The Powell Little League Red Sox had an outstanding season in the Majors division this summer, posting a 14-3 record and advancing to the North Big Horn Little League championship game against the …
The Powell Little League Red Sox had an outstanding season in the Majors division this summer, posting a 14-3 record and advancing to the North Big Horn Little League championship game against the Lovell Braves June 26.
But Lovell had an excellent team as well, and proved it in the title game, blanking the Red Sox 8-0. Despite the loss, Red Sox head coach Cale Ostermiller said the players were proud of what they’d accomplished this season.
“It was a successful season,” Ostermiller said. “I thought we had a good, solid team coming out of our draft in March. It was a young team, actually — nine of our 12 kids were 11-year-olds. But they were a strong group. I knew we’d make a run in terms of the Powell teams.”
The Red Sox beat the Powell Rockies to advance to the championship game, and Ostermiller figured his team would have its hands full with Lovell. The Braves finished 13-0 and had 10-run-ruled just about every opponent they faced this season. Holding them in single digits was a
victory in itself. Lovell started fast, plating three runs in the first inning, four in the fourth and one in the fifth.
“Lovell has a strong program, so we knew any team coming out of there was going to be real strong,” Ostermiller said. “The kids were nervous. With a really young group of kids, it was kind of a deer-in-the-headlights a little bit to start the game. We did some uncharacteristic things, things that we didn’t do most of the year. Our pitching staff was really strong all year, but in the championship game I think we walked seven kids. We didn’t give a lot of free bases during the regular season.”
Conversely, Lovell’s pitching was dialed in, walking just one batter in the contest.
“We gave them [Lovell] several extra base runners, and that puts you in a hole a little bit,” Ostermiller said.
The Red Sox were not without their chances, leaving runners on base in several innings. But the one hit that might have started a rally eluded the young club.
“We couldn’t get that timely hit, and we stranded quite a few baserunners,” Ostermiller said.
Hitting was an aspect of the game Ostermiller said the Red Sox continued to improve on during the regular season. By the time the playoffs rolled around, every player in the lineup was putting the bat on the ball with consistency.
“The team came a long way this year. Our stronger baseball players never had that challenge over the year of putting the bat on the ball,” he said. “But I think when it came time for tournament, 1-9 in our order, I always felt like any of those kids in the batting order could put the ball in play. That was something I felt pretty good about come the end of the season.”
After the Red Sox received their second-place medals following the game, Ostermiller said the team was upbeat and smiling. The sting of a loss was eclipsed by knowing the team had accomplished something special.
“Kids handle that stuff better than adults,” Ostermiller chuckled. “There were some long faces and whatnot, but really for the most part I think the kids were proud of their season. Coach Randy Sears and myself tried to keep them focused on the positives that happened over the course of the season, rather than the tough things that happened during that one game.”
The Red Sox roster included Max Reynolds, Landon Hyde, Kaiden Jones, Ben Ostermiller, Jordan Loera, Talon Nuss, Hugo Torres, Braxton Batt, Austin Sears, Tyler Wenzel, Caiden Tygart and Daniel Peterson. Five of the Red Sox were chosen to represent the Powell All Stars, who will begin district play later this month.
“This was one of those teams this year that if one kid had a rough game one day, there was always someone else there to step up,” Ostermiller said. “That was kind of the way the team went a good chunk of the year. Kids would hit slumps, and someone else would pick them up. That was the cool thing about this group of kids.”