Little League state champion now sets sights on Great Lakes Regional crown

GREAT POINTE, MI – They are band of baseball-minded boys, of that there is no doubt.

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

“It’s a baseball bunch,” Farms-City coach Terry Brennan said. “But there are some football players, some 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’re all thinking baseball when they’re on the field.

“I’ve got a team of athletes and they love to compete. They’re competing in some game on their iPhones as we speak. Anything they can do to compete, they’ll do it.”

That athletic and competitive mixture helped make Farms-City the best team of 12-year-olds in Michigan this summer as they captured the Little League Major Baseball state championship. Now they represent their entire state when they compete in the Great Lakes Regional, one step removed from the famed Little League World Series.

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

The Michigan state champion has gone on to win three of the past four Great Lakes Regional titles, including last season’s Taylor North squad that became the first Michigan team to win the Little League World Series since 1959.

Farms-City is on the right path after outdueling this year’s Taylor North squad 4-3 in a dramatic state final last week. In fact, this Farms-City squad has shown it knows how to win by claiming a series of tournament titles the past two years.

“They’re battle-tested,” Brennan said.

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

Farms-City showed that by coming twice from behind during state tournament play, including the state final when Taylor North’s first batter of the game socked a home run. They’ve finished on the plus side in every Little League game this season while rolling to district and state titles.

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

Now they prepare to hit the big time on the grand stage of the Great Lakes Regional. Not only do they play in a sparkling new complex that opened one year ago, all games are being streamed live by ESPN-Plus. The semifinal games are scheduled for live broadcast on ESPN with the championship game airing live on ESPN2 at 5 pm Wednesday.

“They’re all pumped for 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’re feeling like they’re at the pro level and they’ve got sponsors.”

The 11-player roster features 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 is confident in its pitching corps. Brennan said the staff doesn’t really feature a dominant ace but has plenty of strong arms that can get the job done at a high level.

“We have good depth on our team,” he said. “We have eight kids we roll out there who we trust at any point in the game. We know we can put any of them in there and they’ll throw strikes and get outs.”

Brennan said his team features a versatile lineup, one that can get the job done flying around the bases one single at a time or by connecting on the long ball. But defense just might be its strong suit after its flawless performance in the field loomed large in a one-run state final.

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

The Great Lakes Regional champion advances to historic Williamsport, Pennsylvania for the Little League World Series. This year’s squad is hoping to become the first from Farms-City to reach the final destination.

Grosse Pointe Farms/City pose 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

At Whitestown, Indiana

Saturday Aug 6

1: Hinsdale (Illinois) vs. London North Laurel (Kentucky), 10 am

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

Sunday, Aug 7

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

4: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 7 pm

Monday Aug 8

5: Game 4 winner vs. Game 3 loser, 1 pm

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

Tuesday, Aug 9

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

Wednesday, Aug 10

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

Winner advances to Little League World Series

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