Little League all-stars swinging for the fence

DOWNSTATE – Summer only just recently officially began.

But the boys (and girls) of the season have been playing Little League baseball and softball for months.

Regular seasons are either close to completion or have reached their conclusion and all-star play is set to begin.

In districts I (Kent and New Castle County south of the canal) and III (Sussex County), Pat Knight baseball has already started and for the former there has also been Walt Bowers and Lynn Deakins tournament action. Saturday’s deluge, however, has pushed schedules back a day.

Georgetown walked off with a Major League Softball all-star win over Woodbridge. (Sussex County Post/Jeff Mitchell)

Georgetown walked off with a Major League Softball all-star win over Woodbridge. (Sussex County Post/Jeff Mitchell)

When it comes to all-stars, the first step toward a possible Little League World Series appearance (think Williamsport, Pa., for Major Baseball) begins in district play. That is, except for Big League baseball and softball, which is decided by whichever town’s team wins the regular season.

After winning a district title, most all-star teams will advance to their respective state tournaments. The exception is in District III, where the Senior Softball champion gets an automatic host’s berth into the World Series in Roxana. District III’s Big League champion also gets an automatic berth into its World Series tournament, hosted at the Lower Sussex Little League Complex as well.

Whichever team comes out of states – a double-elimination tourney including District II (New Castle County north of the canal) – moves onto its East Regional. And finally, regional champions reach their respective World Series, all of which are held in different parts of the nation.

Delaware teams traditionally haven’t reached many World Series tournaments the traditional way, which is going through the East Regional, but it has happened.

Milford’s 2014 Big League Softball team is the most recent and it won last year’s World Series in Roxana. Back in 1981 the Georgetown Senior League Baseball all-stars won a World Series as well after going the traditional route.

Senior League Softball host team Laurel won the Roxana-based World Series in 2011 and Georgetown-Millsboro captured the Big League championship there in 2013.

Following is the posted schedules for all-star play in both districts I and III. All tournaments are double-elimination. Schedules are weather permitting.

District I

Baseball

9- and 10-year-old: Hosted by Milford. Tournament begins July 17 with Felton vs. Camden-Wyoming and Dover vs. MOT.

Major League: Hosted by Smyrna-Clayton. Tournament begins July 19 with Felton vs. Smyrna-Clayton and Milford vs. Dover.

50-70: Hosted by Middletown. Tournament begins July 10 with only two teams, Camden-Wyoming and MOT.

Pat Knight tournaments are ongoing. (Sussex County Post/Jeff Mitchell)

Pat Knight tournaments are ongoing. (Sussex County Post/Jeff Mitchell)

Junior League: Hosted by Camden-Wyoming. Tournament begins July 19 with Smyrna-Clayton vs. MOT and Camden-Wyoming vs. Milford.

Senior League: Hosted by Dover. Tournament begins July 5 with MOT vs. Felton-Harrington.

Softball

9- and 10-year-old: Hosted by Little Lass. Tournament begins July 18 with Little Lass vs. Milford.

Major League: Hosted by Camden-Wyoming. Tournament begins July 6 with Felton vs. Little Lass and Camden-Wyoming vs. Milford.

Junior League: Hosted by Middletown. Tournament begins July 7 with only two teams, MOT vs. Camden-Wyoming.

Senior League: Hosted by Milford. Tournament begins July 10 with Harrington-Felton vs. Dover.

District III

Baseball

9- and 10-year-old: Winners’ bracket is at Milton, losers’ bracket at Woodbridge. Tournament begins July 9 with a play-in game between Rehoboth and Woodbridge.

Major League: Winners’ bracket at Nanticoke (Seaford), losers’ bracket at Georgetown. Tournament begins July 14 with play-in game between Rehoboth and Lower Sussex.

Junior League: Winners’ bracket is at Millsboro, losers’ bracket at Lower Sussex. Tournament play begins July 18 with Millsboro vs. Georgetown, Woodbridge vs. Laurel and Lower Sussex vs. Nanticoke.

Senior League: Entire tournament at Nanticoke. Tournament begins Wednesday, 7 p.m., with Millsboro playing Nanticoke.

Softball

9- and 10-year-old: Winners’ bracket at Lower Sussex, losers’ bracket at Millsboro. Tournament begins July 18 with Lower Sussex vs. Laurel, Rehoboth vs. Georgetown, Nanticoke vs. Millsboro and Lewes-Milton vs. Woodbridge.

Major League: Winner’s bracket at Georgetown, losers’ bracket at Nanticoke: Play began Monday

Junior League: Entire tournament at Woodbridge. Tournament begins Wednesday with Lower Sussex vs. Woodbridge and Millsboro-Georgetown vs. Nanticoke.

Senior League: Entire tournament at Lower Sussex. Tournament begins July 22 with Laurel vs. Lower Sussex and Nanticoke vs. Millsboro-Georgetown.

Other important dates to remember are for the Big League Baseball East Regional tournament, which is hosted in Dover. It is slated to begin July 19. The two Roxana-based softball World Series tournaments begin Aug. 2.

From the Sussex County Sports Desk

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