Big Point, Michigan They’re a gang of baseball-minded boys, there’s no doubt about that.
But all the stars of Grosse Pointe Farms-City Little League prove that you don’t need to be all baseball, all the time to thrive in America’s pastime.
“It’s a baseball group,” Farms City coach Terry Brennan said. “But there are some football players, some basketball players and a few who would rather be in a hockey rink than a baseball rink. Some live and breathe baseball, and some live and breathe hockey. But they all think of baseball when they’re on the field.
“I have a team of athletes and they love to compete. They compete in some games on their iPhones as we talk. Anything they can do to compete, they will do.”
This combination of athleticism and competition helped make Farms-City the best team of 12-year-olds in Michigan this summer as they won the Little League Major Baseball State. Now they represent their entire state when they compete in the Great Lakes region, one step away from the popular Little League World Series.
Farms City heads to Whitestown, Indiana, for the revised Double Elimination Championships featuring state champions from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois. Farms City will face Hagerstown, Indiana at 7 p.m. Saturday in the regional opener.
The Michigan State champions won three of the four provincial titles, including last season’s Taylor North who became the first Michigan team to win a minor league championship since 1959.
Farms City is on the right track after beating Taylor North this year 4-3 in a thrilling state final last week. In fact, this Farms-City team has shown that it knows how to win by claiming a string of championship titles over the past two years.
“They’ve been battle tested,” Brennan said.
“One thing about this group is that they stay positive. They know it’s a six-stroke game. If they come down early, there are 18 people to work with and they won’t give up until the last time.”
Farms City showed that by falling behind twice while playing in the state championship, including the state final when Taylor North’s first goal of the match went home. They have finished on the positive side in every game of the minor league this season as they shift to the region and state titles.
As a result, they joined the Grosse Pointe Farms-City teams of the years 1995, 2002 and 2009 among all-time majors in baseball. Farms-City also took home a state title of 10 and lower this summer as the program finds itself in a hurry.
Now they are preparing to hit the big time on the big stage of the Great Lakes. Not only do you play in a sparkling new complex that opened a year ago, all games are streamed live by ESPN-Plus. The semi-final matches are scheduled to be broadcast live on ESPN with the championship game broadcast live on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
“They were all pumped up for the chance to go to Williamsport,” Brennan said. “We can just drink Gatorade products in the lair, and they think that’s pretty cool. They feel like they’re on the pro level and they have patrons.”
The 11-player roster includes Jack Babcock, Tommy Brennan, Brady Cooper, Henry Danielwich, Henry Getz, Merritt Huebner, Ethan Morgan, Alex Nicholson, Dylan Phillips, Cayden Wortman and Cole Wartman.
Farms-City is confident in its promotional team. Brennan said the employees aren’t really a dominant intelligence but they have a lot of strong arms that can get the job done at a high level.
“We have good depth in our squad,” he said. “We have eight kids that we can trust at any point in the game. We know we can put any of them in there and they will strike and get out.”
Brennan said his team boasts a diverse lineup, which can get the job done flying around the bases one by one or by making contact with the long ball. But the defense may be his strong suit after his flawless performance on the field loomed large in his one-man country final.
“Defensively, we are very good. At the same time, they are 12 years old, so you never know what could happen,” Brennan said. If we keep mental errors to a minimum, we’ll give ourselves a chance in every game.”
The Great Lakes regional champion advances to historic Williamsport, Pennsylvania in the Little League World Series. This year’s team hopes to become the first Farms City team to reach its final destination.
LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL
Great Lakes Region
in Whitestown, Indiana
Saturday August 6
1: Hinsdale (Illinois) vs. London North Laurel (Kentucky), 10 a.m.
2: Hagerstown (India) vs. Gross Pointe Farms City (Michigan), 7 p.m.
Sunday 7 August
3: Match 1 Winner vs. Hamilton West Side (Ohio), 4 p.m.
4: Game 1 Loser vs Game 2 Loser, 7 p.m.
Monday August 8
5: Match 4 Winner vs. Match 3 Loser, 1 p.m.
6: Winner of Game 2 vs Winner of Game 3, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Tuesday August 9
7: Game 6 Loser vs Winner Game 5, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Wednesday 10 August
8: Winner of Game 6 vs Winner of Game 7, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
Winner qualifies for Little League World Series