When trying to make a deep run in the playoffs, it doesn’t matter if it’s the major leagues or little league, good pitching is needed if a team hopes to make it far.
“I consider ourselves to have a deep pitching staff,” Pine Bluff Western Little League manager Andy Crossett said. “We have lots of kids that can throw. We have some left-handers and right-handers that can throw.”
PB Western will begin their tournament run on Friday at the White Hall City Park when they face Union County in the Little League state tournament beginning at 8 p.m.
“We are going to spend the next couple of days going over things we did wrong in the district tournament,” Crossett said on Tuesday.
“… We didn’t communicate very well on the field, so we got to get that cleared up. And if we do that, I think we will be okay.”
Western won the 11- and 12-year-old District 3 championship last week.
“It meant a lot to us,” Crossett said. “I’ve got eight 11-year-olds, so they are a real young bunch.
“It meant a lot to these kids, going up against older kids that are bigger than them and beating them.”
Western defeated White Hall 6-5 in the championship game.
“I think our pitching stood up in that game,” Crossett said. “I have a real young team for the most part, but I do have five 12-year-olds.
“They have really become the leaders of this team.”
Despite winning the district, Crossett said his team still “got a tough draw in the bracket.”
“It was very surprising,” Crossett said. “I’ve never seen it before. Where a No. 1 seed out of a district has not gotten a bye, when the No. 2 seed has.”
But he said his team wasn’t too worried about it.
“It really don’t matter to my players,” Crossett said. “… After that 6-5 victory, we have bonded together real well.
“We’ve got a real strong team.”
Crossett has been in and out of coaching for 20 years but has coached at almost every level of youth baseball.
“If I didn’t coach, I don’t know what I would do,” Crossett said.
Meanwhile, the city of White Hall has been spending the week preparing for the five-day tournament.
“A lot of parents have come in and help rebuild our bleachers and made sure they are good and clean,” White Hall LL president Mandi Cross said. “… We are looking forward to it.”
Both Simmons Bank and Relyance Bank donated two new scoreboards for the park, while Delta Heritage Bank donated two new soundboards.
According to Cross, White Hall mayor Noel Foster and the newly opened Chenshaw Water Park have donated passes for the park.
“We also have several local businesses who have donated goodies for the coaches and several that will be hosting our hospitality room each night,” Cross said.
Cross said she is expecting a fairly large crowd this weekend.
“I can’t say enough good things about the community of White Hall and the many people who have volunteered to help White Hall Little League succeed in all our endeavors,” Cross said.
White Hall hosted a state tournament in 2012 as well.
“One thing I learned from doing this two years ago, is that the community of White Hall is willing to pull together and help in any way they can,” Cross said.
The White Hall LL team, who finished runner-up in the district, will play the winner of Piggot/Rosston on Saturday beginning at 7 p.m.
“I think it means a lot (to host the tournament),” Cross said. “It brings the community together.”