SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — The 14 players on the Gray-New Gloucester/Raymond baseball team trudged out of Lamade Stadium Thursday afternoon, downcast and disappointed by their 10-0 four-inning loss to Northeast Seattle before a crowd of 11,044 in their opening game of the Little League World Series.

Soon after, they met their family members and friends who have made the long journey here. They talked, commiserated and made plans to go out and have dinner, to have some fun.

The game?

No need to rehash it.

“Throw it out,” said pitcher and first baseman Cam Beckwith. “Put it in the trash.”

Everyone associated with Gray-NG, from the coaches to the players to the parents and fans, knows this was not the team that won its first 12 postseason games en route to Williamsport.


They committed four errors, all in the first three innings when Northeast Seattle took an 8-0 lead. They had only one hit, a line single to left-center by Alex Hanlon in the third inning, and continually swung and missed at the snapping curveball thrown by Seattle’s Trey Kirchoff, who had eight strikeouts and only one walk.

Nerves? Undoubtedly. Rust? Certainly. Gray-NG hadn’t played a game since beating Massachusetts 2-1 to win the New England Region six days ago.

“We’re all bummed out,” said Ani Amergian, the wife of assistant coach Mike and mother of catcher Mason. “But we’re all so proud of them. This doesn’t change anything in our eyes.

“I mean, there were a lot of nerves, being on the biggest stage of their lives. And it stinks to have this for your first loss. But we told them they can learn from this and push for Saturday.”

At 2 p.m. Saturday, Gray-NG will play Media, Pennsylvania, in an elimination game at Lamade Stadium. With a win, Gray-NG will play on Sunday. Lose and it goes home.

“Now,” said Ani Amergian, “they can take a breath. They know what to expect and they can come in with clear heads on Saturday.”


Friday, they’ll be back at practice to prepare for the biggest game of their lives.

“We know we have another chance,” said Hanlon, a third baseman. “We’ve just got to keep playing.”

And playing like they did in winning district and state titles in Maine, and the New England championship.

Maine fans cheer as Gray-New Gloucester/Raymond plays their first game against Seattle Little League on Thursday. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Thursday was the first time they had trailed in a game in the postseason. And once they got behind, it seemed the players tightened up.

“Just some miscues on our part that we normally don’t make,” manager Brad Shelley said. “That’s baseball. And then it got away from us.”

There was an error in the first, but starting pitcher Kayden Oliver, who only gave up two earned runs, pitched around it.


But an error in the second helped Seattle score twice on a two-run single by Rylan Jackson. Then two more errors in the third helped Seattle score six times, the final two runs coming in on a throwing error.

Asked if the errors could be attributed to nerves, Shelley said, “I would have told you no before the game, but we certainly saw that as the game got going. You could tell with the week off it was tough. We’ve been practicing, but a week without competitive baseball, it was tough.”

Shelley didn’t say much to his players immediately after the game, but what he said was significant.

He told them to hold their heads high – “You’re in the Little League World Series” – and to remember who was there with them.

“I told them to look in the stands,” Shelley said. “Everyone who loves you and supports you and made the trip is here, cheering you on. And they’re still going to love and support you even if you lose.”


That support extends far beyond the grandstands in any baseball stadium.

“I think it’s pretty cool how 14 kids can make a community and a state strong,” assistant coach Mike Amergian said. “That’s what these boys have done. We have people throughout New England rooting for us. I’ve had people contacting me that I haven’t heard from in 10 years.

He’s looking forward to practice Friday.

“We’re not done,” he said. “We’ll be ready to go tomorrow in practice. And we’ll be ready Saturday.”

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.