If the sizes of the states they represent were a big factor, District I would definitely be in trouble tonight.
But since it’s only the players in uniform that matter, the Kent County baseball all-stars would like to think they have a fighting chance against California in the Big League World Series.
District I, the East champion, faces Southern California’s Conejo Valley Little League today at 7:30 p.m. in Easley, S.C.
The two squads, both 2-0, are the only two unbeaten teams among the five U.S. squads. The winner advances to Monday’s U.S. championship game with the loser facing an elimination contest on Sunday.
“I think they’re starting to really believe they belong here,” District I manager Kevin Turner said after a 5-0 win over Texas on Wednesday.
“I told them, they earned the right for a great challenge. We’re not going to back down from it. We’ll relax and then Friday we’ll start preparing for maybe the most intense game they’ve ever played.”
Both of California’s victories have been close but both have also been against top-notch competition. The West champions beat South Carolina, 4-2, and then Florida, 4-3.
Offensively, District I is batting just .212 (11-for-52) with only one extra-base hit — a double by Dover’s Kendall Small.
On the other hand, the pitching staff of Jared Rowley (Dover), Travis Dill (Camden-Wyoming), Sean Hanhauser (Dover), John Barkley (Smyrna-Clayton) and A.J. Johnson (Dover) has allowed only two runs, neither of which was earned. Kent County also has 15 strikeouts against just five walks.
“This team was built around the pitching staff,” Turner said earlier this week.
As for District I’s hitting, Turner remained optimistic it would come around.
“We’ve been real effective with our short game,” said Turner. “I’m just waiting for us to start barreling the ball up. It’s going to happen and Saturday night would be a great time.”
State tournament, Dover 13, Lower Sussex 12: Daevon Stratton drove in a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth inning as Dover pulled out the victory late on Thursday night.
The win puts the District I champions in today’s state finals at Millsboro. Dover (2-0) will play Lower Sussex at 5 p.m. If Dover loses, a second game will follow 30 minutes later.
Lower Sussex defeated Brandywine 13-5 on Friday night in an elimination game.
The winner advances to the East Regional in Freehold Township, N.J.
Michael Carrington, Dylan Jacobs and Stratton all had two hits for Dover while pitcher Avery Dabney earned the win.
Cole Hitch had a pair of hits for Lower Sussex.
State tournament, Newark American 7, Milton 4: The District II champions posted the win on Friday to reach tonight’s state finals at Smyrna-Clayton.
Newark American will play M.O.T. today at 7 p.m. If Newark American wins, the two teams will play again on Sunday night for the right to represent Delaware at the Mid-Atlantic Regional in Bristol, Conn.
Milton got an RBI double from Chase Boyle, who then scored on a wild pitch, and a homerun from Levi Clifton.
No Canada in Lower Sussex: Canada has withdrawn from the Big League World Series, which starts on Sunday at Lower Sussex Little League.
Canada was slated to play four games in the tournament, although none against either of the two downstate teams in the tournament. Canada’s game will just be canceled as opposed to reworking the entire schedule of the event.
DSU picked 10th in MEAC: Delaware State was predicted to finish 10th in the 11-team Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference preseason football poll that was announced on Friday.
North Carolina A&T, one of five teams to share the 2014 MEAC title, is the choice of voters to capture the crown this season. The Aggies collected nine of 22 first-place votes and 425 total points in the balloting.
South Carolina State is a close second with four first-place votes and 408 points. The Bulldogs also owned a share of the 2014 MEAC title.
“Polls are great for the fans and generating conversation, but games and championships are won on the field,” said first-year DSU coach Kenny Carter. “Our players and coaches are working extremely hard to put a great product on the field. I like our team and our chances to have a successful MEAC season.”
Hornet defensive back Terrick Colston was named to the preseason All-MEAC first team, while Gabe Sherrod and center Ernest Mengoni were third-team picks.