Soldotna Little League State Champions celebrate their title a recent awards ceremony.
Little League Baseball competition in Alaska is fierce. Communities from Anchorage to Juneau and Fairbanks to Matsu actively support Little League programs, and on the Kenai Peninsula parents and local businesses have actively supported Little League teams for our kids for many decades. The Soldotna Little League Park is a testimony to a community that believes baseball teaches youth values that produce character traits that last a lifetime. So when you hear that the Soldotna Little League 9to 10 year olds have claimed their second State Championship in three years, it is a huge accomplishment and speaks volumes about the quality of youth in our community and the families that support them.
Last week it was trophy and banner time for the Soldotna Little Leaguers and an opportunity for coaches Brian Miller and Mark Fowler to honor the team that brought high honor to their community, “The trophies and banners are nice, but what is even better is the determination and spirit you showed during the championship game,” said Miller, “When things didn’t go our way you didn’t quit or get mad and complain, you just dug deeper and played harder, you never gave up and that’s why you are champions.” Coach Fowler agreed with Miller saying that what he has heard most from parents of the other teams is not about the great hitting and catching of the team, but about their sportsmanship, “They tell me we really know how to grow kids on the Peninsula,” said Fowler.
Miller has been involved with Soldotna Little League for more than ten years but this was the first year for him to be head coach, “It was extremely rewarding. These kids did a great job this year, Mark Fowler and I just happened to end up with a lot of talent from the league this year and they came through with a big win,” said Miller. Miller’s son Zane pitched and played shortstop for the team this year but says he never felt the team had it in the bag, “I never thought we had the game locked up, you always have to try 100% and Abbott O’Rabbit is always a tough team but we just ended up coming out on top,” said Zane. Millers teammates Colton Young and Noah Miller will be moving on next year to the 11 and 12 year olds, but feel next year’s 9 and 10-year-old team will have a great chance of retaining the championship next year.
Coach Miller added that the kids really did it all on their own and deserved all the credit for earning the title, but he also applauded the community effort that supports the Soldotna Little League program, “It’s a big advantage to have the type of community support we have here, we have a great board that donates a lot of time out of their summer days to make sure the kids have a safe and good place to play the game and that doesn’t happen without a lot of hard work,” said Miller.
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