It’s quite the accomplishment, and in Greg Hadden’s six years with St. Joe’s Little League, he’s never seen it happen.
Five of the league’s baseball teams each recently won Little League District 10 championships.
“It’s really amazing that one area can accomplish this,” said Hadden, who is league vice president and coaches the 12-year-olds. “I don’t ever remember anything like this. We’ve had quite a few turnarounds. We had a lot in girls softball last year, but nothing like this.”
St. Joe’s 10-, 11-, 12-, 13- and 15-under teams are all District 10 champions in leagues that range from 11 to 15 teams from the Fort Wayne and surrounding area.
Three of the five District 10 teams have already advanced through sectional play and earned state tournament berths. The 10U, 11U and 13U teams will play in South Bend, Terre Haute and East Chicago, respectively, beginning Thursday.
The 12- and 15-year-olds are still in sectional play.
So why is St. Joe’s Little League enjoying so much success this season?
“We’ve got a talented group of kids,” Hadden said. “My 12-year-olds alone, 10 of them have been playing together since they were 9- and 10-year-olds. That’s where you start.”
For most of the kids 12 and under, development is about repetition and thus familiarity with the game. Hadden said he and other coaches take Little Leaguers to Indianapolis indoor tournaments during the winter to hone their skills.
“The more you play, the better you get,” he said. “We want to stay together as a team.”
Staying and playing together seems to have paid off.