SARATOGA SPRINGS – Saratoga Little League’s All-Star season age-12 players dominated their way to a championship victory on Sunday.
Taking place on the league’s home field at West Side Rec on July 9, the age-12 team crushed their opponents from Schenectady 13-0 to take the District 11/12 championship. Despite initial nerves heading into the game, the team eventually proved how far ahead they were of Schenectady with an excellent overall performance, according to Coach Jeff Babcock. The team will next face the team from Plattsburgh for the Section 2 title.
“The boys went out there a little skeptical in the first inning,” Babcock said. “But after that we just started hitting the cover off the ball, and defensively we were great. Had some nice plays, and just had a great team effort for the win.”
Babcock mentioned that the team made use of the batting cages at Sluggers Den while practicing for this game. Hitting 70-mph balls in the cages rather than simply throwing back-and-forth between each other no doubt helped give them an edge heading into the game.
Speaking of specific standout players, Babcock highlighted starting pitcher Mateo Avila, whom he referred to as “untouchable.” While Schenectady managed a few hits off of Avila in the fourth inning, his performance overall was sterling, with seven strikeouts. In the tournament overall, Avila has pitched 17 innings and has given up only one run, according to Babcock. Additionally, Babcock also praised Joey Barreto, who managed an RBI double.
Saratoga Little League’s All-Stars season commences directly after the end of the standard little league season in early summer, with tryouts taking place on June 9 followed by the first practice on June 20. The three All-Star teams are roughly divided by age, with ages 10, 11, and 12 being the standards, although Babcock and league vice president David Karpinski noting that players can end up playing for teams that do not match their ages depending on their skill levels.
Around 30 young players are picked for the All-Star from the around 300 players that usually compete in the preceding season. According to Karpinski, all leagues choose their All-Star players differently, using whatever method they deem fit. Saratoga Little League’s method is to hold an “assessment night” for all interested little league players. At these nights, players run through routines that include fly balls, running, pitching, catching, and more activities that reflect the skills necessary to be a part of the team. Karpinski also stresses that their choices are not strictly based on performances during the assessment night, but also on each player’s body of work throughout the year.
The first match between Saratoga and Plattsburgh is scheduled for July 15.
Photos by www.photoandgraphic.com.