Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


July 13, 2012

Home run in Gardner

State Little League tournament starts

— — A baseball showcase in Mercer County again will be the destination for Little League players, coaches, parents and fans from across West Virginia this weekend.

The Greater Princeton Little League complex in Gardner has been selected to host two 2012 state level tournaments, the Junior League for ages 13 and 14 and the Senior League for ages 15 and 16.

It’s not the first time that the diamonds adjacent to the West Virginia Turnpike have been chosen for state tournament play. That says a lot about the quality of the facilities and the commitment of the GPLL leadership to keep them that way.

The green grass, raked infield, bright lights, secure fences and fan-friendly bleachers are the result of intentional planning, budgeting and constant maintenance. There’s no glory in showing up on a hot morning to cut grass or trim weeds, but it’s an essential part of the teamwork that produces a first-rate product.

We express our appreciation to GPLL president Stanley Six, the board that oversees the complex, and dozens of volunteers for their hard work.

We applaud the Mercer County Commission and area businesses and individuals for their financial contributions that allow the ongoing work to continue.

We look forward to the opportunity to let others from the Mountain State enjoy our scenery and hospitality.

And the upcoming tournaments are even more noteworthy because of the presence of a team with Princeton emblazoned on its jerseys.

A team of 13- and 14-year-old “All Stars” from the Princeton area rolled through the District 4 playoffs with five wins in five games, including an 11-1 win last Sunday, to clinch their berth in the state event on their home diamond.

It is worth noting that their feat comes about five weeks after the Princeton Senior High School Tigers won the state Class AAA baseball championship for the first time.

That Tigers team included several young men who were playing together in Little League district, state and national tournaments only a few years before achieving last month’s historic first for their high school.

Another state-tournament level Little League team is evidence that there is continuing support for and love of the sport of baseball in the Princeton area. That bodes well for the future of the high school baseball program.

If the Tigers win it all in 2016, you’ll know where their excellence began.

It’s not all about advancing in the postseason, of course.

Boys and girls who participate in youth baseball and softball learn about teamwork, sacrifice, focus, determination and sportsmanship — and they learn about the rules, rhythms and fun of an elegant, truly American sport.

Sometimes those desirable outcomes happen in spite of selfishness and boorishness from adults who have lost their perspective regarding competition involving children.

Our congratulations go to the boys who have made it to the states, and their coaches and relatives who have encouraged them to learn the sport well.

Play will begin Saturday at noon up the road in Gardner. Even if you don’t have a relative running around on the field of play, attending a state-level youth baseball game is an enjoyable and inexpensive way to spend a few hours on a weekend.

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