The Coventry Major League All-Stars had quite the summer, winning the state and regional crown and advancing to Williamsport, Pennsylvania. It's always cool to see a local team advance to the big show, and it's always fun getting to see these kids live
The Coventry Major League All-Stars had quite the summer, winning the state and regional crown and advancing to Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
It’s always cool to see a local team advance to the big show, and it’s always fun getting to see these kids live out their dreams.
First, the road to Williamsport is an absolute grind.
After a long local Little League season, the All-Star tournament lasts throughout the summer depending on how far you advance. To see these kids devote nearly half the year to baseball, while also winning consistently is nothing short of impressive. Even for young kids, the schedule is long and tiresome and for them to not be completely burnt out shows their love for the game and the commitment.
Coventry quickly emerged as a legitimate threat to make it all the way early on. It could hit 1-9 through the batting order, it had multiple big arms on the hill, and it played sound defense. Then again, all teams that make the tournament are solid in those three areas … that’s what makes them all-stars.
But Coventry stayed hungry and consistent, and cruised to a state title win.
The stakes raised in the regional tournament, with teams throughout New England making the trip to Bristol, Connecticut.
Once again, Coventry rose to the occasion and would punch its ticket to PA in an epic regional tournament.
Things looked shaky when Pittsfield, Massachusetts dominated Coventry in a 10-1 walloping in the tournament. Things were on the verge of disaster when New Hampshire jumped out to a 5-0 lead the following game. However, Coventry would earn the come-from-behind win and get a second shot against Pittsfield in the regional final.
Coventry took Pittsfield’s best shot and was able to grind out a 3-2 win and prove its place as the region’s top team.
What’s crazy is that this was only the beginning of the chaos.
After the regional win, the kids had an hour before they had to hop on the bus to PA. In that hour they addressed the media, visited their families, and were quickly rushed out of the building.
Things remained fast-paced once they arrived to the World Series. From parades, to media appearances, to practices, the team continued to jump through hoops.
Coventry finished the tournament 0-2, falling to Texas and later Iowa to be eliminated.
I’m sure the kids were disappointed to not seal the deal, but I’m equally as sure that this was the best trip the majority of these players have ever been on, and it’s something they’ll take with them forever.
There’s a lot more to the tournament than baseball. The players get to travel the country, meet kids from other areas and from different continents, they are treated like celebrities.
Most of these kids won’t go on to play professionally, but they got a taste of what it like to be a pro ball player, which they’ll never forget.
Although it may cause a few headaches, parents must also have a blast along the way too.
The parents of Little Leaguers don’t get enough credit in my opinion. They sacrifice their summers to let their kids play ball, they have to pay for travel, make arrangements, parents work just as hard as the kids do.
I’m sure there are times that parents just wished that they had their summers, but to be able to watch their kids succeed and have a rare opportunity like this must also make them feel proud of what their children accomplished. Parents also get to travel and meet other people from around the world too … it’s a special trip for all parties.
To see a local Little League team make it to Williamsport is special. Even if you aren’t directly connected to the team, it is always cool to see kids in your own back yard be a part of the biggest youth sports tournament of the year.
It will be interesting to see this team mature, maybe they’ll be the next middle school state champs, the next high school state champs, maybe a few of them will even go on to play beyond high school.
Regardless, Rhode Island will always remember the 2018 Coventry Little League team.