Victoria West Little Leaguers prepare for state tournament
July 13, 2017 at 10:06 p.m.
Updated July 14, 2017 at 6 a.m.
The Little League World Series Tournament is where most kids dream of playing when August shows up on the calendar.
The Victoria West Little League Junior and Senior All Stars are two rounds away from making those dreams a reality.
The juniors won Area, District 27 and the Texas East Section 4 Tournament to advance to Saturday's Texas East Tournament in Houston to face Bridge City at the West University South Campus Junior and Senior Field at 5 p.m.
"It's been an amazing experience," said junior coach John Buzzell. "The kids all know baseball, and that makes our job easier. They are all well behaved kids, and I couldn't ask for a better group."
The seniors won area, district and sectionals to advance to the state tournament Saturday to face West University at the same field at 8 p.m.
"The atmosphere was great," said senior coach Brent Wilborn, who has coached Little League for 10 years. "Overall, it was a great experience."
The juniors' recent victory was a 13-3 win against El Campo to clinch the sectional championship. In their last seven games, the juniors have outscored their opponents 76-13 in their last seven games.
The pitching staff is led by Orlando DiLeo and Matthew Janak. Both tossed no-hitters during their seven-game winning streak. DiLeo and Janak's no-hitter came during a two-game series win against Karnes City and Refugio.
"It's been great," Buzzell said. "You can't ask for a better turnout, and everything is going great. But at the same time, we hope to keep winning. It's not just their talent or knowledge of the game, but it's the fact these are all great kids. To go far in this tournament, you have to have good pitching, and our sticks have come alive."
The seniors defeated Angleton 16-3 in Game 1 and 12-2 in Game 2 to complete a two-game series sweep at sectionals.
Tre McNary and Blake Coles provided help on the mound for the senior squad. Both have switched between pitching and shortstop throughout the season.
Sebastian Mahan also provided a strong arm for the senior ball club by delivering two complete games against Victoria East and Angleton in the playoffs.
"I've coached several All-Star teams and I've never made it this far," Wilborn said. "These kids played well, and we hope to keep playing well into the next round."
A win by both clubs will send the teams to the regional tournament. The seniors would play July 22 in Seguin at Fairpark, while the juniors would play in Santa Fe, N.M. on Aug. 2 at St. Michael's High School.
"West University has been to the World Series several times and won in 2015," Wilborn said. "They're a very good program, and they're well coached. They are a very good team."
"We don't know anything about them (Bridge City) but we know they won state last year," Buzzell said. "We'll prepare for them like we have every other game. Whether we win or lose, we will do the best we can."
The Junior World Series Tournament begins Aug. 13 in Taylor, Mich. The Senior World Series Tournament begins Aug. 5 in Easley, S.C.