ESPN To Air Berlin’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Game
BERLIN — Despite back-to-back losses, Berlin Little League’s under-12 Major League All-Star team advanced this week to the semifinals of the Little League Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament, which will be broadcast on ESPN on Friday afternoon, with a chance at a berth in the Little League World Series in Williamsport later this month on the line.
Berlin jumped out to quick 2-0 record in pool play last weekend with a narrow 5-4 win over New Jersey in the tournament opener on Friday, followed by a 6-2 win over Delaware last Saturday. After an off day on Sunday, Berlin was back in action on Monday morning against Washington D.C. with a chance to improve to 3-0 and all but assure themselves a spot in the semifinals.
The top four seeds among the six teams in the region would advance to the nationally televised semifinals, and at 2-0 with two still to play, Berlin appeared well on their way to advancing. However, Berlin dropped a couple of tough games on Monday and Tuesday and fell to 2-2 in pool play. Berlin had to wait for final results in other games on Tuesday to find out if it would advance.
When the dust settled, Pennsylvania ended up as the top seed, while Delaware was second, Washington, D.C. was third and Berlin was fourth. As a result, Berlin will play top-seeded Pennsylvania at 3 p.m. on Friday in the second semifinal. Second-seeded Delaware will face Washington in the first semifinal at 11 a.m. on Friday. Both games will be televised live on ESPN.
Last Friday, Berlin beat New Jersey, 5-4, in the tournament opener. Berlin got the lead in the first inning and never relinquished it after a couple of comeback attempts by New Jersey. Berlin’s Tristan McDonough collected two hits and drove in two runs including a single in the first and a homer in the fifth. McDonough also started the game on the mound, allowing just one hit and one run. Hayden Snelsire picked up the win, pitching four innings and allowing three runs on four hits. Matt Kinsey and Billy Wheatley each drove in a run on a sacrifice fly.
Back in action on Saturday, Berlin beat Delaware, 6-2, to improve to 2-0 in pool play. Berlin scored single runs in the first, second and third innings and broke the game open with a three-run fifth. Kinsey got the win, allowing just two runs on seven hits. McDonough again led Berlin at the plate, driving in three runs on two hits including a single in the first and a home run in the fifth.
Against Washington, D.C. on Monday, Berlin fell behind by a big margin through the early innings and mounted a furious comeback attempt, only to fall short in the end. Each team scored three runs in the first inning, but D.C. scored four times in the second and three more in the third to pull out to what appeared to be a commanding 10-3 lead after three.
In the fourth, Berlin started its miraculous comeback attempt with four runs of its own to cut Washington’s lead to 10-8. Kinsey drove in two of the runs with a single and Wes Powell, grandson of Baltimore Orioles’ great Boog Powell, drove in the other runs with a two-run triple. Both teams went scoreless in the fifth to set the stage for a dramatic sixth and final inning.
D.C. added an insurance run to extend its lead to 11-8 in the top of the sixth, but Berlin was far from finished. After getting two runners on in the bottom of the sixth, Berlin’s Jack Rosenberg hit a two-run double to cut the lead to 11-10. However, Rosenberg was stranded on second and Berlin fell, 11-10, to drop to 2-1 in pool play.
On Tuesday, Berlin faced off against the unbeaten Lionsville, Pa. team with a chance to improve to 3-1 and cement a place in the semifinals. After Monday’s slugfest, however, Berlin could muster little offense against Pennsylvania starter pitcher Michael Rodriguez, who pitched three innings allowing no hits and no runs. Berlin’s McDonough nearly matched the effort pitch for pitch, but scattered two runs while striking out nine. Pennsylvania’s Connor Kalten provided the only offense his team would need, driving in two runs on two hits including a single and a home run.
With the loss to Pennsylvania, Berlin’s record in pool play fell to 2-2 and put them on the edge of elimination. However, the 2-2 record in pool play proved to be enough for Berlin to gain the number-four seed and a trip to the semifinals this afternoon and a rematch with Pennsylvania in a game televised at 3 p.m. on ESPN.
If Berlin wins on Friday, it would reach the Mid-Atlantic Region Tournament championship game on Sunday evening at 6 p.m., which will be televised nationally on ESPN2. A mid-Atlantic regional championship win would advance Berlin, which was won three straight District 8 and Maryland state titles, to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. later this month against some of the teams in the country and around the world.