With Williamsburg hosting the Babe Ruth Southeast Regional this week, local baseball fans have had a chance to watch some of the best 13-year-old Little League teams compete for a spot in the Babe Ruth Baseball World Series.
That has been all the sweeter since one of the teams enjoying the most success in regionals has been the Williamsburg All-Stars.
The Williamsburg team claimed their second win of regionals against a Glen Allen team that won the state championship earlier this month and made it to the world series last year.
“We played against a great team, one that’s given us some tough matchups over the years, a lot of things just came together tonight, and we came out on top,” coach Brian Schultz said. “I’m super proud of these kids, they’ve worked hard for many years, and we’re seeing that pay off.”
The team kept the state champs scoreless, winning 2-0, thanks to a combination of strong pitching and quick work in the infield between first baseman Logan Oliver and second baseman Michael Bennett.
According to Logan, who stole three bases and scored one of Williamsburg’s runs, the win over Glen Allen was satisfying, especially since Williamsburg was one of the teams Glen Allen beat on the way to the state title.
“It feels kind of amazing, we’ve been playing these guys for the past couple of years, and this year in states, and this year we finally came out on top, “ he said. “Glen Allen is a great team, and I respect them, but we’re a great team, too, and tonight we proved it, we’re just excited to see what our team can do, and see how far we can go.”
With the win over Glen Allen, along with a dominant 11-1 victory Wednesday night, Williamsburg has a guaranteed spot in Saturday's semifinals.
Of course, those in-state rivals aren’t the only teams in town for regionals, with other teams having come from as far away as Mount Juliet, Tenn., and Sarasota, Fla., and between games, they’re getting a chance to see Williamsburg.
Bob MacDonald, whose nephew Will plays for the Tallahassee-Leon team, said that Williamsburg is an easy front-runner for the favorite host city they’ve been to. Tallahassee-Leon, which won the Florida state tournament earlier this month, and were runners-up in the World Series in 2017, is no stranger to the Southeast Regionals, so it’s no small thing that the impression is a positive one.
“We had a later game today, so the family went to Colonial Williamsburg in the morning, and we’re going to try and visit the Busch Gardens up here before we head home,” said MacDonald. “Williamsburg is quite a lovely little town, getting to see and then watch some great baseball, what more could you want out of a vacation?”
The Williamsburg All-Stars bracket placement for Saturday’s semifinals will depend on the outcome of Friday night’s game against the Sarasota team, with all matches to be played at Warhill Sports Complex Field 5. The first semifinal game will begin at 9 a.m. and the second semifinal is scheduled to start at noon. The winners will play in the finals at 3 p.m.
Whichever team wins the Babe Ruth Southeast Regional will move on to the World Series in Westfield, Mass., beginning Aug. 6.
Sean CW Korsgaard can be reached at 757-968-1529, by email firstname.lastname@example.org, and on Twitter @SCWKorsgaard.