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May 02, 2016
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arts & leisure

Eldred Little League stars shine

Contributed photo Members of the Eldred Little League All Star Softball team are Katherine Bakalis, center front; in second row, Kaitlyn D’angelo, left, Cassandra Weatherly, Alaina Gaughan, Lynzee Kelty and Jordan Lepes; and in the third row, Molly Clarkin, left, Liezel Schlott, Audrey Mellan and Julia Foster. In the fourth row are manager Mike Frazier, coach Billy Franzy and coach Rick Whitney.

Underdogs no more

ELDRED, NY — What is an underdog? Webster’s Dictionary defines it as “one at a disadvantage and expected to lose.” At this year’s Little League softball tournament, an underdog was defined as Eldred. Before this season, if you asked anyone about Eldred Little League, they would respond with what? Who? Where? The Eldred softball team entered this year’s Little League Tournament with no one knowing anything about it. It entered as a severe underdog—until it started to play.

The first opponent was Tri-Valley, which Eldred beat by a handy 16 to 11. The next opponent was a tough team from Walden, and with good pitching and timely hitting Eldred was victorious 11 to 10. After Walden came an extremely difficult team, the Town of Wallkill. Eldred didn’t bring it’s A game, and the Wallkill tean beat them 16 to 6. For some teams, a loss like this would cripple all hopes. Not with this team. The loss just increased the fire in these girls’ souls. They took this defeat with them to their next opponent, Otisville, which never stood a chance. No matter how much they tried, Otisville just wasn’t going to be able to beat the hunger of the Eldred girls.

Eldred won 14 to 13 and was on its way to the championship game to face the Town of Wallkill for a rematch. It was a championship game for the ages, a heart-pounding, jaw-dropping, thrilling game. The Major Girls All-Star Softball team members played their hearts out. Unfortunately, they came up one run shy of victory. It was a great game.

It was a magical season. The term “underdog” will never again be associated with Eldred Little League thanks to these 10 great athletes.

Eldred fields first Little League baseball team in over a decade

ELDRED, NY — Entering this year’s Little League tournament, it had been over a decade since Eldred had any team represent them. Not knowing what to expect, we put together a team that was full of heart, will and grit.

The first opponent we faced was Liberty. For a majority of the game, Eldred kept it close, but experience played a role in the outcome. Liberty won 15 to 4. Not having been in the tournament before and in an all-new atmosphere, the team could have easily taken the loss with their heads down and no desire to play again. But not Eldred. The loss just raised its desire and drive even higher than it had been.

Its next opponent didn’t stand a chance. With fire in their eyes and victory on their minds, Eldred players came out on top, beating Mamakating 12 to 4. It was a great display of never-give-up attitude. The next opponent was a strong team from Maybrook. But Eldred entered the game with confidence, putting on a great display of defense and desire. Unfortunately, the team was matched tooth and nail by Maybrook. Maybrook was the victor on this day, beating Eldred 2 to 1. This eliminated Eldred from the tournament, but rejuvenated Eldred in Little League status. All that was heard after this great game was, “I can’t wait to get them next year.” The true sign of a champion.

Even though their backs were against the wall, these 10 young men never gave up and showed they never will give up. They did the community, their families and themselves proud.

[Joshua Santoro is the president of the Eldred Little League.]