After running through their district, state and region tournaments unbeaten, the Martinez Evans 15-16 Senior League has one more hurdle to conquer.
With a 3-1 victory over Virginia in the finals of the Southeast Regional in Debary, Fla., Tuesday morning, the Columbia County squad earned a trip to Bangor, Maine to compete in the 2013 Senior League World Series, with pool play beginning today.
“We’re feeling great, excited,” said head coach Matt Brosious after the game. “It was a great win today.”
It initially appeared the team would have to drive back down to Florida Friday to fly out of Tampa, but after working with Little League International officials, the team got to fly from Atlanta to Baltimore to Boston then travel by bus to Bangor.
After going through the district and state competitions without a loss, the MELL team, representing Georgia, finished the regional the same way. They blew through pool play 3-0, with a 6-4 win over Florida their closest game. In Monday’s semifinal, Tyler Avrett threw a complete game as MELL beat Tennesse 10-1, setting up Tuesday’s win.
In the final game, Wilfredo Colon-Rios pitched four innings, allowing the one run and Jesse Ibarra finished off the final three innings for the save. Isaiah Davila was perfect at the plate in three trips, driving in two runs and Elliott Melton had two hits.
The team has history together as Avrett, Kyle Cartledge, Evan Krenz, Melton, Jose Nogueras and Luke Wiles were all a part of the 2011 junior team coached by Brosious that won the state title and were region runners-up.
Brosious called the run to-date a total team effort, case in point with Davila. He was injured during the district tournament, didn’t play much in the states and had only pinch hit before Brosious inserted him into Tuesday’s lineup.
“We gave Davila a shot and it worked out,” said Brosious.
Brosious thought Averett’s effort in Monday’s semifinal was critical to their success in the championship game.
“He threw a complete game yesterday and that left our other top three pitchers available if someone struggled,” said Brosious.
The team will play four pool play games in five days hoping to advance to the semifinals on Friday and the finals on Saturday.
“It’s hard to know what to expect,” said Brosious. “I think the guys are looking forward to the experience itself.”