Back to the Diamond in 2021

 [Guest post by Mike Tenhulzen, President, Falls Little League, and Pete Morisseau, President, Snoqualmie Valley Little League.  Volunteers working to ensure Snoqualmie Valley youth have a great Little League experience]

As the calendar moves toward the New Year, youth in Snoqualmie Valley can secure their spot on a baseball or softball roster for the upcoming Spring season of Little League®.  Whether you live as far west as Ames Lake, through Fall City, from Snoqualmie Ridge or east into North Bend, between Falls Little League (Falls LL) and Snoqualmie Valley Little League (SVLL), there is a home for Snoqualmie Valley youth from ages 4-15 to learn the game, compete with and against friends, grow from challenges, and have fun out on the diamond.   

As was the case with just about everything in our daily lives, the impacts of COVID-19 had a drastic effect on the Little League Season in 2020. Unfortunately, after evaluating modified a season structure, county guidance, and more, by mid-May, both Falls and SVLL made the very difficult to cancel the 2020 Little League season. 

While challenges remain, both leagues (Falls LL and Snoqualmie Valley LL) continue to work collaboratively for a safe return to play process.  The league volunteers look forward to having your families join us in our efforts to get our kids playing again.  #2021BackToTheDiamond.  

Importance of Little League® in Snoqualmie Valley

Time spent on the diamond offers a wide variety of value to Snoqualmie Valley Youth.  It’s about learning and playing a game for some players whose parents or grandparents have fond memories.  For others, time on a Little League® team is an opportunity to be active with neighbors and classmates.  Mount Si High School Baseball Head Coach Brent Lutz expressed, “Falls & SVLL Little Leagues play a key role in our community providing opportunities for kids to build lifetime memories and friendships. Baseball and Softball teach teamwork, patience, and accountability.  I truly believe the life lessons learned playing baseball and softball to prepare our leaders for the future.  Many of our high school player’s fondest memories are from their Little League experience.” 

Looking down the road beyond Little League, for some players, Little League is one of the many steps involved with growing a passion for the game and setting them on the path of playing either baseball or softball at the High School level.  Liam Christensen grew up playing Little League from 2011-2017 and is now involved with the Mount Si High School program shared, “Little League Baseball means everything to me.  It taught me how to love the game of baseball and started me on my journey to playing high school and summer baseball. Without Little League, I would not be where I am today.”

What’s The Difference between Falls and SVLL

Often, people new to Snoqualmie Valley or with kids who are starting in Little League ask the question, “What’s the difference between Falls LL and Snoqualmie Valley LL”? 

Little League ® International (our governing body) defines league boundaries for all leagues across the United States. They play an essential role by maintaining parity and ensuring that Little League remains a community-based program. All participants at every level in a local league must either reside or attend school within the league’s boundary. 

Before the Valley’s population growth, the league boundaries were combined and even extended North towards Carnation and Duvall.  Over the years, Falls LL and Snoqualmie Valley LL eventually separated to form two leagues.  While some Valley regions’ boundary lines do cause challenges to which league you should sign up for, there is a home for your Little League player no matter where you live. 

The easiest way to determine your home league is by using the Little League Finder Tool:  https://www.littleleague.org/play-little-league/league-finder/

While each league operates separately with different volunteer Boards, both leagues work together annually for alignment with schedules, interlock game rules for the older division of play, and even the Annual Valley Baseball End of Season Tournament. 

Why Community-Based Programs Are Needed

Even though the world of Club sports grows and evolves every season for baseball and softball, that does not take away from the essential need and value the Little League experience provides to our youth.  Little League offers a very affordable path to have your son or daughter out there playing. Much of this is attributed to league operations. Coaching is 100% supported by league volunteers – volunteers who offer their time to provide an opportunity for our local kids to stay local and grow up playing baseball or softball. 

Scott Birrell, resident and 17+ year volunteer with Falls LL, who started volunteering as a scorekeeper on his son’s team and then joined the board recently shared, “The league provides an education for children that is a valuable complement to the school curriculum in so many ways including team commitment, good sportsmanship, learning baseball or softball and it provides a good source of outdoor exercise so much more needed in today’s world of video games, streaming and more.”

Current Mount Si High School Softball Coach Kelli Duvall shared her thoughts.  “I have experienced firsthand the impact Little League programs have had on softball players in the Snoqualmie Valley. The opportunity to play and grow with one another, develop lifelong skills, and build camaraderie and a sense of pride for the community benefit these local programs. Growing up in the valley with the Little League programs helped shape me into a better all-around softball player and teammate.  Volunteer coaches gave me tools and skills to be a leader and active community member on and off the field, which built a foundation for me to play successfully at the high school and collegiate level. Now in my role as the Head Softball coach at the high school, I feel the Little League programs will have a strong impact in building a solid foundation for the success of future athletes in Snoqualmie.”

Ready for 2021

Falls LL and Snoqualmie Valley LL volunteers are excited and looking forward to a great player registration turnout for the 2021 season, from returning families and new players at all age levels.  “Little league is about so much more than players on a field – it is about helping our children learn to socialize, teaching them to respond to failure, and helping them build confidence. Little league is a place where lifelong friends meet and grow closer. For us to continue to provide these benefits to the community, we need your commitment to join us in 2021,” said SVLL League President Pete Morisseau.

On the other side of the valley, Falls LL President Mike Tenhulzen expressed, “We are excited to provide programs available to kids and help them experience playing this game whether Baseball or Softball.  These community-based sports programs are vital to keeping our youth engaged, learning how to overcome challenges, and having fun with a group of teammates.  Don’t miss out; register today. Let’s get back to seeing our kids playing youth sports.”

Step-up to the plate and join us in 2021.  All registration details can be found below, or reach out directly to each league for questions.    

Visit fallsll.org for Registration and Program News – access here 

Visit svll.net for Registration and Program News – access here 

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