WASHINGTON – This year’s Greater Loudoun County Babe Ruth league (GLBR) not only hosted the 2013 Babe Ruth World Series, it made history.
The league’s 13-to 15-year-old team won the title for its division, marking the first time that a host team won the World Series, which was played at Fireman’s Field in Purcellville, Va.
“We put together a great group of boys who just played their hearts out, and to see the fruits of their labor is just beyond words,” says GLBR President Joe Robillard.
The magnitude of the achievement was still sinking in on Sunday afternoon for the team’s manager Tim Owen.
“You know when you set a goal that far away and finally reach it? I think it’s going to take a little bit for it to sink in. We actually put a plan together and did it,” Owen says.
The win was also Owen’s first championship in 13 years of coaching baseball in Purcellville.
GLBR beat the team from Westchester, Calif., 8-3 in the championship game. Pitcher Kaleb Bowman got the win, logging three innings in relief to preserve the victory.
Owen says things fell into place for his team during the third game of the tournament. This boosted his confidence that a title run could happen.
“I said, you know, if New Jersey could beat the Northwest, and if we won the game against Providence and we got the number one seed, I could get my pitchers a few days of rest, and we’d be in a great position to do well,” Owen says.
That’s exactly what happened.
The team from Atlantic Shore, NJ beat Twin Cities, Wash., 1-0 and GLBR beat Cranston, RI 8-1 in the pool play rounds to grab the number one seed for the single elimination championship rounds.
With the top spot in the championship round locked up, GLBR lost its fourth game, the only one the team lost in the entire tournament, to Twin Cities, Wash., 6-4.
During that game, it was the loss of pitcher Hank Biggs which shook up the team. Biggs collided with the Twin Cities catcher during a play at the plate. He was knocked out and had to be medevaced to a hospital, according to the league’s president, Robillard.
Owen says Biggs is fine, but he could be out of baseball action for three-to-six months. The day after the accident, though, he was back cheering on the team.
“When he showed up at the next game they had his jersey hanging in the dugout, and you could just tell the team was just going to keep rolling,” Robillard says.
Still basking in his championship, Owen won’t guarantee a repeat title next year.
“We’ll give it all we got,” he says.
Robillard says Loudoun County should be proud of the team, and not just for their on-field talents.
“Their character, the way that they held themselves on the field, every parent on that team is proud,” he says.