By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(July 13, 2018) The Berlin Little League All-Star season continues as one team has already won a state championship and the other eyes a district title.
Junior League Softball
The Junior League squad captured the state championship title on Monday, July 9, in Waldorf, defeating Elkton, 9-3.
“This is the first year we have had a Junior League Division,” Coach Katie Griffin said. “Many of these girls have been playing in Berlin Little League since we started six years ago.
“They lost in the final inning of the district championship last year when they were in the Major Division to [Delmar] who went on to win the state title, so for many of these girls it was something they have been aiming for since last year and something they knew they could accomplish.”
As this was the only District 8 Junior All-Star League Division, the team went straight to the state competition in Waldorf on Saturday, July 7. The girls won their first game, 17-2, over Calvert. Then they dominated Tri-City, 16-6.
“Much of the credit has to go to the manager of the team, Stan Griffin,” Griffin said. “It was his vision to stray from what our district was doing and form a junior league-only division so that our talented 12-year-olds had a division to play in that would be better suited to their needs/level of play.
“The girls have been playing well with very solid pitching on Saturday from Harleigh Donaway and Skylar Griffin on Monday in the championship,” she continued. “Their bats have been on fire.”
The Junior League team will play in the regional competition in Connecticut, beginning July 20. The opening ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. Game times had not been set as of earlier this week.
Minor Softball League
The Minor Softball League lost its first best-out-of-three series games against Delmar in Berlin on Monday, July 9, 3-2. The girls won Tuesday, July 10, 10-4.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Griffin said.
The championship game was scheduled for Wednesday July 11, in Berlin at 6 p.m.
The 11-12-year-old team was scheduled to play on Wednesday against Willards in Berlin in the District semifinals. The boys are currently undefeated, 3-0.
“Being new to this particular group, I’ve never coached this group of kids before,” Coach Cameron McDonough said. “This year we were allowed more time to practice before our first game because we were allowed to announce for All-Star practice on June 1 rather than June 15, so it worked out pretty [well].”
On Thursday, July 5, the team earned a victory over Delmar in Berlin, 11-1. On Saturday, July 7, the Berlin squad outscored East Wicomico, 9-0, in Winterplace Park in Salisbury. The 11-12 team then shut out West Salisbury in Berlin on Monday, July 9, 14-0.
McDonough has high hopes for his team.
“With the talented group of kids that we have, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t win states or even [the] region, and I think this group in particular could be the group from Berlin to take it the full distance and go to the Little League World Series and show well there,” he said. “They’re that talented.”
The District finals will be held in Berlin on Friday, July 13.
After back-to-back victories over West Salisbury, the 10-11-year-old team’s All-Star season was cut short on Saturday, July 7, after losing to Fruitland in Berlin, 14-0.
“They’re a great bunch of boys and they played very hard, and they’re also very talented,” Head Coach Jim McCrystal said. “They were a pleasure to coach and I thanked them for having the opportunity to coach them. They were a great bunch of guys, who also got along really well together.”
The team defeated West Salisbury twice, outscoring its opponent 9-7 in both games, before falling to Fruitland.
“I’ve been coaching Berlin for eight years,” McCrystal said. “I’m happy with [their] play. They were really good.”