The 11U team was the only of the seven PCLL teams to advance to the state tournament.
After spring season, over 300 Florida all-star teams were chosen to represent their little league programs. In the 11U division, only eight still remain — including Palm Coast.
PCLL advanced eight teams to their respective sectional tournaments for a chance to reach state. While some teams took runner-up, the 11U boys became at the first their age and third PCLL team in the last three years to win its sectional tournament and reach state, by beating Yulee 14-2 and Merritt Island 14-11 on Saturday, July 8, at the Chipper Jones Little League Complex in DeLand. The team collected 28 hits and batted .438 over the two games.
“Our boys played really well, and everyone contributed,” coach Doug Berryhill said. “We’ve had a great experience so far, and I believe our boys will do well at the state tournament.”
Berryhill also coached PCLL’s first sectional champion that reached the state tournament in 2015. PCLL didn’t pick up a win, but he’s confident his guys will do much better this year.
“We’ve scrimmaged against our 12U team twice, and we won’t see better pitching than we’ve seen against those guys,” he said. “All-stars is all about the practices. You don’t get to practice very much during the regular season. We have improved a lot, but our kids have always been capable ball players.”
When asked how he will deal with his team’s nerves, Berryhill said, “We’ve encouraged our boys to go out and attack every play of the game. You’d think they would’ve been nervous at the sectional tournament, but they played well right off the bat. We encourage our players not to worry about the results but about going out and playing the game to the best of their ability. And, when you put a kid in a position to play aggressively and let go of all the nervousness and fear, they can accomplish a lot of things they couldn’t accomplish before.”