Verde Valley Little League won the District 10 8-9-10 Baseball All-Stars tournament and did so in dominant fashion.
Verde Valley defended their home turf, going 4-0 in the double elimination Minors tournament at Riverfront Park in Cottonwood.
“It was great, it was only my second year coaching the All-Star Team,” head coach Brandon Wacker said. “Last year we ended up third place and so this year to win it was pretty exciting and we did it undefeated. The boys were super excited and played hard and never gave up.”
Wacker said assistant coaches Bob Alred and Aaron Scott were integral parts of the championship team.
Verde Valley opened the tournament with a 14-5 win over Prescott Valley. Then they beat Prescott 18-3 in their second game.
Against Williams they won 18-8 and they won the championship game 9-7.
VVLL advances to the state tournament July 12-25 in Tucson. Verde Valley’s first game is on July 14.
VVLL has a bye in the first round and will face the winner of District 11 (eastern Arizona) and District 9 (northwestern Arizona). The state tournament is also double elimination, between 14 teams. District 3 (Phoenix) is the other team with a bye.
Last year the Verde Valley 9-10 champions, also coached by Wacker, won the District 10 Tournament of Champions. There are five or six players on the 2018 All-Star team from that side.
“Those five or six I personally coached for at least two years if not three, so that’s definitely a benefit, that helps us work together as a team and builds a team and all that,” Wacker said.
The All-Star team featured four 10 year olds who played in the Majors and the rest were from four Verde Valley Minors teams.
Although they only had a week and a half before the tournament once the team was picked, Wacker said the coaches knew they has something special after the first practice.
VVLL’s offense shined during the tournament, though it took about half the championship game for their bats to warm up.
“The championship game was the closest one and the one that got real scary for a little bit, Wacker said. “The kids made some great plays on defense but the greatest things are our bats. Our bats were hot, we hit really good Saturday it was slow to start but they ended up coming alive. But it was a good tournament, we scored a lot of runs through out the tournament.”
Last year the Minors All-Star district tournament was at Williams. Verde Valley took third.
With the tournament at home, VVLL didn’t have to hit I-17 as they normally would.
“It was really nice to be home, with our home field and what we’re used to and all that,” Wacker said. “That was very nice and convenient. We’re heading to Tucson now.”
In order to help cover things like field costs, food costs and hotel costs, they are holding fundraisers. They will have a car wash on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at parking lot of Northern Arizona Rehabilitation, 480 S. Willard St.
They’re also putting together a raffle and donations are much appreciated.
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