Lower Sussex softball teams look toward regionals, World Series
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.
After the program’s 11-12 All-Stars clinched the District III championship last week, thanks to a sixth-inning inside-the-park grand slam by Airelle Parker, the girls were set to focus their efforts on the state tournament being held in New Castle beginning on Wednesday, July 9 (after Coastal Point press time).
“Probably the best defensive team I’ve seen put together,” said Lower Sussex Little League Director Tracey Littleton ahead of the tournament. “They’re just a solid team. They cover all the bases.”
As of Wednesday, the 9-10 All-Stars were still playing for the district, but Littleton went on to note that, while both teams have been faring well locally and each looks to be serious competition at regionals, there’s still a long ways to go.
“I think it’s due to our coaches and some of the things we changed a few years ago,” said Littleton of this season’s success so far. “We basically created a major-minor group and introduced them to pitching. I think that, after three or four years, we’re starting to see the benefits of it. Coaches having more than one pitcher — it’s showing up.”
No matter the outcome at regionals and for the rest of the district battle, Littleton is focused on establishing a Big League and Senior League team for Lower Sussex next season, so that local softball players have a chance to play at home for the World Series when they reach that level.
Currently, former All-Stars including Rachel Hudson and Karlie Smith join up with out-of-district squads, such as Millsboro, when they get to the higher levels.
“We had some issues. Hopefully, we get this corrected for this coming season. And I think we will,” said Littleton.