Jeff Wallace has been president of Maryville Little League for longer than he can remember, and he’s never heard of anything like it.
Prior this summer, it wasn’t even possible.
Little League-sanctioned state softball tournaments are underway this week, and, in every age group excepting Big League, Maryville has sent an All-Star team representative to each and every one of them.
From the 7-8-year-old team in Pulaski to the 15-16-year-old Senior Leaguers in Athens, it’s a rare coup to capture all five District 6 championships in one summer, Wallace said. Maryville doesn’t field a Big League division for high school juniors and seniors. Most have moved on to the travel ball route in the summer by that point.
For the age groups below, area Little Leagues are seeing a resurgence, Wallace said. In sending all five of its teams to state at the same time, Maryville simply tapped into that growing interest at just the right time.
“We’ve always had a lot of teams go to state,” Wallace said. “The biggest thing (this year) is we’re getting more kids. Our numbers are up. We’re over 1,000 (registered players) now.”
The increased turnout led to the addition of the Senior League division at Maryville this summer.
“I think it’s just people wanting to get back to Little League and not wanting to travel,” Wallace said.
Maryville is currently playing host to the 11-12-year-old state tournament this week. The 9s and 10s traveled to Newport for state, with the 13-14 team joining Maryville’s youngest All-Stars in Pulaski. All five teams gathered for a photo at the Maryville Little League park last weekend to document the big occasion.
It’s feels good to be a part of history, 7-8-year-old All-Star Heather Robinson said. After learning she’d been selected to the team after league play, “I didn’t stop talking about it for two weeks until we got started,” she said.