BERLIN- The Berlin Little League 9-10 All-Stars were clinging to life in the East Regional Invitational late yesterday after a topsy-turvy week during which it went 1-2 in pool play.
The Maryland District 8 champions arrived in Cranston, R.I. last weekend unbeaten through district play and the state tournament, but ran into a couple of teams with equally impressive credentials at the next level in a field full of state champions. In its first game of pool play in the Mid-Atlantic division, Berlin ran into a buzz saw and fell to Delaware, 12-3.
Berlin rebounded on Tuesday with a big win over New Jersey, 12-2, in a game that featured the McDonough kids both on the field and off the field. After the stadium’s public address system failed, young Haley McDonough was called upon to sing the national anthem a capella and delivered an inspiring performance bringing the big crowd to its feet with a standing ovation.
Haley’s McDonough’s performance inspired the Berlin team, and more specifically her brother Tristan, who turned in a brilliant performance on the mound, allowing just one hit in five innings before being lifted for a replacement. The Berlin bats were also inspired, scoring five runs in the first to take an early 5-0 lead and adding six more in the fifth to close out the 12-2 win.
“She always says I inspire her, well today, she inspired all of us with her performance and made our whole family and team proud,” said Tristan after the game.
With the win over New Jersey, Berlin improved to 1-1 and took on New York, which was already 2-1, on Wednesday. Berlin built a 3-0 lead in the third on a home run by McDonough, but New York came back and led, 5-3, going into the sixth. Berlin rallied for four runs in the top of the sixth. After Berlin loaded the bases, McDonough hit a double to tie the game at 5-5. Two batters later, Wes Powell doubled home two more runs and Berlin led 7-5.
In the bottom of the sixth, New York loaded the bases before a rare misplay by Berlin allowed two runs to score to tie the game. After an intentional walk, New York got a base hit up the middle to walk off with a dramatic 8-7 win.
With the win, New York improved to 3-1 in pool play and advanced to the region finals. Berlin fell to 1-2 and needed a win over Pennsylvania late yesterday to stay alive and needed a little help to advance to the region finals.