Today’s news:

Leagues gear up for district tournaments

Little League baseball in Queens is about to hit high gear, as more than a dozen leagues’ in-house programs come to a close and the race for district championships begins.

Seven leagues in District 26, which covers the northern half of Queens, will vie for the championships in both hardball and softball in at least four age brackets, while 11 leagues will battle it out for supremacy in District 27, which encompasses the southern end of the borough.

According to coordinators in both districts, play was to begin for these coveted crowns on June 30 in District 27 and July 5 in District 26.

District 26 includes seven Little Leagues: Bayside, Little Neck/Douglaston, Glen Oaks, College Point, , Mid Queens-Fresh Meadows, Forest Hills and Elmjack. The district tournaments are held for Little League chartered organizations only, with youth baseball leagues such as Dwarf Giraffe, DePhillips Athletic Club and Hollis-Bellaire-Queens Village-Bellerose prohibited from participating.

District 26 also runs several other summer tournaments to included these non-Little League organizations, including the Sepelowe, Rosenbluth, Gorman, Casey and Schectman memorial tournaments.

District 27 features 11 different organizations competing for its championships: Briarwood-Jamaica, Broad Channel, Cambria Heights-Laurelton, Jamaica Estates-Holliswood, Ozone Howard, Rich Haven, Rochdale Village, Rockaway, Rosedale, St. Albans and Ridgewood-Glendale-Middle Village-Maspeth.

The tournaments are broken into five different age brackets: Minors (9-10), Majors (11-12), Juniors 13-14), Seniors (15-16) and Big League (17-18) in both hardball and baseball, though not every league will enter a team in every bracket.

The tournaments are double-elimination, with each game being played on a neutral field. The winner of each District Tournament moves on to battle for the sectionals title, then the state, regionals and so on. The 11- and 12-year-old or Minor Division national championship is played at the Little League headquarters in Williamsport, Pa. and televised nationally, with the winner playing the winner of the international tournament.

The first step toward that goal begins this week in Queens.

Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.

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