The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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July 17, 2014

All-Stars hosting shindig

United Little League to hold ice cream social

The United Little League 11-12-year old All-Stars put it all together in time to make quite a splash in winning the District 1 title.

Now, the youngsters are trying to raise a little bit of money in order to compete in the state tournament Saturday in Cambridge.

“We’re holding an ice cream social (today) from 5-9 p.m. at the VFW (in Geneva),” manager Joe Cooper said. “Our 9-10 All-Stars and the senior team are still playing, too. Should one of those two teams come through, we’ll split whatever we raise with them.”

The event is a chance for the community to get out and support the kids of Geneva.

“I’d say come out and meet the boys,” Cooper said. “They’ve worked real hard this year. They’ve worked as a team. They beat some very good teams to represent District 1.”

The team will also hold a tag day Friday at Giant Eagle .

“The community of Geneva is very generous,” Cooper said. “There’s always a lot of local support. Geneva as a whole has been supportive of our kids. We need that support to defray our costs.”

The United All-Stars claimed victories in all five contests they played in the district tourney to advance to state.

“We pitch very well, hit very well and work as a team,” Cooper said. “Our defense is stellar. We only gave up about five runs and we’ve scored 38. People get hits against us, but we play really good defense.

“We’re playing really well. Hopefully we’ll carry that over. We’re a complete team. We get along very well. They’re all business-like. They didn’t even know they’d won until it was over.”

The United Little Leaguers are following the example set by the Geneva high school team, which played for a Disitrict title in the spring.

“(Our boys) were all on four different teams at the time (the high school team was making its run),” Cooper said. “The older kids definitely led us. They did a clinic for our catchers. They were very inspirational.”

They came together quickly after spending the season competing against one another.

“We’re allowed to select the team on June 15,” Cooper said. “We started practice on June 16. We practiced four days a week before we started playing. We practice at 6 (p.m.) and I’d show up at 5:30 and there were kids and parents already there working together in the bullpen.

“The parents are very supportive. They bring the kids early and let them stay late. And it’s not like (the parents) are dragging the kids. They want to be there.”    

Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.

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