The Burlington 11U Ripken team has won the State Championship!
As mentioned last week, the 11U ‘road to regionals’ began with Burlington making quick work of their competition in the District Tournament in which they ran the table, going 4-0. Pitchers Mason King, Cameron Londino, Charlie Skelly, and Branin Weymouth lead the way with a combined ERA of 1.00 for the tournament. The team played near perfect defense as well, committing just 2 errors over 24 innings played.
Burlington got off to a slow start in the pool play portion of the state tournament up in Newburyport, dropping their first three games. Game four was a must-win game against Newburyport in which the winner would advance to the next round and the loser would be eliminated. The offense got going for Burlington in the 3rd inning with back-to-back walks from Aiden Collins and Skelly. Collins scored on a hard-hit ball to short by Matthew Ulmschneider to give Burlington the 1-0 lead. Londino followed with a double down the left field line, plating both Skelly and Ulmschneider. King and Luke Quimby would reach next and were both knocked in by Tyler Rabideau. The game was on and Burlington was out to a 7-0 lead after three innings, going on to win by a final of 10-1. Braden Murphy was voted MVP of the game by his teammates and presented with the MVP medal. The win put Burlington into the semi-finals against previously unbeaten #1 seeded Milton, who had defeated Burlington 10-4 in pool play.
It was a back-and-forth battle, as Burlington got back to the gritty high-level play that moved them so handily through the district bracket. Milton struck first, scoring twice in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Burlington would fight back in the top of the 3rd. King hit a leadoff double to right-center, followed by a single up the middle by Weymouth. Rhys Crowley hit a hard single to left field and the ball got by the left fielder, scoring both King and Weymouth, tying the game at 2-2.
The powerful Milton offense went to work loading the bases with one out in the bottom of the 3rdinning. The Burlington defense was up to the task, turning a 1-2-3 double play, Ulmschneider to Skelly to King, to end the threat and the inning.
Milton would come back to strike next in the fourth, scoring twice to take a 4-2 lead into the top of the fifth. Burlington would respond as Quimby's speed forced an overthrow by the shortstop and landed him at second base, Crowley singled, and Nick Small doubled down the left field line. All three would go on to score and Burlington was back on top 5-4. Milton would not go away quietly. They answered once again, scoring two of their own in the 5th, taking a 6-5 lead into the final inning.
Burlington went to work in the 6th inning with a series of singles and fielder's choices that resulted in Weymouth standing at third base with two outs. Small jumped on a first-pitch fastball and singled in Weymouth to tie the game 6-6. In the bottom of the inning Milton had a lead off single, but their next three batters went down in order.
Ulmschneider led off the top of the 7th with a single. Londino advanced Ulmschneider to second, followed by a clutch double by Skelly to give Burlington a one run lead. Burlington faced Milton's top three batters in the bottom of the 7th but made quick work of them with solid defensive play and completed the upset victory, 7-6.
The story of the game was Burlington's defense, led up the middle by Londino at short, Crowley at 2nd, Skelly catching, and pitchers Ulmschneider and Weymouth fielding their positions well. The outfielders, Collins, Quimby, and Small were perfect on putouts, including a sliding catch in left by Small in the bottom of the 6th.
Burlington came into the state championship game against Marblehead with their confidence at an all-time high, and the result was an 11-1 mercy win in five innings.
The Burlington offense went 17 for 34 at the plate with every batter reaching base at least once. Collins opened the scoring with a two-RBI single up the middle and the flood gates opened from there. Weymouth went 4 for 4, going up the middle all four times and scoring twice, and Londino went 3 for 4 with three hard-hit balls to left, scoring three times. Ulmschneider, Skelly, Quimby, and Crowley all had 2-for-4 nights.
Starting pitcher King threw 3 2/3 innings, letting up just one hit and striking out seven; Skelly pitched 1 1/3, striking out four. The Burlington defense was perfect in the field, and after only 5 innings the boys were crowned Cal Ripken 11U State Champions! Congratulations to all the players and coaches!
Next up for the state champs is the regional tournament in Harrison, Maine from July 15-21. Be sure to wish them luck!