The West Virginia Little League Tournament came to a close on Wednesday, July 21, with Jefferson County emerging victorious.
Set in Hollowell Park in Lewisburg, the tournament began on July 16 with Governor Jim Justice throwing the first pitch. Local Little League organizer Brian Griffith celebrated the opening pitch and first game of the tournament, explaining that the “kids were thrilled” with getting to play, seeing Babydog join Justice for the opening pitch, and watching a full park cheer their teams on.
|Photo courtesy of the governor’s social media.|
From there, teams from across West Virginia began to face off. Central Greenbrier County’s own All-star team started off strong, winning the first game 3-0 against Summersville. As they continued into the bracket, however, the team took two losses, including a 4-11 final loss at the hands of Barboursville.
“Sadly, Central Greenbrier Little League 10- to 12-year-old All-stars lost tonight and have been eliminated from the West Virginia State Tournament BIG thanks to everyone who came out to support them!” announced the local Little League on social media. “It was great to see so many past, present and future little leaguers, coaches, family members and supporters at the field tonight. We’re humbled by your support of the league and couldn’t do this without you! … We couldn’t be prouder of them and their coaches. Thank you for a GREAT season!”
The Barboursville team then went on to face Beckley on Tuesday, July 20, where they emerged with a victorious 6-0.
“This is an awesome team,” said Jeremy Adkins, coach for Barboursville. “They come out every day fired up and ready to go. They didn’t give up after their loss to Jefferson back in the lower bracket and I expect us to be in the Championship game tomorrow evening. Today was excellent for us.”
Tucker Adkins and Jacob Courts were two of the Barboursville players, each excited and fresh off the victory. Courts pitched the Wednesday game, impressively catching a ball hit right back to him in the latter half of the game.
|Barboursville takes on Beckley|
Both boys complimented Lewisburg and Hollowell Park, Courts saying “people are really nice around here.”
The pair of boys looked forward to their next game.
“I feel like we’re going to win,” Adkins said.
“We’re going to be coming in, striking hard, striking fast, it’s going to be great,” Courts said.
The tournament came to a close on Wednesday, July 21, with the final tournament brackets facing off. Barboursville took on the Logan County All-star team, who took the win, 8-1, continuing onto the final game.
Around 8:30 p.m., the Logan County and Jefferson County All-star teams were prepped, and the players recited the Little League Pledge — “I trust in God, I love my country, and will respect its laws. I will play fair, and strive to win, but win or lose, I will always do my best.”
Lewisburg Mayor Beverly White stepped out to throw the final first pitch of the tournament, waving to the crowd she joined moments later.
“That was a curveball! That’s good!” Griffith told the mayor after the pitch. White laughed, later saying “I know baseball.”
|Mayor Beverly White throws the final opening pitch.|
The match for the championship finished in the fourth inning, with Jefferson County winning 10 to Logan County’s 0.
“It’s awesome,” said Jefferson Little League Vice President Mike Moulton. “This is a really tight-knit team. We just got out there and played the way we played — I don’t think we had an error the whole state tournament, which was pretty impressive. We only had three runs scored on us — we 10-run-ruled everybody. … This group won the state championship when they were ten. They’ve been an awesome team all around, one through 13, everyone can hit. It’s been a pleasure to coach these guys.”
|Jefferson County (maroon) took the championship 10-0.|
The Jefferson County team will go on to represent West Virginia in the Little League Southeast Regional Tournament at the Warner Robbins, GA, this coming August.
As the winning team took a victory lap, White slipped away for a moment, speaking to Logan County. She then returned to take a celebratory photo with the winning team. White was initially expected to award the champions a victory banner, but the correct banner had not yet arrived in Greenbrier County.
|The Jefferson and Logan county teams mingle and shake hands after the Championship game.|
The field hosting the tournament is the closest to the skate park, which was recently upgraded by the city with synthetic turf and new nets just before the tournament began. Public Works Director Tony Legg noted in a recent meeting of the City Council that the new field is holding up to the weather.
“[The tournament] started up Friday night and should wind up Wednesday or Thursday night,” said Legg. “The kids really love it, the field is doing great. They had heavy rain and [the drainage is doing well] because in a half an hour, they could play on it. It’s really doing great.”
For those that were unable to attend the games, each can be found online to stream, with commentary from Jeff Campbell, from Video Productions’ social media: facebook.com/videostreamWV or youtube.com/c/WVVideoProductions/videos.
“This has been my view the last five days broadcasting the West Virginia State Little League Baseball Tournament,” Campbell posted to social media. “Special thanks to Butch Mounts of Video Productions for allowing me to call baseball play-by-play for the first time since I worked Princeton Reds and Bluefield Orioles in 1995.”
Griffith, the Central Greenbrier Little League, all of its players, Lewisburg Public Works, and the ample volunteers are now left to prepare for the next season in Hollowell Park and beyond.
“The 2021 WV state tournament is officially over,” the Little League posted. “Good luck Jefferson County Little League. We need help tomorrow at 5:30 to help clean up the fields if anyone would like to help. Thank you to all our volunteers on the field and in the concession stand.”
|A celebratory photo with Jefferson County.|