‘With dignity and class’; Community celebrates Junior League Softball World Series champs; photo gallery

Members of the Snow Canyon Little League Softball team arrive to a celebration in their honor on a fire engine, Santa Clara, Utah, Aug. 6, 2018 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

SANTA CLARA — Hundreds of community members gathered at Santa Clara City Hall Monday night to celebrate the Snow Canyon Little League softball team’s Junior League Softball World Series win.

Read more: Snow Canyon stifles Texas to win Junior League Softball World Series

Coaches and girls arrived to the celebration on fire trucks and were greeted by a throng of parents, friends and supporters from throughout Washington County.

Hundreds of supporters gather in front of Santa Clara City Hall to greet the coaches and players as they arrive to a celebration honoring the Snow Canyon Little League softball team’s Junior World Series Championship win, Santa Clara, Utah, Aug. 6, 2018 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

The girls went undefeated in state, region and world series play to become world champions in the final game that was broadcast on ESPNews Saturday.

According to a previous St. George News report, the week long Junior League Softball World Series tournament featured a total of 10 teams of girls age 14 and under, including four international squads, playing four days of pool play, followed by a single-elimination championship bracket Thursday through Saturday.

With Snow Canyon’s 8-6 semifinal win over Italy on Friday, they became the first Utah team to advance to the finals in the tournament’s 20-year history. The high-scoring Snow Canyon team collectively outscored its opponents 69-17 as it went 7-0 through the seven-day World Series tournament in Kirkland, Washington.

“It was awesome, they didn’t lose one game,” said Sue Gates, Snow Canyon Little League Softball president.

Gates said she and her daughter flew to Kirkland and back Saturday just so they could watch the game in person. It is a level of dedication that might seem crazy anywhere else, but for Santa Clara, it is simply indicative of the passion the small city and its surrounding cities have for little league.

On any given day in almost every kind of weather, girls and boys can be seen taking to one of the many ball fields from the three cities where players from the Snow Canyon team hail: Ivins, Santa Clara and a portion of St. George.

Passionate parents bring umbrellas, easy-ups and coolers and spend hours sitting at the fields encouraging, supporting and cheering on their kids. It’s just what the community does.

Members of the Snow Canyon Little League softball team arrive to a celebration in their honor on a fire engine, Santa Clara, Utah, Aug. 6, 2018 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

What else could be expected from an area that has a street named Little League Drive?

By the end of Saturday, news of the Snow Canyon team’s championship had spread throughout the neighborhood grapevine, then social media, prompting the organization of Monday’s celebration.

By Sunday, leaders of congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were congratulating the girls, their parents and coaches from the pulpit for the amazing way in which the young girls represented their community, their state and their region.

Those sentiments were echoed at Monday’s celebration.

“These are girls that have represented our community with dignity and class,” said Ben Shakespeare, Santa Clara City Councilman and Snow Canyon Little League president. “That’s the way little league should be and the way youth sports should be.”

Inside the crowded room at Santa Clara City Hall, each of the girls and their coaches introduced themselves and talked about their favorite takeaways from the tournament. While many were happy to walk away as champions, it was the friendships they made with their teammates and the teams from around the world that stood out most to the young players.

The experience was amazing. We were able to meet so many people from all over the world … The teams were amazing,” said Jenna Thorkelson.

Thorkelson pitches for the Snow Canyon Little League softball team. Thorkelson’s parents are coaches for the team as well, and she was quick to express her gratitude to them.

“My parents are amazing people,” she said. “They are so special and they made me what I am.”

Head coach and team manager Jeremy Mooring got emotional during the ceremony, particularly as he spoke about the coaches and the girls on his team. Mooring said he had been asked often who he felt was the team’s most valuable player, and he answered the question by naming each of the 13 girls and listing their accomplishments.

Coaches and members of the Snow Canyon Little League Softball team arrive to a celebration in their honor on fire trucks, Santa Clara, Utah, Aug. 6, 2018 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

After each team member, Mooring said that without that girl, they would not have won.

“I have 13 MVPs on my team,” Mooring said.

Santa Clara Mayor Rick Rosenberg, Ivins Mayor Chris Hart and St. George Mayor Jon Pike all gave brief remarks to the girls and the crowd in attendance.

“It doesn’t matter whether you are from Ivins, Santa Clara or St. George,” Rosenberg said addressing the girls on the team, “you represented your community well.”

Following the remarks, Rosenberg presented Mooring with a key to the city of Santa Clara.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: hreina@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

 

 

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2 Comments

  • uprightandmovingforward August 7, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Way to go!!!!

  • DRT August 7, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    Congratulations to these young ladies, and to their parents and the coaching staff!

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