A group of baseball players who have won so many championships over a four-year stretch now have the opportunity to win the ultimate prize.
By capturing the Southeast Region Babe Ruth Tournament on July 27 in Lewisburg, Tenn., the Arlington Senior Babe Ruth 15-under All-Stars have qualified for the Babe Ruth World Series, starting Aug. 7 in Bismark, N.D.
Arlington (18-2-1 overall summer record with a 10-game winning streak) won the region by rallying multiple times to defeat Lawrenceburg, Tenn., 11-10, in the title game in a 26-hit affair. Arlington, which survived five errors, won in walk-off fashion, scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Arlington had 14 hits and allowed 12.
“We’re going to North Dakota,” Arlington manager Dan Pototsky said. “This has been a lot of fun. We hit the ball well, the pitching has been outstanding, we have played good defense and we run the bases well.”
Many of the Arlington players have been together on various Babe Ruth all-star teams since age 12, winning four state championships, multiple district crowns and playing in region tournaments for four years in a row, and taking second in 2018. This was their first region crown and will be their first World Series appearance.
In this year’s region tourney, Arlington had two shutouts and allowed only six runs until the championship game, when the pitching showed signs of tiring on both sides.
In the title game, Lawrenceburg scored two runs in the top of the first inning, then Arlington answered with four in the bottom of the second on a big hit by Ketz Murray. Arlington later trailed by scores of 6-5 and 10-8. The winning run came in walk-off fashion on Alexander Zur’s ground-ball-hit toward first base. Earlier in the inning, Ben Langsman had a two-run hit and Landon Thomas also had a hit.
Murray had two hits and four RBI in the game, Dillon Bass and Bobby McDonough had three hits each, Langsam had three RBI, and Thomas hit well.
James Tallon started and struck out five, with Murray and McDonough pitching in relief. McDonough earned the win.
The comeback wasn’t a big surprise because Arlington trailed in other state and region games and rallied to win, including three walk-off victories, two in the region. Arlington’s overall record in state and region competition was 10-0.
“It has been some pretty exciting baseball and some incredible wins,” Pototsky said.
Arlington was 5-0 in the region tourney, including a 4-0 semifinal victory over host team Marshall County Babe Ruth of Lewisburg earlier in the day July 27. Right-hander McDonough pitched a three-hit shutout with four strikeouts.
With the bat, Thomas had two hits and two RBI, Quinn Brennan had two his and Zach Moss had an RBI. Brennan played strong defense in the two games.
Prior to the semifinals, Arlington was 3-0 in pool play.
Arlington was stingy in pool play, winning its first two games by 2-0 and 2-1 scores.
In a 2-0 win over Giles County, Tenn., Tallon threw a no-hitter with 12 strikeouts and one walk. He threw 91 pitches and Brennan made a diving catch to start a double play that helped preserve the no-hitter. Tallon faced the minimum 21 batters.
Arlington scored its two runs in the top of the fifth inning. Moss and Langsam (two hits) each had an RBI.
Murray had two hits, David Haley had one and Moss and Bass hit well. Arlington had 10 hits.
In a 2-1 pool-play win over Lawrenceburg, Tenn., Arlington had four hits, with Haley having an RBI and Murray hitting well.
McDonough pitched 51/3 innings with two strikeouts and Patrick Ashley threw 12/3 frames with two Ks.
In its final pool-play contest, Arlington rallied from a 4-0 deficit to nip Tallahassee, 6-5, in 11 innings on a game-winning RBI single by Bass that went over the right-fielder’s head. Bass had two hits, Thomas had three, and Langsam and Costas Tzoumas hit well.
Arlington took advantage of five Tallahassee errors. Michael Keefe pitched eight strong innings in relief and Ashley got the win in relief.
“Every player was a significant participant and important contributor in their roles. We needed them all,” Pototsky said.
* The Arlington Senior Babe Ruth 13-under and 14-under all-star teams participated in different Southeast Region Tournaments and did not advance beyond pool play. Each finished 1-2 in pool play, winning their final games.
The 13s lost by 17-0 and 9-3 scores, then defeated Stanly County from North Carolina, 6-3, in its final game.
Thad Gabel had two hits and two RBI in the win, Andy McEnemy added two hits, Ben Rosini hit well and Alex Devens pitched six strong innings with three strikeouts.
The 14s played in Stafford and lost 15-2 and 2-0, then ended with a 12-0 blowout of Stanly County behind 12 hits.
J.J. Foti, James Pilot and John Farrell all had two hits for Arlington in its win, Jaden Groome had three RBI and James Thiriez and Keegan Mahoney had two each. Sean Upton pitched well over three innings.