M.O.T. captures District I Major title again

 

DOVER — M.O.T.’s players are only around 11 and 12 years old.

But manager Bill Bond says they’re very focused on what they want to accomplish.

“They know what it is that they’re looking for and they work hard to get it,” said Bond. “But they seem to be very comfortable in playing. They’ve played a lot of ball.”

On Monday night, the Middletown-area all-stars took care of their first goal, downing Camden-Wyoming, 11-6, in the Major League baseball District I championship game.

M.O.T. scored six runs in the bottom of the first inning before holding off Camden-Wyoming to capture the program’s sixth straight District I crown and 17th in the last 22 years.

The title sends M.O.T. to the three-team, double-elimination state tournament, which starts on Saturday at Millsboro.

M.O.T. went 4-0 in the district tourney, scoring at least 10 runs in each of the four contests. Jumping out to a 6-1 lead after the first inning on Monday made things easier.

“That makes a whole difference to your defense, they’re relaxed,” said Bond. “Your pitching, they feel relaxed. You can throw some different pitches that you probably wouldn’t normally throw if it were 0-0 or a 1-0 game.

“But the best thing about these boys is they forget the past. We’ve always told them to stay focused. The score is always 0-0 each inning, no matter what the score is.”

Several players had big games offensively for M.O.T.: Michael Latharp (4-for-4, 3 runs), Brandon Sullivan (3-for-3, 3 RBI), Zach Sophy (3-for-3) and Hunter Hitchens (2-for-2, 3 RBI). Winning pitcher Elijah Hunt struck out four in 4 2/3 innings before reliever Jimmy Breen had three strikeouts in the last 1 1/3.

Camden-Wyoming, which finished 2-2 in the tourney, didn’t go down without a fight, however.

Trailing 11-2 in the fifth, M.O.T. had runners on second and third with nobody out and then had the bases loaded with only one out. But C-W got out of the jam to keep the game going.

Camden-Wyoming then scored four runs in the sixth as Mason Wrede hit a two-run single before Cameron Lawson drove in another run.

“They showed a lot of heart,” said C-W manager Rod Lawson. “It could have been just as easy to quit and pack it up. But they showed some life. They battled to the end.

“M.O.T.’s a tough team. … The No. 1 goal before the season starts is to beat M.O.T. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen for us.”

Kyler Dwiggins and Wrede, who both homered, along with Lawson, all had three hits for Camden-Wyoming.

While M.O.T. has been extremely successful at the district level, the state tournament is naturally before difficult. M.O.T. won the state crown in 2015 but it hadn’t taken it since 2009 before that.

“I think we’ve got our challenges,” said Bond. “It’s only going to get harder as you move forward.”

Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 741-8227 or walter@newszap.com.

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