The Georgetown Central All-Stars were planning to jump into Lake Washington on Saturday night.
That was probably the only thing that was going to pacify the West Michigan-based softball team.
The Central defeated the Southeast 5–1 in the Junior League World Series championship game in the afternoon in Kirkland, Wash. Central scored two in the third, two more in the fourth, and one in the fifth, and this proved to be enough for Mackenzie Cammenga, who scored a full game four-hitter.
“Literally, we go to Lake Washington, and there’s a dock there,” Central coach Calvin Merritt said. “The whole team jumps in on the celebration. Obviously, that’s what the champions do every year.”
Central, competing in the 13-14 age group, had plenty to celebrate after capping his week in Washington with a 6-1 record. Saturday’s win enabled Central to avenge their only loss of the tournament, as Irmo, SC-based Southeast beat Georgetown 6-5 in walk-off fashion in pool play on Monday.
Georgetown struck in third when Cammenga moved up to second on an error and Autumn came home on Dennis’ double to left. Dennis then scored by mistake to put Central ahead 2-0.
Southeast scored their lone run in the bottom of the third, but Central answered with two runs in the top of the fourth. Messi went to Alchema, stole second, moved to third on the groundout and eventually scored on an error. Moments later, Cammenga doubles down on Natalie Tibet’s house. Central closed the scoring in fifth when Morgan Masek doubled to Julia Smith.
“It was a complete team effort,” Merritt said. “We had great hitting, great defence. Mak came and pitched today and he did a great job. This team plays together, and someone steps in when the need arises.”
Its squad at Georgetown includes five players who won the state championship for the fourth time in a row earlier this summer. But this is the first time the team was able to play out of state, though. They earned their first two titles when they were 11 and 12 years old, and were not offered a national tournament for that age group. The World Series was not played a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saturday’s game was broadcast live on ESPN2. Central posted walk-off victories in Thursday’s quarterfinals and Friday’s semifinals and secured a berth in the title game.
“We talked later, and my two words were ‘thank you,'” Merritt said. “Thank you for sticking to the little league, thank you for believing in this team, thank you for being part of something special. There were many tears all around. ,
Central will take off early Sunday morning and return to West Michigan. There’s a celebratory event at 6 p.m. Sunday at Vitale in Hudsonville.
“We’ve got tremendous support at home,” Merritt said. He said, ‘Watch parties have been held and they are supporting us through social media and messaging girls. We get constant encouragement from both the league, family and friends. Girls recognize and appreciate it, and it means a lot to them.”
Central had seven hits, with Dennis and Callie Naber recording two each.