VSLL team’s incredible run ends in U.S. Final of Junior League Baseball World Series
Members of the Viera-Suntree Little League All-Stars hold up their Southeast Regional championship banner. The team reached the U.S Final Friday night, but lost to California 7-2.
VIERA VOICE Courtesty Dan Jordan
Anytime you lose a game and see your season come to an end, the natural reaction is to be sad.
So, yes, the Viera-Suntree Little League All-Stars have every right to be disappointed in Friday night’s 7-2 loss to California in the U.S. Final of the Junior League Baseball World Series.
But this is also one of those cases where just getting this far should be celebrated. And for that, heads should be up, not down.
The VSLL made it to the final four … in the world.
There were plenty of dramatic moments along the way, case in point, Thursday’s come-from-behind win over Michigan that allowed the VSLL to reach the U.S. Final.
But there were other big wins along the way, including extra-inning game against Georgia in the Southeast Regional. Or how about getting past a tough, trash-talking Palma Ceia team in the state semifinals.
For a team that had struggled in big moments in past years, this is a group that put it all together on the world’s biggest stage and was one of the last four standing when it was all said and done.
That can never be taken away.
In the end, however, the team from Fullerton, California proved to be too much.
A costly wild pitch and a ground-rule double led to California’s first run. A five-run fourth inning put the VSLL in an even bigger hole.
Cameron Simpkins had an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth and Logan Keith – who had three hits in the game – singled home pinch runner Cameron Ruston in the bottom of the fifth.
But that’s all that the VSLL would get in this one, despite outhitting California 9-6 and having at least one runner reach second base in six of the game’s seven innings.
On the mound, Apollos Horrell, Simpkins and Dylan Jordan gave it everything they had, but California’s big fourth inning proved to be the difference.
Offensively, Keith had a double among his three hits. Brycen Weeks also had a double. Horrell, Luc Iten and Luke McDonough all had a hit.
Blake Strode, appearing as a pinch hitter, had a single to give him three hits in five at-bats during the tournament.
“I think we trust everyone on our team,” Keith said after the team won the state championship.
That trust was evident throughout the summer as VSLL players, coaches and their families embarked on a long adventure that led them to places like Broadway, Virginia and Taylor, Michigan.
VSLL players Horrell; Keith; Iten; McDonough; Simpkins; Jordan; Ruston; Weeks; Strode; Lucas Glendinning; Cole Smith; Camden Wicker; Luke Campbell and Aaron Brand may not have gotten the ultimate prize, but they created memories that will last a lifetime.
Every single one of them had a big moment this summer.
Every single one.
Now that’s an experience that can’t be beaten.