By Jane Hudson
Teams of Little League All-Stars from eight states will be in Greenville over the next two weeks to participate in the annual Tournaments of State Champions.
Teams from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina will compete in the games at Greenville's Stallings Field at Elm Street Park, 1055 Elm St. Each of the participating teams earned a berth in the tournament by wining their respective state titles.
The Tournament of State Champions for players ages 8-10 will be held July 21-26. It's the fourth year the competition has been held in Greenville. The Greenville Tar Heel All-Stars are state champions and are representing North Carolina in the TOSC.
The tournament for players ages 9-11 will be held July 28-Aug. 2. It's been held in Greenville each year since it began in 2010. Teams for the 9-11 year old TOSC Tournament have yet to be determined.
"Greenville is the premier destination for Little League all-star tournaments in North Carolina," the TOSC website says. "Based on the overwhelmingly positive reviews visitors gave Greenville and Elm Street Park in 2016 and previous years, a high standard has been established that we hope to maintain. Our commitment is to host the finest state tournament that North Carolina has ever seen and to keep the Tournaments of State Champions as two of the finest Little League tournaments in the entire country.
"Having these tournaments at Elm Street Park ensures that the players' and spectators' experiences will be second to none."
Greenville Little League All-Star plays in the Tournament of State Champions at Elm Street Park in July 2016. (Photo by 252Buzz)
Elm Street Park opened in 1951, and its Little League field is a Greenville gem.
The infield is 419 Bermuda grass that's mowed 4-6 times a week at a height of 1 inch.
The outfield is common Bermuda grass mowed to a height of 1.5 inches. The infield clay is top-dressed with calcinated clay and "is meticulously maintained daily virtually the entire year," the TOSC website says.
The Elm Street Park facilities have undergone a number of additions and improvements in recent years, including an updated scoreboard and lighting system and the construction of Stallings Stadium, a brick grandstand with 234 chair-back seats. The park also can accommodate 400 spectators in the right field bleacher seating, and there's a viewing deck for handicapped seating, standing room and lawn chair seating.
"Nearly 1,000 people can comfortably view the game, making it the most spectator-friendly Little League field in the state," the TOSC website notes.
Temporary flagpoles, which are set out only for postseason tournaments, will display the state flag of each of the teams participating in the TOSC.
"Greenville Little Leagues is proud to be host for these prestigious events this year," the TOSC website notes. "Our corps of volunteers are dedicated and passionate about giving each Little League player from throughout North Carolina and the Southeast the experience of a lifetime.
"Our reward is seeing each youngster's face light up when they see Elm Street Park and Stallings Stadium for the first time."
Greenville All-Stars celebrate during the 2016 Little League Tournament of State Champions at Elm Street Park. (Photo by 252Buzz)
The 8- to 10-year-old TOSC begins Friday, July 21 with an opening ceremony, barbecue dinner for players and families provided by Greenville Little League, and a players skills contest. Tournament games begin Saturday, July 22.
Tournament director is Brian Weingartz.
There is no admission fee to attend the TOSC games. Concessions, including hot food and snacks, are available, along with souvenirs and official programs. All TOSC games will be broadcast on the Internet, with an announcer; visit www.toscgreenvillenc.com and click on "Live Video".
For a complete schedule of the tournament or more details, visit the website or TOSC Facebook page.
Teams participating in the 8- to 10-year old TOSC:
Alabama - Ladonia LL of Phenix City, Ala.
Florida - San Carlos LL of Fort Myers, Fla.
Georgia - Northern LL of Columbus, Ga.
North Carolina - Tar Heel LL of Greenville, NC
South Carolina - Northwood LL of Taylors, SC
Tennessee - Tullahoma LL of Tullahoma, Tenn.
Virginia - Vienna American LL of Vienna, Va.
West Virginia - Barboursville LL of Barboursville, W.Va.
Games scheduled for Saturday, July 22:
10:00 a.m. -- Tournament Game 1 South Carolina vs. Florida
12:45 p.m. -- Tournament Game 2 Virginia vs. Tennessee
3:30 p.m. -- Tournament Game 3 North Carolina vs. Georgia
6:15 p.m. -- Tournament Game 4 West Virginia vs. Alabama