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3 Grosse Pointe Park Little Leaguers Advance in 2011 Season

While the Park program accomplished similar success in 2008, it's rare that three teams from the same program take the district title and advance into state competition, parents and league officials say.

Two teams from Grosse Pointe Park's Little League program have earned the district title after playing several area teams and have advanced to the next level. Another of the program's teams have earned the state title and will advance to the Great Lakes Regional competition. 

The 10U and 11U teams are competing at the state level this weekend, with the 10U playing at Johnston Park in Harper Woods. The 11U team is in Midland. Both teams have games Sunday July 31. 

Meanwhile, the 12U team earned the district and state title. They played in Commerce Township against Birmingham, Rogers City, Midland and Norway-winning all games--to win the state championship, parent Amy Graham said.

The team advances to the Great Lakes Regional competition in Indianapolis beginning Aug. 5 with teams from Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky, she said. Winners from this competition will go to the 2011 Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, PA--a first time chance for the league, according to parents and officials.

The game in Indianapolis is to be televised on ESPN 2, said Ron DeCoopman, District 6 little league administrator.

In the 9-10 State Tournament, there are teams from across the state--including three from the Upper Peninsula, said Mark DiMambro, Harper Woods Little League Board Vice President. DiMambro is also overseeing the state championship games at Johnston Park this weekend.

Grosse Pointe Park is the only extremely local team in the competition, he said, naming Taylor and Ira Township as the other closest teams. 

It doesn't happen often that one program would have three teams taking districts and advancing, but this is the second time for the Grosse Pointe Park Little League since 2008, DeCoopman said. 

Grosse Pointe Farms-City Little League had a good run for a while, he recalled, but one program having multiple teams advance has been rare since the program expanded, which requires more tournament games to earn a title, DeCoopman said. 

The program was expanded in 2006, which increased the number of playoff games a team has to win to earn a title, DeCoopman said, noting that is when it became more difficult for many teams from the same program to advance. 

Behind the scenes, Graham said there has been a lot going on with the players and parents. 

"The teams have enjoyed kick-off parties, car painting, and t-peeing each others houses before they took off to states," she said. "Once at states, trading keepsake pins is a tradition, and all of the players were given felt Grosse Pointe Park pennants... It definatley has been a "summer of dreams come true" for the Park Little Leaguers, and the future of Grosse Pointe South baseball is looking very bright!

The breakdown by team:

10U--Coached by George Lutfy

  • District 6 Champions of 16 teams
  • State Level Competitions so far--13:1 win against White Lake
  • They play again today at 3:30 p.m. in Harper Woods.

11U--Coached by Dean Graham

  • District 6 Champions of 11 teams
  • State Level Competitions so far-22:0 win against Norway; and 13-7 win against West Portage 
  • They play again today at 3 p.m. in Midland.

12U--Coached by Keith Fannon

  • District 6 Champions of 11 teams
  • State Champions of five teams
  • Next, they will compete in the Great Lakes Regional with teams from six midwest states.

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