Granby baseball captures first district title in 27 years

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East Granby/Granby Little League 10U all-star baseball team, left to right. Back row–Assistant coaches Garry Roman and Larry Auer, Head Coach Jeff Castle, Manager Andrew Ellrod, Assistant coaches Jared Burns and Scott Magennis. Front Row–Assistant Coach Greg Teclaw, Tommy Magennis, William Auer, Gunnar Castle, Thomas Rushin, Jake Teclaw, Aiden Ellrod, Carmelo Roman, Oliver Thrall, Braden Burns, Aiden Konieczny, Aidan Hayes. Submitted photo

The East Granby/Granby Little League 10U all-star team made history in July by bringing home the first district baseball championship since 1992.

“Team chemistry is what allowed us to make this historic run,” said Jeff Castle, head coach of the team. “These kids put the team first and individual success second. They grew in confidence with each win and our streak snowballed from there.”

The team started the summer with victories against three all-star teams in scrimmages outside of the district before going 7-0 in district play. A comeback 9-8 win over Simsbury brought them to the district championship game where they beat Burlington 11-1, and secured a bid to the sectional round. 

“I am so proud of how the team responded to a demanding district schedule against good competition with the pressure to win,” said Andrew Ellrod, manager of the team. “They’re a great group of kids who listened well and tried to do everything the coaches asked of them. It was exciting to see the growth and poise of the team to come in and play top-notch baseball.”

After losing to Robert A. Cole (Beacon Falls) 9-6 in game one of the sectional round, the team fended off elimination by beating Southington 10-7 to make it to the sectional final for the first time in the league’s history. With only eight teams remaining in the state, their run ended with a 16-5 loss to Southington in the final.

The team finished its season with an 8-2 record in tournament play. The pitching rotation achieved an earned run average (ERA) of 2.18 and limited the competition to a batting average against (BAA) of just .189. On the offensive side, consistent hitting from the entire lineup resulted in 8.4 runs per game and a team batting average of .348.

“Our biggest challenge was getting these 11 kids to believe they belonged with the upper echelon teams of our district and the sectional tournament,” Castle said. “They proved that and showed how they are tough, gritty and resilient.”