By Kevin O’Rourke
While everyone is watching Little Leaguers from all over the world compete in the Little League World series in Williamsport, Penn., a team from Germantown had a pretty successful run through a Little League tournament earlier this summer.
The 10/11 year old team from Germantown-based Montgomery County Little League (MCLL) won the Maryland District 2 tournament this year. Although, these players are a year younger than the kids playing in Williamsport, their accomplishment is made more significant when you consider that this is only the second year that Montgomery County Little League has been in existence. Previously, the league was known as the Germantown Athletic Club, an independent baseball league, but in 2013, the league joined Little League.
“It was actually kind of a big deal that we were able to win the district,” said Marty McNeill, manager of the MCLL 10/11 year-old team. “The folks from the District 2 were telling us what an accomplishment it was because there are Little Leagues in the district that haven’t won a tournament in 60 years of existence. We’ve been able to win a championship banner in just two years.”
The Maryland District 2 is made up of teams from seven leagues from Maryland, Brunswick Little League, East Frederick Little League, Four County Little League, Fredrick American Little League, Fredrick National Little League, Thurmont Little League, and MCLL. All-star teams from each of the seven leagues compete in the District 2 tournaments in various age groups, ranging from the 9/10 Year Old Division to Big League Division, which is 15-18 year-olds.
“We were very fortunate that we were able host all of our games in the District 2 tournament,” said McNeill. The games were played at the field in South Germantown Park.
In the first game, the team from Germantown was able to win 12-1 over the Fredrick American Little League team, on an outstanding pitching performance by Matthew Keane, according to McNeill. “He pitched real well, but we were able to get hits and play really good defense. We stressed to the boys that we’d have to play perfect – error free—defense and we were able to do that for the most part throughout the Districts,” said McNeill.
In the next game, the boys from MCLL were able to best teams from Brunswick Little League by a 5-1 score, thanks to a pitching performance by Sean Carrier. The final game was a 7-3 win over Fredrick National Little League, in which Keane and Nick Frazier pitched and got good defensive support and timely hits to take home the District 2 banner.
With the success at the district level the team earned a spot in the Maryland Little League 10/11 State Tournament, which coincidently, was hosted by District 2 this year. The games were played at the Fredrick National Little League fields, in Fredrick, Md. As the winners of the host district, the MCLL team was the home team.
“The level of competition at the state tournament went way up,” said McNeill. “Our boys played very well, gave 110 percent, and left everything on the field, but we came up short to better teams. They are all All-Stars. That is really the great thing about Little League, there is always a challenge. When you watch these teams on ESPN in the World Series, you know that they’ve had to beat really good teams to get there.”
“It was great to see the smiles on the boy’s faces as they were presented with that District 2 Championship banner,” McNeill added. “They were able to come together in a pretty short amount of time and be great teammates always supporting each other. They weren’t the biggest hitting team in the tournament, but they were able to play good baseball. We stress the basics and the fundamentals in our coaching. The boys really responded well and have a lot of reasons to be proud of themselves.”
Caption: The Montgomery County Little League 10/11 Team. From left to right are: Aidan McNeill, Ben Cuellar, Nick Frazier, Tommy Miles, Alex Pope, Nick Grutzkuhn, Matthew Keane, Noah Segui, Sean Carrier, Philip Delsordi, Isaac Shulman, and Jack Patterson. The coaches left to right are assistant coach Winston Segui, MCLL president Todd Patterson, assistant coach Andy Shulman, assistant coach Chris Keane and manager Marty McNeill.