BERLIN- The Berlin Little League 10-11 All-Stars this week won the District 8 championship to advance to the state championship tournament, marking the second year in a row for the same core group of players.
The Berlin 10-11 team swept the District 8 tournament, going unbeaten to claim the title for the second year in a row. Last year, essentially the same basic team, playing in the under-10 bracket, won the District 8 championship and went on to win the state championship. The Berlin team cruised past Fruitland, 16-3, on Monday to capture the District 8 championship. Last year, the under-10 team also beat Fruitland, 4-0, in the district title game.
Before facing Fruitland for the championship on Monday, Berlin easily dispensed with each of the teams in the way to repeating in the district title game. Berlin destroyed East Wicomico, 31-0, in the opener last week, then thrashed West Salisbury, 18-4, last Thursday to advance to the championship game.
Against West Salisbury last week, Tristan McDonough was the winning pitcher, striking out seven and helping his own cause at the plate with a triple. Billy Wheatley, who was on fire throughout the tourney, hit a home run, Kevin Beck had two singles, Hayden Snelsire had a single and a double, Wes Powell had two singles and a double, and Matt Kinsey collected two hits.
In the championship game, Wheatley led Berlin’s offensive assault, going 4-5 at the plate while driving in three runs and scoring three times. McDonough and Beck each went 2-5, driving in two and scoring twice, and Powell, grandson of former Baltimore Orioles great Boog Powell, went 1-3 and drove in two runs.
After a scoreless first inning, Wheatley doubled to put Berlin on the board in the second inning. Berlin would go on to score four runs in the second inning and there was no looking back. Berlin scored four runs in the second, one in the third, two in the fourth, one run in the fifth, and sealed the deal with an eight-run outburst in the sixth and final inning. Throughout the district tournament, Berlin outscored its opponents by a combined 65-7.
After closing out Fruitland in the bottom of the sixth on Monday, the Berlin players and coaches celebrated on the field after the presentation of the District 8 championship banner, their second in as many years. The celebration was short-lived, however, as the Berlin 10-11 All-Stars almost immediately began preparing for the state championship tournament in Hurlock, which gets underway this weekend.
Playing as the 9-10 team last year, the Berlin squad won the program’s first-ever state championship, sweeping three games before beating South Caroline, 10-4, to win the title. Berlin then advanced to the Mid-Atlantic regional tournament in Rhode Island before falling in the title game. For this year’s 10-11 team, the state championship is as far as the team can go.