Temperatures soar as players compete at the UK Little League Qualifiers

Thu 22 Jun 2017


By Luke Stott

BSUK hosted the 2017 edition of the UK Little League Qualifiers at a sun-drenched Farnham Park on the weekend of 17-18 June, with places in Europe/Africa Little League qualification tournaments at stake for many of the teams.

The winners of Europe/Africa qualification tournaments will go on to play in Little League World Series tournaments later in the summer in the United States.

As temperatures moved above 30 degrees, 17 teams from across the country gathered to compete across five different categories for the chance to be crowned as a UK Little League National Champion.


Representation

With representation in every age group (including two teams entered in the U11/Minors category), LondonSports led the way, with the London Mets hot on their heels, sending four teams to Farnham Park across all categories.

The two London clubs were joined by the Brighton Fireballs (U11/Coach-Pitch, U13, U15), the LYBL Bulldogs (U11 and U13) Herts Baseball Club (U17 and U13) and the Leicester Blue Sox (U11/Coach-Pitch).

Each age group (U17, U15, U13, U11, U11/Coach-Pitch) participated in its own dedicated competition, and the winners of the U13/Majors, U15/Juniors and U17/Seniors competitions will now represent the UK in upcoming Europe/Africa tournaments to be played in Kutno, Poland and Novara, Italy in July.

For many players, this was the first taste of tournament style baseball and many responded brilliantly to the novel experience!
 

Bulldogs ascendant

The LYBL Bulldogs had an excellent weekend, with their U11/Minors (who defeated LondonSports 8-3 in their final) and U13s (10-0 final winners against the London Mets) taking victory in their respective divisions.

In the U15 division, the London Mets beat LondonSports 13-10 in the final, but LondonSports would get some revenge in the last game of the day, as their U17s recorded a 5-3 win over the Mets in the Senior final.

The U11/Coach-Pitch tournament was decided via a round-robin format, with LondonSports coming out on top.

Excitement

BSUK’s Johanna Malisani, directing her first UK Little League Qualifiers, said, “It was an exciting experience to see so many of our young athletes playing on the UK’s premier fields at Farnham Park, enjoying a sport they love, creating memories and friendships while competing at a high standard, and leaving it all on the field for themselves and their team! 

“I would be remiss,” Johanna added, “if I did not thank my colleagues at BSUK as well as the volunteers, parents and coaches, Farnham Park field staff, the Home Plate Kitchen and Bar staff, the umpires and all the athletes for making the weekend a wonderful success!”
 

Reflection

So as darkness descended on Farnham Park, consigning the 2017 UK Little League Qualifiers to the history books, there was a chance to reflect on the weekend’s action.

The UK Qualifiers continue to be a major focal point of BSUK's work to develop Little League in the UK.

It is an event that mixes formal international qualification for Majors, Juniors and Seniors with competition for younger children in the U11/Minors and Coach-Pitch, so overall it becomes a festival of youth play, including a number of emerging programmes.

The Qualifiers are also a chance for us to identify and work with key volunteers involved in the Little League programmes in the UK.

So: to our winners, the best of luck in your European adventures -- you'll do us all proud.

To our coaches, thank you for your dedication, enthusiasm, and passion in everything that you do for our sport's next generation.

To our umpires, thank you once again for your expertise and determination to work through a heavy schedule in extreme heat.

To our parents, thank you for supporting your kids in every way imaginable!

And finally, to the players themselves: win, lose or draw, there will always be another game as long as you want it.  Work hard -- but most importantly, have fun!

Congratulations

Congratulations to everyone and see you in 2018!  The full results from the weekend are below.

U17/SENIORS

Group Games
London Mets 7, LondonSports 6
LondonSports 24, Herts Red Kites 1
London Mets 9, Herts Red Kites 6

Group Standings
London Mets (2-0)
LondonSports (1-1)
Herts Red Kites (0-2)

Final
LondonSports 5, London Mets 3


U15/JUNIORS

Group Games
LondonSports 14, Brighton Fireballs 3
London Mets 12, Brighton Fireballs 2
London Mets 8, LondonSports 6

Group Standings
London Mets (2-0)
LondonSports (1-1)
Brighton Fireballs (0-2)

Final
London Mets 13, LondonSports 10


U13/MAJORS

Group Games
LondonSports 7, Herts Harriers 4
LYBL Bulldogs 11, London Mets 1
London Mets 6, LondonSports 5
LYBL Bulldogs 29, Herts Harriers 0
LYBL Bulldogs 19, LondonSports 3
London Mets 13, Herts Harriers 3

Group Standings
LYBL Bulldogs (3-0)
London Mets (2-1)
LondonSports (2:1)
Herts Harriers (0-3)

Final
LYBL Bulldogs 10, London Mets 0


U11/MINORS

Group Games
LYBL Bulldogs 12, LondonSports Two 2
LondonSports One 14, LYBL Bulldogs 4
LondonSports One 6, LondonSports Two 0

Group Standings
LondonSports One (2-0)
LYBL Bulldogs (1-1)
LondonSports Two (0-2)

Final
LYBL Bulldogs 8, LondonSports One 3


U11/COACH PITCH

Round-Robin
Leicester Blue Sox 8, Brighton 1
LondonSports 16, Brighton Fireballs 11
London Mets 14, Leicester Blue Sox 10
Leicester Blue Sox 5, LondonSports 5
Brighton Fireballs 25, London Mets 6
London Mets 11, LondonSports 11

Group Standings
LondonSports (1-0-2)
London Mets (1-1-1)
Leicester Blue Sox (1-1-1)
Brighton Fireballs (1-2)

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