ALPENA, MI- For any kid who steps on a little league baseball field, the though of Williamsport, Pennsylvania has to enter your mind every once in a while.
Williamsport of course being the site of the Little League World Series. Which as far away as it may seem, the Alpena Little Leaguers can keep the dream alive until they get eliminated. They face elimination in Tuesday’s district semi final as they take on Traverse City.
This game a rematch of last years 10-12 District 8 championship game. A game which resulted in a 5-0 Traverse City win and a district championship.
Alpena returns six players from last years squad who suffered the defeat as 11 year-olds. The players getting another crack to dethrone Traverse City from the top of the district. Alpena went 2-1 in pool play and only gave up two runs in three games. The pitching staff of Evan Kalisch and Xander Barbeau, both returners from the 2022 team along with Kolby Ross have kept runs off the board. The lone loss was in a 1-0 pitchers duel against West Branch in the final game of pool play.
Manager Scott Bays and his staff have not decided who will take the ball in the semi finals, the team however has plenty of confidence in whomever gets the ball. ” Our entire staff has been pitching really well and we throw a lot of strikes”, said outfielder Jett Provost.” Kalisch, who threw a no hitter in the district opener summed it up in few words. ” I just think we have a really good pitching staff.”
Since Alpena has rejoined Little League after many years as a member of Cal Ripken Baseball they have established themselves as perennial contenders for district championships. A championship at the Major Baseball level still eludes them and this group just might be the ones to send Alpena back to the Little League state tournament for the first time in over 30 years.