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Shafter wins District Championship

The Shafter Little League All-Stars won the District 61 championship in their first year in existence.

According to Little League Director Daniel Burciega, Shafter has not had a Little League team before this year. Little League has been a mainstay in Wasco, Buttonwillow, Delano and other surrounding cities in Kern County, but this is Shafter's first year.

Burciega has had plenty of experience with helping run the Buttonwillow Little League and has wanted to bring one to Shafter. "I was so excited to finally get a Little League in Shafter. I grew up with Little League, and there is nothing like it," said Burciega.

The Shafter All Stars went through the District tournament undefeated, beating a team from Greenfield Little League for the championship.

They will now wait for the winner of the District tournament in the Fresno area to find out who their next opponent will be.

The Little League tournament consists of the District tournament, followed by the Section playoff. This will be a best of three series, so the Shafter team will have to win two games to advance to the State tournament.

Burciega said that the kids are so excited to get to play in the tournament, especially in their first real season of play. "Little League is just different than the recreational leagues and other groups that might be in the area. They focus on fundamentals and teaches kids how to compete, winning and losing," commented Burciega.

The league played their games during the season at the field behind AM/PM mini market, formerly known as Kirschenmann Park. "It took some doing and hard work, but we got the field playable," said Burciega. He also said that a lot of the parents donated their time and resources in getting the field in shape. "We had a couple of days that saw a big group of parents gathering to plow the ground, clean up weeds, do everything they could to get the field ready."

The kids also had a chance during the season to play on the Buttonwillow Little League field for a night. "It gave the kids a chance to play on a regulation Little League field and they loved it," said Burciega.

It is not only the boys that have had success either. It is also the first year for the Little League Girls Softball competing as well. The Shafter girls came out on top in their district tournament, earning them a trip to the Sectional tournament.


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