Joy of Playing Boosts Little League Dreams

By  //  April 16, 2012

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YOUTH SPORTS


Members of the Viera/Suntree Little League Seminoles receive a high-five from members of the Viera High team on opening day March 3 at Viera Regional Park. (Heather B Photography image)

BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – As Little Little League baseball marks its annual return to Brevard County, the hopes and dreams of thousands of kids from Palm Bay to Mims and all points in between have been ignited yet again.

All opening day ceremonies have been completed and regular-season play for all local organizations is now in full swing.

Area Little Leagues continue to prosper, with player registration for leagues competing in both District 2 and District 22 in Brevard strong throughout the winter and spring.

Making up District 2 are leagues from Palm Bay East, West Melbourne, South Beaches, Palm Bay West, Eau Gallie, Beachside, Palm Bay Fast-pitch and Viera/Suntree.

District 22 is comprised of leagues from Rockledge, Cocoa, Space Coast, Merritt Island, Indian River City, Merritt Island Senior, Port St. John and Mims.

Recreational leagues for children also include Palm Bay Youth Softball Association, the Merritt Island Lassie League and the North Brevard Youth Softball Association.

Some of Little League’s endearing popularity may be attributed to the success Brevard teams have enjoyed the past few years at the sectional, state and regional levels.

Last season, Palm Bay East Little League’s Seniors division All-Stars powered to the Senior League Baseball World Series in Bangor, Maine for the second consecutive year after winning the U.S. Southeastern Regional Tournament at Viera Regional Park in August.

The team’s manager, Mike Everette Sr., has retired after years of service to the league, but remains proud of what his teams were able to accomplish.

“My son will be graduating this year and I decided to step away, but I have so many great memories and so happy for our league that we made it twice tom the World series in Maine,” he said.

Everette coached many of the Palm Bay East players from when they first started playing baseball and watched them grow and mature as athletes over the years.

Besides coaching, he also logged time in many leadership roles for the Palm Bay East Little League, including serving as the league president.

Chris Steinmetz catches for the Merritt Island Little League Marlins on opening day March 3 at Jim Hensley Field. (Heather B Photography image)

Champions

Three softball All-Stars teams from Mims Little League (9/10, Majors and Juniors divisions) captured Section 3 championships in 2011 and advanced to the state tournament.

All-Stars teams in 10/11 baseball and Majors baseball division from Merritt Island Little League also claimed Section 3 titles and advanced to the state tournament.

Two other District 22 All-Stars squads – Port St. John’s Seniors softball and Rockledge’s Juniors baseball – won sectional titles and played in state tournaments.

Also in District 2 a year ago, Viera/Suntree’s 9/10 baseball All-Stars and 9/10 softball All-Stars claimed Section 2 titles and competed in the state tournament.

The 2011 District 2 championship for Viera/Suntree’s 9/10 softball All-Stars was the sixth consecutive time Viera/Suntree had won the district tournament. Finishing third in the state tourney, Viera/Suntree also represented Florida at the Tournament of Champions in Luary, Va.

Viera/Suntree also claimed District 2 All-Stars championships in Majors softball, 10/11 baseball and Juniors division baseball.

The Eau Gallie Gold All-Stars swept to District 2 and Section 2 titles and advanced to the state tournament.

The regular Little League season runs through May and then is followed by county tournaments. All-Stars team selections are announced June 15 by each individual league, with district All-Stars tournaments traditionally opening during the last week of June.

District 2 and District 22 winners qualify for berths in sectional tournaments in July.


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