Winter Garden Little League’s Major (12-and-under) All-Star Team is hoping the third time is the charm.
The boys from Winter Garden advanced to the 2014 State of Florida Championship tournament this past weekend after dominating the competition at the Section 5 Tournament, which was hosted by Dr. Phillips Little League.
The advancement to the state tournament marks the third consecutive year that this particular group of players, under head coach Mike Hall, has done so. The boys placed third in the state in last year’s 11-year-old All-Stars Tournament and second in the state in 2012 as 10-year-olds.
Now, as 12-year-olds, the boys are excited to continue their impressive run of three state tournaments in as many years — and hopefully advance even further this year. Little League Baseball’s Majors Tournament is the one which famously ends at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., with the games broadcast nationally on ESPN.
“I think it’s a historic achievement for Winter Garden Little League,” Hall said. “Their whole goal is to try to get to that Little League World Series and get on ESPN.”
The state tournament will begin Friday at San Carlos Little League in Fort Myers, with the 2014 State of Florida Championship Game scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday.
The winners of the respective sectional tournaments are broken into two groups, with each team playing three games in pool play. The winners of the two pools will meet in Sunday’s championship.
As Section 5 champions, Winter Garden has been slotted in Pool A along with Sections 2, 4 and 6.
The winner of this weekend’s tournament advances to the Southeast Region Tournament in Georgia. Hall and his ballclub are optimistic that, after coming up just short in the previous two years, the continuity and familiarity his team has built up will seem them through to a state title.
“For them to be together for three years straight, it’s a huge, huge plus for them because they already know how they play and they know what to expect,” Hall said. “The kids are pumped up and I can tell they’re giving everything they’ve got.”