Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hats Off to the Underdogs

Did you see the Little League World Series Championship game today? All of it?

It was a great game and a team from Georgia again takes the title, as the Southeast (Warner Robins American LL) defeated Japan (Tokyo Kitasuna LL) 3-2 in eight innings.

What a treat for us, as our local Oregon District 4 winner, Lake Oswego LL advances through the Northwestern Regional, goes 2-1 in Pool Play, and makes it to the United States Semifinal before losing to Southwest (Lubbock Western LL, Texas).

Then, this weekend of games, as Georgia upsets Southwest (who seem destined for the title with their romp through Pool Play and strong pitching) in the US Championship and Japan comes back in the bottom of the 7th inning to defeat CuraƧao in the International Championship!

Following today's world championship game and dramatic walk-off homerun by Dalton Carriker, the amazing Georgians set aside their victory celebration to approach the mound and comfort the sobbing Japanese team. My eyes started welling up!

Congrats to all the teams who made it to the Little League World Series, and to those teams who didn't quite make it, and to those who youngsters watching on TV who decide to join, or continue on, a baseball or softball team. You are all the lucky ones!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

"We're Going to Williamsport!"

In a blog entry on July 29 I asked, "is Lake Oswego Little League the next Murrayhill?"

The answer is YES.

Tonight, live on ESPN2, Lake Oswego LL (our "local" team) defeated Kent LL (Washington) in the Northwest Regional final to advance to Williamsport for the LL World Series. For the second year in a row, a team from Oregon AND District 4 will travel to the mecca of Little League and represent our area in the world's best baseball tournament.

The local Oregonian newspaper had a story on the front-page of the sports section about the experience of the Murrayhill LL All-Stars (Beaverton, Oregon) and where the kids are this summer.

Congrats to Lake O! What a sports year for that community...and this chapter is really just beginning!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Wall-to-Wall Little League

I took a little break from Little League last night and headed to The Bite of Oregon at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland. We listened to music and enjoyed great "bites" of the best our state has to offer: beef, seafood, microbrews and wine -- delicious.

But I am getting my fill this morning: I have the LL Baseball Midwest Regional on ESPN, and have the LL Softball World Series live boxscore open on my laptop, and the webcast of the same game over the speakers. I'll be heading up to Alpenrose soon, but I am taking it all in while I can. Pity those people that have weddings, family barbeques, etc. today :)

Our local District 4/Oregon State Champion Lake Oswego LL defeated Idaho yesterday 16-8 in the Northwest Regional and advances to the final Sunday night on ESPN2 versus Washington at 7pm. Go LO!

Friday, August 10, 2007

So Much Little League, So Little Time!

I have been up at Alpenrose Stadium this week for the Little League Softball World Series and enjoying watching and talking with the girls and their fans from all over the world. Portland is truly lucky to host this event, though it takes a lot more than luck to put it together.

In the meantime, the local Jr. LL Baseball team from Murrayhill LL lost a nail-biter yesterday morning in the championship game of the Western Regional. Hawaii (Pearl City LL) defeated Oregon in ten innings, 2-1. The local CBS affiliate, KOIN, featured the game in their evening newscast, as well as weaving in the action in the Softball World Series. Hawaii heads to Taylor, Michigan, for the Junior Little League Baseball World Series.

In the Western Regional for Little League Baseball (11/12 year olds), our local District and State winner Lake Oswego LL has finished Pool Play down in San Bernardino and will play Idaho today at 5pm in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, you will find scores and stories from the Little League Softball World Series at my sister site: Even baseball fans will find something interesting, as most of us are also Little League fans :)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Regional Round-Up

Little League Baseball (11/12 year olds) has a strong worldwide following, and consequently there are lots of websites covering regionals around the world. features a quick link on the front page directly to the regional action for each of their divisions of baseball and softball. "Little League" traditionally refers to the popular 11/12 year old division. Junior League is for 13/14 year olds, Senior League is for 15/16 year olds, and Big League is for 17/18 year olds. Please remember that the age cut-off date for LL is May 1st, therefore, some of the kids will have had a birthday since All-Stars began and will actually be a year older. is THE single source for coverage starting from Districts through Regionals. I have used this site many times, even though it only covers LL baseball. With links to League, District, State and Regional websites, it is valuable resource when hunting down scores from all levels of play, especially 9/10 and 10/11 All-Stars (which end at the State level). These teams often have kids we will see at the LL level, so many people want to keep track of their district and state winners.

Because Regional tournaments bring lots of attention and fans to a town, they are often covered prominently by the local paper. For example, the San Bernardino County Sun has a special section yearly covering the Western Regional. I love the very current updates and podcasts with video coverage of the games. This is so nice for parents and fans who can't make it to the Tournament.

These should get you started if you are looking for info on the team you played on as a kid or your cousin's team from Florida :)

Friday, August 03, 2007

August is the new September

August feels like September. School supplies have been out for a month, football and soccer and cheerleading practice have started, and there are good shows on TV. Really, this is no time to go on vacation. Your family time at baseball and softball games last month probably was your vacation :)

This month, ESPN will televise a total of 49 Little League Baseball and Softball games. Here is a complete schedule. There clearly is an audience, and in spite of football preseason and MLB pennant races, ESPN will pull in good numbers for the LL coverage.

The structure and nostalgia of the Little League All-Star tournament are perfect for television. TV is great with personalities and geography and the tournament provides wonderful stories about kids and towns, the very fiber of our national foundation. Throw in that it is a true WORLD Series, with Olympics-type stories about kids from outside the U.S. and their love of sport bringing their culture and language to small towns across the country, and you see why this is compelling programming.

Locally, our (Oregon) District 4 and State Champ Lake Oswego LL is in San Bernardino to compete for the Northwest Regional berth to the Little League World Series in Williamsport. Last year's Northwest Champ, Murrayhill LL, is currently playing in the Junior LL BB Western Regional for a chance to travel to Taylor, Michigan, for the Jr. World Series and another opportunity to play on ESPN.

Good luck to all the teams travelling to and from tournaments. And THANK YOU to the hundreds of volunteers who make these events happen. While I'm lucky enough to live near two tournaments and take advantage of their hard work and organization, it is the working mom and dad, grandparents, aunts and uncles, who will be home watching games on ESPN and cheering on kids and thankful they are in good hands.