GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The Little League Softball World Series is underway in Stallings Stadium at Elm Street Park. After a one-year pause, the World Series finally puts Greenville on the national stage. COVID-19 forced the event to be postponed in 2020, making a much sweeter first pitch for all of those in attendance on Wednesday.
10 different states are represented on 10 teams. From the competition to travel plans, people tell 9OYS that this gathering has been a long time in the making.
Dustin Watters and his family explained to us that they took a red-eye flight out of Las Vegas, Nevada to make it on time for his daughter’s game.
“Leaving Vegas at 12:30 in the morning is quite an adventure, especially with three boys,” explained Watters. “Our daughter has been here with the team since Sunday. So, it was kind of an interesting flight to say the least, leaving Las Vegas at that hour. We flew into Charlotte and took a regional flight over here to Greenville.”
Caroline Watters, his daughter, plays for the Summerlin All-Star team, representing the state of Nevada. She and her teammates are the first team in the state’s history to make it to the Little League World Series.
“We’re hoping for a good time and to be able to compete, make it through the bracket, and see how far these girls can go. We have a special group of young ladies that have been working really hard all summer,” said Watters. “This is the first team from Nevada to make it to the Little League Softball World Series and we are proud to support Summerlin South and the city of Las Vegas!”
Caroline’s younger brother, Dalton, grew a big smile on his face when he was asked what it is like to support his sister.
“It means the world to me, just to be here and support her,” said Dalton Watters.
Many of the teams playing in the World Series have the same storyline: learning how to grow through limited activity in 2020 and practice as much as they could.
“It’s been quite a whirlwind. You know, not getting a lot of activity last year, playing ball in the backyard and playing catch as much as we could,” said Dustin Watters. “Getting back into it full force with all of the girls, it has been an unbelievable and magical summer.”
Christy Davison, a mother from Oklahoma, explained to us how excitement is building as they patiently waited to watch her daughter, Alexis, play at this level.
“She is so excited! She’s grateful to be here and just beyond the excitement to be here in general,” said Davison. “It’s a blessing. The more and more we walk through each day, I am just in awe that they are getting to experience this. It’s amazing.”
The first game of the opening day of play at the Little League Softball World Series featured Virginia v. Missouri at 10:00 a.m., followed by New Jersey v. Oklahoma at 1:00 p.m., Indiana v. North Carolina at 4:00 p.m., and New York v. Arizona at 7:00 p.m.
When asked about the experience of being in Greenville, many fans from the west coast shared the same view towards the North Carolina heat.
“It’s a different kind of heat,” laughed Dalton Watters. “We are used to a little but dryer heat, so the humidity is something to get used to. But, you know, we’ll get used to it by the end of the week and it will be an acquired taste, I’m sure!”
No local team will represent Eastern North Carolina in the tournament, but fans are still encouraged to visit the park to enjoy some softball. You must have a team pass to enter the stadium, however there is general admission seating available outside of the park.
The games run Wednesday, August 11 through Wednesday, August 18.