Playing year-round is Milford Little League Softball’s recipe for success

It’s pretty safe to call Milford the home of little league softball in the summer of 2022.

The city’s Little League softball team won the New England Regional Championship last week – no hits, no less – to qualify for the first time in the Little League World Series. next week in Greenville, North Carolina.

Milford’s junior program (13-14) has already won a game in the Little League Softball Junior League World Series taking place this week in Kirkland, Washington. The 11-year-old program won its state championship last month, the furthest point it could reach.

It was the third time in the past four years that the Little League side had traveled to Bristol for the New England area.

This begs the question: why such success in Milford youth softball? The league president calls it providing more and more opportunities.

“There is a large group of families trying to develop girls and play softball. The whole atmosphere of Milford Little League Softball blew up,” said Brian Corris, President of Milford Little League. “Parents want to see them play. There are plenty of opportunities for girls to play even when the (all-star) season is over.

Corris, who leads the junior World Series team, said the little league has partnered with the Connecticut Barracudas, a Milford-based fastpitch softball organization.

“We have a mutual understanding that girls can benefit from playing travel softball and little league, not just one or the other,” Corris said. “We live in the atmosphere of those in the little league playing with their classmates and friends and also wanted to have that extra competition on a higher level by going to play on the trip.”

Bryan Glynn, the league’s vice president of softball, said the experience these teams gained in tournament play also contributed to the success.

The Little League team was able to play – and win – a state championship in 2020. That was as far as this team could go since the Little League World Series for baseball and softball was canceled from months earlier due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2019 and 2021 teams both lost at regional in Bristol. The 2019 team that lost in the regional final to Pennsylvania included Maddie Bull, a standout on the current junior team.

“Most of the juniors were on that team that went to Bristol last year and lost, girls that came so close to going to the World Series,” Glynn said. “So not only did they have to overcome (the COVID season), but to get to this point last year and lose was very difficult for them.”

Mike Bonanno, the Little League manager, said five of the girls on the team won a seventh-grade New England championship in women’s basketball during the winter season. Bonanno said Maddie Deldin had the game-winning shot in double overtime.

“A lot of these girls have been in big games before,” Bonanno said.

Bonanno agreed with Corris on the travel softball partnership. The ability to play year-round also helped them bond before the All-Star debut. All-Star Season is a short window as is – much shorter if you don’t get out of the District Tournament.

“The majority of those kids who play together on the all-star team have the benefit of playing together year-round. They like to be around each other. It’s just a different atmosphere,” Bonanno said. “The formula works for us. When you win you get more numbers and when you get more numbers you have more opportunities to develop players.

It is Corris’ hope and belief that the next group of families at the younger levels will also buy into the concept and continue the success.

“We give the girls as many opportunities to play as they want, and they took it and ran with it. “, said Corris.

Pool play for the Junior Little League continues through Thursday. All matches will be broadcast on ESPN Plus.

There is a start for the Milford Little League softball team Thursday at 7 p.m. at Brewster Field in town. The team departs for the World Series Friday morning and opens play Aug. 10 against an opponent TBD at 1 p.m. on ESPN Plus.

[email protected]; @nhrJoeMorelli

Michael M. Tomlin