Palm Coast Little League’s junior team scored 65 runs in five games for the first district title in league history.
Second-year coach Andrew Wells tells his players it’s just a game. He challenges them and says, “Prove me wrong.”
Anthony Colasanti, who plays right field for the Palm Coast Little League Juniors (one age group up from the Majors Division and, at 13 and 14, the youngest players on the big field), recalls Wells challenging the players after they won a game the district tournament by more than 24 runs.
“He said, ‘You can’t score 20 runs again,’” Colasanti said. “He told us to prove him wrong.”
They did. The team won the next game in the double-elimination tournament, 20-6.
“It’s a team effort,” Wells said via email. “No one kid can do it all. I am very proud of each and every one of them.”
The team approach worked with respect to playing time, as well. Colasanti said the starters played one inning in the field and got one at-bat before giving their teammates a chance to play.
After three wins in three cities in three days, the team took on DeBary, a team they had beaten once already. Colasanti said the Palm Coast players couldn’t get their bats going and lost 3-2. The next day, July 18, in DeLand, Palm Coast took a 7-2 lead over DeBary into the last inning for the championship.
“The players and coaches got a little worried,” Colasanti said, when DeBary scored three runs to cut into the lead.
But Josh Febus struck out the last batter to preserve the 7-5 victory and the first district championship in league history.
Next up is the sectional tournament, followed by the state and region. If the team advacnes, the national championships for juniors are in Taylor, Mich. — about an hour from where Colasanti grew up.
— Andrew O’Brien contributed to this story.