Made it to state
Welcome to SportzBuzz, Jr., a column spotlighting neighborhood athletes in elementary and middle school.
The 10U Bellaire Little League All-Star team competed in the Texas East state tournament in Tyler, becoming just the third team ever from Bellaire Little League to advance to state and the second team ever to make it to the state championship game.
One of the most exciting moments occurred in the first stage of their success. They entered the last inning of the district-championship game trailing 5-4 against cross-town rival, West University Little League. It appeared that Bellaire’s season was over, until Josh Blum stepped up to the plate and clobbered a three-run, walk-off home run.
After Bellaire’s victory, the team’s confidence was at an all-time high continuing on to sectionals, where they beat Pearland in the championship game 5-0. Then they rolled into the Texas East state tournament.
Despite losing in the second round to Elgin, they fought back to play Elgin for the second time in the final. Once again, they found themselves down, losing 3-1, with their shot at the state title slipping away. The boys maintained their composure and came back to tie the game, finally winning in extra innings.
“It was the proudest moment for me as their manager,” said manager Martin Reichek. “It summed up the whole baseball run we had.”
Bellaire had to win a second game against Elgin to claim the title. Despite coming up just short, losing 9-6, it was a thrilling experience for the players, coaches, parents and those supporting the scrappy team back home.
“It was extremely special for us to have the opportunity, as both coaches and fathers, to watch these young men compete so emotionally and intensely on the baseballs fields all summer, as they respectfully represented themselves, their families and their Little League,” says Luke Mandola, Jr., one of the coaches, along with Corey Ayers.
Aidan Reichek, Noah Beinart, Charlie Mullen (pictured above), Caden Biedermann and Josh Blum all pitched well, giving up a combined 16 runs in nine games prior to state. Luke Mandola III caught well and contributed at the plate. Reese Tiras hit consistently, leading off throughout. Scott Cricks and Sam Toubin each came up with game-winning hits in the extra-inning victory against Elgin. Matt Chotiner, Carter Dixon, Cody Ayers, Max Melamed and Michael Posoli played solid defense and had some clutch at-bats. Pictured (from left, front row) are Cricks, Beinart, Dixon, Ayers, Mandola III, Melamed, Reichek, Chotiner, Tiras, (back row) Mullen, Blum, Beidermann and Toubin. Not pictured is Posoli.
“I cannot wait for next year,” said Caden, who hit two home runs, two doubles and six RBIs in the district-championship game, “so we can win it all!”
Editor’s note: Send your best high-resolution photos and behind-the-scenes stories about young local athletes, in both team and individual sports, to SportsBuzz, Jr. at [email protected]. Include all contact info, names, ages, grades and schools. Featured athletes must live in Buzz-circulation neighborhoods. Items will be published on a space-available basis.
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