by Roy Lamberton, LLWS Media Director
With all the emphasis on playing "travel ball" these day, some people may discount the value of playing Little League Softball in their own backyard, here in District 3.
I'm sure the travelball discussions will continue to rage regardless of what we say, and there's no substitute for just playing lots of games, but this year, five Softball players from Sussex County were named first team All-State. Three of these top athletes played on the 2005 District 3 team that lost to the eventual winner [Puerto Rico] in the semi-finals.
[In alphabetical order]
of Laurel: batted .333, and was on base 47% of her appearances in the series. She had 3 hits, 2 Walks and scored 3 runs in the 4 games District 3 played. She is attending Trevecca University next year on a Softball scholarship.
of Laurel played at Sussex Tech was a 2 time All State choice [2006 & 07]: Batted 357 in the series [tops among the Dist 3 players] with a home run and 2 doubles. She scored 2 runs, and walked once for a 40% on base percentage. She also pitched 2 innings in one of Dist 3's losses, but still recorded 2 strikeouts, throwing a first pitch strike 9 out of 10 times. Her college plans are to play softball on scholarship for the Florida State Seminoles.
of Laurel also played at Tech: Didn't bat well in the series, although she scored one of the two times she reached base, it was her pitching to a 0.70 ERA that won one game for Dist 3 and placed her among the top pitchers of the series. She recorded 12 strikeouts against 1 Walk and gave up only 7 hits in 10 innings of work. A 3 year All Conference winner also, she's headed to Del-Tech to play ball next year.
I guess the moral of the story is that kids from District 3 can play with some of the best in the world and regardless of what happens during the series, these young women can go on to become major players for their respective teams.
Yes, all 3 played travel ball, and yes, they all worked very hard to sharpen their skills, but they also demonstrated that there is top talent on display down in Roxanna during the first week of August. They've been there.
Last year, the final game featured the team from Nanticoke [Seaford] Little League facing off against one of the top college prospects in Pennsylvania, Milton, Pennsylvania's Nicole Smith. The game was tied until the top of the 7th inning when Smith singled home what wound up as the winning run.
At least one final 4 Women's College World Series coach asked us for more information on Smith. I'm sure she's had more interest since.
The moral of the story is that if you want to watch some of the top women's softball talent in the world, you need to visit a few games in Roxanna, August 5-11th. Two of the international teams that are coming have allowed under 3 runs in their previous tournament games.
And Sussex County fans just might get to see some of next year's All State selections in action before they are seniors in high school, and maybe our local softballers need to take another look at playing Little League.
[The Little League Senior Softball World Series will be held at the Lower Sussex Little League Complex in Roxanna, August 5-11. Games are usually at 5:30 PM, the final is Saturday at 2 PM. Check out http://www.district3.org
for more information.]