The Georgetown Central All-Stars planned to jump into Lake Washington on Saturday night.
It was perhaps the only thing that would put a chill on the West Michigan-based softball team.
Central defeated Southeast 5-1 in the afternoon Junior League World Series championship game in Kirkland, Wash. four-shot complete game.
“Literally, we’re going down to Lake Washington, and there’s a dock there,” center coach Calvin Merritt said. “The whole team is jumping in the air to celebrate. Apparently, that’s what the champ does every year.
Central, competing in the 13-14 age bracket, had plenty to celebrate after capping off their week in Washington with a 6-1 record. Saturday’s victory also allowed Central to avenge its only loss of the tournament since Irmo, SC-based Southeast beat Georgetown 6-5 in a playoff fashion in a pool game on Monday.
Georgetown struck in third when Cammenga reached second on an error and came home on Autumn Dennis’ left double. Dennis then scored on an error to put Central 2-0 up.
Southeast scored its only run late in the third, but Central responded with two runs in the top of the fourth. Macy Alkema walked, stole second, went to third on a pitch and finally scored on an error. Moments later, Cammenga passed Natalie Tibbets. Central closed the scoring in the fifth when Morgan Macek overtook Julia Smith at home.
“It was a complete team effort,” Merritt said. “We had a great strike, great defense. Mak came in and pitched today and she did a great job. This team plays together and someone steps in when needed.
Georgetown has five players on its team that won its fourth straight state championship earlier this summer. But it was the first time the team was able to play out of state, however. They won their first two titles at the age of 11 and 12, and no national tournament is offered for this age group. The World Series was not played a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saturday’s game was broadcast live on ESPN2. Central recorded straight wins in Thursday’s quarterfinal and Friday’s semifinal to earn a spot in the title match.
“We spoke afterwards, and my two words were ‘Thank you,'” Merritt said. “Thank you for sticking with little league, thank you for believing in this team, thank you for being part of something special. There were a lot of tears around.
Central will fly out early Sunday morning and return to West Michigan. A celebration is scheduled for Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Vitales in Hudsonville.
“We had tremendous support at home,” Merritt said. “There were watch parties and they supported us via social media and texting the girls. We receive constant encouragement from both leagues, families and friends. The girls recognize and appreciate it, and it meant a lot to them.
Central had seven hits, Dennis and Callie Naber recording two each.