Bennett’s Creek welcomes state’s best

Published 9:12 pm Thursday, July 14, 2011

Richlands Little League, the District 11 champs, and Franklin County, the District 12 champs, participate in opening ceremonies for the Virginia All Star State Tournament at Bennett’s Creek Little League in Driver Thursday evening. Sixteen Minor League (age 9-10) teams will play at Bennett’s Creek Friday-Wednesday.

DRIVER — All 16 Little League baseball squads playing at Bennett’s Creek Little League starting Friday are already champions. Every player who will take the field is already an all-star.

On Thursday evening, some 200 players with hundreds of coaches, parents and siblings along for the trip, gathered at Bennett’s Creek for the opening ceremonies and a picnic dinner celebrating the start of the Virginia Minor League (ages 9-10) All Star State Tournament.

The honor of hosting the state tournament has meant hours and hours of volunteer work to get to Friday when all 16 teams will be in action in eight games.

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“We’re proud to be here tonight,” said Bennett’s Creek Little League president Jennifer Lozano.

“The Bennett’s Creek family’s spent a lot of time out here throughout the year,” Lozano said.

Each team gets at least three games as the tournament starts with four groups of four teams and group-play games Friday-Sunday starting at 9 a.m. each day. The top eight teams go on to a single-elimination bracket ending with the final Wednesday at 10 a.m.

For the opening ceremonies though, each kid’s big challenge was making sure to wind up with 15 pins from each of the other district champions.

The field comes from all parts of Virginia. The 16 teams are: Bristol, Lynchburg-Jefferson, Bridgewater, Great Falls, Tuckahoe, Olive Branch, Poquoson, Fleet Park, West Springfield American, Chantilly, Richlands, Franklin County, Coeburn, McIntire, Westmoreland County and Dulles.