The end of the line arrived for most little league programs across the state this past weekend, but for most of the teams in Louisa Little League, the fun has just begun. Five teams – four baseball and one softball – are headed to their respective state championships in the upcoming week after giving dominating performances in last week’s District 14 playoffs.
“It’s always good when you can send just one team to the states,” Louisa Little League president Mark Alberts said. “This league has wonderful kids.”
Louisa’s wins ranged from closely competitive to all-out massacres.
Louisa’s major baseball team preferred the latter.
After going undefeated in their five pool-play games in which they outscored their opponents 76-7, Louisa faced off against second-place Culpeper in a best-of-three playoff.
Playing in front of a home crowd at Luck Field in Mineral, the home team showcased a talent that left a lot of room for praise and just a little room for drama. Louisa took the opener on Saturday 11-1, and then finished off the series with a 2-1 win on Sunday thanks to a walk-off homer by Ryan Groome.
“This team has been playing really well,” head coach Dicky Purcell said. “We’ve had some really good pitching, and we’re hitting the ball well…We think we might have something special.”
With the win, the team booked a trip to the state playoffs, which will be held in Bridgewater. Louisa’s opening game is scheduled for Friday, July 18 at 4 p.m., where they will face off against the winner of the District 11 championships. They’ll also play on Saturday and Sunday against the District 5 and District 13 champions, respectively.
Though younger, Louisa’s 10/11-year-old all-star team was just as destructive as their older counterparts. Also going undefeated in their pool play games and never winning by less than 14 runs, the team took down Culpeper in the best-of-three finale in successive 10-run romps, winning 15-5 and then 17-7.
“The kids played really well,” head coach Matt Payne said. “I’m trying to focus them on a team effort. They have definitely gelled and fit into the team concept we’re preaching.”
Playing their state playoff games in Woodstock, the team will open up play on Saturday at 10 a.m.
“Our outlook is quite bright,” Payne said. “You go, you prepare very hard, and you let the chips fall where they may.”
To read the entire story, see the July 10 edition of The Central Virginian.