By Tommy Keeler Jr.
The best 10-11 year-old Little League teams in the state are in Shenandoah County this week.
The Woodstock-Edinburg Little League is hosting the 10-11 year-old state tournament, starting on Friday. The Opening Ceremony will be held today, followed by a picnic for the players.
The games begin on Friday, starting at 10 a.m. The tournament will run all the way through Tuesday.
"We're excited to host the state tournament," Woodstock-Edinburg Little League President Billy Rice said in an interview earlier this week. "It's only the second time, that I know of, that we've done it."
There are 13 teams in the tournament from all over the state, but there are no local teams in the tourney. Each team had to win their district tournament to qualify for the state tournament.
There are four different pools, and pool play will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday with five games being played each day.
Pool 1 consists of Deer Park, Cave Springs, Virginia Beach and Upper Loudoun. Pool 2 includes Bluefield, Big Stone Gap and Springfield. Pool 3 consists of Louisa, SYA West and the District 5 winner. Pool 4 consists of McLean, Spotsylvania and Broadway, who won the local district championship.
The top two teams from each pool advance to single-elimination play Monday, with four games scheduled that day. On Tuesday, the semifinals will be held in the morning with the championship game scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
All the games are scheduled to be held at field two at the Riverview Park in Woodstock. Rice said the other field will be used as a practice field unless it rains and they get behind schedule.
Everyone who helps with the tournament volunteers, and Rice said he thinks that they have enough help to make it a big success.
"It's a lot of work for us, but we get to see the best kids play ball from all over the state," Rice said.
The Woodstock-Edinburg Little League held the 9-10 year-old softball state tournament two years ago, and Rice said they learned a few things from the experience that will help them this time. Rice said one of the things they learned was to hire vendors to come in to sell merchandise.
Rice said the tournament is also good for the local economy and that he expects more than 200 people to come in from out of town. He said that he already knew of two Woodstock hotels that were close to being booked as of Monday evening, and that at least one team was staying as far away as Mt. Jackson.
Even though there are no local teams in the tournament, Rice said having the tournament in the area is good for the community and the kids.
Rice said in the league they try to teach the kids that it's about more than winning and losing, and it's an experience they will always remember.
"Our vision, our mission statement is that we want every kid to have the opportunity to play baseball and softball and create memories that will last a lifetime," Rice said.
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org