Young women, coaches and parents have journeyed from all over the Midwest to Carthage this week.

Young women, coaches and parents have journeyed from all over the Midwest to Carthage this week.

They're here for the 2008 Little League Softball Central Regional Tournament.
Carthage's Fair Acres Sports Complex was buzzing with excitement Monday evening as 12 state champions from Nebraska, Kentucky, Missouri, North and South Dakota, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana took the field for an opportunity to play in the Little League Softball World Series. Locally, a group of All-Stars from Joplin are also participating in this year's tournament.

For the past seven years, Joplin has hosted the 11-12-year-old Central Regional Tournament.

Mike Greninger, administer with Missouri District 2, said Carthage was an ideal location to host this year's festivities.

"It's a part of our district, and it has multiple fields at one site," Greninger explained. "We're able to have three games going at the same time, and it's a beautiful place to showcase."

Four teams, Itasca Little League from Grand Rapids, Minn., Keystone Little League from Omaha, Neb., Tallmadge Little League from Tallmadge, Ohio, and Central Little League from Polk City, Iowa, began play on Sunday.

"It's been going great so far," Greninger said. "We have a great city to play in. The mayor (Jim Woestman) and the city has been great to work with.

"It's about the kids. We want the 13 teams out here to have fun."

Six games were played on Monday with six games scheduled for today, Wednesday and Thursday. Semifinal games are scheduled for Friday and Saturday and the championship game is set for 12:30 p.m. Saturday — weather permitting.