LAURINBURG — The Laurinburg Optimist U11 baseball team went 2-2 and made it to the semi-final game of the Eastern North Carolina State Tournament held this past weekend in Laurinburg.
Both loses were at the hands of the Supper Optimist baseball club. That team went on to lose in the championship game to West Raleigh by a score of 8-0.
Laurinburg had a decisive win over Deep River, 15-2 and a 3-1 win over Roanoke Rapids to start the weekend.
But Laurinburg was not able to overcome the Supper Optimist, losing their first meeting 8-4 on Saturday and losing the second meeting 7-2 in the semi-final game on Sunday.
This marks the first time in six years that Laurinburg has not made it to the championship game for this age group. Laurinburg defeated West Raleigh last season for the 2015 U11 championship.
For a small community like Laurinburg, it’s tough to compete with “the machine” of West Raleigh, according to Laurinburg coach Michael Sellers said.
“They have a larger area to pull kids from,” Sellers said.
The Laurinburg Optimist baseball team only missed the championship and a bid to the Regional Tournament by 5 runs in their semi-final game against Supper Optimist.
“This team has continued to play through challenges,” West Raleigh coach, Sean Gallaher said after the championship win.
Drew Lamphere of West Raleigh was given the Championship game ball by his coach for hitting a home run and “throwing a complete game,” Gallaher said.
West Raleigh won a close game against Deep River to earn a spot in the Championship against Supper Optimist. Pitcher and first baseman, Chase Chaplin, lead West Raleigh with four RBI’s and two homers to make the score 9-5.
Both West Raleigh and the Northview Supper Optimist will be heading to Williamsburg, Virginia and competing against the best U11 teams the Southeastern region has to offer.
The Eastern North Carolina State Tournament had six participating teams; West Raleigh, New Bern and Laurinburg of the American League and Supper Optimist, Roanoke Rapids and Deep River of the National League. The Competition began on Friday and the Championship was played this past Sunday. The 11-year-old regional tournament was played at Optimist Park in Laurinburg.
The Southeastern Regional tournament is the farthest a U11 team can go, as the Little League World Series begins with the 12-year-old age group.
Nolan Gilmour can be reached at 910-506-3023