All-Stars hit home at district 1 championship

by Tech. Sgt. Michael Voss
Ramstein Public Affairs

The KMC Little League All-Star team ended the Germany District 1 Championships 2 and 1 to win a best of three-game series and progress to the Germany International Championship.

Although little league all-star play began mid July, the KMC team has had to fight the entire way to secure its spot as the German District 1 champions dispatching a tough combined Wolverine team from Wiesbaden, Heidelberg and Stuttgart, Germany.

The KMC All-Stars pulled together for games two and three, losing the first game 6-5 when the Wolverines leadoff batter hit a two-run double to tie the score and scored on a wild pitch to win the game in the bottom of the sixth. 

Taking the second game offensively, the scoring pace quickened as first baseman Cannon “Big Bird” Byrd hit two homeruns, going 3-for-3 including three RBIs. Adding to the win, centerfielder Cody “Frodo” Prince contributed another homerun going 2-for-3 with two RBIs for the game. Pitcher Matt “Zimmy” Zembraski also struck out five of the Wolverine hitters. 

So, tied 1-to-1 with the combined Wolverine team, the KMC All-Stars season came down to game three, and what a gem of a game it was, tied 0-0 after five innings.  
The KMC took the lead in the bottom of the sixth when Cannon pitched six complete innings striking out 11 Wolverines, and Matt scored from second base on a bunt by Cody.  With both Wolverine pitchers spent, the KMC All-Stars scored five runs to take a 6-1 lead in the seventh inning only to see the Wolverines score two in the bottom of the seventh. Third baseman Mike “Bagel” Bega closed the game by striking out two of the last three hitters he faced giving the Germany District 1 championship to the All-Stars.

The team consisting of 13 11 and 12-year-olds from the KMC and coached by Master Sgt. Ed “The Master” Prince, has fought throughout the year to earn their place as the top team in Germany even sweeping the Bavarian All-Star team.

Led by such young talent as No. 6, Matt, and No. 13, Dan “Flapjack” Tolarchyk, the All-Stars went undefeated with two of the top four pitchers injured to earn a spot at the European Regional.

To reach this level of play has not been easy; the boys practiced more than 20 hours each week on simple fundamentals until each drill was near perfect.

“They learned these new positions to a level I wouldn’t have thought possible with such a young group of boys. That’s a lot of pressure to put on an 11-to 12-year-old to learn a new position in one week’s time and still play at a level to advance against the best teams in Germany,” Prince said. “Overcoming adversity in the game has made the boys stronger off the field as well. They seem more confident and mature than before the season started.”

So what’s next for the All-Star champions?  On Monday the team left for European Little League Regional Playoffs, and if they win, lookout because the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn., is next.

“For baseball, being one of the 12 or 14 teams to go to the World Series doesn’t happen very often. It’s one of those opportunities that a select few ever get a shot at. Even fewer players get to be the international representative for two countries,” Prince said. “So whether we get to the states or not, these boys have achieved something that very few Little League baseball players have done or will do in the future.”