By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(Aug. 8, 2019) The Berlin Little League All-Star Junior League team had a stellar regional tournament and has now advanced to the World Series in Michigan, while the 8-10 squad continues to play in its own regional competition.
The Berlin Little League All-Star Junior team is headed to Michigan after winning the regional championship in Freehold, New Jersey, on Tuesday. The squad pulled out a 4-3 victory over Massachusetts.
“Berlin is baseball strong,” Coach Kris Mandley said. “These 11 kids deserve every moment of what they get now. It’s just amazing for them. It’s unbelievable.”
The undefeated, 15-0, team began the regional tournament with a 7-2 win over Rhode Island, last Thursday. The following day, the Berlin boys defeated a team from New York, 14-4.
“These boys are a great group of young men,” Mandley said. “When it comes to game time, they flip a switch and they’re ready to play.”
Last Saturday, Berlin topped a team from Connecticut, 14-3. On Sunday, the group took down a team from Massachusetts, 15-5.
“It was rough at the beginning until we made it through [Massachusetts’] first pitcher,” Mandley said. “He pitched really well and put us off balanced, but once we made it through him then all of a sudden, our bats came alive and in the last inning we scored 13 runs with 11 on two outs. Those boys came alive.”
The Berlin squad – district and state champs – then edged out Massachusetts, 4-3, two days later to qualify for the World Series.
Berlin will kick off its World Series tournament in Taylor, Michigan, against the South East Regional championship team from Florida, at 5 p.m., Sunday. The games can be viewed online on ESPN Plus.
The World Series championship game will be televised on ESPN.
While team members will fly out to the World Series expense free, their parents could still use some support to watch their children play. Mandley encourages anyone who can make out a check to do so in order for the parents to see their children compete in “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
To donate to the Junior team, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/1puit0mc1c.
The 8-10 Berlin team got off to a rough start in its regional tournament held in Cranston, New Jersey, as the boys fell to a team from New Jersey, 2-0, last Sunday, then 14-4 to Pennsylvania’s representative on Monday.
“I believe the boys will rebound and play much better,” Coach Ron Calloway said on Tuesday. “We have the better team … they just didn’t play very well, but I think the break will be good for them and besides … they’re 9- and 10-year-olds. They’ll forget about it and put it behind them. Tomorrow is a new day.”
Despite losing two games, the Berlin all stars are not out just yet. During the regional tournament, each team is guaranteed four games before vying for the Mid-Atlantic championship, which takes place on Friday.
The Berlin team was scheduled to play at 11 a.m. on Wednesday against a squad from New York.
“Whether they win or lose, they’ll have learned a lot and seen a lot of new places,” Calloway said. “Moving from district to state to regionals is quite an accomplishment as kids, and I know they’ll become better kids as a result.”
Berlin’s last guaranteed game will be against Delaware at 5 p.m., Thursday.
The Berlin district and state championship team (9-2) has a GoFundMe page to help raise funds needed for travel, hotel and food expenses during the tournament. The page has already raised $1,245 as of earlier this week.
“The support from back home is great,” Calloway said. “For the parents and coaching staff … it’s been a long summer making new friends and enjoying new experiences. But any help we can get on our fundraiser would help a lot with our expenses.”
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/f/berlin-ll-910-on-the-road-to-rhode-lsland.