By Stacy Case
North Springs Little League’s Senior All Stars are the USA Champions!
After weeks of running the gamut through the entire circuit of All Star play, they earned a World Series berth and took home the title as the best Senior League baseball team in the entire country.
“Their chemistry was most important and the fact that they gelled together was what made them so successful,” says Dustin Brian, who managed the North Springs Senior all stars to a 14-1 final record. “Our pitching was great and whether we got a base hit or a home run, our hitting was timely.”
In fact, Dustin’s 15-and-16-year-old sluggers scored 135 runs in their 15 game stint, allowing only 35.
They began their local/district play in mid June, in which that win subsequently resulted in them taking home the Sectional title. Then they took I-95 north up to Tallahassee to participate in the 8-team State of Florida tournament. Again, as no surprise to anyone who was following the team, the North Springs Seniors were victorious, now earning a spot at the Southeast Regional Tournament in the Tampa area.
So now, Dustin, who was assisted by Mitch Baker and Brian Makovsky, headed into familiar territory, as he took his Seniors there last year but came up short so he had some unfinished business to take care of this time around. That being said, North Springs ‘did’ take care of business over on the west coast, won that Southeast Regional championship title, and that propelled them onto the World Series stage in Easley, S. C. They made it to the final game, which was televised on ESPN2.
“You could feel their energy and see them really rise to the occasion in a clear, pressure situation,” says Jason Rosoff, North Springs Little League’s president.
Dustin and company seemed to be quite prepared when they faced the best teams from all over the globe. And they had a full arsenal, especially on the mound, as their team ERA was only 1.00 heading into the World Series.
“Pulling up to that stadium and stepping onto that field was incredible,” says Dustin, who has coached in all of the age divisions during his decade-long tenure at North Springs.
They defeated teams from all of the other various regions in the country, and keeping true to their form all season long, they stayed hot and earned the title of USA Champions. North Springs’ USA title then earned them a spot in the World Series championship-determination game on live tv but came up one run short to Panama. “Seeing the boys and coaches who we’ve watched at our park everyday suddenly play on ESPN was just surreal; an amazing thing to witness,” adds Jason.
Needless to say, the Seniors certainly made North Springs proud, and made history as the league’s first team to make an appearance at the World Series level.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to see achieved and I thought their camaraderie was fantastic,” says Frank Kempinger, one of the 1995-established North Springs Little League founders, who met up with the Seniors team each step of the way.
Frank, in fact, had coached more than half of these hometown heroes at one time or another and was impressed with their team unity.
“That really attributed to their success, and I’m happy to say that my summer was spent watching the North Springs all stars,” adds Frank, who now lives in the Central Florida area, and visited each of the six North Springs all star teams (ages 9/10, 11, 12, Intermediate, Juniors, Seniors) at some point this summer. “It’s great to (still) be a part of this league.”