Parrish, Fla. —The Georgia Senior League All Stars from Martinez-Evans Little League were all set to defend their 2013 Southeast Regional title.
Needing a win against West Virginia in the final game of pool play at the 2014 Senior League Baseball Southeast Regional Tournament on Monday, MELL got just that, advancing to Tuesday’s semifinals with the 7-1 triumph.
MELL manager Charlie May said his team showed a lot of heart in getting through pool play.
“After the first game we could have folded the tents and come on home,” said May, after his team lost 8-2 to North Carolina on Saturday, committing six errors.
Facing West Virginia, May was without starters Thomas Murphy and Isaiah Davila. In Sunday’s 8-6 win over host Florida, Murphy dislocated his shoulder after colliding with the catcher on a play at the plate while Davila suffered a groin injury. Murphy was out and Davila was considered day-to-day.
“Our team is really spread thin by the injuries we had last night,” May said of Murphy and Davila. “That really put us in a bind, pitching-wise, but the kids battled back. They’ve really come together. We really miss those two young men on the mound ‘cause they’re critical for us going into tomorrow (Tuesday).”
Daniel Lee, who homered in the first two games of pool play and pitched the first two innings against Florida, got the call on the mound against West Virginia. He allowed one run to pick up the win.
The All Stars added single runs in the third through fifth innings. Jose Nogueras took most of the suspense away in the bottom of the sixth inning with a three-run homer, giving the All-Stars a 7-1 lead heading into West Virginia’s final at-bat.
“I think Jose (Nogueras) was a little tight, but in the sixth inning he hits a bomb to take the pressure off us,” May said. “Daniel Lee really pitched his guts out on one day of rest. He really pitched well.”
Against Florida, the All-Stars jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings and added two runs in the top of the third to go up 6-0.
Florida and tied it at 6 in the fifth inning. The All-Stars went ahead for good in the top of the sixth. Elyssa Melton led off with a single and was run for by Aaron Hendry, who later scored on an Elliott Melton single. After a couple of walks, Brandon Van Arsdale pushed across the final run of the game after getting hit by a pitch.
Tyler Avret got the win while Chris Woodward finished the final two innings for the save.
In the end, May was happy his team was still alive in the tournament.
“We’re thankful to be there and have the opportunity and hopefully we can keep battling,” May said.