Monday, August 20, 2007

2007 Little League Softball: Final Thoughts

It is raining here in Portland today...kinda feels like Fall, and gives us a kinship with the Lake Oswego LL team at Williamsport who are rained-out today.

It's a good day to wrap-up the 2007 Little League Softball World Series...

Organized youth sports are full of hope and joy and anguish. Thanks to a worldwide audience, Little League is in the spotlight and so is our country's complex relationship with kids and sports. It is important to ask, "What are the kids getting out of all this?"

Here is the diary of a young athlete from the Little League Softball World Series that highlights "the experience of a lifetime."

"Morristown's nickname could be Home of Champions"

And finally, the pictures from the Closing Ceremony are a testament to the notion that all the fuss is about kids...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

LL Softball World Series Wrap-Up

Thanks for hanging with the blog this summer. It has been a real treat to follow the teams and communities that are involved in Little League Softball, especially the final ten that make it to the World Series in Portland. This is the 14th year that Alpenrose has hosted the tournament, and it never looked better.

Many people make this event happen: tournament staff, housing families, field crews, Alpenrose employees...and they are on-site for about two weeks straight. That's a lot of time away from home and family for the benefit of 11-13 year-olds and their families and fans, from all over the world.

I played, coached and umpired Little League Softball at Alpenrose in the late 70's and early 80's. My dad was the manager and my mom was the co-Tournament Director. My poor sister was #1 fan until she started playing herself (and then proceeded to make every eligible All-Star team). Every day I am at the LLSBWS, my dad (the current webmaster) and I run into someone we played ball with or their parents or friends from High School taking their daughters up to watch softball. This is COMMUNITY.

Michele Smith frequently discusses this on the ESPN broadcasts of Little League Softball. These are the best teams that the rules of Little League produce each summer. We are lucky to have her doing the broadcasts, as she is a role model for the players as well as someone who stresses playing the game for fun and with families in your neighborhood.

As for the grass infield at Alpenrose, I know you softball purists are having a fit... But the truth is, the facility is one of the best in the country and a unique opportunity to play in a well-loved, well-cared-for stadium that has "kids" written all over it. It is not a huge park with several dirt fields and played on by slo-pitch mens teams. The grass infield looks great on TV and yes, it does slow the game down, but I don't think it makes a huge difference at this age.

And finally, congrats again to Morristown LL, Tennessee (South), and Elgin LL, Texas (Southwest), for battling through Districts, Regionals and making it back to the LLSBWS and giving us a championship game for the ages. The South team won, 3-2, but in a best of three series, it might have been different -- these were two great teams.

Press Coverage:

The Citizen Tribune (Tennessee)

Elgin Courier

The Oregonian

Beaverton Valley Times (Oregon)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Morristown LL (Tennessee) is 2007 LLSoftball Champ!

The 2007 Little League Softball World Series is in the books...And what a fantastic championship game to end the tournament!

Tonight's final game lived up to its billing: when two undefeated teams meet, something has to give. Both South (Morristown LL, Tennessee) and Southwest (Elgin LL, Texas) sailed through Pool Play and yesterday's semi-final games giving ESPN2 commentators plenty of great softball to talk about. In the end, the South team prevailed 3-2 in the best LLSBWS Championship Game I have ever seen.

Thanks to the young athletes who play Little League Softball -- it is for you that dozens of volunteers work year 'round to present you with an amazing experience as you cap off a signature summer of softball.

Congratulations to all the girls and their families/fans who made it to Portland, Oregon, for this exciting week of play and activities in the Northwest. We are honored to have had you here -- please come back and visit and be sure to say HI!

Championship Day at LLSBWS

All the teams from the 2007 Little League Softball World Series are in action today, starting at 9am, and games about every two hours up until the championship at 6:30pm (PDT) televised live on ESPN2:

Game 23: EMEA (KMC American LL, Ramstein AFB, Germany) vs. Canada (Turtle Club LL, Windsor, Ontario), 9am

Game 24: OregonDist4 (Beaverton Area LL, Beaverton, Oregon) vs. Asia Pacific (ILLAM Central LL, Makati City, Philippines), 11am

Game 25: Latin America (Asofem LL, Maunabo, Puerto Rico) vs. West (Gilroy LL, Gilroy, California), 1pm

Game 26: Central (Gladstone LL, Gladstone, Michigan) vs. East (Waterford South LL, Waterford, Connecticut), 3pm

(a little break to prep fields and prepare for ESPN)

Game 27: South (Morristown Am/Natl LL, Morristown, Tennessee) vs. Southwest (Elgin LL, Elgin, Texas), 6:30pm...winner is 2007 Champion!

Here are some newspaper links about last night's action:

The Morristown Citizen Tribune

The Elgin Courier (Connecticut)

The Daily Press (Michigan) on the semi-final game and meeting Michele Smith

The Portland Oregonian

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

2007 LLSBWS Championship is Set

Congratulations to the teams from Morristown, Tennessee (South) and Elgin, Texas (Southwest), who will meet tomorrow at 6:30pm on ESPN2 to determine the 2007 champion of Little League Softball.

In tonight's first semi-final game, Southwest defeated Central (Gladstone, Michigan), 6-1. Southwest will face the South team, who beat the East (Waterford, Connecticut) team in the 2nd semi-final game of the evening, 10-1. Both South and Southwest battled through the tournament without a loss.

LLSBWS Semi-Final Game #2

Scenes from Alpenrose

Photos from the LLSBWS Semi-Final #1

So Many Good Stories...

The Little League Softball World Series produces so many wonderful stories...stories of cool housing families who give up ten days and devote their home, vehicle and kitchen table to girls from all over the world here to play a softball tournament...

stories of international teams traveling long distances and enjoying Oregon and American culture...

stories of tournament volunteers who spend HOURS up at Alpenrose painting and grilling hamburgers and arranging travel and selling souvenirs and posting scores on websites and faxing press releases to the newspapers...

and raking, cutting, and painting Alpenrose fields so that these girls have their "Field of Dreams" to play on during their memorable experience at the World Series. The fieldwork has been lovingly orchestrated by Mike Hebrard of Athletic Field Design for 15 years...and he wouldn't have it any other way.

Mike and his crew, including former LL ump Bob Proctor (who travels down from Tacoma, Washington, every year to help out) and son Andy, who plays baseball at Feather River College in northern California and literally grew up prepping fields at Alpenrose, begin work on the fields just as soon as the regular league and all-star schedules wrap-up. And since Oregon District 4 is very busy, that doesn't leave much time!

I always enjoy talking about Oregon youth softball and baseball, and sat down with Mike and Bob in between LLSoftbal World Series games to visit about the "Keep America Playing" t-shirts all his guys were wearing. "This is a movement to educate volunteers and coaches about maintaining fields," Mike told me. (more information can be found at I have no problem telling you that Keep America Playing is presented by Turface -- without Turface, we wouldn't be able to play baseball and softball in Oregon. Period.

Because I spend a lot of time around ballparks, I was especially impressed by this effort. Keeping the diamonds safe and playable is essential to a positive experience for the kids. Pride in a community park shows pride in the community and our nation is built on strong communities. (off my soapbox now :)

Field maintenance is usually volunteer dads who are happy to help, but are not experts beyond raking and mowing, maybe one guy is really good with the chalk... Giving leagues and teams some information about how to really care for and extend the life of our fields goes a long way in promoting and preserving our favorite sports of baseball and softball.

When you're watching the semi-final games tonight on ESPN2, think about Mike and Bob and they guys who work behind the scenes to give the girls a Big League Ballpark experience right there in the middle of a working dairy.

Little League Softball in the Spotlight Tonight

By advancing to tonight's semi-finals, teams and fans from Gladstone, Michigan, Elgin, Texas, Morristown, Tennessee, and Waterford, Connecticut, are waking up this morning with excitement as their communities will be featured on the live broadcasts of the Little League Softball World Series tonight on ESPN2. These girls have traveled to the west coast, played softball for six straight days, and now have earned one of the coveted TV games.

But before we get to those games, another one will be played on the main field: the annual All-Star Game! This is another LLSBWS tradition that is really meant to solidify the softball experience for the girls who have made the long trip to Portland, but not playing in the ESPN games. The remaining teams will send three girls to the main field to represent their team and play one last game at 10am.

Michele Smith Sighting!

The ESPN crew was onsite last night scouting the teams and talking to folks at the games.

If you live in the Portland area, consider heading up to Alpenrose tonight. How often can you enjoy kids playing their heart out and watching the workings of a national broadcast for FREE! Plus, the ice cream is wonderful and $2 for a huge bowl of your favorite flavor!

Monday, August 13, 2007

More Monday Night Photos

Monday Night Photos

LLSBWS: Semi-Finals are Set!

Prior to the first pitch in tonight's final pool play game, the West team from Gilroy, California, appeared confident and ready to play. Sitting at 2-1 in the Pool Play, they needed the win to earn a spot in Tuesday's semi-final games. The Central team was 1-2 in the pool, so they needed to win and by a comfortable margin, in order to move on.

An overflowing crowd enjoyed a beautiful evening at Alpenrose Stadium. The Central girls, from Gladstone LL, Michigan, posted five runs in the top of the first inning and the West never recovered. After scoring one run in their half of the inning, Gilroy was held scoreless and the celebration was on! "Wake 'em up," the Michigan fans were yelling into their cell phones as they spread the news that their girls were going to be on TV!

So, the Final Four of the 2007 Little League Softball World Series is set:

Game 21
Southwest (1st in Pool A) versus Central (2nd in Pool B)
4pm, televised live on ESPN2

Game 22
South (1st in Pool B) versus East (2nd in Pool A)
6:30pm, televised live on ESPN2

The winners will face off on Wednesday at 6:30pm in the championship airing live on ESPN2.

Monday Morning Fix

Quick post this morning; I am off to a workshop for my "day job" with the Beaverton School District, but will be up at Alpenrose by the end of the South/Asia-Pacific game. I just wanted to get you this morning's news clips:

Dennis Grall's reports on yesterday's Central vs. Asia-Pacific game and the team from the Philippines

The Oregonian

Morristown moves to 3-0

"Waterford Does Its Part..."

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Lovin' Textmarks!

Just a quick plug for the mobile phone service I have set up here with

That blue box on the right side of this website allows you to sign up and receive scores from the 2007 Little League Softball World Series on your cell phone. There are 22 subscribers as of right now...the service is free, and has worked well. I can send messages from the website or from my own mobile phone, and will continue through the final game on Wednesday night.

As the tournament moves into the final day of Pool Play, Monday games will be critical for final standings and for placement in the semi-final games on Tuesday, airing live on ESPN2.

At the end of play Sunday night, East has finished with a 3-1 record in Pool A. Team Southwest is undefeated at 3-0 and will play Latin America (2-1) at 5:30.

In Pool B, South is undefeated at 3-0, and both West and Asia Pacific are 2-1. Those two teams will square off tomorrow at 2pm in a key game, while South will finish the tournament with the 8pm game versus Central.

If you can't be near a computer tomorrow, sign up for the Textmark service and stay updated on the scores via your mobile phone.

Sunday Morning Media

The games finished early yesterday at the LL Softball World Series to leave the afternoon for a fun tournament tradition: the HomeRun Derby. The girls and sometimes siblings coaches, parents, fans, staff... line up to take a crack at launching one over the Alpenrose main field walls.

The Oregonian covered the event and highlighted Kelli Connors' homerun for the East team from Waterford, Connecticut, on Friday.

Connecticut coverage of the East vs. Southwest game

The Morristown Citizen Tribune (Tennessee) featured the South win over Central yesterday.

Gilroy Dispatch on the West team's win over Asia-Pacific.

"Southwest Remains Undefeated in Pool Play" I always love clicking on the Elgin newspaper website and checking out the temperature there and how hot it is! We are so lucky to have a great week of 75-80 degree weather this week :)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Wall-to-Wall Little League

I took a little break from softball last night and headed to The Bite of Oregon at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland. We listened to music and enjoyed great "bites" of the best our state has to offer: beef, seafood, microbrews and wine -- delicious.

But I am getting my fill this morning: I have the LL Baseball Midwest Regional on ESPN, and have the LL Softball World Series live boxscore open on my laptop, and the webcast of the same game over the speakers. I'll be heading up to Alpenrose soon, but I am taking it all in while I can. Pity those people that have weddings, family barbeques, etc. today :)

I enjoyed the watching the Central/EMEA game yesterday afternoon. I wanted to meet Dennis Grall, the Michigan reporter who drove out here with his wife to cover the Central team for their local paper. He and I had talked a lot back a few years back when Escanaba LL represented the Central region, but Denny couldn't make the trip.

The Oregonian featured the EMEA team in this morning's paper, and their lack of tournament experience compared to the teams from the United States. The team is made up of American families stationed at the air base in Ramstein, Germany, and I watched as they struggled against pitching faster than they have seen. But I noticed in both their games, they seemed to pull it together after the first inning, settle down, and hit the ball. I would really like to see the Alpenrose crowds appreciate this and take this team under their wing. They represent what this this tournament is all about.

Folks from all over are hanging out up at Alpenrose, all for girls softball. In my wildest dreams as a Little League softballer in the late '70s, I never could have imagined the World Series played there and ESPN coverage, never in a million years. What a blast for these girls and their families...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Morning Media Wrap-Up

The Oregonian ("Puerto Rico Loses Its Opener, But Not Its Way")

Elgin Courier

Daily Press (Michigan) here and here (Vicky Galindo's appearance)

The Day (Connecticut)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Four Actual Softball Games! :)

Finally, some softball!

Four games were played in the 2007 Little League Softball World Series today. I can only imagine how excited the girls must have been to get out on the field and play some softball.

The day started with a visit from USA Softball's Vicky Galindo throwing out the first pitch and hanging around to sign autographs! With this start to the tournament, the East pitcher Kelli Connors threw a shut-out, and had two hits and an RBI in their victory over Latin America 3-0. Alyssa Hancock's second inning triple knocked in the remaining two runs.

In Game 2, the South team defeated West, 4-1 on the main field. Mallory Black of Morristown, TN, allowed only four hits and recorded six strikeouts in the win.

Alpenrose East field hosted Game 3 with Asia Pacific rolling out to a 13-0 lead over EMEA and holding on for the win.

In the evening's final game, Southwest blew open the bottom of the third inning with seven runs en route to a 13-3 win over Oregon District 4 in Game 4.

On Friday, teams Canada and Central get into the action -- Central will take on EMEA at 2pm, Asia Pacific faces West at 5pm, Canada vs. East at 5:30pm, and Oregon District 4 against Latin America at 8pm. Remember, you can follow the games through the website and live scoring and webcasts.

On a side note, KOIN-TV (Portland's CBS affiliate) featured the LLSBWS during a live segment this evening and featured the Waterford South LL team from Connecticut!

More media:

Beaverton Valley Times

Gilroy Dispatch

TheDay (Connecticut)

More Pix

Fans at the DeMarini Skills Challenge.

More Pix

Yesterday was a great day for autograph trading.

A Few More Pix

Nikki Barteld (Gladstone, MI) throws out the ceremonial first pitch yesterday afternoon. Nikki is officially the 1500th participant in the Little League Softball World Series.

Let the games begin!

At 2pm today, the first pitch in the 2007 Little League Softball World Series will be thrown in Game 1, featuring East (Waterford South LL, Connecticut) vs. Latin America (Asofem Little League, Maunabo, Puerto Rico).

Here's a "Home or Work Viewing Guide" for keeping track of the games and scores if you can't be at Alpenrose:

The website has all the tools to keep you in the action.

From the homepage, click on "Bracket/Results" and then click on the game number. This is where you will find the real-time scoring (click on "Boxscore"), as each game is being scored by hand and laptop. Game photos are also posted here.

Also on the "Bracket/Results" page you can click on "Webcasts" and follow the game via radio webcast.

Don't forget to check out Fun Photos for great pix taken all over the complex during the week (go to "Game Photos"). There are already pictures posted of some of the teams arriving on Tuesday, as well as yesterday's events.

And, as the games unfold and the week wears on, please send us your emails. We will make sure they get printed out and given to the team.

Here is some more morning reading:

The Oregonian ("1 team + 9 kids = Full House")

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The 2007 LL Softball World Series is officially open!

Opening Ceremonies, an Ice Cream Social, and the DeMarini Skills Challenge kept the teams and their fans busy today at the 2007 Little League Softball World Series at Alpenrose Stadium in Portland, Oregon.

All ten teams, umpires, staff and the Cadonau family, owners/operators of Alpenrose Dairy, paraded out onto the Main field today, right after a thrilling fly-over by two jets from the Air National Guard, thanks to the Oregon International Air Show taking place this weekend in nearby Hillsboro. A moving presentation of the American flag, was followed by the singing of the national anthems of Canada, Puerto Rico and the Philippines by each of those representative teams. Lexie Cadonau did the honors for the United States.

In a wonderful surprise, Nikki Barteld of the Central team (Gladstone, Michigan) was brought forward to throw out the first pitch in honor of her being the 1500th participant in the Softball World Series in Portland.

The DeMarini Skills Challenge featured each team sending forth one participant in contests of running, pitching, and hitting. Following the contest, the teams were presented their beautiful new Wilson batting helmets, which match their World Series uniform colors. Very cool.

Today's Clips:

The tournament was again featured in today's Oregonian: "Little League Softball World Series Dream Comes True for Beaverton Girls."

Gilroy LL's march to the World Series

Waterford, Connecticut's send-off featured here

Elgin's "Return Ticket" to the Little League Softball World Series featured here

And finally, my friend Denny Grall's feature on the Gladstone, Michigan team

Photos from Opening Ceremony and More

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Technology and the 2007 Little League Softball World Series

Wi-fi at a softball game? Why not? (pun intended)

I remember when my dad was telling me about the technology he was helping assemble for the Little League Softball World Series and thinking about who on earth would have his/her laptop at a softball game? Then I saw with my own two eyes, reporters and radio people taking advantage of phone lines and wireless internet, and then I sat up at Alpenrose with my own laptop and realized I was in heaven.

Thousands of fans from all over the world can now follow every game from first pitch to last thanks to real-time scoring. All scorekeeping is done on networked laptops as well as official scorebooks. I remember the old days (four years ago :) when my dad would radio me the scores each inning from the fields and I would update the website just as fast and accurately as I could. Never mind details like who pitched and who starred at the plate...

While I sat in the trailer at a computer, I was missing the action on the field. So, now there are five television sets around the grounds for the ESPN broadcasts, and for a closed-circuit feed of games. Overnight, the videos will be digitally captured for DVD sales the next day. So even when fans get up for a hot dog or to buy a souvenir, they won’t miss the action.

For the third year, an audio webcast will be available during the games, and then posted on the web for replay and download.

And back to the Wi-Fi: for the fifth year, the 2007 World Series will have a Wi-Fi network available on all fields to serve staff and fans during the event. There are four Wide Area Network Internet feeds that come in from the local cable company, and with the help of a company broadcasting from the tower of a local TV station on a hilltop about five miles away.

There are four separate Local Area Networks feeding the facility, and for the second year, telephone calls will go out over the Internet. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), provided by a local Internet Telephone Service Provider, will allow the players to call home for free as often as they want.

The games bring the girls together, and the volunteers and technology help to share this excitement with their families and fans.

Congrats to all who made it to the Little League Softball World Series, to those who fought hard and fell short, to those who dream about getting here, and to the moms and dads and volunteers who make it all happen.

Let's play ball!

Links and a Map

Here is a collection of press reports about the Little League Softball World Series and this year's teams:

The hometown paper for the Portland area is The Oregonian. They featured the tournament yesterday in highlighting Gilroy LL's win in the West Regional and their third straight trip to the LLSBWS.

The Elgin LL team's rally before leaving town is featured in the Elgin Courier. Their second trip in two years is featured here.

Great column on Waterford, Connecticut's preparations for the tournament. Answers the question: We won! Woo hoo, now what?

And finally, I took my first stab at Google Maps to show where-from all the teams are coming :)

2007 LLSBWS Hometowns

Team Canada is Turtle Club LL, Ontario!

The teams for the 2007 Little League Softball World Series are set! Canada will be represented by Turtle Club Little League, Windsor, Ontario. Turtle Club LL defeated Nova Scotia yesterday 10-0 to earn the final berth in this year's World Series. Congrats, Turtle Club LL!

Monday, August 06, 2007

"We're Going to Oregon"

The headlines are screaming from small towns across America. Little League softball teams from all over the world are heading to Alpenrose Stadium, which is becoming a storied destination, a la Williamsport.

The Opening Ceremony will take place on Tuesday at 3pm and the "first pitch" kicks off tournament play on Thursday at 2pm when East takes on Latin America.

The 2007 Little League Softball World Series teams are:

Host/District 4: Beaverton Area LL, Beaverton, Oregon

West: Gilroy LL, Gilroy, California

East: Waterford South LL, Waterford, Connecticut

Southwest: Elgin LL, Elgin, Texas

South: Morristown LL, Morristown, Tennessee

Central: Gladstone LL, Gladstone, Michigan

Asia Pacific: ILLAM Central LL, Makati City, Philippines

Latin America: Asofem LL, Maunabo, Puerto Rico

EMEA: KMC American LL, Ramstein AB, Germany

Canada: Ontario (Turtle Club LL, Windsor) is playing Nova Scotia (Sydney Mines and District LL, Sydney Mines) at noon (local time) in Victoria BC, to determine team Canada.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

NorCal is in!

Congrats to Gilroy Little League, the Northern California representative to the Western Regional, as they defeated San Marino National LL, San Marino, California, 6-1 to win the final American berth to the Little League Softball World Series.

One slot remains to be filled: Team Canada.

Tee-"Soft"Ball at the White House

Another reason why Michele Smith rocks!

Congrats Connecticut!

The Little League Softball East Regional winner is Waterford South LL, Waterford, Connecticut.

Welcome to the 2007 Little League Softball World Series!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Elgin LL Wins Southwest Regional

We have another American qualifier for the Little League Softball World Series, and our second returning team for the 2007 tournament: Elgin LL, Elgin, Texas. They defeated Midway LL, Waco, Texas, in the "rubber-match" of the Southwest Regional, 2-1.

Elgin needed to beat Midway twice in the last two days, as Midway defeated them to open the tournament 1-0 on Sunday. Elgin LL and Morristown LL return to Portland to compete again for the world title! Congrats, Elgin!

A Central Champ and an "If Needed" Game

We have a winner from the Central Region: Gladstone LL, Gladstone, Michigan! Congrats!

Gladstone LL defeated Poland LL (Poland, Ohio) this morning, 3-2.

And in the Southwest Region, the last year's LLSBWS representative Elgin LL (Texas) will play tonight in the championship game versus Midway LL (Waco, Texas). Elgin forced the "if needed" game by beating Midway last night 5-2.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

LLSBWS: One Week to Go!

Exactly one week from today, the Little League Softball World Series will begin play at Alpenrose Stadium in Portland, Oregon.

Several teams have already qualified for the 2007 Tournament:

1) Beaverton Area Little League -- host/District 4 (Oregon) winner

2) Morristown Am/Nat LL, Morristown, Tennessee -- South Region winner

3) ILLAM Central LL, Makati City, Philippines -- Asia Pacific Region winner

4) KMC American LL, Ramstein AFB, Germany -- EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) Region winner

5) Asofem Little League, Maunabo, Puerto Rico -- Latin America Region winner

Regional Tournaments still playing out:

1) Central Region: semi-final games are today, with teams from Rock Falls, Illinois; Sellersburg, Indiana; London, Kentucky; Poland, Ohio; Gladstone, Michigan; and Appleton, Wisconsin, still alive. Championship game scheduled for Friday morning.

2) West Region: Pool play continues today, with the championship game on Sunday.

3) East Region: Semi-final games tomorrow feature New York (Mid-Island LL, Staten Island) vs. New Jersey (Pequannock LL) and Connecticut (Waterford South LL) vs. Massachusetts (Lynn Wyoma LL).

4) Southwest Region: This is a game I would love to see! Texas West (Midway LL, Waco) will play Texas East (Elgin LL) in the championship game today. West beat East 1-0 in an earlier tournament game and East came back through the losers bracket with revenge on its mind.

5) Canada: Teams from Ontario (Turtle Club LL, Windsor), British Columbia (Beacon Hill LL, Victoria), Nova Scotia (tbd), and the host team (Hampton LL, Victoria, BC) will begin play tomorrow in Victoria.