Little League: West Side looks to continue district dominance


District 9 Tournament Schedule

Here is the schedule for the double-elimination District 9 Little League 12-year-old baseball tournament at Colonial Park East in Lebanon, located at 525 Monroe Road:

Saturday, July 2

Game 1 – Loveland vs. Hamilton Fairfield, 4 p.m.

Game 2 – Hamilton West Side vs. Lebanon, 4 p.m.

Game 3 – West Chester vs. Miami, 6 p.m.

Game 4 – Mason vs. Anderson Township, 6 p.m.

Monday, July 4

Game 5 – Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 4 p.m.

Game 6 – Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 4 p.m.

Game 7 – Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 6 p.m.

Game 8 – Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 6 p.m.

Tuesday, July 5

Game 9 – Game 7 winner vs. Game 6 loser, 6:30 p.m.

Game 10 – Game 8 winner vs. Game 5 loser, 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 6

Game 12 – Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner, 8:30 p.m.

Winners’ Bracket Final

Game 11 – Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 7

Losers’ Bracket Final

Game 13 – Game 12 winner vs. Game 11 loser, 7 p.m.

Friday, July 8

Championship

Game 14 – Game 11 winner vs. Game 13 winner, 6:30 p.m.

Game 15 — Game 14 winner vs. Game 14 loser, 8:30 p.m. (only if both teams have one loss)

The venue may be new, but chances are the District 9 12-year-old Little League District tournament will end the same as every other one has.

With Hamilton West Side Little League on top.

A West Side team has won the district tournament every year since it started in 1985.

West Side claimed the title over Miami 20-2 last year at West Side. This year’s tournament is at Colonial Park East, home of Lebanon Little League.

“I think our park is the prettiest park around,” Hamilton manager Tim Nichting said. “But we’ll go over there and see what we can do.”

The district tournament, normally a 10-team field, has been reduced to eight teams and caused the schedule to be shuffled.

After a Saturday kickoff to the tournament, every team will be off Sunday before returning to action on Monday.

“I don’t know what it is,” Nichting said. “I don’t know if it’s travel ball or soccer or Nintendo, for some reason kids aren’t playing like they used to,” Nichting said. “We have some areas that aren’t thriving at all with their numbers.”

West Side has never had problems with numbers.

Nor with players focusing on the goal of advancing to the Little League World Series in Williamsport.

Nichting’s current charges didn’t win the district tournament as 10-year-olds, but did win it last year before going 2-2 at the state tournament.

The 12-year-old team last year advanced to the semifinals Great Lakes Regional tournament in Indianapolis before falling just short of a World Series berth.

“they understand last year the team lost in the regional semis and they want to make up for that,” Nichting said. “They want to do whatever it takes to get on ESPN and I think that is what they look for is to be on ESPN like the team last year was.”

To get to that level, West Side has to work its way through a tournament road which begins at 4 p.m. Saturday against host Lebanon.

It will be the first test as the group gets used to their third manager in three years and Nichting gets used to a new group of players.

“It is better to have them as 11s as well because it takes them awhile to get used to where we are coming from,” he said. “We have a couple of kids who throw pretty good, but we are learning them like they are learning us. We have been working hard in practice, but it’s not the same as a game, but I think we’ll be alright.

“We’ve got some work to do, but if someone is going to beat us they will have their hands full.”

In addition to West Side and Lebanon, the district field also includes teams from Hamilton Fairfield, West Chester, Miami, Mason, Anderson Township and Loveland.