanced his time between interviews and appearances, practice and, of course, competing — which, admittedly, isn’t his favorite thing to do.
“Competition isn’t a big thing for me. I’d rather stay at home and film new tricks. Obviously, that’s where I progress the most,” he explained. “Pressures, all that — I don’t know if I like it too much, but it’s part of my job. This is the 9-to-5. My favorite part is skating with the guys during practice.
After starting off last week’s series-opener against Washington Nationals’ affiliate the Hagerstown Suns last Friday, June 27, with two one-run losses, the Delmarva Shorebirds bounced back to finish the series strong with back-to-back wins.
The ’Birds snapped a five-game losing streak last Sunday, June 29, with a one-run win of their own, besting the Suns 5-4.
As part of the Ten Sisters of Dewey Beach Summer Running & Walking Series 2014, the 6th Outlet Liquors 5K will be held at 8 a.m. on Sunday, July 6, starting and ending at the Rusty Rudder, located at 113 Dickinson Street in Dewey Beach.
Friends, family and beach house members can have fun at the 5K Run/Walk and remain afterward for the awards ceremony and the post-race party.
When Indian River School District field hockey coaches Jodi Stone, Pattiva Cathell and Molly Chamberlin began organizing the IRSD Field Hockey Camp, they had one goal in mind — to generate interest in the sport. After their inaugural campaign last week, it’s safe to say that that goal was met with overwhelming success.
“It went as good as it could have gone. It was awesome,” said Chamberlin. “It was really successful. We saw a lot of improvement from Monday to Thursday — every day, they were pumped.”
“I think that the numbers were great. We weren’t expecting to have the 90-plus,” Cathell said of the turnout. “I was super-stoked with the number — our biggest numbers were in the elementary-school level. There were some kids who had no exposure prior to the camp.”
As promised, the camp catered to players of all experience levels — from beginners, to high school players that had been playing for years. With each prohibited from coaching their own players in the off-season, Cathell worked with the high-schoolers, while Stone worked with the middle-schoolers and Chamberlin the elementary-school players.
This weekend’s Dew Tour Beach Championships, being held in Ocean City, Md., feature some of the best surfers in the area among both national and international talent, set to take to the waves in Thursday night’s Amateur Surf Shop final.
This may come as a shock to you, but there may be a few people out there that don’t like America. Not Central America. Not South America. And I doubt anyone legitimately hates Canada way up in North America, but I’m talking about the United States of America. Surely, geopolitics is to blame, but I have a feeling that making the Kardashians famous probably has something to do with it, as well.
One of the most notable names at the 2014 Dew Tour Beach Championships held in Ocean City, Md., this weekend is also one of the most local to the area, as world renowned skateboarding pro Bucky Lasek is set to compete for yet another Dew Tour title.
Lasek, who grew up in Baltimore, Md., vacationed in Ocean City with his family frequently and competed in both amateur and regional events at the Ocean City Skatepark.
“We would vacation there very regularly,” said Lasek of his trips to the beach. “I’ve competed in all of the amateur contest at the Ocean City Skatepark. They held the national regionals there.”
While Lasek’s stage is now certainly on a larger scale, the longtime skate pro is used to it, having racked up a dozen X-Games medals to go along with multiple Dew Tour and ASA Championships throughout his storied career.
Recent Indian River High School graduates and softball standouts Rachel Hudson and Karlie Smith have been playing together since they were 10 years old. They’ve played for the Delaware Diamonds travel team, the Millsboro Big League team and, of course, the IRHS Indians. They’ve won seventh-inning thrillers, and they’ve lost them, too.
They’ve teamed up for double plays and knocked each other home countless times. As pitcher and shortstop, they’ve always — both literally and figuratively — had each other’s backs. And just last August, they won their first Big League Softball World Series title. But this season, they’ll take to the diamond for the last time together, as they try to win another one.
“Going out with a win would be icing on the cake,” said Hudson. “Karlie and I have experienced so much together — from World Series wins to state championship titles. One last winning season would be great before moving on.”