The Milton Little League 9-10 All-Stars played off their backs for three straight games after being sent to the losers' bracket after being shut out by Woodbridge 3-0 July 5.
The boys of coach Rusty Rauch responded with three straight wins over the next three days, beating Millsboro 11-0, Woodbridge 10-0 and Woodbridge again in the District 3 championship game 6-1.
District 3 will host the 9-10 division state tournament at Seaford beginning July 20.
“We get a bye in the first round which really helps with the pitching,” said Rauch. “There are only three teams, so get a bye and a win and you’re in the state championship game against a team that has to beat you twice.”
Milton and Woodbridge both went deep into their rosters for starting pitching, as frontline pitchers had been used up with games over four consecutive days.
Collin Cunningham, who arrived on Earth with a mitt for a pacifier (born into baseball family), got the call even though he had only pitched an inning the entire season.
“I watched him warming up and I don’t think he threw a strike," said his dad Mike “Goose” Cunningham, a former Cape pitcher.
Collin roped a triple in the top of the first, chasing home Tyler Husbands with the first run of the game.
Then in the bottom of the inning, the no-strike throwing warm-up kid struck out the first two batters he faced before getting a ground out.
Woodbridge's Camden Trayer scored in the bottom of the second on a sacrifice fly tying the game at 1-1.
Milton's Chase Boyle knocked home Drew Kindl with the go-ahead run in the top of the third inning.
Milton came back with three more in the top of the fourth, including another RBI by Cunningham and went on to post a 6-1 victory.
Cunningham only had 47 pitches going into his final inning of work.
“Just an amazing group of kids who won the Pat Knight tournament last year," Rauch said. "If they stay together, they’re going to win a lot of baseball games.”