The East Surry Little League All-Stars couldn’t have made things much tougher on themselves than they did in the District 2 Tournament earlier this month.
Competing in a double-elimination tournament held over eight days among eight local all-star teams, East Surry put itself in a precarious position in its second game of the tournament, when it was defeated 7-4 by host Kernersville on Sunday, June 26, the second day of the event.
The loss meant that the team would have to win three games in the elimination bracket just to reach the championship round, while Kernersville, by virtue of winning, had to win just once. Also, East Surry couldn’t lose again, or the team would be sent home.
That loss hasn’t happened yet.
After dropping that game to Kernersville, East Surry won three straight elimination games, outlasted Kernersville 9-8 in a slugfest in the championship round, sending the District 2 Tournament to a decisive winner-take-all Game 15. On the evening of Saturday, July 2, East Surry completed its comeback with a 13-3 rout of the host team. It marked the first time that an ESLL 12U team had claimed the district championship.
East Surry ended up competing in seven of the tournament’s 15 games, posting a 6-1 overall record and outscoring the opposition 68-28.
The title propelled East Surry into the North Carolina Little League State Championship tournament, which gets under way Friday, July 22 in Wilson.
The district tournament got under way on June 25 with four games on the two fields at the Kernersville Little League complex. In the morning, Davie County beat Rowan County and Northwest beat Walkertown. In the afternoon games, East Surry downed Winston-Salem National 7-4 and Kernersville routed King 14-3.
The next day saw all eight teams in action again. The previous day’s four winners squared off, with Davie downing Northwest and East Surry suffering its only loss, falling 7-4 to the host team.
Davie and Kernersville got Monday, June 27 off, but East Surry had to play that day in an elimination game. They kept their hopes alive by crushing Rowan 18-2.
After an off day, the team faced its second elimination game on Wednesday, this time facing the same Winston-Salem National team they’d beaten to open the event. National had won two lopsided games since opening with the loss to East Surry, but now saw its season end at their hands, 7-2.
While that game was going on, Kernersville downed Davie 10-7 and moved one victory away from the title. Davie dropped into the final of the elimination bracket, where East Surry beat them 10-2 in the lone Thursday game.
The first day of July saw East Surry riding a three-game winning streak but facing a tough and well-rested foe on its home field. They rose to the challenge. East Surry built an 8-2 lead going to the bottom of the fifth inning, then held off a furious Kernersville rally to take the championship battle down to a single game.
The final was anticlimactic. East Surry won the last game by the mercy rule, turning what had been a 1-1 game after one inning of play into an 11-3 rout by the third.
For more information on East Surry Little League, visit them online at http://www.eastsurrylittleleague.org/.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.