The 2008 Big League World Series Champions from the South Region District 7 South Carolina
By Jeff Young
Back in January a group of talented young men got together to put forth a great effort to make the ball club through a 12-game season. They had to battle an unusually tough cold spell in the south. They persevered and we were able to come up with a very talented group that played-well together. We may have passed up on some better talent, but the team concept was primary to winning a championship. Teams must come together for success on and off the field. This team gelled together very well.
The South Caronlina State Tournament against District 6 was very intense, since most of the players on the field had competed against each other in competive games in past high school and summer seasons. The collection of players we had understood the task at hand and played with the determination and will to let their talents take over. The biggest hit of the state tournament was the two-run homerun Madison Younginer hit over the Green Monster to tie the game and we never looked back from that point. Well pitched, well defended with timely hitting.
The regional in Florida did not get any easier. We faced very good teams that were well coached and played the game very hard, the way it is supposed to be played. As we got tothe final four of the tournament, the real fun began. Again, timely hitting took over when called upon to back up superb pitching and defense. It was a total team effort as not one individual took over, but 17 young men took it upon themselves to feed off of each other to get it done.
The World Series just added to the TEAM concept of District 7. Pitching and defense kept us in every game. After a loss to the Host team, 2-0 in front of about 1000 people, we knew we had our work cut out for us. We quickly got down 6-0 to the Southwest, who had a southpaw on the mound, who led the country in strikeouts the high school season before. We made some good adjustments and waited him out. With two swings of the bat, the score was tied, Will Owens with a Grand Slam and Paul Nitto with a two-run shot later in the same inning, tied the score. In the 6th, we got a two-out opposite-field homerun from Kellen Moman that put us up for good in the contest. Pitching and defense rose to the occasion again. We are now sitting 2-1 and have come to the realization that against the Central we have to win and ONLY give up two or less runs to advance. WOW, we win with a 2-1 score. Matt Pegler gave us four outstanding innings of one run baseball and the bullpen took over from there. Rob Kish with one great inning and then Michael Roth finishing it off with two scoreless innings of relief.
We now get into the US Championship game after a two-hour rain delay. A back and forth game that came down to small and big ball for us. Two successful suicide squeezes and a home run that scraped the top of the fence. Younginer finished this game out with two outstanding innings of relief. Did I say timely hitting with GREAT pitching and Defense!!!
The Final--USA South vs. Puerto Rico--A packed house with ESPN on hand ...it could not get any better than that!!! Mr. Rivera of PR absolutely dominated us thru six innings. A very good fastball with a good breaking ball. We could not get anything started and if we did, we just couldn't get anything across the plate. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead after four innings. Rob Kish threw outstanding and after four innings we went with Michael Roth. PR got two runs in the top of the 7th to jump out, 4-0. Was all lost?? Not with this group of guys. Pegler led the inning off with a sharp single down the thirdbase line and Mr. Rivera was done, (thank goodness). We scrapped our way into five runs in the bottom of the 7th with the biggest hit came from a guy who was playing his last game of his career because he off to college to get an education (Bo Thamason). Things like this are great to see. A couple of miscues and a hit batter, we are down, 4-3, with one out and Michael Roth coming to the plate. He had not been able to buy a big hit in the WS, BUT you cannot count this kid out, doubles to left, and we WIN!!! Best at-bat in the tournament for him. We could have any one of these guys at the plate then, but he got it done!!! We came away with the an almost improbable victory and the Big League World Championship!!!!!!
These kids played hard, smart and with one common goal of winning it all. Just a complete effort on all parts of this to come away with this great opportunity for these young men. They will always remember this for the rest of their lives.
I just want to thank Little League for all they do this GREAT game of Baseball and the youth of America!!! It was an honor to be a part of this and will be in the future.
2008 Big League World Series Champions