The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

June 21, 2013

Stating its case!

Ashtabula will host state Little League tournament for first time in three decades

After nearly 30 years away, the State Little League Tournament returns to Cederquist Park next month.

“Hopefully, it will be a blast,” Ashtabula Little League park chairman Frank Cole said. “We’ve actually started to prep the fields. We’re doing the every-day stuff right now. We’re trying to keep the grass green, paint what needs painted.”

The tournament, which will take place between July 20-26, is just a step or two removed from the Little League World League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. The winner will advance to the regional tournament, which includes also teams from Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky and Michigan.

“A lot of the people in the community, because we haven’t had it in so long, don’t realize exactly what it is,” Cole said. “The team that wins here has a one-in-five chance to be in Williamsport.”      

It’s the first time Ashtabula has hosted the event since the early 1980s.

“It’s funny you ask that,” District 1 administrator Tony Tulino said. “We were just talking about that and we can’t come up with the date of the last time we had it. It was 1981 or 1982. Since then, Painesville has had it and Jefferson has hosted it.”

All of the district tournament winners will participate in the event, including the team that wins District 1’s event.

“Hamilton will have an excellent team,” Cole said. “They have the stats to prove it year in and year out. It doesn’t matter if it’s this year or 10 years ago. Wheelersburg is the same way. We’re talking teams in the corners of the state but they’re areas that always have good teams.

“We’ll compete. As with anything else in sports, to be the best, everybody still needs to have a horseshoe (for luck) along the way.”

Ashtabula has hosted other state tournaments in different age groups and the area has always been received well. Many of the teams that come to play here use the trip for a vacation as much as they do to play ball.

“When teams are knocked out and are leaving the facility, they’ve always come up and said how they enjoyed how they were treated here in the past, whether it be getting directions, or tips on where to go for fun or even where to find restaurants,” Cole said.

“They talk about how great it was that people helped them. Most people, both the parents and the kids, thought the greatest thing was that we had Walnut Beach and Lake Shore Park just up the road.”

Those attractions, as well as many others in the area, help the players get past the sting of defeat as well as celebrate victories.

“It’s a whole lot of fun to win, but as soon as they leave the dugout, want to know when they can go to the beach or get to the park.”

For Cole, who has had plenty of experience coaching in tournaments like the one he is hosting on a number of different levels, the Little League experience can’t be topped.

“From my experience, being a coach for a long time, I truly realize the competition of Legion ball and elite travel ball is better,” he said. “But I realize the whole idea behind Little League, whether it’s the girls or the boys, is truly far more family oriented. With the other levels, the coaches and players don’t have the time to enjoy the game itself.

“With Little League, the main objective is having fun. That truly sticks out.”     

Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • SJ1 A Bob Ettinger column: Welcome back!

    St. John hasn’t fielded a varsity football team in a number of years now. But that dark period is over as the Heralds held their first practice Friday at Massucci Field, ushering in a new era half a decade after the program was shuttered.

    August 2, 2014 3 Photos

  • Tribe Waking up the sticks

    After some recent disappointments and saying goodbye to two fixtures on the team, the Indians and their fans needed a good old-fashioned laugher. Friday’s 12-2 win over visiting Texas filled the bill.

    August 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tribe Indians Notes: Swisher says there is no quit in Indians

    Nick Swisher was disappointed to hear that Indians fans on social media were reacting negatively following back-to-back days of their favorite team trading veteran players for minor-league prospects.

    August 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sam Going strong!

    Back on track... and still alive and kicking, er, hitting!

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 18U Outlaws split first two

    A stirring rally in their last at-bat allowed the Ohio Outlaws 18-and-under squad to prevail in its first game at the Eastern National Tournament on Thursday in Sterling, Va.

    August 1, 2014

  • UMC rolls to church title

    The Andover United Methodist Church co-ed softball team capped a successful season by applying the basics. Timely hitting and solid defense both came into play as they polished off the losers’ bracket winner, New Life Fire of Geneva, 10-4, to claim the Ashtabula Church Co-ed Softball League — Thursday Massucci Division championship.

    August 1, 2014

  • Indians Mariners sink Tribe

    Another difficult day on the trade front ended with a disappointing loss for the Cleveland Indians.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Taylor Outlaws edged by a run

    The slimmest of margins proved to be the difference in determining the outcome of a clash between the Ohio Outlaws Gold and the Virginia Shamrocks in the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals on Wednesday in Salem, Va.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Olivia-smile A Don McCormack column: Holt right at home at Mount

    When a young person from this area goes off to college and continues to play sports at the next level, we do feature stories on them.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Twin State Night at Raceway 7 next

    This week is the annual Twin State Club night at Raceway 7. Regular racing will be presented in all five divisions. With the points races nearing their conclusion the racing will be hot as August weather Friday night.

    July 31, 2014

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video