On Wednesday, November 5th Holly Little League Board will be holding an open Town Hall Meeting to talk to any interested parties about our upcoming 2015 season. This will be a chance to hear what we have in store for the next season as well as allow the community to bring us suggestions on what they would like to see for the future of Holly Little League. The Town Hall will be held at the VFW Hall on Airport Rd between 6:00-7:00pm. We look forward to talking to everyone there and we look forward to a bright future.
Let me tell you all a little story...
Holly is part of Michigan Little League District 4 which is comprised of Little Leagues across Oakland, Livingston, and Genessee counties. This includes other small town Leagues like Fenton, Linden, Hartland, Grand Blanc, and Lake Fenton, but it also has some power house leagues like Rochester Hills, Commerce, Birmingham, Waterford, South Farmington, and Beverly Hills. Most of those southern Oakland county Leagues have been battling it out in post-season tournaments for decades and have the formula down on how to win these types of games with ease. They have thousands of kids in their Leagues to choose the cream of the crop. They have giant bankrolls to fund the best facilities and equipment. They have travel teams associated with their Leagues to keep the best players in their areas playing in-house to be eligible for post-season play. They are baseball machines that produce the best teams in the region and they know it!
Then there's Holly. We're not big by any stretch of the imagination. We're lucky to get over 300 kids playing across all divisions of baseball and softball combined. Our fields are well worn and our equipment is aging - we improve what our small budget will allow. We compete with travel teams in the area who siphon talented players out of our small pool. We were not much of anything when it came to baseball in the region. Long ago, Holly used to send teams to play in post-season tournaments. More times than not though, Holly would return northward after taking a beating from the powers to the south. We were too small to compete at that level. And instead of getting embarrassed every June & July, we stopped going and fell completely off the baseball map.
Well, time has passed and old wounds have healed. Holly has too much spirit to stay down and feel sorry for itself. Enough fresh faces have come in to the fold and have rejuvenated the competitive urge for post-season play. So this season after a very long layoff, Holly Little League put together a team to compete in the District 4 - 9 & 10 year old Minor League Tournament. We gathered up 13 of our best players in that age group, held a couple practices, got some nice jerseys, and headed back into the fray to compete against the baseball juggernauts to our south. As coaches and board members, we had no idea what we were in for. We knew that the competition would be brutal, but we knew that to help grow our program and teach our kids they would need to see how the best teams in the region play. Our goal was to get through this tournament without complete embarrassment and to learn for next season. Our 13 assembled players were the guinea pigs in our baseball laboratory to help improve future teams and to see if it was safe for small time Holly to get back out into the big world of baseball.
But a funny thing happened on the way to our beating...
Nobody told our rag-tag collection of players that they were supposed to lose. Nobody told them that Holly was too small to compete on this stage. Nobody mentioned that they had no business being on the same field as these titans of Little League baseball. Nobody said that they should just give up and head back north.
So instead of packing it in on an early Saturday morning, Holly showed up in Commerce to play their first game against one of the two South Farmington teams in this tournament - and mercied them 14-4. Wait... that wasn't supposed to happen!
Then a day later on Sunday, Holly again returned to Commerce for a midday show down with one of the two Birmingham teams in this tournament. I should probably mention at this point that Birmingham won the State Title in this tournament last season. So with that said, it is no surprise that Birmingham was a much tougher team. So tough that the game went to extra innings before Holly was able to pull out the win 13-10 in the most exciting baseball game I had seen all season. The best part was that the small town of Holly showed up in force for this game and by the final out the cheering from the crowd was shaking the ground around the field. It was a surreal scene in another unexpected win.
The tournament continued into Monday, and Holly again played another Birmingham team. With a steady rain falling for most of the game, Holly was able to keep in the game. But whether it was the weather or the 3rd day of baseball in a row, the wheels feel off late and Birmingham walked away with the win. Order was being restored in south Oakland as the tiny town from the north was being put back in its place.
With the loss, Holly would need to win their final game on Tuesday night against Waterford (it always seems to come down to one game against Waterford). Winner of this game would move onto the Semi-Finals, loser would go home. Holly had every excuse in the world not to show up for this game. Waterford has been here before and were rolling over competition. They had great pitching and huge batters. They played error free defense and had range to run down fly balls in the outfield. They had dropped Holly's Intermediate District Team from their earlier competition. They beat up on Holly's Junior District Team in their first game. What was to stop Waterford from doing to the same to this young team?
Like I said earlier, a funny thing happened on the way to our beating...
Our players believed in themselves and it showed in their play. They came out strong and finished even stronger and ended up beating Waterford 11-7 to secure their place in the Semi-Finals. The small town from the north elbowed their way into the south Oakland party. The other cities looked befuddled and weren't exactly sure what to think when the announcement came down. The players from Holly just looked like they belonged and will keep playing while five other teams (Waterford, Beverly Hills, one from South Farmington, one from Birmingham, and one from Rochester Hills) will head home.
To get this far in this tournament our first year back is astonishing! Whatever happens from here on out is just icing on the cake. To say I'm proud of these players and their families does not do them justice. What they have accomplished in the last week makes me confused and amazed all at the same time (in a good way). I would just like to thank them all for letting me join them on this wonderful ride. It has been my privilege and I hope to see this exciting trend continue for many more seasons.
-9 & 10 District Team Bench Coach
Watch out south Oakland, Holly is back!
Schedules for the Quadtown All-Star Tournaments have been released. Minor League Baseball & Softball tournaments will begin on Monday, June 30th. Intermediate League Baseball & Major League Softball tournaments will begin on Tuesday, July 1st. All games will be held in Lake Fenton.
For Holly teams, Minor League Baseball & Softball will both have to play in the quarterfinal round which means that they have an early game on June 30th. If they win that first game, they will also need to win a late game that same day to advance to the Championship Game on Wednesday, July 2nd. For Intermediate League Baseball & Major League Softball, the Holly teams avoid the quarterfinal round and will begin in the late game semi-finals. If they win that game, they advance to the Championship Game on Thursday, July 3rd.
Click the links below for the full tournament brackets for each Division.
|Quadtown Intermediate All-Stars Tournament||Quadtown Minor Baseball All-Stars Tournament|
|Quadtown Major Softball All-Stars Tournament||Quadtown Minor Softball All-Stars Tournament|
Congratulations to Holly Red on becoming the Quadtown Intermediate League Baseball Champions! Thanks goes out to Coaches Ian Fleming, John Hignite, and Mike Forbes for getting their players ready to play hard every game. And congratulations to all the players on your successful season: Reise Brotherton, Ben Crawley, Aubrey Fleming, Cameron Forbes, Wade Fulghum, Ben Gramer, Dylan Hignite, Taren Landwerlen, Samantha Peters, and Alex Scruggs.
Congratulations to the Amazing Mets on becoming the Minor League Baseball Champions! Thanks goes out to Coaches Bill Sherman and Stan Lamrouex for getting their players ready to play hard every game. And congratulations to all the players on your successful season: Isaac Alban, Emilynne Braue, Nolan Frick, Walker Glass, Collin Henning, Carson Howe, Gage Lamrouex, Dallas Richards, Hunter Roth, Reese Ungvarsky, and Ryan Withrow.
Congratulations to Szott Ford on becoming the first ever HLL Rookie League Champions! Thanks goes out to Coach Gregg Allen for getting his players ready to play hard every game. And congratulations to all the players on your successful season: Matthew Allen, Cooper Anderson, Gavin Baird, Zayne Dennie, Cameron Giesey, Preston Graham, Jacob Grifka, Kristopher Kremkow, Andy Potts, DJ Ross, and Jared Sisson.
We've come to another conclusion to our season and Holly Little League wants to send a huge thank you to all of our wonderful Tee Ball players, families, team parents, and coaches.
We hope the players learned to love the great game of baseball while enjoying their time on the fields. We appreciate the families coming out to support your teams through sun and rain soaked games. We bow to the team parents who helped to corral the players, bring them snacks, and keep as much order as possible. And last, but certainly not least, we cannot honor our volunteer coaches enough for their time and effort to help teach, motivate, and guide the newest members of the HLL family.
We look forward to seeing all of the players back again next season, ready to continue their baseball journey! It cannot be said enough, so I'll say it one more time. Thanks again!
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