Michigan LLWS bound

Submitted by 1.21 Jigawatts on August 12th, 2018 at 11:33 AM

Congrats to the boys from Grosse Pointe who have absolutely steamrolled their way to the World Series. Go get em boys!!



August 12th, 2018 at 11:42 AM ^

They have quite a machine.  Anybody familiar with the kids on the team?  The fact they returned no players from last year is amazing.    What is the secret?


August 12th, 2018 at 5:52 PM ^

I live in GPW, just down the street from Ghesquire Park, their home diamond. Their secret is that these kids are working with their dad and coaches 9 months out of the year. They are taking BP in 45 degrees in the spring and fielding in the fall in the fading light. The work ethic from these kids and their parents is championship-level.  


August 12th, 2018 at 11:55 PM ^

I'm old enough to remember when those diamonds were gravel. I helped lay the grass myself, especially diamonds #2 & 3.

In fact, my brother & I set candy-selling records that helped in great part pay for that grass. The LL has been run quite well for a long, long time. Was sad to hear one of the Rini brothers died last year.


August 12th, 2018 at 12:13 PM ^

Watched their game against the Indiana team. Jarren Purify is a big kid but such a smooth player. Crushed a home run and had an insane regional. 9-11 at the plate or something like that during the regional. Starting pitcher for the team is the third member in his family to help his team to the LLWS

Goggles Paisano

August 12th, 2018 at 12:17 PM ^

I don't live in Michigan anymore but my guess would be that Grosse Pointe parents have a few bucks to invest in private lessons for these kids.  Also, they probably have a strong little league program that starts early as do the lessons.  Because the area is nice, there are probably some really good coaches (perhaps former pro players) there that have facilities to offer the lessons year round.  I base this on nothing except for that is how it works for my kids down here in Florida where there are a lot of really good players.  


August 12th, 2018 at 3:43 PM ^

That is not accurate. In general yes, what you call AAU, ie select or travel ball teams have better players than Little League. But on these LL teams that go deep into the WS, they are made up almost entirely of the all stars from the League that are the best players and also play travel ball.


August 12th, 2018 at 5:20 PM ^

There's a downside to that, and that's the decline of pick-up games among today's youth.

I grew up playing little league and other sports in the 70s.  We'd frequently corral/call enough of the neighborhood gang to go play pick-up games somewhere.

It would have been nice to have the internet back in the day as a source of training information.  But I don't regret the freedom, ability to experiment, and basically pure fun that pickup games offered.

Even the last kid picked always got picked.


The kids left behind either grow unsatisfied on regular recreational teams or get the message that the sport isn’t for them,


EDIT: Here's the article link I was trying to find



August 12th, 2018 at 1:47 PM ^

My son plays for St Clair Little League 12u team and I coach. We've played the Grosse Pointe team 4 times this year and multiple times over the last few years. They're simply on another level. They play both as GPWS little League and Little Caesar's fed ball team. During the state championship game vs Bay City (which was hosted by our  little League in St Clair) they were down 4-0 in the 3rd. I was watching on the left field fence. Oliver Service turned around and told us he was gonna hit one out next inning. He then proceeded to smash one about 250 ft top right center and then hit one even further to left center his next time up. They did have 5-6 errors but their bats can easily overcome that. I fully expect them to do some major damage in Pennsylvania. 


August 12th, 2018 at 4:56 PM ^

I remember that age well. The pitching is still fairly slow and straightforward so it’s no wonder the bats are ahead. I’m surprised to hear these are the elite players. No disrespect meant but when my son was that age, his A team (he was on B) was better than the teams we watched. I haven’t seen any games this year — could they have improved that much in 6 years?


August 12th, 2018 at 5:28 PM ^

I don't know what you've been watching if you think it's slow and straight forward. These are 12 year olds hitting mid 70s from 46 feet away. That's equivalent to a high 90s reaction time at the major league level. Add to that curve balls that drop a good 8-10" and try to hit that. Most of these kids are AAU/Fed ball kids. They get enough games in to qualify for their Little League All Star teams. Once these kids reach even the state level, they can compete or beat  the best teams in their regions regardless of level. 


August 12th, 2018 at 9:16 PM ^

My husband remembers it differently. He does remember kids getting a lot of movement and some good velocity. Maybe I’m remembering so-so fielding. We both remember thinking our teams could play these teams and do well. But we had some good pitchers. One guy, several years older than my son, plays in Seattle’s minor league system, and another, who’s at Penn right now, is 6’6” and throws in the mid 90’s. My son thinks he may get a look from the majors. 


August 13th, 2018 at 12:02 AM ^

I don't know what AAU teams there are for 12-yo's in SE MI. And generally the best local travel teams are *not* Fed ball teams. Usually if a Fed ball team kicks major butt the parents want to ditch Fed ball the next year and go all tournament play.

Year to year MABF is able to keep more of those real good teams. But KVB, NOBF or GFBL? Not a chance. 


August 12th, 2018 at 9:13 PM ^

I coach travel baseball in Michigan and can say that many of the players on these LLWS teams could play at the elite level of 12U in these parts.  We just went through tryouts and I put about 60 12 and 13 year olds on the radar gun.  Only two of them were 70mph+ and most of these LLWS teams have guys who are well above that.  

I was curious about the kids backgrounds because Little League is really watered down baseball compared to the travel game when it comes to field size, stealing, etc.  I am surprised kids this good are playing LL to be honest unless they play travel and then do LL for fun.


August 12th, 2018 at 9:20 PM ^

In our town, you had to play LL house in order to play travel. You couldn’t just play travel. But are these travel kids playing on independent travel teams not affiliated with their towns? In our area, those type of travel teams usually start at the 14u or even 15u level.


August 13th, 2018 at 12:10 AM ^

Wendy, you're talking about house league All-Star travel teams. Some of them can be pretty good. Many are not.

Yes, most of the best travel teams are not associated in any way with house leagues, LL or otherwise. Sill, there are players on good and even elite non-house travel teams who play weeknights in local house leagues.

The LL All-Star team my son played on 3 years ago had some elite travel players on the squad who were there specifically to take a shot at going to Williamsport. In fact, had we kept all the kids together who played on our 11u team we would have been the odds-on faves to win the state tournament.

Every year some of the better Michigan LL teams are put together in a similar manner. Midland, Rockford, Rockport, GP (both Farms & Woods/Shores), Midland and others follow a similar blueprint.


August 12th, 2018 at 2:23 PM ^

I grew up in Grosse Pointe and when LLWS district competition started, we typically got smoked by Hamtramck, who always seemed to have big Polish kids who looked like they were 20 years old.


August 12th, 2018 at 2:28 PM ^

Cali - the kids beat each other up so bad every year. I watched this weekend the Regionals from up North and North East and couldn’t believe how bad they were compared to teams that play here in Cali. District teams in my city would easily beat these teams. Just saying.


August 12th, 2018 at 4:08 PM ^

I'm torn -- I very much enjoy having a team from Michigan make the LLWS, but Grosse Pointe is entirely unrepresentative of Michigan and the Michigan spirit.



August 12th, 2018 at 5:59 PM ^

Explain. You don't know any of these people. I see these kids working out and practicing at the park 9 months a year, taking bp in 45 degree weather. They are very representative of Michigan, good role models, hard workers, and more diverse than usual.  Not sure where you are going with this.  . .


August 13th, 2018 at 12:31 AM ^

Hello there. I would rather have kids from an area that doesn't carry the aura of privileged affluence.

i.e., not from the area of SE Michigan known for literally barricading themselves from Detroit. I know the Woods/Shores is a few towns separated from the actual borer, but the approval of such projects stretch along the south side of 94 through St. Clair Shores.


August 13th, 2018 at 12:25 AM ^

Oh, I for sure believe that these kids have the talent to play and have the freedom to train / practice to get better. In fact, I expect these kids to be kids of great character.

But, it's worth acknowledging that at the LL level, the wealth of parents can go a long way in affecting how much training a kid has / ability to participate in these events / access to good coaching.  I think it's worth understanding that the GP area is a unique bubble in Michigan where the culture and attitude is much different. As somebody that has spent significant time in Mid-michigan, west michigan, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Detroit, GP area, St. Clair Shores, Brownstown, and Rochester, the GP area seems least connected to the realities of the rest of michigan.