For the first time in 25 years, a Minford Little League team will represent the area in the state tournament. The 11-12 year old Minforld Little League All-Stars will represent District 11 in the state tournament, which begins Sunday, July 17, 2016 in Youngstown, Ohio.
The Minford Little League team recently won the District 11 championship after defeating Symmes Valley in a best-of-three series.
“I coach four baseball teams…and this is the only team I’ve ever had that I don’t have one superstar on, but it is the best team I’ve ever had,” Minford 11-12 Little League All-Stars coach Matt Brooks said. “We have seven or eight top-notch players and we don’t have to rely on just one person.”
Explained as being, “one of the best teams out of this area I have seen in a long time,” Brooks hopes his squad will be able to go the distance and win a state championship like the 1991 Minford team did on the senior league level.
Minford won six games to win the District 11 championship and earn the right to represent the district in the state tournament. After prevailing over all other teams in Scioto County, Minford then went on to face the winner in Lawrence County, Symmes Valley, in a best-of-three series.
Minford won the series against Symmes Valley, 2-0, by defeating the Lawrence County champions 8-1 in the first game and then once again by a final score of 7-6.
“They (Symmes Valley) were one of the better teams I’ve ever seen,” Brooks said. “They just wouldn’t lay down and die.”
Despite the seven-run win in game one of the series, Brooks said the score didn’t reflect the hard work and determined play of the Symmes Valley team.
“That score doesn’t reflect how good they were, by no means,” Brooks said.
Brooks and his squad will leave for Youngstown Friday evening. The team will be treated to a dinner along with all other district representatives. Brooks will also be attending a managers’ meeting Saturday morning.
This year’s team will also have another tie-in to the 1991 team, despite being from Minford according to Brooks.
“Owen Crank played on that 1991 team and I have his son, Adam Crank, on this team,” Brooks said. “It’s kind of a neat deal to have a father and son 25 years apart going to state.”
If Minford is able to survive to the championship game, hotel fees will cost the team an estimated $14,000.
“I have seven or eight team moms going out right now trying to help raise money,” Brooks said. “They’re kind of the backbone of us right now.”
Brooks has been thankful for the support of the whole community as they have helped in supporting the financial need of the team.
“To be able to go to these businesses in Portsmouth and Wheelersburg and say we’re sending a Scioto County team up to play for a state championship, they got their check books out and started writing,” Brooks said. “That’s really neat and we thank every one of them.”
Minford will play its first game in the state tournament Sunday, July 17, 2016 at 2:00 p.m.
Anyone interested in contributing to the team can do so by contacting Matt Brooks at 740-727-4543. Checks can be made out to Minford Little League.
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.