Polar Little League is heading to Juneau.
Last week, the league’s junior team won the district tournament for the first time in more than 25 years, earning the chance to play at the state level and a shot at the regional tournament in Vancouver, Washington. Three coaches and 11 team members will fly south Saturday night and compete in the state tournament next week.
“It’s definitely going to be a tough challenge, but I know these kids are pretty excited,” said Coach Robert Stacy.
Saturday, the team washed cars in the parking lot of the Mountain View Boys & Girls Club to raise money for their big trip — parent volunteers manned a grill and a table of concessions while a crowd of teenage boys wielded sponges and buckets of soapy water. The team members, all 13 and 14, live in the neighborhood and play at Mountain View Lions Park, where practices focus on repetition and technique. It finally paid off.
The last time the team won the district tournament was in 1987, according to coaches, so last week’s victory in Soldotna was an emotional moment for the young players.
“And I don’t blame them,” Stacy said. “There’s a lot of hard work they put into this summer.”
They’ll travel to Juneau with coach and manager Shane Borschnack, Stacy and coach Carlos DeLaCruz. It’s the boys’ first trip to the state capital. To move on to Vancouver, they must win three games out of five.
“Some of these kids we coached since they were 9, 10 and some of them are new, but we do everything together — family stuff and team-building stuff — and it shows,” Stacy said.
The state tournament begins Monday. The team is ready.