Big dreams for Little Leaguers are within reach in Vermont.
The Vermont Little League State Tournament takes place this weekend, with the competition down to the final four teams. They’ll compete in double elimination rounds to vie for the state title, and a berth in the New England regional tournament.
Vermont is divided into four districts. On Sunday the Northwest Little League Majors rallied against neighboring St. Albans to pull off a 13-2 win in just four innings, thanks to the Little League ‘mercy’ rule. And with that victory Northwest clinched the District 3 championship title.
Scott Hakey is a dad from Highgate, and his son, Parker, is in his first year playing All Stars, but he’s pitched like a seasoned veteran to this point. He threw 91 pitches for a 1-nothing shut out against Browns River last weekend. Hakey is impressed with the level of play he’s seen.
“Unbelievable!" he said. "I’ve been around baseball close to 40 years and I’ve never seen two 1-nothing shut outs in an All Star game, ever. It’s an amazing team.”
Gavin Nichols has been playing baseball most of his life. The 12-year-old pitcher from Swanton recapped Sunday’s district championship win over St. Albans.
“The score was 13-2, and the first inning we weren’t doing too great, 'cause we got down, it was 2-nothing," Nichols said. "And after that we just brought our heads up — we just started hitting all over. And we had a big rally to start off the game and then we just kept going and going.”
Second baseman Reid Myers is also from Swanton and he’s the coach’s son. Myers has played as an All Star for the last four years, and after Sunday’s win, he said it felt good to finally win a district title. But he knows the next round of games will be tougher.
“I feel pretty good but we also are playing tougher teams now because they all win at District, so we have to play harder," Myers said.
The team, led by Travis Myers and Lucas Tatro, will play against District 1 champion Williston. The first of the double elimination rounds for the state title begin this Saturday in Barre. The Northwest players know they have a lot of work to do, but they’re confident of their ability to work together to achieve their goal.
Outfielder Wolfgang Lux is from Swanton.
“I think we can really do something if we play our game as a team," he said.
And that something could turn out to be winning the crown as the best Little League team in Vermont.