Palm Coast hosted the Florida Little League State Tournament.
Celebrated by a first pitch on July 16 from Gov. Ron DeSantis, Little League teams from all across Florida competed this weekend at Palm Coast's Indian Trails Sports Complex in hopes to quality for the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Palm Coast Little League President Peter Schoembs said the league began vying to host the tournament, although no local teams qualified, in the spring. PCLL had been chosen to host the 2020 tournament, but it was canceled due to the pandemic.
"We were so excited when the league said they would just roll us over as the host for the 2021 tournament," Schoembs said.
"We could not have scripted this any better if we tried."
PETER SCHOEMBS, Palm Coast Little League president
Before the opening ceremonies Friday, July 16, DeSantis showed up at the field and asked Schoembs, "Are those all of the teams?" Schoembs later wrote on Facebook, "I barely had a chance to say, 'yes' before he was out there shaking their hands, taking pictures, and signing autographs. One of the most genuine, down to earth people we have ever met. Blue jeans, a simple collared shirt, and cowboy boots! You have to love this guy!"
"You cannot have events like these without parents and volunteers participating," DeSantis said.
After the national anthem, sung by Lauren Januskevich, DeSantis threw two pitches, to Palm Coast softball players Emily Warren and Sadie Schell.
After the event, Schoembs reported on Facebook that Martin County North defeated Merritt Island 4-1 in the championship game.
He then reflected on the weekend, noting that the event combined the efforts of not just Little League but the city's Public Works and Parks and Recreation departments, as well as the Flagler County Sheriff's Office and the Palm Coast Fire Department.
"I can't tell you how many compliments the facilities received this weekend from everyone that was there," Schoembs wrote on Facebook. "Our Parks and Recreation Department is simply the best. They worked for weeks getting those fields ready for this tournament, and then were on call all weekend, pouncing on those fields at the conclusion of each game to drag the infields and reline the fields — for each game! Coaches couldn't believe they were getting a 'brand new field' for their 4:00 game! I thank them on a daily basis, and I still don't think it's enough."
Schoembs thanked the volunteers and vendors, as well, saying, "We could not have scripted this any better if we tried."
— Brian McMillan contributed to this report.