The Reston National All-Star team (11 and 12 year olds) head to the Virginia Little League Tournament - the first Reston majors team to do so in 13 years.
The National team defeated Vienna American 10-2 last week to win Division 4, qualify for the state tournament and stay undefeated at 7-0. Head coach Jeff Grammes said he is confident his team will play well when the tournament gets underway Friday, July 22 in Leesburg.
“When you get to the all-star level, these players play with a lot more passion,” Grammes said. “You see the escalation in their skill level go up when they’re playing these caliber games.”
Through its first seven games, the Nationals have dominated at the plate with seven batters hitting homers, including Brendan Grammes, Sam Kidd and Johnny Micka and Antonio Menendez.
Pitcher Patrick Francisco had a good run in the Division 4 playoffs.
"We rode Francisco through tough games and he’s performed magnificently,” Grammes said.
Defensively, the team has held its opponents in check and has had only five errors through 49 innings of play.
“The recipe for our success has been solid pitching from the other pitchers as well, our fielding has been phenomenal and we’ve probably made in seven games, I can count the number of errors on one hand,” Grammes said. “In Little League, that is almost unheard of. In the hitting we have 13 solid hitters from top to bottom that I feel comfortable are going make contact against anybody.”
Grammes said he is certain “100 percent of his team will be playing at the next level” regardless of what happens this weekend. The coach’s main concern is that his kids allow themselves to enjoy the experience and put it in perspective of things to come in their lives.
“The biggest thing about coaching kids at this age is making sure they have fun," he said. "Most importantly in the big games, instead of trying to inflate the significance of the balloon, try to deflate it.
“This may be a championship, but in reality hopefully you’re going to play in a lot more games and in a lot more sporting events as you get older. ‘You will come across different aspects of your life that are a lot more stressful and more significant o keep it in perspective. If we win – that’s phenomenal. If we lose, I’m proud of you for trying your hardest and don’t worry about it.’”
Approximately half of the National team was on Grammes U10 team two years ago. That team came just short of advancing to the state tournament with a district semifinal loss.
Reston will play three games this weekend.
The first game is at Freedom Park in Leesburg at 10:30 a.m. on Friday.