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  • The 13u Green Hornets rallied for wins in six of their seven final games to capture the Chesapeake Baseball Association Patuxent Division tournament championship.
    Courtesy photo
    The 13u Green Hornets rallied for wins in six of their seven final games to capture the Chesapeake Baseball Association Patuxent Division tournament championship.

13U Green Hornets Come Together For CBA Title

Colin Murphy
View Bio
August 8, 2017

For a baseball team that compiled a sub-.500 record during the regular season, the 13U Green Hornets faced long odds in their quest for postseason trophies.

But a season’s worth of hard work and determination led the Green Hornets to an inspired playoff run this summer as Severna Park defeated the Maryland Raiders 14-11 at Kinder Park on July 18 to cap a 4-1 playoff run and win the Chesapeake Baseball Association’s Patuxent Division championship.

13U Green Hornets head coach Jim Miller said the team bonded quickly, overcame narrow early-season losses and played its best ball down the stretch to capture a hard-earned title.

“These young men worked hard to build a team that developed unity, cohesiveness, trust in one another and most importantly enjoyed playing together,” said Miller. “There was no one player that allowed us to win. [The postseason] success was months of hard work and confidence in themselves that they could get it done, and they went out and got it done.”

Playing their first season together on the a full-sized field with 90-foot base paths and the pitcher’s mound 60 feet, 6 inches from home plate, Green Hornets 13U players Christian Jensen, Matthew Hoyt, Jimmy Miller, Sean Quinn, Will Faulk, Michael Wiley, Joey Mailloux, Tristan Collins, Niko Haagenson, Tyler Yeatman, Mason Storms and Dylan Arbogast set a collective goal in the preseason of winning a tournament championship, which several of the players had never accomplished throughout their years playing travel baseball.

Despite returning only three players from last year’s team and bringing on five players who had never played with Severna Park and four players who had never played travel baseball before, the team nonetheless formed a strong bond from the outset. Crediting the players’ moms and dads, Miller said the boys entered the season well-equipped to succeed.

“Just great upbringings by [their parents], and early on I realized that this group of boys were a grounded, caring, selfless group, and those are all qualities that can help you win on the baseball field,” said Miller.

With equal playing time for all players being a central philosophy, the team members embraced and supported each other through an inauspicious start.

“These boys trusted the system,” said Miller. “They played through the close losses in the beginning that made our record not as good as maybe it could have been. Not one time did I hear [complaints] from players or parents. Then, right around late May, all the practice and all the maturity and the ‘team’ started to really come together, and it was a pleasure to watch.”

The team entered the playoffs with an 8-10-2 record, but they collected a pair of exciting victories en route to a 2-1 record in the pool-play stage of the postseason tournament. Severna Park notched a 7-6 walk-off victory over the Dunkirk Warriors before fending off a late rally in a 20-15 win over the Bowie Red Elite, with the latter victory clinching the No. 1 seed in the tournament’s knockout stage.

In the semifinal, Severna Park won a rematch with the Dunkirk Warriors by a 13-11 score. The Green Hornets put the finishing touch on their season in the tournament final, again fending off a late rally in a 14-11 victory over the Maryland Raiders to seize the championship and collect their targeted trophies on their home field at Kinder Park.

Overall, the Green Hornets won six of their final seven games and finished the season above .500 at 12-11-2 and as CBA Patuxent Division tournament champions.

Coach Miller cited the work of assistant coaches Dwayne Hoyt, Eric Haagenson, Jeff Jensen and Kevin Storms as critical to the team’s preparation and development.

“The coaching staff this year was a huge reason for our success,” he said. “They all played a huge role in the boys’ successful transition to the 90-foot diamond this year. The different skills that each possessed due to their baseball backgrounds created an excellent learning environment, and our boys took full advantage of that.”

Above all, Miller reiterated the players’ commitment to supporting each other and playing as a true team.

“The quickness with which this team came together was amazing,” he said. “Kids talked about the year being the most fun and best experience they ever had playing baseball. They talked about how much support they felt from their teammates, and many kids on this team had never won a tournament or hardware before at the travel level. … They did everything that was asked of them all season, and it is great when hard work is rewarded. … Some of the players said it the best: This was not the most talented team they had ever played on, but it was the best team they had ever been a part of.”

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