By Kevin Eickman
The Milford Little League senior all-stars knew it wasn’t going to be an easy task, trying to win the State tournament. On their way to earning the District 1 title, Milford had a roller coaster type journey before finally besting Dover 13-12 in the title game.
In the opening game of the State tournament, hosted by Georgetown Little League, Milford found themselves trailing Naamans 3-0 early in their opening round game. Milford battled back and took the lead in the third inning, with the key play being a double by Shawn Snowden. In what many thought was a home run, the umpire ruled that the ball bounced over the fence and the play was scored as a ground rule double. Despite the controversy, Milford was still able to exit the inning with a 4-3 lead.
Naamans would come back and tie up the game in the bottom of the fifth, as McCugh would score for the the home team. Milford wasted little time getting back on top, as Tyler Benton, Tommy Jordan and Dustin Reeder all scored in the sixth inning. Giving Milford a 7-4 advantage. While Naamans would once again close to within two at 7-5, Milford would extend their advantage to 8-5 as Snowden scored in the top of the seventh. The game ended as Milford shortstop Tommy Jordan turned in the last of his spectacular plays in the game, on a diving stab of a line drive.
In the following two games Milford failed to put a run across the plate, facing solid pitching, and some bad luck. Milford was eliminated Saturday night, despite the fact that Dustin Reeder turned in a spectacular start, allowing only two runs.
Head Manager Kevin Mitchell believed that while the team may have had the talent to win it all, things just didn’t seem to go their way. “In my heart I think that we had the guys to get it done, we just didn’t take advantage of all the opportunities that we had,” commented Mitchell about the run that Milford had through both the District 1 and State tournaments. “We struggled in the District tournament and overcame the adversity, we just didn’t get it done in the State tournament.”
While failing to win the tournament was disappointed, Mitchell says that he really enjoyed coaching this group. “This is a great group of young men, I have known most of them since they were ten years old.” he added “This is a very coachable group of young men, and they are great friends both on and off the field.” Talking about leadership on the team, Mitchell was quick to compliment Dustin Reeder. “Dustin is a quality player, who brings his best each and every game.” he added “When he is on the field, he makes us a much better team.”
From an overall standpoint, Mitchell believes that the quality of players participating in Milford Little League has been fantastic. “When you take a look at all the solid players that have played for Milford, you have to be impressed.” Mitchell stated. “In both softball and baseball we are winning tournaments at the State level, and we continue to improve when we send teams to regional tournaments.”