By Brian Holtzapple
The Daily Item
It's not an illusion. The District 13 Little League Tournament got underway with little fanfare this past weekend -- in what is believed to be the earliest start to the postseason the Valley's baseball and softball All-Stars have ever made.
In addition, the District 13 Tournament has become smaller and more condensed than in years past.
Major Division softball began play on Sunday at Mifflinburg's Eighth Street Field. The six-team bracket will crown a champion in quick fashion on June 28 -- which is typically nearer the normal starting time for the District 13 Tournament.
Milton's All-Stars, the defending district champs, begin their quest for yet another title when they play Mifflinburg, a 7-5 winner over Danville, today at 5:30 p.m.
The tournament, now down to seven divisions from 10 a year ago, kicks into high gear on Sunday as 9-10 baseball gets underway along with Area I and Area II Major baseball as well as Junior baseball.
In 9-10 baseball, now a 13-team bracket after the All-Stars from Area I and II were combined, will be played for the first time at East Snyder Park outside of Selinsgrove. Fields 2 and 4 will be utilized for the tournament.
Selinsgrove, the defending Area II champ, won't play its first game until June 24 when it will get the winner of Lewisburg and Shikellamy-Acorn. On the bottom half of the bracket is South Columbia's 9-10 All-Stars, the defending Area I champs, who will be in action against Warrior Run on Sunday at 3.
Major baseball in both areas also starts on Sunday at Danville's Washies Field and Northumberland's Acorn Park, respectively, with the District 13 Championship series beginning on July 5.
Lewisburg pulled out a one-run win over Mifflinburg in last year's Area II Majors final, before advancing to play Area I champ Danville for the district crown.