ENCINITAS — This time last year the Encinitas Little League, like many other sporting activities, was not playing games due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
But not this year.
Encinitas Little League playoffs are in full swing with the top teams battling it out this week for a chance to meet in the championship finals on Saturday, June 12, at Paul Ecke Sports Park.
“If the scale goes 1-10, we’re at a 15,” said Bo Lebherz, coach of the Padres’ Majors team. “The kids are ecstatic. We’re over the moon excited. It feels really good to be outside playing baseball.”
Playoffs began for the league earlier this month and the top two teams in the Majors division, Red Sox and Padres, clinched their spots in the Leo Mullen Cup, a tournament combining teams from both the Encinitas Little League and Encinitas National Little League, later this month.
The Majors championship game, with teams still to be decided this week, will take place at 6:30 p.m. on June 12 on Field 2 at Paul Ecke Sports Park.
For the Minors division, the Mets and Giants will face off in the Leo Mullen Cup at 3:30 p.m. on June 15 at Paul Ecke Sports Park.
Closing day of the Encinitas Little League season will be June 12 and includes an awards ceremony, raffle prizes and Home Run Derby, the organization’s annual fundraising effort that spans the different age groups of the league.
The Home Run Derby begins at 9 a.m. on all three fields of the Ecke Sports Park. Information for fundraising for the Home Run Derby can be found here.
Following the conclusion of the postseason, the All-Star team for Encinitas Little League (roster and coaching staff for has already been chosen) will begin the Southern California District 31 All-Star Tournament after All-Star Saturday on June 19. Games begin the following day.
The Encinitas Little League All-Stars have earned a bye in the tournament and will face either the All-Stars from Carmel Mountain Ranch Little League or Encinitas National Little League at Tierra Bonita Elementary School on June 23.
The winner of that All-Star Tournament will advance to the Section 6 Tournament beginning on July 17 hosted by District 70 en route to the Little League World Series.