ARLINGTON — Stilly Valley Little League’s Junior All-Star team is heading to the state championships on July 20 in Medical Lake, Wash.
“So far this has been an awesome experience,” said head manager Doug Kindred. “This is a great bunch of kids. They come from great families. They listen, they try and if they don’t get it, they try again. They give honest effort all the time and they are not afraid to make a mistake. They know that when you make a mistake, you learn from it and you move on.”
The team took first place in the district championships against Marysville’s All-Stars on July 7.
“They showed a lot of maturity and poise,” said Kindred. “They attacked the pitches that they liked, they really took control of the game and they gave tremendous effort. When you put forth effort, good things happen. We had some really good key hits, from top to bottom.”
During the district championship game, it was clear that the players were ready to win.
“During the game you could feel the excitement. They seized the moment. They had fun. When we got that last out, it was like you could breathe again,” said Kindred. “They were all smiles, you know. It was paid in full seeing those smiles.”
Colby Buechel, 14, is in his first year playing for Stilly Valley, and was excited to be chosen as an All-Star.
“I was kind of nervous during the game, but I knew we could win,” he said. “I went to state last year for South Skagit and it was scary. We came in like ninth or eighth out of 10. I am hoping we are going all the way to regionals this time. I think we can do it.”
Avery Kindred has played for Stilly Valley for six years, and is ready to move on to state and travel further than previous years.
“It was more of a ‘We’re back’ kind of feeling,” he said, of winning the district tournament. “We’ve done this before and now we have to go finish the job, because we left a lot out there at state last year.”
Doug Kindred said that the district victory was due to the effort of each and every player.
“It’s a team effort and it takes all. The coaches keep stats for us to work on with the kids and everyone did their job the way they were supposed to,” he said. “We brought specific kids on for specific roles. They accepted roles and excelled at it. If one of these kids weren’t here, we wouldn’t have had the success that we did.”
The first state championship tournament game is set for Saturday, July 20, at Medical Lake High School, just west of Spokane. The team is looking for donations to help cover travel costs. If interested, visit http://www.gofundme.com/3kbono to donate.