Killeen Parks and Recreation made the transition this year to Little League Baseball.
Most people associate Little League with the famous tournament conducted annually in Williamsport, Pa. Killeen made the change to Little League Baseball to give our area baseball players the opportunity to compete on a national level.
Of course, this just doesn’t happen overnight. Boys between the ages of 9-14 have been competing over the past month showcasing their skills hoping to be one of the select few chosen for the Killeen All-Star team. The All-Star teams will advance to district competition with the opportunity to further advance to sectionals and state. It is the goal of Parks and Recreation that the switch to Little League Baseball will result in more of the community getting involved with the local youth baseball program.
Over the years, baseball has experienced an exodus of talent to the select baseball programs that run rampant across the country.
The goal is not to compete with select baseball.
The goal is to entice kids to give time back to competing for their local community on a national level and generating increased civic pride amongst players, family members, umpires and local businesses.
The change to Little League Baseball also represents a change in how our teams represent our local community. Unlike past years, when the local league winner advanced to compete with the addition of three pick-up players, Little League is based on an All-Star team comprised of the league’s best players.
An All-Star team will be formed from within the 9-10, 11-12, and 13-14 year-old divisions. These teams will then compete in the district tournament; if they win they will advance to the next round.
Killeen prides itself on hosting first class events; Killeen Parks and Recreation will be the host to four Little League Baseball tournaments this year. These events will take place between June 10 and July 6. Killeen is excited to join the great tradition of Little League Baseball.
A few names that local baseball folks should remember include the following: Tre Martin (12U), Clayton Hagey (14U), Daniel Cole (14U), Adam Milam (10U), Richard Gutierrez (10U), Allan Larkin (10U), Tommy Fernandez (12U), Dante Gutierrez (12U), Mat Meir (12U), Drake Mason (14U) and Justin Luedecking (14U).
These young men have proven themselves to be extremely solid players on the diamond in the first half of the season and I would be surprised if they don’t find their way on to the respective All-Star team in their age category. With the transition to Little League Baseball, it is our goal to bring back the ‘Boys of Summer.’
Brett Williams is the director of the Killeen Parks and Recreation Department.