November 13 - Owen Peltier scored on a wild pitch to give the Marucci Stars 11U Camp a 5-4 walk-off win over the Washington Township (N.J.) Minutemen in Sunday’s championship game at the Ripken Baseball Veterans Day Tournament in Aberdeen, MD.
With the victory, the Stars completed an unbeaten fall season in dramatic fashion. The collection of fifth and sixth graders won each of their 27 games this fall and finished the year on a 56-game winning streak that spanned the final 29 games as a 10U team during the spring and summer. In 2018, they went 62-4 overall, won the final 10 tournaments they entered and won championships in six different states, going nearly seven months without a loss.
The Stars, which fielded the same 12-man roster for both seasons, were dominant in every facet. Offensively, they hit a collective .434 and averaged 11.2 runs per game in the 66 games. On the base paths, they swiped 443 bags. Defensively, they made plays behind a pitching staff that posted a 1.44 ERA in the spring and summer and a 2.15 ERA this fall.
Led by ace Ethan Hudson and dynamic shortstop Bryant James, who will play for the USA Baseball 12U National Team next summer, the Stars knocked off teams from some of the top youth travel programs on the east coast - including West Raleigh, the North Carolina-based Dirtbags, the EvoShield Canes Gilchrist, the Mid-Atlantic Show and the Tri-State Arsenal.
“I could write a book on the incredible memories I was able to share with this special group of kids this year,” coach Shawn Camp posted on his Facebook page. “The growth and development of them is far greater than the many wins and few losses.”
The impressive year wrapped on Sunday afternoon, when Peltier hit a one-out single in the bottom of the sixth, stole second and third, and came in when a ball four offering to Brady Burkhart got past the Minutemen catcher. The leadoff man’s winning run capped a comeback from a 3-1 fourth-inning deficit.
James, who was 2-for-2 with an RBI triple and tied the game at 3-3 when he stole home in the bottom of the fourth, earned the win after striking out the only two batters he faced when he came on in relief of Peltier in the top of the sixth. Hudson earned a no decision after striking out eight and allowing three runs over 4.2 innings.
“These boys share a special bond and they play for one another, which is something that is hard to teach,” Camp added.
Burkhart, Hudson, James and Peltier were joined on the team by Chase Allen, Garrett Camp, Gordon Cozad, Will Frye, Nicholas King, Caden Merritt, Luke Raflo and Joshua Weppner. Camp was assisted by a staff that included Jay Burkhart, J.P. Raflo and Kevin Peltier.
Photos courtesy of Marucci Stars