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As a fan of nearly all sports, I find myself especially caught up in sports that involve children.
Recently, Jessica and I had the pleasure of working the Little League district and state tournaments held at Graham Memorial Park. We got to see some of the best Little League action that the state of Kentucky has to offer and were privileged enough to watch these games first hand.
One team that I remember watching and even keeping book on, were the 11-12-year-old All-Stars from North Oldham Little League (N.O.L.L.).
After capturing the district two Little League title by winning four games and dropping two, the North Oldham team advanced to the state competition. This is where the North Oldham team came together and really started to show their full potential. The team ran through the competition by going 5-0 and capturing the state title. In fact, only two teams were able to score on the North Oldham All Stars, and those two teams combined for three runs. Overall, the North Oldham team outscored their opposition by a total score of 50-3 over the five day tournament.
By capturing the title for the state of Kentucky, the North Oldham team advanced on to play in the Great Lakes Regional tournament held this past week in Indianapolis, Ind. Heading into the tournament the team was playing some of their best ball, and looked ready to face any opponent. However, on the opening day of the tournament, the North Oldham team played the Indiana state champs, Golfmoor, and lost 4-3. This did not eliminate the team, but you would think that it would dampen their spirits.
You would be wrong. The team went on to win their next five games, and take the 2011 Great Lakes Regional Little League title and advance to Williamsport, Penn., to take part in the Little League World Series. That’s right. The Little League World Series, the pinnacle of a Little Leaguer’s life. The North Oldham team plays their opening round game against the champion of the Mid-Atlantic region on Aug. 19 at 5 p.m. That game will be televised live on ESPN2.
You may be wondering why I am writing about a team that has no affiliation with Marion County. I can answer that by simply saying that we should support our “local” team in a tournament that includes the best teams from the entire United State and across the world. As a representative of the Great Lakes region, the North Oldham team has defeated teams from Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin and we should support them in their quest for the first Little League World Series title for the Great Lakes region since 2002 when Valley Sports ran the table.
This team has what it takes to win, at any level. They have already proven that. The have an outstanding pitching staff that in Little League is a necessity with pitch count rules. They also have an explosive offensive line up that can produce runs in bunches or can play small ball and score when the opportunities arise. By watching this team play in person, I can speak first hand to the level of play that they are capable of.
I remember watching the team from Russellville play in the Little League World Series in 2009, and the heartbreak they experienced by losing their first three games of that year’s tournament. I can only imagine what it must be like to make it that far into the postseason, only to see your dream of winning a title slip away.
Hopefully, the kids from North Oldham Little League do not go through this process, and continue their winning ways all the way through and bring back a title to the state of Kentucky.
All of the games of the 2011 Little League World Series will be televised live on the ESPN family of networks or on ABC. Hopefully, we will see the North Oldham All Stars playing on Aug. 28 for the title. To see a full schedule and a bracket of the participating teams in this year’s field visit, http://www.littleleague.org/ Assets/forms_pubs/2011WSLLB -Schedule Bracket.pdf. Good luck to the North Oldham Little League team.