The Wellington Advantage Construction Hot Stove team has earned its third consecutive state tournament bid.
The 10- and 11-year-olds will play Saturday and Sunday at Butler Rodman Park in Alliance in the Ohio Hot Stove State Tournament.
This year, the team moved up an age division to 11U.
“After going through two regular seasons with no losses, I felt that the time was right to challenge my players,” said coach Dan Davison. “I feel that the best way to improve your skills and get better at your game is to face tougher competition every week. Being challenged and losing games builds character and competitiveness in kids. I moved my team up an age division this year knowing that they could still be competitive.”
The Wellington team started the season winning the first two games by run rule. In the third game, however, Advantage Construction lost a 5-4 heart-breaker in the seventh inning to Medina Swarm Gold.
Instead of hanging their heads, players allowed the loss to fuel their fire. They went on to win the next 12 games in a row, with 10 by more than 10 runs.
The team lost one more game in the regular season to the defending state champion Midview Maniacs for an 18-2 final record.
Coach Jeff Polen attributed the success so far in this dream season to “a lot of hard work and focus on the part of the players and a lot of love and support on the part of the parents.”
Starting pitcher Riley Reyna explained, “We put in the work and had a good record this season, but our focus is on that state title. We have made it to state twice already and coming home without that trophy isn’t an option this year.”
The team is sponsored by Advantage Construction, Rockwood Flooring, Forest City Technologies, Harrison Ford/Chad Bias, Farm & Home Hardware, and Strike Out Lanes.
Courtesy photo Now an 11U team, the Wellington Advantage Construction Hot Stove team has had an 18-2 season.