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Featured Article

Take me out to the ball game!

Article by Bree O'Brien

Photography by Courtesy of Little League Baseball and Softball

Originally published in Kirkland Lifestyle

Every year since 1999 (with the exception of the two lost COVID years 2020-21), the Junior League Softball World Series Tournament takes place at Everest Park in Kirkland. This fun, free to attend, and family-friendly summer event draws teams from all over the country and the world and features 27 games that will be broadcast on ESPN+. Two games are played simultaneously, with up to four or six games in a day. Kirkland Lifestyle sat down with recently appointed Tournament Director Steve Allen to hear about how this popular event comes together. Serving as the Assistant Tournament Director since 2003, as well as a Team Host, Allen has been deeply involved in the operations and execution of this event for the past two decades.

Allen explains that this junior league tournament is for girls ages 13 and 14, and the representative (home/host) team is District 9. In past years, teams have come from the Philippines, Canada, Curacao, the Czech Republic, Italy, and more. “The international flavor is a huge appeal, and it’s free to watch, parking is usually easy to find, it’s televised… The tournament is a big deal!” says Allen. Each team has a local family as a “liaison” to help them get any information they need. These families often have softball playing daughters or have been engaged with softball in some other capacity. 

There’s a core group of 20-25 volunteers during the tournament and another 25 who help out at various times, including high school students earning service hours. Securing hotel contracts at reasonable rates in Kirkland for 200 people for eight days; buses for teams to and from hotels, fields, and airports; permitting from the City of Kirkland; and coordination with ESPN are all logistical considerations for the Tournament Director. Allen says, “Attendance varies depending on how the local representative team is doing, but the games are always fun to watch.”

The 2023 Junior League Softball World Series Tournament will take place July 30 - August 5 at Everest Park. for more info.

  • Steve Allen