If you love baseball, then next week is for you.
In a few days, teams from around the state will be here in Richmond Hill to compete for the 11/12 Little League state championship and a chance to go on — if they win the Southeast Region tournament — to the Little League World Series.
Those are pretty high stakes and worthy goals. It’s quite an honor for our community to be involved both as host to the tournament and represented by Coastal Little League, one of the 10 teams vying for the state title.
The South Bryan County recreation staff, led by Kay Green, deserves applause for its steadfast and dedicated efforts to ensure this is the best tournament possible. Trust us, they’ve worked hard preparing for the event and will work just as hard if not harder to run the tournament, which is quite an undertaking for any recreation department.
It’s also important to salute those who are sponsoring this tournament, which allows Richmond Hill and South Bryan an opportunity to showcase itself to families from around the state. The area’s natural beauty, combined with friendly people, is a winning combination.
What’s more, if you want to see top-notch youth baseball or get an early look at teams who might wind up on ESPN in August in the Little League World Series, games are being played at night this year in an effort to attract local fans who may have to work next week.
In addition, we wish our local kids well. Though Coastal Little League is a young program when compared to some of its more celebrated counterparts, Coastal players no doubt also dream of a chance to play on the biggest stage Little League has to offer. In that they are no different from the kids who play for Warner Robins American, Columbus Northern, Belvedere, Toccoa, Murphy Candler, Martinez Evans National, Newton County, Cartersville or West Point.
Yet despite our obvious interest in seeing the local kids fare well — and what a story that would make — at the end of the day we hope the best team wins and the tournament proves to be a winner for all concerned.
That means remembering the fundamental messages of youth sports — fair play, good sportsmanship, losing with dignity and winning with class. And most importantly, this is about kids playing a game and learning positive lessons they’ll hopefully be able to carry with them for a lifetime.
Welcome to Richmond Hill. Have fun and play ball.