Ten hopeful Milton 9- and 10-year-old baseball players took to the diamond at Dover's Schutte Park against the Dover MOT All-Stars July 28, and when the dust settled and the game was over, MOT had taken the state championship banner with a 9-5 victory.
The Milton squad had battled out of the losers' bracket to down MOT 9-0 the night before to set up the winner-take-all game.
The bats were working for Milton throughout the game as they outhit MOT eight to one. Ty Husbands was perfect from the plate, going three-for-three with a triple and two singles and an RBI. Hunter Rauch delivered a two-for-four performance with two singles. Brian Sponaugle went one-for-three with a single, while Malikye Wells knocked in three runs with his single. Luke Crouch went one-for-three with an RBI.
Milton had taken a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Hunter Rauch singled, moved up on a passed ball and was knocked home with Ty Husbands' triple.
Untimely walks, a fielder's choice and a sac fly allowed MOT to score three runs in the second and three in the top of the third.
Milton battled back, scoring two runs in the bottom of the third and two runs in the fourth to come within a 6-5 deficit.
MOT then scored three to finish the game and ended the hopes of the District 3 champions to go to the regionals in Rhode Island.
But the loss doesn't diminish the respect the players received along the way.
"I just want to congratulate the players on their great run," said manager Zac Crouch. "We are District 3 champions and made it to the final game of the state tournament. That's pretty impressive when you look at our little league's size to other leagues that are four to five times bigger. I'm so proud of the boys."
"They worked so hard to get to the championship game," said coach Scott Husbands. They are already looking forward to next year."