It wasn’t the result desired, but the Berlin Little League team that played twice on national television last week did our region proud.
The squad fell just short of advancing to Williamsport, Pa. for the Little League World Series last Sunday when it ran into a hot pitcher, who no-hit our local boys. That loss should not temper a summer to remember for the young boys and their coaches.
Coach Cam McDonough was in the spotlight quite a bit last week for his dance moves and a Chris Farley spoof speech that made him a hit on ESPN’s social media outlets. Aside from the silly antics, McDonough deserves a tremendous amount of credit for how he coached this team. He kept things in the proper perspective.
Having coached another celebrated team five years ago, McDonough was no stranger to this tournament and having a team with a goal to play in Williamsport. His son, Tristan, was on that impressive team. McDonough has lamented how serious he was during that run with his son’s team. He vowed to be a different coach this time around. It was evident from some of his lighthearted moments and his coaching words of advice he learned from that experience.
At one point, toward the end of the Mid-Atlantic regional championship game against Staten Island, N.Y., McDonough could see his players’ heads lowering. The team was being dominated by the opposing pitcher and it had taken a psychological toll. He implored them to keep their heads up and be proud. He told his kids he has cried over a baseball game. He regretted it. He didn’t want them to do the same. Instead, he encouraged them to save their tears for when they lose someone close to them or when they are so happy they are moved beyond words to tears.
After breaking from the group, McDonough specifically singled out a player who came off the bench to smack an opposite field hit, but was thrown out at first on a heads up play by the right fielder. The boy was clearly distraught. McDonough embraced him and told him he was the only player on the entire team who put a ball in the outfield and that he should not be ashamed. He should be proud. There were other instances when McDonough personified an excellent coach, including hugging the opposing team’s players during the customary end-of-game hand shake.
We congratulate this team, which won the award for best sportsmanship at the regional tourney, and the entire Berlin Little League organization on a job well done. They made us proud and represented our area well. We wish them and their families a couple weeks of relaxation before the start of school.