Area Little League teams having plenty of success

It’s been a successful Little League season for the area and the local teams have had plenty of community support.

Woodstock/Edinburg Little League had three different softball teams advance to the state tournament last week, and Front Royal’s 10-12-year-old Little League team will be playing in the state tournament next week in Roanoke. Each team advanced to the state tournament by winning the Virginia District 3 tournament. District 3 consists of Little League teams from Harrisonburg to Berryville.

The Woodstock/Edinburg Little League will also be hosting the 9-11-year-old baseball state tournament next week.

Woodstock/Edinburg Little League President Amanda Kibler said last week’s state tournaments were a great experience for the teams.

“I don’t think it’s ever happened where we’ve had three from Woodstock/Edinburg go at the same time,” she said in a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon. “It was super, super exciting.”

Each of the softball state tournaments started July 5 and were double-elimination. The Woodstock/Edinburg Little League 9-11-year-old softball team went to Bristol for the state tournament and went 1-2, including a 7-4 win over Damascus/Marion. The team was coached by Randy Stottlemyer, Justin Stickley, and Samantha Lineweaver.

The Woodstock/Edinburg Little League junior softball team traveled to Honaker for the state tournament and went 1-2, with a 16-6 victory over Saltville/Chillhowie. That team was coached by Wesley Clark, Mike Duvall, and Jamie Givens.

Kibler coached the Woodstock/Edinburg Little League senior softball team along with Jason Silvious and Amy Hodson. The team went to Aylett for the state tournament and also went 1-2, with an 8-6 victory over Hampton Wythe.

Kibler said hotels for the state tournaments aren’t cheap and the teams held fundraisers to help pay for the trips. She said they raised around $8,500.

“The community support was phenomenal,” Kibler said. “We sat up outside of Wal-Mart, Tractor Supply, some of the girls did a car wash. The (Valley Baseball League’s Woodstock) River Bandits helped us. We were able to get half of a 50/50 (raffle) at one of their games. Just the community support alone for this was huge.”

Kibler said the parents of the players also did a great job in helping raise money.

“All the parents stepped up when it was time, like ‘hey we need to fundraiser,'” Kibler said. “These parents just all came together whether it be sitting up at Wal-Mart, Tractor Supply or doing a car wash. These parents were more than willing to go to local businesses (for donations). They took it upon themselves. And these parents did a phenomenal job really of helping and reaching out for these girls.”

Front Royal’s Little League team is getting the same kind of support, according to league President Roger Smelser.

“The biggest thing is there’s just a lot of support,” Smelser said. “The town is giving us a lot of support as far as donations. I got a lot of calls from people wanting to know how to donate to these guys to help them get them on their way. Parks and Rec is donating Gatorade and Culligan has donated a bunch of water, which it takes a lot when it’s warm.”

Smelser said so far the team has around $700 in donations. The team held a car wash at Advance Auto last weekend. They will be holding a bake sale on July 14 at 9 a.m. at Jennerations Hair Studio in Front Royal.

The team will report to Roanoke on July 19 and begin play on July 20. If they were to win the state tournament they would advance to a regional tournament in Warner Robins, Georgia. From there the winner advances to Williamsport, Pennsylvania for the Little League World Series. Smelser said it’s the first time since 2006 that Front Royal has had a team advance to the 10-12-year old state tournament.

The team is coached by Brad Curl, J.R. Kirby, Mike Shaffer and Rob Morris. Smelser said the team will be riding in the Front Royal Fireman’s Parade next week as well.

“There’s a lot of support in this town,” Smelser said. “It’s a small community with a lot of heart in this town, especially for the kids.”

Smelser said he feels like the team, which has 13 players, will do very well in the state tournament. He said they are a very close-knit team which has done a great job of working together.

While Front Royal is playing in the state tournament next week, the Woodstock/Edinburg Little League will be hosting one. Kibler said the league is very excited to host the 9-11-year-old double-elimination baseball state tournament.

“We are very excited to be able to host the tournament and to bring different people to Woodstock, to the county, to be able to see our community,” she said. “So that’s always nice for people to see.”

She said the 13 teams, which include District 3 champion Broadway, will arrive on July 19 and the games will start on July 20 and run until July 24. Kibler said they try to host one of the state tournaments every year and last year hosted the junior softball state tournament.

Kibler said there’s a lot of work that goes into running the tournament and they’re still looking for people to help volunteer to run the concession stands. Anyone interested can contact her.

She said that the Woodstock/Edinburg Little League is doing great things and she’s very proud to be a part of it.

“The league itself is just a family itself in just the way that they pull together to help support these (boys) and girls,” Kibler said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better.”