MILFORD — Winning is nothing new for the Hamden 12U Little League squad, which took home the District 4 title over Max Sinoway (North Haven) with a 3-1 victory on Monday night.
The group of kids led by Bill Rhone has won the District Championship as 10-, 11- and now 12-year olds.
“I think the kids are feeling pretty good,” Rhone said. “They worked hard, playing baseball was really the only thing they could do this summer and that played right into our hands. They practiced three or four times a week and played games, that’s about it.”
All three of the Hamden runs came in the top of the first after a leadoff walk to Nate Marczak followed by a double by Sean Figueroa. With two on and no outs, Kam Gamm belted a three-run homer to center supplying all the runs his team would need.
“I figured after that first inning we were going to come out and hit the ball today but our bats just died,” Rhone said. “But we got them in the first and hell, as long as we got more than them.”
Marczak was brilliant on the mound for Hamden, firing 52/3 innings allowing an unearned run and striking out six.
“He has been our number one pitcher all year,” Rhone said. “He is just super out there, we know the other team isn’t going to score a lot when he has the ball so we just try to manufacture runs any way we can.”
Photo: Will Aldam / Hearst Connecticut Media
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It has been an unconventional year for Little League Baseball, which got off to a later start and was forced into precautionary changes due to the current health crisis.
“It is tough when you don’t play all spring and you try to pack it all in,” Max Sinoway coach Scott Berney said. “We played 52 games since July, so you are not able to practice and work on fundamental things as much, but these kids came to play every day.”
For Rhone, one of the biggest differences was the atmosphere on the field.
“This year it was tough being away from each other in the dugout and kids not really getting into the game as much because they couldn’t jump around and be kids,” Rhone said. “They had to social distance, which they did and they wore their masks. That was a big difference but we were just happy to play baseball.”
The social distancing did not dull the championship celebration, as the jubilant Hamden team participated in an “old-fashioned” dog pile following the final out of the game.
For Max Sinoway, a hard fought season came to an end yet again at the hands of Hamden.
“It meant a lot to just get back out there. This was the third season in a row now that we have played Hamden in the District Championship,” Berney said. “I don’t think you can ask for a better played game at 12 years old than we saw tonight defensively, pitching and hitting. It was all around such an amazing game. It is too bad we had to be the ones to lose but they earned it, they only lost one game all year.”
With no Little League World Series or Regional being held, Hamden will advance to a Sectional Championship where it will face off against the winner of the District 2 Championship (Fairfield County) which is being played Tuesday night.
The winners of the Sectional Championships will then advance to a State Championship as the final stage of the Little League Postseason.
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