The season kick-off Saturday morning for the Bridge City Little League was a little bit sweeter this time.

A granite monument was unveiled at the entrance to the ball park commemorating the Bridge City Little League Jr. softball team finishing third place in the World Series tournament with a 4-2 record in August 2011. The girls and their coaches had the honor of unveiling the monument that also had a team picture placed on it.

”It’s just been exciting, everyday with them, playing a game, or getting ready to play a game has been so wonderful and they did so good,” said Beth Faulk, mother of team member Hannah Faulk in a prior Record article. “We’re just so proud of them. They did great.”

Bridge City Little League hosted a homecoming celebration for the girls at the Community Center after the team came home. They have gone further than any local team to date.

Arriving in Kirkland, Wash. on Saturday, Aug. 13, tournament play began Sunday, Aug. 14. The girls defeated Greensburg, Penn. 8-7 in their first game of the tournament.

Monday, they fell 3-5 against Anchorage, Alaska. “We out hit them 12-7, but we just couldn’t get the runs across” said Julie Kahla, team manager.

Tuesday BC defeated Latin America (Willemstad, Curacao) 5-0. Kellyn Cormier pitched a shut-out with 10 strike outs.

“Kellyn is leading the whole tournament in strike outs,” said Kahla Tuesday evening in a phone interview.

Skylar Kahla was leading the tournament in RBIs and was second in batting averages.

“I had to charge my phone twice a day,” said Julie. “It was crazy.” Kahla said she was receiving texts from people she hadn’t talked to in years.

The Little League organization had a team night social for the girls. No coaches or parents were allowed, just a couple of chaperones. “They had some dinner and mix and mingle and a little dance; it’s supposed to be real fun,” said Julie.

Trying to keep the girls focused, coaches and parents took the athletes sightseeing in the Seattle area Wednesday, since the team had no game that day.

Thursday the team beat The Netherlands 5-1 to take first place in pool B. An awards banquet was held that night. Each girl was presented with a gold medal and certificate for participation in the World Series.

“It’s been really great. They got World Series jackets and tee-shirts and the uniforms they get to keep. It’s been awesome, the hospitality has been incredible,” said Julie.

Julie said there were approximately 130 in the tournament. Players exchanged pins and other mementoes with other teams. Latin America gave the girls medallions with their country embroidered on it.

“I told the girls, of course you want to win, but just remember these memories forever, just take all the memories you can. This is once and a lifetime.”

Semi-finals were held Friday with Bridge City facing Tampa, Fla. It was tied 0-0 through the bottom of the fifth. Tampa made three runs in the sixth inning and two in the seventh, defeating Bridge City 5-0. Tampa moved on to the championship round where they were defeated by Croswell, Mich., which became the undefeated Champions of the World Series.

Bridge City once again played Greensburg in the consolation game Saturday winning 7-6; claiming third place. Some parents had to leave the game early while BC was down 4-0; to catch flights home. They learned of the teams rebound and ultimate win through text messages.

Cormier and Kahla remained on the leader boards. Cormier finished 3rd in strike outs with 29 and was seventh in walks with two. Kahla was second in batting average with .524 and 4th in RBIs with six.

Members of the team from Bridge City are: Skylar Kahla, Kaleigh Carter, Bailee Bacon, Harleigh Myers, Kasey Frederick, Faith Kaufman, Brooke DeRouen, Haley Mills, Hannah Faulk and Kellyn Cormier. Members from Orangefield are: Sabryn Crain, Ashlyn Mitchell and Katelyn Dickerson.

Coaches: Hilton Bacon and Justin Frederick. Manger: Julie Kahla.

It was a once in a lifetime experience not only for the girls, but the parents as well.

“They start out with about 4,500 teams in each age group,” said Julie Kahla. It narrows down to ten teams in the World Series Tournament with about 13 players per team. “It’s amazing.”

Sunday night, it was off the bus and home to bed as the first day of classes began Monday morning.