It has been nearly eight years since Massachusetts has sent a Little League team to Williamsport, Pennsylvania for the Little League World Series. In 2009, Peabody Western Little League made it to the international stage after Matt Hosman (who now plays at UMass) hit a walk-off grand slam in the New England Regional to send them to Williamsport. Now, the state will look to once again send another squad to the Little League World Series when they crown a state champion on Sunday, July 30.
The Massachusetts State Tournament will begin on July 27 in North Reading, after the district and sectional rounds cut the teams in the state down to only four. Holden, Milton National, Melrose and Gloucester will face off at Benevento Park in North Reading to determine the champion. The team’s will participate in pool play from July 27-29, with each team playing three games and the top two finishers facing off in the championship on July 30. The full schedule of games is as follows:
Holden vs. Milton National, 3:30
Opening Ceremonies, 6:30
Melrose vs. Gloucester, 7:30
Milton National vs. Melrose, 4:00
Holden vs. Gloucester, 7:00
Holden vs. Melrose, 12:00
Red Sox Showcase, 1:00-4:00
Gloucester vs. Milton National, 3:00
Closing Ceremonies, 12:30
Championship Game, 1:00
On Thursday, Opening Ceremonies will include former Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield throwing out the first pitch, while Saturday will feature a Red Sox showcase and Sunday’s Closing Ceremonies will honor the ten umpires who have umpired at the Little Little World Series, according to the Boston Herald. Holden is making their fourth trip in the last five years to the state finals, but have yet to win the title. This is unfamiliar territory for the other team’s, as Gloucester and Milton National are making their first appearance in the state finals ever, while this is the first time a Melrose team has made the finals since 1983, and the first time since the city moved from two Little League’s to only one. The winner of the tournament will advance to the New England Regional in Bristol, Connecticut, which is set to begin on August 6th.