Little League softball: Rowan ready for pool play

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Staff report

GREENVILLE — The Rowan Little League 12U softball team arrived safely in Greenville in preparation for Wednesday’s opening games in the World Series.

This is the first World Series to be held in Greenville, which expects a major economic boost from the event.

Rowan County has been a national-level power in 12U Little League softball since 2015, and has gotten used to making 3,000-mile flights to the West Coast. This time the trip was a little over three hours by van and a bit over 200 miles. The Virginia team actually had a somewhat shorter trip.

Rowan won the World Series in 2015 and 2019. Since COVID erased the 2020 tournament, Rowan still is the defending champion. Rowan was runner-up to Texas teams in the World Series in 2016 and 2017. Rowan’s 2018 team didn’t make it the World Series, losing by a run in the regional championship game to Tennessee.

Rowan was runner-up in the regional this year, losing a one-run game to Virginia in the final.

Its a much different World Series field this year with COVID fears eliminating the usual international entries from Canada, Latin America, Asia and Africa/Europe. There’s also no spot for a host team. All regional runner-ups qualified for the World Series this time, with two teams from each of the five American regionals making up a 10-team field.

The games against the foreign squads generally have been routine victories for the American teams in the World Series, so this year’s field is expected to be one of the deepest a Rowan squad has faced.

Rowan girls got fitted for their “Southeast B” uniforms on Monday and had photos taken.

Due to COVID protocols set up by Little League International, Rowan and the other teams in Greenville received only 99 tickets for families, friends and supporters.

Rowan had hoped for 250.

COVID concerns are always present. Greenville’s boys Little League team was hoping to make it to Williamsport for the baseball World Series, but was knocked out of the Southeast Regional a few days ago due to a positive COVID test.

Rowan players in the World Series will be Madyson Baker, Leisha Carter, Jordan Dry, Kaylee Furr, Brinley Hiatt, Josephina Huynh, Caroline Lyerly, Myla McNeely, Reese Poole, Sophia Redding, Danica Rosa, Eva Shue, Leah Troutman and Regan Williams.

Poole is the pitcher.

The coaches are Donnell Poole, Charlie Dry and Allen Baker.

Games will be played at Stallings Stadium at Elm Street Park.

Rowan is in the five-team Jessica Mendoza Pool with regional champions Oklahoma and Nevada and regional runners-up New Jersey and Indiana.

In the Jennie Finch Pool are Virginia, regional champs Missouri and New York and regional runners-up Arizona and Texas West.

Rowan opens pool play on Wednesday against Indiana at 4 p.m. Rowan’s other pool games are Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

The top four in each pool advance and are seeded. The pool games are on ESPN+.

Single-elimination play starts on Monday, Aug. 16. Those games will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPNEWS.

The championship game will be televised on ESPN at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 18.

Pool games

Wednesday, Aug. 11

Rowan Little League vs. Indiana, 4 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 12

Oklahoma vs. Rowan Little League, 10 a.m.

Friday, Aug. 13

Rowan Little League vs. New Jersey, 7 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 15

Rowan Little League vs. Nevada, 1 p.m.