Little League® International is pleased to name Colin and Trish Sandercock, the parents of 2013 Little League Softball® World Series alumna and current Athletes Unlimited softball player Kathryn Sandercock, as the 2023 George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year.
With the honor, Mr. and Mrs. Sandercock become the first-ever Little League Softball parents to receive the award, as it was originally established in 1980 to honor parents of Major League Baseball players who were actively involved in their son’s Little League years. In 2022, the award’s criteria expanded to include all professional sports, giving the opportunity to recognize those committed parents of notable softball players as well.
“Recognition as the George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year is an honor granted to only one set of parents each year as a way to represent the support, dedication, and commitment of the millions of parents and guardians who make sure our children have a memorable Little League experience each year,” said Steven P. Johnson, Little League International Board of Directors Chairman. “It is our pleasure to present this year’s award to Colin and Trish for their dedication and support of Kathryn, from her time on the Little League field to her experience now as an Athletes Unlimited athlete. We look forward to welcoming the Sandercock family to Greenville for a historic experience this August as we present this award and share in the excitement around the AU Pro Games at the Little League Softball World Series.”
When Kathryn Sandercock was eight years old, she picked up a softball bat for the first time in her neighborhood cul-de-sac and asked her dad, Colin, if she could take a swing at her first-ever batting practice.
“Her first time up, she hit the ball and it went flying down the street,” said Mrs. Sandercock. “We immediately signed her up for Little League.”
Kathryn got her start playing on the softball diamonds of McLean (Va.) Little League where her mother supported her from the stands and her father helped out as a coach, each of them helping to create lifelong memories every step of the way.
One fond memory for the family came during the 2013 Virginia State Championship game when her team was trailing, 5-4, and her father talked with her after the fourth inning.
“I took her aside and said, ‘Listen Kathryn, if you want, we’ll put in another pitcher. I know it’s hot and we have another pitcher available,’” said Mr. Sandercock. “And, she just said, ‘Absolutely do NOT put another pitcher in, I want to finish this game.’”
Kathryn went on to close out that game with two scoreless innings, and her team went on to score two more runs to claim the state championship and earn a trip in the Southeast Region Tournament. During the Region Tournament, Kathryn helped lead her McLean Little League squad to a 2-1 pool-play record before posting back-to-back shutouts over Georgia and Tennessee to earn a trip to the 2013 Little League Softball World Series (LLSWS).
At the LLSWS in Portland, Oregon, McLean Little League rallied for four-straight wins to open the tournament in pool play before taking down Robbinsville (N.J.) Little League, 6-3, to earn a trip to the championship game. While her team’s run was cut short to Sunnyside Little League (Tucson, Ariz.) in the championship game, Kathryn’s parents were there for her and her team every step of the way.
“When I’m watching her, I’m just hoping she’s going to do okay out there and I’m just having fun sitting with the other moms,” said Mrs. Sandercock. “I don’t let myself get too worked up over it. I’m always happy when she gets through the first couple of innings.”
But for Mr. Sandercock, an assistant coach on the team and the one to call Kathryn’s pitches, it was a different story.
“You’re into the game, so you feel the pressure, but you are also focused on what’s happening in the rest of the game and on coaching the rest of the team, too,” said Mr. Sandercock. “To beat Robbinsville in the semifinals on ESPN was a very cool experience. Kathryn pitched a great game and the team played very well, so those were exciting moments.”
Following her Little League days, Kathryn continued her career at the collegiate level, playing her entire career as a Florida State Seminole. In her senior year, she was named 2023 ACC Pitcher of the Year, ACC Tournament MVP, and a 2023 NCFA Second Team All-American, and helped lead Florida State to the ACC Tournament for the third time (2019, 2022, 2023), and to the finals of the Women’s College World Series for the second time (2021, 2023), where she was named to the All-Tournament Team.
“Something I tell Kathryn still to this day, is to just have fun,” said Mr. Sandercock. “It has to be fun, or else, why do it? You don’t want it to be a job for them and I think the important thing is [for parents] to be supportive but not pushy. If you are supportive and make it a fun experience, they will want to do it and they will want to play more and work on improving their skills.”
Following graduation, Kathryn was selected as the fourth overall pick in the 2023 Athletes Unlimited (AU) Softball College Draft and signed on to play professionally in the fourth AU Championship Season in Rosemont, Illinois. It was a decision Mrs. Sandercock says Kathryn made on her own, but one that both Mr. And Mrs. Sandercock are excited about as softball continues to grow in popularity.
“Softball is such a fun game to watch and you can see it growing in popularity in terms of people coming out to watch games and tuning in on TV,” said Mr. Sandercock. ”People are finally realizing how exciting of a sport it is and how much fun it is to watch. And, I think people are understanding what great athletes these women are.”
When Mr. and Mrs. Sandercock are not sitting in the stands as spectators of their daughter’s games or watching AU games on TV, they continue to carry their love for the game back to the fields of McLean Little League.
“I love going back and watching games,” said Mr. Sandercock. “Kathryn’s coach still coaches there, so I’ve gone back a number of times and helped with practices. It’s fun going back. Little League always has a wonderful sense of a community.”
The 2023 George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year Award will be presented to Mr. and Mrs. Sandercock during the Little League Softball World Series in Greenville, North Carolina, while Kathryn and her fellow AU Softball Players make a historic trip as part of the first-ever AU Pro Games at the LLSWS on August 8-9. This marks the first time the Little League Parents of the Year Award will be presented to the parents of a female graduate of the Little League program. Established in 1980, the George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year Award has traditionally honored the parents of a Major League Baseball player who were actively involved in their son’s Little League experience. Starting in 2022, this award expanded the criteria to include the parents of any professional athlete and/or notable professional in an effort to honor the many diverse, multi-sport athletes who have gone on to notable careers outside of Major League Baseball.
To learn more about the 2023 George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year Award, and all of the other Little League Awards, visit LittleLeague.org/Awards.
The 2023 Little League Softball World Series is set to take place in Greenville, North Carolina, from August 6-13. For more information on the 2023 LLSWS, including information on how to attend or watch from home, visit LittleLeague.org/LLSWS.