Miranda H. Lewis
Carter County Times
A well-loved sport in Carter County is baseball.
With numerous generations of baseball available to the community, it is interesting to see where it all started: Little League.
Little League is the first organized sports program in the world, founded by Carl E. Stotz in 1939.
In combination with a host of volunteers, thirty players formed three teams to embark on the first official season of what many know and love today – Little League.
Two years ago, Olive Hill and Grayson combined to form one league – Carter County Little League (CCLL).
The merger provided an opportunity for athletes to have a meaningful experience by being able to play in their respective age division.
The alliance reinforces the power of youth baseball and softball to edify life lessons that build stronger communities and individuals.
“We are proud of how much the league has grown [since the integration]. This is our second full year, and we are excited about the opportunities the kids are getting to learn to love baseball and softball,” said Charlie Simmons, CCLL President.
“We had a fantastic regular season with lots of dedicated players, coaches, and families,” he added.
This year, a record number of players from Carter and Elliott County participated in the CCLL and postseason tournament.
While serving over 450 youth athletes, ranging from 4-12 years old, the Grayson Sports Park became a destination for independent recreational tee-ball, baseball, and softball in Carter County.
“The Grayson Sports Park hosted many of our regular season games as well as two all-star tournaments,” Simmons stated.
Not only was the park essential to the success of the league, but the community has also enjoyed using the park too, he noted.
The league featured multiple teams participating in the 8U, 10U, 12U, 9-11, and 11-12 divisions.
Simmons said that because of the immense talent in every age division, seven All Star teams competed in the recent District 6 All Star tournament.
“We had ages 9-11 and 11-12 baseball hosted at the Grayson Sports Park. 10U baseball traveled to Fleming County to compete and 8U baseball played in Boyd County. As well as 12U softball which competed in Boyd County, 10U softball in Russell-Flatwoods and 8U softball in Fleming County,” said Simmons.
“All of the teams represented the league well and battled in lots of games in their respective brackets,” he added.
Simmons said that the 9-11 baseball team won second place in their division championship, while the two 8U teams (baseball and softball) have both qualified for the state tournament.
It is a challenging task for any sports team to have an undefeated season, but the 8U softball team did just that as they secured the District 6 Championship with a victory over Ashland.
Although the 8U baseball team fell short to Fleming County 3-0 in the championship game, they secured the runner-up nod which has earned them an opportunity to compete at the state level competition as well.
“I’m excited for these boys to play at the state level. They have worked hard all season,” said coach Craig Brammer.
The 8U baseball team notched several notable wins during regular season play including, Boyd County (17-0) and Ashland (10-5, 12-2).
Brammer said that win or lose he hopes the team “has a blast and makes memories with some of their best friends”.
The 8U softball team will compete in Lebanon and the 8U baseball team takes the field in Richmond on July 8.
Just as when the Little League began in 1939, the spring 2023 season was successful in large part due to the collection of volunteers and community that joined the players and coaches with one common goal – the CCLL.
Simmons credited several local businesses for their contributions in helping to ensure the CCLL had a great season.
Aside from the Grayson Sports Park, Simmons recognized the Carter County Jail for mowing and helping to maintain the Little League fields on US 60 as well as Grayson Sporting Goods for keeping the players fitted in great uniforms and supplied with equipment.
“The future is definitely bright for CCLL, and we’re excited to see what next year brings,” concluded Simmons.
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