Tecumseh Area Little League hosts State Championship

Mickey Alvarado

Eli Roberts rounds the bases after hitting a grand-slam home run to help Tecumseh defeat Lincoln Park on Monday. Photo by Mickey Alvarado.

Fifteen Little League baseball teams from across the state of Michigan traveled to the area last week, as Tecumseh is host of the major division (12 and under) baseball state tournament for the first time.
The winning team will advance to the Great Lakes Regional in Indianapolis for a chance to play in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
Half of the 16 participating teams were eliminated on Monday, however Tecumseh’s boys advanced into the championship bracket on Tuesday with a huge 5-0 shutout victory in pool play against Lincoln Park.
The top two teams from the four pools advanced to a single elimination tournament that began on Tuesday and Tecumseh’s boys lost 7-4 in its first championship bracket contest against a big homerun hitting Essexville-Hampton team.
Tecumseh’s team gathered in a huddle before the game and the one thing the three Tecumseh coaches stressed to the players was to enjoy the experience.
“We told them just to have fun, enjoy the experience,” said head coach Troy McCrate. “Because ten or twenty years from now when they have kids they can say what they did at the state level. You know, they won in front of their home crowd.”
After being down 1-0 in the first inning, Tecumseh came back and took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the frame with Jonah Coker hitting a two RBI double to plate Cade McCrate and JJ Arbini.
Tecumseh increased its lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the third inning after McCrate got a single, stole second and then third base and was sent home when a ball got past the catcher with Coker at bat. 
Essexville-Hampton’s players looked worried that their season was possibly ending but didn’t hang their heads. They tied the game in their following at bat with Alex Cxyzewski hitting a two-run home run in the top of the fourth inning with just one out on the scoreboard. 
Essexville-Hampton then loaded the bases and had Jack Mularz belt a grand slam home run for a 7-3 advantage.
Tecumseh scored the final run of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning with a single RBI by Jonah Coker that plated Arbini.
“It happens, that’s baseball,” coach McCrate said after the loss. “You never know when you’re going to get a bad inning. You may never have a bad inning, so it’s ups and downs. We roll with it. We try to keep the kids positive through that one bad inning and we fought back. We left two runners on two innings in a row. So, we had opportunity.”
McCrate said that this particular team has been a long time in the making with his two assistant coaches, Robert Arbini and Troy Vallad being with him for several years.
“We’ve been together for seven years,” said McCrate. “We started basically when they were six years old. Seventy-five percent of the group has been together for the last six or seven years.”
He said they would stick with it and start again next year and win as many tournaments as possible.
Tecumseh’s team roster includes Devin Macomber, Cade McCrate, Zack Thompson, Derek Tomalak, Eli Roberts, Tanner Hawkins, Evan Andrews, Gibson Wilke, Jonah Coker, JJ Arbini, Zak Bledsoe, Seth Austin and Nick Vallad.
Tecumseh Area Little League has been preparing for the tournament for the past two years, according to president Ryan Moorehead.
“So far everything has run smooth,” he said of the tournament. “We’ve had nothing but compliments. Everybody seems to be real happy from the banquet all the way to the facilities and volunteers. It’s been great.”
Tecumseh has never hosted the event in the dozen or more years since District 16 was created and having that many teams come to the area had volunteers ready and willing to make it a great experience for everyone involved.
“Countless volunteers have been out here. People were taking vacation from work to come out and work on the fields. We had fifteen to twenty people out here every night from sunup to sundown helping. Can’t ask for much more.”
As far as the game, he agreed with coach McCrate and said it basically came down to one bad inning.
“When it gets to this point you get down to your final eight, one bad bounce one way or another could be a deciding factor in a game. And today we just had one bad inning and it came back and got us.”
The tournament final is at 2 p.m. Thursday. The games are being played at Mitchell Park in Raisin Township, on Greene Highway.


Tecumseh Herald


110 E. Logan St.
P.O. Box 218
Tecumseh, MI 49286

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