(July 26, 2019) Two Berlin Little League All-Star teams continue to pursue regional titles, while two squads’ journeys ended this week.
The 8-10 All-Star team’s winning streak continues as the district champs captured the state championship title in Baltimore, edging out Conococheague, 8-7, last Friday.
“The way we played in the state tournament was a total team effort,” Coach Ron Calloway said. “The heart this team showed and the desire and will to win is what won us the championship.”
Calloway said it was difficult to put into words how proud he is of the boys.
“It’s not just that we won the Maryland state championship … it’s how we won,” Calloway said. “We won with teamwork, sportsmanship and class. That’s the Berlin way.”
The Berlin team, which is 9-0, will battle a squad from New Jersey in its first regional game in Cranston, Rhode Island, on Sunday, Aug. 4.
The 12-14 Junior League team earned the state championship title in extra innings, with a bases loaded walk-off on Tuesday, pulling out a 1-0 win over Conococheague in Waldorf.
“I don’t think it’s truly set in,” Coach Kris Mandley said. “It was exciting to watch these boys go out and put in work and play great baseball. This was our first game that was a challenge for us.”
The squad began its state tournament run last Saturday after capturing the district title on July 12, with an 11-0 shutout over East Wicomico in Salisbury.
The boys opened their state tournament competition with a 12-1 victory over Frederick in Waldorf, last Saturday.
“I couldn’t be more ecstatic,” Mandley said. “With this heat we were playing in … I thanked every one of them for playing in this heat, especially with the age that they are and seeing what they put on the field.”
Their second state game was later that afternoon against St. Mary’s. Berlin won, 13-3. The Berlin team then topped the previously unbeaten Conococheague, 13-2.
“We [scored] 38 runs and only gave up six this entire weekend,” Mandley said. “We couldn’t be here without the parents and coaching staff and the boys, of course. Coach Andy [McLaughlin] and I … we’re just along for the ride.”
The boys have now advanced to the regional tournament. Their first game is Thursday, Aug. 1, in Freehold, New Jersey.
The Berlin Intermediate team, comprised of boys ages 11-13, played a squad from New Jersey twice on Wednesday, during the regional tournament in Dix Hills, New York.
Berlin won the first match, 4-1, but lost the second, which was for the regional title, 13-3.
“It was a great season and the boys did very well,” Coach Barb Kohut said. “They just ran out of gas, unfortunately.”
They kicked off the tournament last Friday, with a 14-6 victory over New Hampshire. On Saturday, the Berlin group topped a team from Pennsylvania, 11-8.
The Berlin squad suffered its first loss on Sunday, falling New Jersey, 6-3. However, the boys bounced back with a victory on Monday, trouncing their New York opponent, 24-6, to advanced to Wednesday’s competition.
“It was a great season and a lot of memories were made,” Kohut said. “The team worked their hearts out all season and that showed. It takes a lot of dedication, talent and commitment to win a district and state title. The fact that they are second in the eastern region is something to applaud, not put their heads down.
“I was just happy to be along for the ride,” she continued. “It was one I’ll never forget.”
The Major Softball League district and state championship team fought valiantly, but fell out of the running for a regional title after losing to New Jersey in Bristol, Connecticut, 11-4, on Monday.
“We were happy to come out and win one,” Coach Katie Griffin said. “It was a phenomenal experience. It was nothing they ever experienced before and it was just a lot of fun and bonding.”
The squad lost to New York in the first round of the regional tournament, 12-2, last Saturday. On Sunday, the girls rallied back with a 6-1 win over their opponent from Maine.
Despite the season-ending loss, the team was not disappointed.
“I had someone come up to me and say this was the best Maryland team he’s seen in a long time,” Griffin said. “We took it as every game is a bonus round. We’re not bummed.”
As teams continue to travel for games and reach regionals or possibly nationals, donations will be needed for transportation and hotel costs. To donate to the Berlin Little League All-Star teams, a check can be written to Berlin Little League at P.O. Box 514, Berlin, Maryland 21811.