Greenville hosts Little League Softball World Series
WED. | 08-25-21 | SPORTS
As summer comes to an end, Greenville has found the perfect finale by hosting the Little League Softball World Series. Welcoming 10 teams from across the country spanning from Nevada all the way to New York, gameplay kicked off on Aug. 11 and concluded with the championship on Aug. 18.
This opportunity was granted to Greenville as Stallings Stadium at Elm Street park seemed to be a great fit for the tournament, including accommodations for players all over the country. Greenville will be hosting the tournament for the next five years and working closely with Little League International. The importance of community to Greenville Little League was also an attraction to the town. This was not the first tournament that Greenville hosted, as they have hosted many other Little League International tournaments in the past such as multiple Tournaments of State Champions. Prior to the eight team playoff, the ten teams were split
Image courtesy of littleleague.org
evenly into two groups of pool play. The Jennie Finch pool consisted of Missouri, New York, Virginia, Arizona and Texas while the Jessica Mendoza pool was made up of Oklahoma, Nevada, New Jersey, Indiana and North Carolina. Both Jennie Finch and Jessica Mendoza are former softball players that had very successful careers. They both competed in the Olympics and were All-Americans in college. Since their playing days they have both been instrumental in the growth of the game for youngsters.
As Virginia defeated Missouri 4-1, the tournament fell into full swing. This began the daily quadruple-headers as pool play was carried out. On day two, Oklahoma moved to 2-0 as they had quick success over North Carolina as they mercy ruled them in four innings. After a tough loss to Missouri on day two, Texas bounced back the third day and shut out New York. Oklahoma’s victory against Nevada on the fourth day allowed them to keep their undefeated title. The fifth day consisted of a blowout win as Texas handled Arizona 11-1.
After pool play, the top four teams from each pool advanced to the playoffs. Missouri finished as the top seed in the Jennie Finch pool with a 3-1 record facing them against the 2-2 Mendoza bottom seed, Nevada. Missouri took care of Nevada 4-0 and advanced to play Oklahoma in the semifinals after they defeated Arizona. On the other side of the bracket, Texas’ 4-2 win against North Carolina sent them through to the semis where they faced Virginia. Virginia was then matched up against Texas in the semifinals, where they were able to escape with a comeback win to advance to the finals. After their dramatic win, they ended up not being able to keep up with Oklahoma in the championship game. Oklahoma closed out the tournament with back to back victories beating Missouri 7-0 and Virginia 9-1. Represented by Green Country of Muskogee, Oklahoma took home their first world series title ever.
Oklahoma beat out its nine competitors, but if COVID-19 had not affected the tournament, they would have had to beat 15 teams. Since there was not a tournament last year, this year can be seen as a stepping stone for next year’s tournament to include international teams. That being said, Greenville should be filled with excitement this time next year as sixteen new teams from all over the world will be paying a visit.