Little League state champion now targets Great Lakes regional crown

BIG POINT, MI – It’s a group of boys who love baseball, there’s no doubt about it.

But the Grosse Pointe Farms-City Little League stars prove that you don’t have to be all baseball, all the time, to thrive in the American pastime.

“It’s a baseball bunch,” Farms-City coach Terry Brennan said. “But there are football players, basketball players and a few who would rather be on a hockey rink than a baseball field. Some live and breathe baseball, some live and breathe hockey. But they all think about baseball when they’re on the field.

“I have a team of athletes and they love to compete. They’re competing in a game on their iPhone right now. Anything they can do to compete, they will do.

This athletic and competitive mix helped make Farms-City Michigan’s top 12-year-old team this summer as they won the Major League Baseball state championship. Now they represent their entire state when they compete in the Great Lakes region, one step away from the famed Little League World Series.

Farms-City ventures to Whitestown, Indiana for modified double-elimination tournament featuring state champions from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois . Farms-City takes on Hagerstown, Indiana at 7 p.m. Saturday in its regional opener.

The Michigan State champion has won three of the last four Great Lakes regional titles, including last season’s Taylor North team that became the first Michigan team to win the Little League World Series since 1959 .

Farms-City is on the right track after beating this year’s Taylor North team 4-3 in a spectacular final last week. In fact, this Farms-City team has shown they know how to win by winning a string of tournament titles over the past two years.

“They’ve proven themselves,” Brennan said.

“One thing about this group is that they stay positive. They know it’s a six inning game. If they go to bed early, there are 18 outs to work with and they won’t give up until the last out.

Farms-City showed that by coming from behind twice during the state tournament, including the state finals when Taylor North’s leadoff batter of the game hit a home run. They finished on the positive side in every Little League game this season while winning district and state titles.

As a result, they joined the 1995, 2002, and 2009 Grosse Pointe Farms-City teams as the Major League Baseball program’s all-time state champions. Farms-City also won the 10-and-under state title this summer as the program finds itself on a roll.

Now they’re gearing up to hit the big time on the big stage at the Great Lakes Regional. Not only do they play at a gleaming new complex that opened its doors a year ago, but all games are streamed live by ESPN-Plus. The semi-final matches are scheduled to be shown live on ESPN with the championship game airing live on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

“They’re all thrilled to have the chance to go to Williamsport,” Brennan said. “We can only drink Gatorade products in the dugouts, and they think that’s pretty cool. They feel like they’re at the professional level and they have sponsors.

The roster of 11 players includes Jack Babcock, Tommy Brennan, Brady Cooper, Henry Danielewicz, Henry Getz, Merritt Huebner, Ethan Morgan, Alex Nicholson, Dylan Phillips, Cayden Wortman and Cole Wortman.

Farms-City trusts its pitching corps. Brennan said the staff didn’t really have any dominant aces, but had plenty of strong arms that could do the job at a high level.

“We have good depth in our squad,” he said. “We have eight kids that we deploy there and trust at all times in the game. We know we can put any of them in there and they’ll strike and come out.

Brennan said his team has a versatile roster, which can get the job done by flying around bases one at a time or connecting on the long ball. But defense may well be his strong suit after his flawless performance on the court featured prominently in a one-set state final.

“Defensively, we are pretty good. At the same time, there are 12 of them, so you never know what can happen,” Brennan said. “You have to expect physical mistakes, it’s the mental mistakes that we don’t like. If we reduce mental errors to a minimum, we will give ourselves a chance in every game.

The Great Lakes Regional Champion travels to historic Williamsport, Pennsylvania for the Little League World Series. This year’s team hopes to become the first from Farms-City to reach the final destination.

Grosse Pointe Farms/City poses for photos after defeating Taylor North 4-3 in the Michigan Little League State Championship at MacKay-Jaycees Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (Joel Bissell | MLive.com)Joel Bissell | MLive.com

LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL

GREAT LAKES REGIONAL

In Whitestown, Indiana

Saturday August 6

1: Hinsdale, Illinois vs. London North Laurel, Kentucky, 10 a.m.

2: Hagerstown (Indiana) vs. Grosse Pointe Farms-City (Michigan), 7 p.m.

Sunday August 7

3: Game 1 winner vs. Hamilton West Side (Ohio), 4 p.m.

4: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 7 p.m.

Monday August 8

5: Game 4 winner vs. Game 3 loser, 1 p.m.

6: Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

Tuesday August 9

7: Game 6 loser vs. Game 5 winner, 3 p.m. (ESPN)

Wednesday August 10

8: Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 winner, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)

Winner advances to Little League World Series

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