Moments from the Little League Softball World Series

© Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2023 / Credit: Jade Hewitt Media
Savanna Collins
Aug 11, 2023

This week was one of many firsts in softball.

Athletes Unlimited Softball traveled for the first time ever during Championship season. Heading to Greenville, N.C., the league was a part of another first at the Little League Softball World Series – professional games played for the first time ever at the event.

AU received the warmest welcome on their arrival, as Little Leaguers waited outside the bus for the athletes to arrive.


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It was just the start of days filled with Little Leaguers meeting the players they watch and look up to. They shared meals, talked softball, and took the field together.

For some athletes, this hit incredibly close to home when they connected with the Little Leaguers representing the countries of their national teams. Like when Erika Piancastelli, a member of the Italian National Team – face timed her biggest fans from Team Italy to wish them good luck in their games on Tuesday.

Or when Victoria Hayward from Team Canada looked into the stands to see the Canadian Little Leaguers waving the flag and cheering for her. 


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Photos from the Athletes Unlimited Pro Games at the Little League Softball World Series

Team Puerto Rico surprised Aleshia Ocasio at practice where they got to meet their idol – the pitcher for the Puerto Rican National Team.

“I think it’s a beautiful thing for them to be able to come here and play in the Little League World Series, for Puerto Rico to be able to be represented,” Ocasio said. “I told them to have fun, embrace it, good luck, keep working hard and one day they’ll be in an Athletes Unlimited uniform.”


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AU rookie Kathryn Sandercock returned as a star to the stage where her softball career began to take off. This year marks the 10-year anniversary of Sandercock’s run with Team Virginia to the World Series. She’s proven her poise at every level from Little League to a start with Florida State and now as a closer with AU.

She threw out the first pitch and was given a custom painting by Little League to represent her continued excellence and achievements in the sport. 


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Not only was Sandercock honored, but the people who packed the snacks and drove her to all those practices were recognized too. Her parents Colin and Trish Sandercock were named the George and Barbara Bush Little League® Parents of the Year.  They are the first-ever softball parents given the honor.

The award was originally established in 1980 to honor parents of Major League Baseball players who were actively involved in their son’s Little League years. In 2022, the award’s criteria expanded to include all professional sports, giving the opportunity to recognize those committed parents of notable softball players as well.

AU athletes celebrated and cheered on the Little Leaguers all day on Tuesday, who returned the favor at the Pro Games.

The league played the first set of Week 3’s doubleheaders in front of a packed crowd of youth athletes and their families.

Nina Johnson-Pitt, the Senior Strategy Executive for Little League, explained that idea to bring the pro game to the Softball World Series was inspired by the Little League Baseball World Series which hosts Major League games for their athletes.

“The AU players coming here and seeing how excited are about the Little League games… you can see in their eyes they remember when they were this age and their love for the game just continues to grow,” Johnson-Pitt said.

It’s brought a level of excitement this year that Little League Softball hasn’t seen before

“I think it’s an incredible partnership it’s the perfect combination of professional, youth and I think we just continue to work together to make sure this game continues to grow and has a huge impact.”


Savanna Collins is the Digital Media Reporter at Athletes Unlimited. You can follow her on Twitter @savannaecollins.

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