By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
One team left little doubt as to who the top dog was in coach pitch Little League play. The Orioles ran the table finishing 11-0 and winning games by lopsided margins.
They outscored their opponents 101-22 and many times didn’t bat but three innings in a game. The team was made up of 10 players and all of them contributed.
Assistant coach Cliff Mahala said the team went through a few growing pains last year, which helped them a lot this season.
“We had to draft several players last year so most of our kids had experience,” said Mahala. “We finished a tough third last season behind two good teams. This was definitely a veteran group of kids.”
The team had several standout players, which started, in the infield.
Gage Grissom (first base), Hunter McElyea (second base), Gavin Mahala (shortstop), Ian Lewis (third base), Grayson Hensley (pitcher) and Scotty Orndorff (catcher) made up that group.
The outfield consisted of Shannon Brooks, Katelynn Marshall, Eli Norris and Jonah Adams.
“Our outfield was always stepping up and making plays,” said head coach Cliff Mahala. “We hit the ball hard and played great defense.”
Grissom, McElyea, Mahala, Lewis and Hensley swatted the ball for high batting averages, as did Orndorff. The younger players complimented the older ones by getting on base and being the table setters.
“It’s one thing to have talent but this group was coachable,” added Mahala. “It’s a good combination when they are talented and coachable.”
McElyea also continued to hand out the compliments to his special group.
“I couldn’t have asked anymore out of these kids. They knew where to go with the ball to get the outs and we hit the ball better than any team I’ve seen at this age. We only had to draft three players because almost all of them played for us last year. I think they all can be very good Little League players.”
Mahala feels like this could be a special group as they continue to develop.
“It speaks volumes about kids when they all love to play. They would go anywhere to practice on an hour’s notice. That’s just the type of kids they were. That’s why they had the success that they did.”