It’s that time of year again, when the Pyle Center goes from a local venue for softball to an international one, as the Little League Softball World Series is set to make its way back to Delaware for the 11th consecutive year.
“I think it’s good for the community, and you can see it in the crowds — they keep coming back year after year,” said longtime Lower Sussex Little League president and current Vice President Bruce Layton. “It’s a good community function that brings everybody together.”
For the second year in a row, Roxana will host both the Senior League and Big League World Series, after hosting just the Senior League series for the first nine years. The larger venue calls for more lights and more coverage from ESPN, necessitating adding lights to Bruce Layton Field for television broadcasts.
“The only thing different is we got more games on ESPN,” explained Layton after noting that this year should feature six televised games — four on Friday, Aug. 8, and two on Saturday, Aug. 9.
By now you may have heard of the “Skateboard Cop.” And before you make any assumptions on what that is if you have not heard of it, let me clarify — it is not the sequel to “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” featuring a portly Kevin James, who needs to learn how to skateboard in order to save yet another mall from yet another absurd premise, solidifying my long-held theory that Adam Sandler isn’t even trying anymore and is, in fact, just messing with us now.
As two evenly matched teams vying for a Big League Softball World Series bid, it’s no wonder that Millsboro and Laurel need an odd number of games to determine which team will represent host District III in next month’s Little League World Series in Roxana.
Millsboro led what was supposed to be a 12-game series 4-2 heading into a tripleheader last Monday, July 21, but lost all three games of the series, to fall behind 5-4. However, the team would bounce back in another tripleheader on Tuesday, July 22, winning the first two games of the night before falling in the third and allowing Laurel to even the series at 6-6, necessitating a final matchup between the teams this Friday.
“I think the first game took the steam out of us, kind of put the momentum in their court, and we didn’t recover after that,” said Millsboro coach Monroe “Monnie” Hudson of the Monday-night series after the third consecutive game on Tuesday. “The girls did a great job tonight. They bounced back, and they pulled out the first two, which is huge.”
“We had some timely hits. The girls just came out and fought,” added head coach Guy Wilkins. “They’re warriors. They’re battlers. They’re gonna do everything they can do to win a game, and backs were against the wall, so they came out and played great softball.”
Some of those timely hits came from some timely hitters, as centerfielder Alexis Burger and catcher Morgan Smith took turns knocking each other home for key runs in Tuesday’s wins.
For years, prospective college soccer players from the area have had to travel over the Bay Bridge or up north to Pennsylvania for a chance at playing on their state’s Olympic Development Program team or to garner attention from college coaches.
However, thanks to River Soccer, local players now have another option — which is not only more convenient, but also more affordable, while offering a different spectrum of competitive advantages that many programs do not.
“Around here, we noticed that the ones that really shine, they have to go across the bridge or start heading to Philly, and it’s a lot of money,” said River Soccer Director Allison Bescak. “We’ve got kids that are leaving these amazing programs. We’re keeping it on a low-cost scale and really pushing the college aspect.”
Some of the premiere girls’ high school soccer stars are coming from not only local schools including Indian River and Sussex Tech, but from northern schools such as Dover, and Maryland schools as far as Easton, as well. Even with the mix of rival schools, Bescak said that the team meshes well.
“They all come together for this team,” she explained, “for the greater good of getting each other into college.”
The Delmarva Shorebirds are back down to .500, at 16-16 on the second half of the season (as of Coastal Point press time on Wednesday, July 23), after losing three consecutive games to Washington Nationals’ affiliate the Hagerstown Suns.
People are too easily offended these days. We live in a society that demands politically correct terminology, to the point where I don’t even know what the right term to call anyone is anymore. One term offends one person and a different term offends another. It’s exhausting — ridiculous, even — and it’s certainly other adjectives that further emphasize the point I’m trying to make.
After the Lower Sussex All-Stars Major League Softball team took the District III title with a sixth-inning inside-the-park grand slam, with two outs, off the bat of veteran LSLL All-Star Airelle Parker — needless to say, they were excited.
However, they didn’t let the warranted celebration distract them from their next goal of winning states and advancing to regionals — a goal they were able to accomplish last Saturday night with a 9-8 win over the Smyrna Little League team.
“It was extremely exciting — we’ve done something that hasn’t been done at that level, as far as anyone can tell me,” said head coach Sam O’Shields.
Not only had no Lower Sussex Major League softball team won a district championship in more than a decade, but Saturday night’s state championship victory was the program’s first ever for the age group.
Like the district championship game, the state championship went down to the final inning — despite the All-Stars’ 9-3 lead. Smyrna would string together five runs to make it 9-8 but, ultimately, it was the Lower Sussex defense and pitching that would ensure the victory, getting out of the inning with a strikeout from pitcher Nicole Patille.
Legendary pro surfer Kalani Robb has traveled all around the world. Whether it was competing on the World Tour and once being touted as “the next Kelly Slater,” or stealing the spotlight in Taylor Steele movies for the better part of 20 years, the Hawaiian native has been and surfed practically everywhere — except Delaware.
That is, until last Monday, when Robb, along with the rest of the Catch Surf team, paid a visit to the First State on their “Get Wet” tour, giving local groms the chance to test out boards and compete in a Catch Surf-style contest.
“I’ve been to the East Coast a few times. I haven’t been here in Delaware, so that’s something new,” said Robb. “It doesn’t matter if it’s totally pumping or if it’s kind of small, it’s just about having fun, and everybody out here knows how to have fun.”
The event was hosted by K-Coast Surf Shop and featured a laid-back competition in which local surfers and bodyboarders could test Catch Surf products, such as their signature “Beater” board and soft-top surfboards including the “Odysea Stump.”
After competing at the NSSA College Men’s East Coast Championships as a member of the Flagler College Surfing Team, Seth Conboy returned home only to showcase his talents once again at the Surf Shop Showdown at Dew Tour.
While that might seem overwhelming for some, for the 19-year old graphic design major and lifelong surfer, it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
“I started competing the same year I got really into surfing, when I was 14,” said Conboy. “I started doing all the local ESA contests. After I started feeling more comfortable surfing heats, I branched out to more contests, such as NSSA contests up north in New Jersey and several other Pro/Am contests in the South.”
Of course, getting to contests up and down the East Coast in those early years, without a driver’s license, wouldn’t have been possible if his parents weren’t on board. But, according to Conboy, surfing has always been a family affair.
The road back to the Big League Softball World Series certainly offers its fair share of potential speed bumps for the Millsboro team. Obstacles to overcome include balancing time between work and softball, frequent doubleheaders and Laurel pitcher Reagan Green.
However, after trading wins in Monday’s doubleheader against Laurel at the Pyle Center in Roxana, the team finds themselves with a 4-2 advantage in the 12-game series that will decide which area team represents host District III at the World Series next month, right there at the Pyle Center.
“I think we’re looking good,” said Millsboro coach Monroe ‘Monnie’ Hudson. “Defensively, we’re good. Pitching, we’re good. We just gotta string the hits together, and this game we just couldn’t connect the hits.”
The Delmarva Shorebirds finished their series last week against Lakewood with three wins and a loss, coming on the heels of a 2-1 series against West Virginia, which was also on the road.
Their 10-4 win last Sunday, July 13, put the team at 14-11 for the second half of the season, but they would fall to Greensboro last Tuesday, July 15, to fall to 14-12.
Beginning in 2003, the Highway One Group each summer has sponsored a series of runs and walks in Dewey Beach. On Saturday, July 26, starting at 8 a.m., Races2Run will present the 100th run. It will also be a historic day for runners and Hall of Famers Jerry Denny, Jerry McNesby and Jules Woodall, who have run every one of the 100 races.
I hope you had a chance to catch this year’s Dew Tour. I didn’t get to go, but Coastal Point readers like me got to follow the action along with the more than 100,000 folks who converged on Ocean City for an incredible 10th season. The world’s best skateboarders put on quite a show, and who wasn’t excited to see Baltimore native Bucky Lasek become this year’s Skate Bowl Dew Cup champ?
I’ve spent the majority of my Fourth of Julys in Fenwick Island — usually working, sometimes lucky enough to get to the Fenwick Fourth of July party on my street before the fireworks go off or my Uncle Pat drinks the last beer.
Sussex County surfers traded in their fireworks for front-side airs last Friday, July 4 — celebrating America’s birthday with a short window of waves, thanks to Hurricane Arthur.
With such a limited opportunity, surfers had to get their plans right, and Micah Sklut of SwellInfo.com emphasized the importance of keeping an eye on the forecast and conditions.
“Arthur was a really quick-moving system,” explained Sklut. “For coastal areas worried about damage, it’s probably one reason why North Carolina didn’t see that much damage. Here in Delaware, we received a fair amount of rain, but it kind of came and went really quickly. We saw a very quick shot of surf.”
After waking up to typical summer shore break, wave riders’ fortunes took a turn in the early afternoon, when conditions started to improve rapidly. By mid-afternoon, the lineup was stacked with some of the best surfers in the area — including in Ocean City, Md., where local rippers put on an aerial show for the cameras and the crowd.