It's only their second year competing. But Orange's Senior League baseball team have taken a state championship, and this weekend, they'll play at the regional tournament in New Jersey. It's quite an accomplishment for a team that's not only so new, but so young: in this 16-and-under level, most of their players are 15, playing against opponents who are often older. But some of these all-stars have been working and playing together for years.
"You know, we've always had little league for 12 and under, but we just started to rally some of those 13-16-year-olds over the last three years," says General Manager Tim Fox. "It's a wide variety of kids. Some played on legion teams, some haven't played a lot in the summer, but they came together for this team and we made a nice run."
Orange handily defeated Somers in the first two of a best-of-three series to win the Senior League Connecticut Championships last Friday. Fox credits strong pitchers like D.J. Kish and Mike Clark, who contributed to a victory over Edgewood in the tourney, and Tim Brown and reliever Tim Fox, who pitched a 9-1 winning game against Somers.
"The majority of these kids have played together since they were 12. They know each other, and they're friends. It's a really cliquey team. I'm not saying we're the best 12 kids in town, but they play hard together and they care about each other."
A few players are from Bethany and Woodbridge, Fox says, and so this group are being developed as an Amity High School prep team. "Orange, Woodbridge and Bethany are all playing together, and it works," says Fox. "We've tried for a long time to get those towns together to play anything, and we've finally done it."
Orange will play this Saturday in West Deptford, NJ against an undetermined opponent, and Patch will be following with updates and scores as the games progress. More details are available on the regional tournament's website. Senior League is organized by the Little League of Williamsport, PA.