Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Road to Sectionals

The road to Sectionals, that is, including both our boys' teams.
If you're looking for a place for your boy to play baseball, it doesn't get better than Fort Worth's University Little League.

And I would say that even if we didn't win District in ALL FIVE age groups (and really - six - with Major Softball's District win!). 

Last weekend was a banner weekend (pun intended) for ULL. Our Intermediate team has already gone on to Sectionals and the State Tournaments, but the rest of the teams are on the same schedule and are starting Sectional tournaments today.

I don't remember a sweep like this for University. Since our family has been a part of ULL, our teams have always been in competition for District, but I'm not aware of a year when all five teams won and moved onto Sectionals. Wowzers.

9-10 year old

10-11 year old

12 year old (Major)
Hudson's team
13 year old (Intermediate)

14 year old (Junior Ball)
Branson's team - our Intermediate and Junior Ball teams combined with Westside this year, forming "Fort Worth" teams
Branson is playing this year on the Junior Ball team. After winning District all three of their 10-12 years and advancing to State in 2012, the boys played a more relaxed schedule last year as 13 year olds, but the team decided again this year to go for a Little League World Series run.

For Hudson, who is forever playing in Branson's shadow, I had to remind him that just like his big brother's team, they made it to the District Championship game the past two years. The difference is, Bran's team won all three years, and Hud's team fell short the first two. Westside claimed the victory two years ago, and the Southwest Arlington last year.

This year our 12-year-olds started the season strong, winning the Jim Sundberg tournament (defeating Southwest Arlington before the District tournament even began. After a decisive win over North Arlington, a couple of days later Southwest Arlington crumpled our confidence by beating us 11-1 in an early District game.

Hudson and I sat at the kitchen counter the morning after that loss, looking at the week's daunting bracket. We looked at the games, realizing that we'd have to play - and win - Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and then Friday beat Southwest Arlington, the beat them AGAIN Saturday (double-elimination tournament) for the Championship.


I asked Hudson how he was feeling about it. He looked at me with his eyebrows furrowed and said, "Mom, we're better than all those teams."

Well, ok.

And he was right:
- Monday v. Mineral Wells (28-1)
- Wednesday v. ASW (American) (9-0)
- Thursday v. Westside (12-8)

- Fri / Sat v. ASW  (15-4)

Very happy post-game lunch at Kinkaid's. Not quite a celebratory meal, though, as we still have a tough game against ASW Sunday night
- Sun v. ASW - final game  (13-3)

Hudson knew it all along.

I'm most proud of this 12 year old team for working through their disappointment to get to this week of Sectionals tournament. This year's roster is nearly the same as last year's ~ these boys, even though missing the District win the last two years, didn't give up. They worked past the disappointment of previous years, but also through last week's loss against ASW to work their way through the loser's bracket.

Looking through some pictures of previous years, these caught my eye - two years in a row, Hud on base right next to the same first baseman from ASW. I think the other guy gained a little more height than our Hud!
Last summer
Last week
So on to the road to Sectionals.
Cars painted and ready for the I-20 caravan (and - my feeble attempt at copying Jenny's artistry - ha!)
Lots of little sister artists on the team
I hope we've got some wins ahead, but I'm most grateful at this point for all of these District wins, and what it says about ULL. And believe me, after last week's games, there's much more than winning that makes me grateful to be a part of this little league!
It's been a fun run already ~ grateful to be a part of these great ULL teams!