W.Va.’s top Little League teams are about to do battle in Huntington
HUNTINGTON — Players, parents and fans from across the Mountain State will descend on Huntington this week for the start of the 10-12-year-old Little League state tournament at Huntington’s Little League at the Arch fields and will be receiving a warm welcome from city leaders.
Aside from the two local teams participating, Barboursville and Ceredo-Kenova, 12 other teams from six other Little League districts will begin play Friday at the Arch fields at 1 p.m. when Man and Madison take to the diamond on Field 1.
Festivities, however, will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday with a kickoff event at Camden Park, where players and coaches will receive free entry while their families receive entry for $10. The entry fee will include a catered meal, according to Huntington Little League President David Ansbary.
“We wanted everyone coming to the city to have a unique Huntington experience,” Ansbary said. “We figured what would be more unique to Huntington for 10-12-year-olds than Camden Park.”
Opening ceremonies begin Friday at 10 a.m. at the Huntington Little League fields with remarks by Mayor Steve Williams and Marshall baseball coach Jeff Waggoner, a player procession featuring all teams, and concluding with Huntington Fire Chief Jan Rader throwing out the first pitch.
“We received a tremendous response from the Mayor’s Office, the Huntington City Council, the Cabell County Commission and even people coming forward to do sponsorships of the event,” Ansbary said. “This will be exciting not only for the teams, but I think local baseball fans will have a good time as well.”
Ansbary said the district has been working with the Greater Huntington Parks and Recreation District to prepare seating and tents to shield spectators from the elements.
Greg Adkins, District 1 administrator, picked Huntington as the host city for the state tournament when his district’s turn to host the event came up on rotation.
“I’m trying to have something positive in this city,” Adkins said. “I wanted everyone to see that not everything going on is bad.”
The tournament itself will feature three games on each field for the first three days. The first local team to play will be District 1 runner-up Ceredo-Kenova taking on District 6 qualifier Jefferson at 2 p.m. Friday on Field 2.
District 1 champion Barboursville, the defending state champion, will play District 4 champion Greenbrier Central Friday at 3:30 on Field 1.
District 3 champion Hurricane will take on District 5 runner-up Bridgeport Friday at 7 p.m. on Field 2.
Quarterfinals will begin on July 23 with semifinals on July 24 and finally the state champion being crowned after the July 25 finale.
The state champion will advance to the Little League Southeast Regional Tournament at Warner Robins, Georgia, Aug. 3-8.