BY GENE NARDI
Last weekend, Wellington was the host venue for the finals of the 2014 Little League Baseball State Tournament.
The two-day event took place at the Olympia Park baseball fields, with pool play on Saturday and the championship game on Sunday. The event drew seven teams from around the state.
Little League Baseball is the largest youth league in the country. Florida is made up of several districts within the state, and the top teams play against each other until one team is crowned champion and sent to compete at the regional level.
Palm Beach County is District 7 and was earlier eliminated from the competition.
“This is an annual event, and there were 232 teams that started in the state tournament back in June,” District 7 Administrator John Knapp said. “Today, the remaining seven teams playoff here. These kids are intermediate level, ages 11 to 13.”
Each team played three games. The top team in each pool played in the championship game. The winner moves on to play in the Southeast regional tournament in Apopka. From there, the winner travels to Oakland, Calif., for the national championship.
J.C. de los Reyes, Florida district administrator and Wellington league president, said Wellington was chosen to host to the event because of the facilities it could provide.
“The deciding factor for the event to be held here in Wellington was because the facilities were able to accommodate the required field sizes and the number of teams competing,” he said.
The teams that made it out of their district to compete in Wellington were Hobe Sound, Braden River, Fort Myers, St. Cloud, St. Augustine, Clearwater and Kendall.
Fort Myers defeated Kendall 8-0 in the final game on Sunday to claim the state championship title.
For more information on Little League Baseball, visit www.littleleague.org.
ABOVE: A Fort Myers runner heads for third base in the final championship game against Kendall.