This is a story that should have been told several weeks ago. I was just waiting to see if anyone else had chosen to share information about this wonderful 8,9, and 10-year-olds Little League All-Star team from Broadway. There was some information, pictures, and comments on Facebook, of course, however, I felt the need to share my own “two cents worth” as well.
The All-Star team has really been magical. They swept the District 3 competition in late June by winning all five games they played at Oakdale Park in Bridgewater. Winning this tournament gave them the opportunity to travel to Norfolk to compete in the Virginia State Tournament held at Azalea Little League Park, July 7 – 12. Fourteen teams from all across the state were there and hoping to win.
I have been watching most of these Broadway girls play for several years. My great niece loves playing softball, and I love watching her play. So, in the beginning, I was cheering the loudest for her! But this year after watching this All-Star team plan and grow together as a team, I found myself cheering for all of them. Getting to know these girls a bit along the way has been a joy. This team has really come together as a cohesive unit. Their sportsmanship is obvious as are their abilities.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the large number of very supportive fans who were in attendance. Parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, etc. showed up in force to cheer the girls on their efforts. Enthusiasm abounded in the spectator area as well as an obvious consideration for the comfort of fellow spectators.
Weather became a bit of an issue. Some games were postponed for several hours due to rain and lightning. Some teams had to play double header games when the rain interfered with the normal scheduling. Ninety-degree temperatures were also a bit hard to handle. Everyone worked together to keep things as comfortable as possible.
Our girls breezed through all adversaries to win their first four games. They were leading the fifth game 5-2 in the fifth inning. But unfortunately, injuries, errors, frustration, and probably heat and fatigue took their toll. They lost this game to McClean 9 – 5, ending their terrific effort for a state championship with only two games left to be played. McClean went on to lose to Atlee to give Atlee the state title.
The girls on this team were: Katelyn Billhimer, Julia Hart, Aubrey Custer, Sophie May, Lilly Riggleman, Arianna Yanez, Sterling Ritchie, Allie McKenzie, Laikyn Keoler, Ava Coffman, Zoe Miller, and Jacie Hensley.
They were managed and coached by Shanna Billhimer, with assistant coaches Graham Nesselrodt and Aimee Miller
It took a lot of practice, dedication, and hard work to achieve the success they experienced. The town of Broadway should be proud of how well this team represented this small town. As I said before, I learned to cheer for each member of this team. But I have to say that I will always be cheering loudest for my great niece for as long as I am able.