Blue Water Healthy Living
Local Sports

Saints march to district title in Little League Major tourney – By Calli Newberry

Photo courtesy of Calli Newberry.

By Calli Newberry

The Saints marched through the entirety of the District 7 Little League Major tournament, sweeping opponents 44-0 across three games. 

And Monday night’s championship would be no different as St. Clair defeated Richmond 20-4 at the Legacy Fields ballpark in St. Clair.

“It’s awesome to win anywhere, but to win here, and the crowd was awesome today, for a Little League baseball game? It was pretty darn good,” head coach Matt Distelrath said. 

Advertisements - Click the Speaker Icon for Audio

Photo courtesy of Calli Newberry.

Fans surrounded nearly the entire field as they packed in the bleachers and set up with lawn chairs, and younger fans donning red, white, and blue jerseys clung to the fences, eager to rush the field in celebration once the final strike was thrown. 

Jaxon Distelrath led off with a single, and Aiden Moran and Jared Johnson followed it up with a pair of walks to load the bases. That’s when Levi Bean (2-for-2 with two RBI) stepped to the plate for what Matt Distelrath called “the hit of the game.”

“I was a little nervous,” said Bean. Although once the ball left his bat, he said he knew it was fleeing for the outfield. 

His double scored two runs early, sparking the momentum St. Clair would carry through the remaining innings. 

“That opened it up for us, and then for them to keep it going the whole time, that was pretty cool to see,” Matt Distelrath said. “That can be tough to see from 11- and 12-year olds.” 

Bean and Johnson would score on a single from Tucker Ginup to close the top of the first, giving the Saints a 4-0 lead. 

Photo courtesy of Calli Newberry. Jaxon Distelrath stands with his homerun ball after winning the District 7 championship”

Jaxon Distelrath, who went 5-5 with seven RBI on the night, led off with a solo home run in the top of the second. This just was after throwing only eight pitches, including one of his seven strikeouts, to end the first inning.

“[Winning the championship] means a lot. It was very exciting because I’m 12 and it’s my last time playing on this field,” Jaxon Distelrath said. “I really wanted to get this one, I didn’t want to win on the second night. It was a great team win.” 

Eight players combined for 24 hits and 18 RBI on the night, proving what Matt Distelrath called his team’s greatest strength: its depth. 

“From the top to the bottom, we’re getting lots of batting practice. On game days we have two dads whose jobs are flexible and they’ll come in and pitch to them during the day to get them out of bed and focused,”he said. “We’ve got a ton of hands helping which makes our reps awesome to be able to get that many. We had subs come off the bench today and get hits today, and that’s tough to see.” 

Jaxon Distelrath is just one of two returning players to this year’s roster, along with Joe Shaffer. With their experience of winning the championship last year, Matt Distelrath said they’ve displayed great leadership throughout the season. 

“This is their first time playing with these guys. We brought up some 10-year olds and it was basically a whole new team,” Matt Distelrath said. “They did a great job coming together, and those guys really showed some leadership and kind of showed the guys what it took, and the other guys really worked hard.

Photo courtesy of Calli Newberry.

“They’re a super smart baseball group, they’re very coachable, and they’re all just having a good time. That’s half the battle.”

Bean and Jaxon Distelrath agreed, each saying this year’s team has been a lot of fun – both on and off the field. 

“They’re nice and they’re funny,” Bean said of his teammates. “[We’re] feeling confident. I think we just have a good team.” 

“We all get along and whenever we go somewhere, like if we’re in a hotel, we’re going to be hanging out together and going to the pool. It’s just the bond really,” Jaxon Distelrath said. “I’m very excited because last year we weren’t able to go to any hotel tournaments, they were only like an hour away.” 

The boys will be heading to Grand Rapids next weekend for the start of the 16-team Michigan Little League Major State Tournament. They’ll begin pool play on July 22 against the champion from District 2, which has yet to be determined.

Related posts

The Khon kids: A dynamic running duo

Calli Newberry

Mariners wrap up season at Ford Field

Calli Newberry

Blue Water Area All-State football round up

Calli Newberry

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.