Pendleton to host Junior League softball regional


PENDLETON — A World Series champion could soon be coming through Pendleton.

Pendleton Heights High School will be the home this weekend for Little League’s 2019 Junior League Softball Central Regional.

Eight teams — one each from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin — will play beginning Friday for one of six U.S. spots in the Junior League Softball World Series.

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The regional tournament championship is scheduled for Monday, July 22.

The world series is set for July 28-Aug. 3 in Kirkland, Washington. It will include teams from Latin America (2), Asia-Pacific (2), Europe-Africa and Canada regions. The championship is Aug. 3 and will be televised on ESPN2.

The tournament is for girls ages 13-14.

Don Mason, assistant administrator and Umpire in Chief for District 6, works in Pendleton and said when the site became open, he and District 6 Administrator Jim Kemp thought Pendleton would be a great home, though the Pendleton Junior Softball League is not sanctioned by Little League.

The regional tournament most recently took place in South Holland, Illinois. Mason said there was also a bid four years ago for District 6 and Pendleton to play host.

This time, “when the tournament became open, Pendleton rose to the top as an option,” Mason said.

He said the help of corporate sponsorship and committed volunteers aided in Pendleton to get the bid.

Pendleton Heights and District 6 have a one-year agreement, and both sides will discuss future years after the tournament. District 6 is the permanent home for the Central Regional unless the district or Little League desire a change.

“We have been very pleased with the support and partnership of (Pendleton Heights High School head softball coach) Rob Davis, (Athletic Director) Chad Smith and the school,” Mason said.

South Madison Community School Corp. administration approved the high school as a site for the tournament, and Davis was honored to show off the program’s accommodations.

“With eight states coming in, this is a great chance to showcase our facility,” Davis said.

The coach added that the upkeep of the grounds are a high priority of the coaching staff, players and parents.

“We take a lot of pride in how our facility looks,” Davis said. “Everybody (with the school) was on board. I think (Don Mason) knew how hard we work to keep the facility the way it is.”

Two fields will be used during the first two days of the tournament. The main high school field will be the only diamond used on Sunday and Monday.

Mason added that Pendleton checked the boxes when it comes to what they are looking for in a host site.

“(Like most Little League sites), Pendleton is a small town. Little league is about community, and Pendleton is about community, too,” Mason said. “You’d be hard-pressed to find a better facility in the area.”

Tournament action begins Friday with opening ceremonies at 12:15 p.m. Game action begins at 2 p.m. with Ohio taking on Iowa. At 3 p.m., Missouri plays Wisconsin. The 4 p.m. contest pits Kentucky against Michigan. Indiana, represented by Zionsville Little League, which won the state tournament Sunday, July 14, takes on Illinois at 5 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday action begins at 10 a.m. Monday’s championship is slated for 11 a.m.

There is free admission to all games.

Other regional locations in the U.S. are Orange, Connecticutt. (East), Salisbury, North Carolina. (Southeast), Isleta, New Mexixo. (Southwest), Tucson, Arizona. (West) and Mercer Island, Washsington (Washington, District 9).

Fans can find out more about the regional, along with getting scores and stats this weekend at

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