BRISTOL, CT -- For the four participating Major Division (ages 11-12) teams in this year's State of Connecticut Little League Softball Tournament at Rockwell Park, the drive to succeed has never been greater.
Unlike previous years, there is a VERY special reward awaiting the soon-to-be state champions courtesy of Little League Baseball and Softball Inc. headquarters in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
With the expansion of the youth softball field to include the New England and Mid-Atlantic regionals July 23-28 at the A. Bartlett Giamatti Little League Leadership Training Center in the same city they will be competing in this Wednesday through Sunday (July 13-16), the Connecticut champion will be in the spotlight like never before.
Once the dust settled from the recent sectional diamond doings across the state, the foursome of Milford (Section 1), Wallingford (Section 2), East Haddam-Moodus/Guilford (Section 3) and Preston/Jewett City (Section 4) find themselves on the doorstep of advancement to national television coverage (ESPN+) as this state's representative in the New England Region.
The Connecticut finalist will join the state champions from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont in the New England grouping from which will emerge the team that will advance to the 2022 Little League Softball® World Series at Stallings Stadium in Greenville, North Carolina.
At the New England regional competition, Connecticut will open play on Friday, July 23 at 4 p.m. against Rhode Island.
At the very least, the state finalists get to showcase their skills as members of the four best girls' 12U softball squads in Connecticut when they take the field this week in Bristol.
But first things first.
The state tournament schedule is as follows (note that one of the games on Wednesday is at Greenleaf Park):
Wednesday, July 13
Game 1: Milford (Sec. 1 champion) vs. Wallingford (Sec. 2 champion), 5:30 p.m.
Game 2: East Haddam-Moodus/Guilford (Sec. 3 champ) vs. Preston/Jewett City (Sec. 4 champ) , 5:30 p.m., Greenleaf Park
Thursday, July 14
Game 3: Winner game 1 vs. winner game 2, 5:30 p.m.
Game 4: Loser game 1 vs. loser game 2, 8 p.m.
Friday, July 15
Game 5: Winner game 4 vs. loser game 3, 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 16
Championship: Winner game 3 vs. winner game 5, 11 a.m.
Sunday, July 17
Championship: Winner game 3 vs. winner game 5, if necessary, 1 p.m.