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Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

South Baltimore Little League hosts state championship baseball tournament for ages 9-11 starting Saturday

By meerna Jul11,2024
South Baltimore Little League hosts state championship baseball tournament for ages 9-11 starting Saturday

For the first time in five years, the Maryland Little League State Tournament will be held at South Baltimore Little League (SBLL) in Locust Point. The baseball facility at 1101 E. Fort Ave. will host the 9-11 Year Old Baseball State Tournament beginning next Saturday, July 13. The tournament will run through July 18 or 19.

The SBLL 9-11 Division I baseball team, the District 4 champions, has a first-round bye and will play its first game on Sunday, July 14 at 11:30 a.m. on Field 1. The team is coached by Kenny Kulesz, who expects the team to make an impression in the tournament.

Referring to the 8-10 Year Old Baseball and 9-11 Year Old Baseball teams, which were “happy to be able to” make it to the state tournament last year, Kulesz said both teams “expect to compete” this year, noting that the bar has been raised in the SBLL.

The SBLL 8-10 Year Old Baseball team will compete in the state tournament in Hagerstown beginning Saturday.

The SBLL 10-12 baseball team won District 4 for the first time in 31 years and will advance to the Maryland state tournament, which begins July 20 in Southern Maryland. The SBLL 11-13 baseball team was crowned District 4 champions for the first time but was eliminated from the Maryland state tournament last week.

The newly formed SBLL softball league is growing rapidly, and its 8-10 year old softball team also won the District 4 championship.

“We are thrilled with our success this year across all of our divisions,” said SBLL President Brendan O’Brien. “It is clear that the work our players and volunteers put in this year has made us competitive at the state level. We are excited about where we are now and look forward to building on this success and being competitive for many years to come.”

This weekend, the SBLL will host its state tournament, with seven teams coming to the complex. Teams will travel from as far east as Berlin (139 miles) and as far west as Hagerstown. The SBLL encourages these teams to stay in local hotels, visit local attractions, attend an Orioles game and support local restaurants and businesses, especially the organization’s sponsors. Each team will receive an informational packet about South Baltimore.

The tournament will feature a variety of tournament and SBLL merchandise, as well as Orioles merchandise donated by the team. The SBLL concession stand will also be open and offering special Baltimore-themed deals. Local celebrities will throw out the first pitch to kick off the tournament and at the first SBLL game on Sunday.

SBLL board members and volunteers are committed to making the event a success.

While many baseball complexes are located in suburban and rural areas, SBLL is excited to showcase its urban campus.

“We think we offer a completely unique environment,” Kulesz said. “You can stay at a hotel right next to our campus, walk to the grocery store, walk to breakfast.”

“Let’s add to the charm of Charm City and send them home with an experience they’ll never forget,” O’Brien said. “Let’s show them the Baltimore we fell in love with and the reason we’re here to stay: our community.”

SBLL hopes this state tournament will be the first of many in South Baltimore.

Kulesz noted that the athletes on the team are proud to represent Baltimore, and that the program added “City Connect” uniforms this year, featuring the Baltimore City flag on the cap and matching black and yellow colors. The team hopes a large crowd will come to watch SBLL games and knows the atmosphere can be better with a tournament run.

Kulesz is excited about this group of baseball players and hopes the high level of baseball being showcased in South Baltimore will inspire younger athletes in the community.

Drone photos courtesy of Sean Monahan

The latest episodes of the South Baltimore Now podcast Produced by Nathan Carper: https://www.natecarpercreative.com

About the Author: Kevin Lynch

Founder and publisher of SouthBmore.com, long-time South Baltimore resident and Towson University graduate. Avid Ravens and O’s fan, father of three, pizza lover, skateboarder and “bar food” enthusiast. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.

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