A team of 12-year-old White Rock ball players are only a few games away from competing on youth baseball’s biggest stage – the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
But in order to get there, first they’ll have to take care of business at Canadian Little League Championships in East Nepean, Ont.
The winner of that tournament – which begins Friday in the Ottawa suburb – will earn the right to represent Canada at the World Series.
White Rock’s first game is against Notre Dame, from Montreal.
“The boys are really excited, that’s for sure,” said White Rock All-Stars coach Bob Cumiskey.
White Rock advanced to the nationals after a capturing a provincial title last week, beating New Wesminster in the finals.
Now, they’ll face their stiffest competition to date.
And while advancing to Williamsport is the end goal, the Peninsula squad also has the chance to exact a little payback on behalf of the last White Rock squad to make it this far.
Two years ago, at nationals in Glace Bay, N.S., White Rock rolled to the Canadian finals undefeated – they were 22-0 that summer, until that point – but were upset in the championship game by a team from East Nepean.
“And now they’re the hosts,” said Cumiskey. “Hopefully we can get a little revenge.”
And like that team from two summers ago, this year’s White Rock crew is also undefeated, having won each game at district and provincial championships. Along the way, they’ve outscored their opponents 110-18.
“We’re on a good roll, and obviously (Williamsport) is the goal, but it’s a very tough tournament we’re in – we’re talking about the best players in the country,” Cumiskey said.
“Just to get this far, and to take part in a tournament like this, is a (once-in-a-lifetime) opportunity for our guys.”
White Rock has made it to the Little League World Series twice before – in consecutive years from 2007-08 – and was one game shy of a third trip before that 2013 loss in Glace Bay.
For more on the Canadian championships, visit http://2015.littleleaguechampionships.ca/