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Stilly Valley heads to regionals
ARLINGTON — A successful Stilly Valley Little League season was made even better when the Stilly Valley Seniors won the state championship on July 22 and set off to play at Western Regionals in San Bernadino, Calif. on Aug. 1 — the first regional tournament for the league in more than 20 years.
“We won the district championship against Mill Creek and then the state tournament in Mount Vernon,” said coach Gary Tallman. “We ended up losing against Richmond and then beating Redmond 7-1, to get to the championship game, but we had to beat Richmond twice and we did.”
The team beat Richmond 7-2 in the first game and 3-1 in the second game, to take the state championship victory. “Tristan Jager pitched extremely well that game,” said Tallman of the first championship game on July 22. “Drew Earnheart pitched the second game and did a great job. We were lucky because we got rained out on Friday, so they gave us all of our pitchers back for Saturday and Sunday.”
Their success at the state championship sent them to California for regionals, and also a shot at the Little League World Series. “This is the first time since 1991 that Stilly Valley has been to regionals and it’s really an exciting time,” said Tallman. “We are just going to go out there and play our best and see how far we can get. Somebody’s got to win this thing, why not us? No matter what happens, I am just so proud of this team.”
Part of the team’s success in Mount Vernon can be attributed to community support, said Tallman. “The fans that came out to support us were amazing,” he said. “We’ve been doing fundraisers and all the people who have donated are helping out this team. Everyone is so excited and they are pulling for us to win.”
Tallman also noted that the team’s success was due to the coaches dedication. “Jerry Stillings and Gary Wiseman are some of the best coaches around,” he said. “And Lorie Stillings has been the team mom for the entire year. We can’t do any of this without her.”
The Stilly Valley Seniors play their first regional game at 6 p.m. on Aug. 1. If they win the tournament, they head to the Little League World Series in Bangor, Maine on Aug. 12-18.