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Valley Little Leagues close memorable season of helping local youth
Now wrapping up their regular season, local Little Leagues are making an impact on local youth.
All the leagues have been busy this season helping to teach kids the fundamentals of baseball and softball and also promote other important values as well. "The whole purpose of Little League is that it’s a volunteer organization focused on serving the kids, so we try to, especially at this level, teach the skills of the game, the rules of the game. We want them to win, but it’s not about only winning,” said David Luchtel, the president of the Falls Little League who, in addition to being the man in charge, also coaches and umpires in the league as well.
Falls last weekend hosted a tournament featuring top teams from the Majors’ division of 11 and 12 year old boys from all three Valley leagues: Falls, comprising Fall City and Snoqualmie Ridge; Snoqualmie Valley, which includes the rest of Snoqualmie and North Bend, and Sno-Valley North, which encompasses Carnation and Duvall. Among the teams competing for the title was the Falls league’s Phillies, and one of their top players, Harrison Danna, says that his team approached each game with three things in mind. "I think it’s having fun, being focused, and making sure you cheer on your teammates through everything,” Danna said.
His coach, veteran Little League coach Mike Gillespie, says Little League teaches kids another important lesson. “Little League, in my opinion, just like any other sport, really teaches the kids how to deal with adversity,” Gillespie said.
Another goal of Little League is teaching players how to work together with others. "It teaches kids about camaraderie, getting along with maybe other members of the team that maybe they don’t have a lot in common with, and, at the end of the day, we want to see them have fun,” Gillespie said. And team parent Chris Weldon is pleased with that aspect of things. "As a parent, that really encourages me because that's part of life, working together as a team, and whatever you do in life, you’ve got to work with other people,” Weldon said.
Weldon, who indicated his son plays multiple sports, hopes he will enjoy the experience. "I just expect him to enjoy any sport that he plays,” Weldon said.
Money that has been raised by the leagues has helped make things better for the kids. For starters, Aldarra Field, the Falls league’s home complex outside of Fall City, now includes a batting cage. "It’s things like that that help enhance the playing experience,” Luchtel said. Danna thinks having that cage is important. "I think that the cage prepares you for the pitchers that you will be facing on the field,” Danna said.
One thing is clear. “Little League is all about the kids,” Luchtel said.