SportStars Magazine

Antioch Little League’s Royal Run

Antioch Little League, senior softball all-stars

Antioch Little League Had Just Enough Sign-Ups For One Senior League Softball Team In 2018 — And Those 13 Girls Have Yet To Lose •

Summer is in full swing, which guarantees two things: Days are long and Little League all-star tournaments are underway. This holds true for the Antioch Little League Senior Division softball team.

Antioch which will be competing in Missoula, Montana, on July 20 at the Western Regionals —one tournament victory away from a possible Little League World Series appearance.

How this group of Antioch girls got to this point wasn’t exactly traditional.

Antioch Little League, senior softball all-stars

The Antioch Little League Senior All-Stars show off their NorCal Championship banner. PICTURED AT TOP: From left to right, Veronica White, Isabel Honey and Madison Abrojena.

Most Little League chapters assemble all-star teams the same way. They choose top performers off of each team in the league from the respective divisions. This however would prove difficult for Antioch. That’s because fielding one regular season team was hard enough.

“We weren’t sure if we would have enough girls to even field one team,” senior all-stars assistant coach Mike Honey said. “We had approximately six to seven girls show up to tryouts in January.”  

Antioch registration numbers over the past few years have seen a steady decrease. Senior softball has dropped from three teams to just one in that time. Eventually, some much needed pieces would fall into place. Antioch was able to go into the 2018 season with one complete roster of 13 players.   

 

This occurrence however may prove to be an advantage for Antioch. This all-star roster, which played its regular season as the Royals, had several games under its belt before the name switched over to Antioch Little League All-Stars. They are a combined 19-0 as the Royals and Antioch All-Stars. The Royals turned all-stars will have been playing together for seven months when their journey comes to a climax. Most handpicked all-star teams get a few weeks together, learning their strengths and weaknesses before tournaments begin in June.

Honey, along with manager Ray White, believe this is the team that can break through and capitalize on adversities. They believe it truly has a shot at making a deep run into championship territory.

The coaching staff credits the team success to the overall makeup of the team.

Antioch Little League, senior softball all-stars

Antioch All-Stars Jennifer Ciddelprado, left, and Nicole Marcello.

“There are no individual groups or cliques on this team,” infielder Nicole Marcello said at a July 12 practice. “We are a little family that wants each other to succeed.”

The ability this team has at retiring batters and keeping fielding errors to a minimum also helps.

Honey describes this team as the complete package, though the roster has a wide range of a talent. It includes polished, experienced players, as well as girls playing for the first time. The girls just see each other as teammates, though.

“High level softball is fun. Having a good team and winning games is fun. But watching these girls go out of their way to help one another learn is a beautiful thing to watch,” Honey said. “It’s really what teamwork and sportsmanship are all about, and what it takes to have a successful team.”

Although the path to Montana has been smooth for the most part, this team understands difficult times lie ahead. They must remain focused if they are going to advance any further.

“No matter how much success we’ve had so far, we must continue to get better each day,” outfielder Jennifer Ciddelprado said.

Antioch will look to build from exceptional performances in the district and section (NorCal) tournaments.

At Western Regionals they will face off with teams from Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, Southern California, Oregon and Wyoming. The tournament is structured with pool play leading into bracket placement. Teams must win enough games to be placed in the final bracket.  

The Western Regionals conclude on July 24. The champion securing a spot in the Senior Softball Little League World Series hosted in Sussex County, Delaware. The World Series is a 10-team international field. It includes champions from five U.S. regions (West, East, Central, Southwest and Southeast) as well as Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe-Africa and Canada.

Play a sport you love all summer long, traveling and experiencing new places with your friends can be a dream come true. Unfortunately, being a skilled team that plays deep into summer also requires money to ensure the players and coaches can make the trip. That’s where the girls of Antioch Little League find themselves now.

To make a donation, visit the team’s GoFundMe page.

— Jesse Gomez, SportStars

 

2 Comments

  1. Mike Honey

    July 15, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    Thank you Jesse Gomez, Chace Bryson and SportStars Magazine for getting our story out. We appreciate your support.

  2. sterling seymour

    July 20, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    great article! keep it up girls!

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