I was working at my office yesterday when I realized that the date of June 14th had some special meaning for me. It was 8 years ago to the day that my Major Little League team had won the Auburn City Championship.
There are obviously special moments or times in all of our lives. But that night was truly magical for a number of young men who worked tremendously hard to accomplish a sports related goal that at one time seemed so far off and impossible to get to.
Just two short years before, my first year of coaching this team, we went 0-19. At that age, do you think that this group of kids didn’t take a lot of heckling from some of their peers at school?
But you know what, that year’s 12 year old group continued to work hard, and the 10 & 11 year old’s stayed focused and worked hard as well, and the team started to develop a “vibe.” We might not have won any games, but we had fun, and we learned the game of baseball – together.
During the Winter, the kids & I would get together on Sunday’s, at the old McIntosh gym, and we would do baseball related stuff, and we further developed that team “vibe.”
That next Summer, led by our now 12 year old’s Nathan Haley, Taylor Ladd, Phil Michlow, Kevin Laher, Adam Middleton, and Kyle Wehr, Brown & Brown promptly lost their first 2 games of the season.
Then it started to click, and the hard work started to pay off. A 13 game winning streak followed, and Brown & Brown was sitting atop the standings. They would finish 14-3, which was the best record in the league. A championship game loss to Jim Tremble’s Elks team still did not dampen what this team had accomplished in the course of a year.
We would continue our workouts over the ensuing Winter, and when the 2004 season started, Brown & Brown was on a mission. The team once again finished 14-3, which was good for overall 1st place.
After a semi-final win over Auburn Motors, Brown & Brown would face Wible’s in the championship game.
Wible’s got out to an early 2 run lead thanks to a Scott Baker home run. But then in the first 2 innings, Brown & Brown would put 10 runs on the board, keyed by a Shea Parrish grand slam home run, and Brown & Brown never looked back. They would win the game 11-7, and they will always have on their resume the 2004 Auburn City Little League Championship.
I am forever grateful, and will always have a special place in my heart for Ethan Prebynski, Casey Weaver, Shea Parrish, Zach Vance, Karl Scattergood, Jake Hammel, Landon Emenhiser, Tyson Stewart, Sean McGuiggen, Nate Hinrichsen, and Andrew Davis.
Also, to my coaches throughout those 3 years, Dan Middleton, Bill Weaver, and Ernie Vance, thank you as well.
As a side note, Prebynski, Weaver, Parrish, Vance, & Emenhiser all went on to play high school baseball for Dekalb, and Davis was a team manager.
Thanks again, and God bless all of you!