Mineral County's Bi-State All-Stars earned the respect of Mineral County and West Virginia folks alike when they won the West Virginia Little League state championship. Sure, we folks here at home were pulling for them from day one, but bringing the hardware of a state championship back to Mineral County ignited excitement among the hometown crowd.
By Chapin Jewell
Mineral County’s Bi-State All-Stars earned the respect of Mineral County and West Virginia folks alike when they won the West Virginia Little League state championship. Sure, we folks here at home were pulling for them from day one, but bringing the hardware of a state championship back to Mineral County ignited excitement among the hometown crowd.
The team was certainly greeted back home with fanfare that included two fire truck-led parades, and then of course there was the multitude of fundraising spirit nights that saw the community being generous with their financial support.
With hardware already as proof that the Mineral County boys were tops in the Mountain State, they advanced to Greenville, North Carolina, to the Tournament of State Champions to take on other state champions in tournament play.
Excited that the boys from Bi-State would have the opportunity to represent Mineral County and the Mountain State, the only real expectation at this point was that the boys, coaches and families would have fun and represent themselves and their communities well.
Well, the boys from Bi-State have certainly done just that. As is their custom, however, they’ve taken it a step further, not just being fine ambassadors for their county and state, but once again dominating the competition.
On Saturday, Bi-State defeated Florida in dramatic fashion 6-5; on Sunday, Bi-State defeated Tennessee 12-3; and on Monday, Bi-State defeated Alabama.
With that 3-0 record, Bi-State now advances to semi-final play today in Greenville, where the top four seeds will now battle it out for the championship. This is where the road ends, in Greenville, as at this age group (9-11 year olds), there is no national tournament to advance to.
With these three victories to open the Tournament of State Champions, Bi-State now takes an overall record of 11-0 into the semi-finals round. In total, Bi-State has now outscored their 11 opponents by a combined score of 156 runs to 21; that’s an average score of 14-2 per game.
“Our defense and pitching have held the other teams in chuck until our bats have woken up. The offense starts to warm up and the kids kind of settle in and play their game,” Bi-State West Virginia coach Mike Orndorf said of the three-game sweep at the Tournament of State Champions.
The toughest challenge by far came from Florida in game one. Bi-State jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning; Florida then tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the third. In the top of the fourth inning, Bi-State erupted with three runs to open up a 4-1 lead. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Florida scored one run to inch closer (4-2).
In both the fifth and sixth innings, Bi-State scored one run each to jump out to a 6-2 lead heading to Florida’s at bat in the bottom of the sixth inning. Florida would decide to get red-hot at the plate, but it was too little to late for the boys from the Sunshine State. Florida would rally for three runs in the bottom of the sixth to get to within one run (6-5). At crunch time, however, Bi-State stepped up big defensively to cap the Florida rally at three runs, thus securing the 6-5 victory.
In game two against Tennessee, the Volunteer State youngsters jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning. Tennessee would keep that 1-0 lead through the first four innings of play. In the fifth inning, however, Bi-State exploded offensively, scoring eight runs to take an 8-1 lead. Four more runs by Bi-State in the top of the sixth inning gave the Mineral County boys a decided 12-1 advantage heading to the top of the sixth innings. Tennessee, however, could muster only two runs in their final bat as Bi-State claimed the 12-3 victory.
The third game against Alabama was all Bi-State, all day long. The hometown boys generated hit after hit, and run after one. By the conclusion of three innings, Bi-State was up 9-0. After a scoreless fourth inning, they exploded for eight more runs in the top of the fifth winning in earning the 17-0 victory.
According to coach Mike Orndorf, “We got exactly what we needed out of our pitching staff today. Jesus (Perdew) threw 20 pitches to get us started and Hunter Harr was amazing, throwing 38 pitches in three and one-thirds innings in his first appearance of the season. Both of them set us up perfectly for the next two days.”
While playing stout defense on their 11-game journey, Bi-State’s bats have come alive game after game. Scoring 14 runs compared to their opponent’s two runs per game on average is proof that B-State continues to fire on all cylinders.
“From what we have been told, this is the first time since 2013 that a team from West Virginia has advanced to the single-elimination tournament; no team has went in 3-0,” Orndorf stated.
These Mineral County All-Stars from Bi-State are most certainly on a roll, and quite frankly, they have been from day to one. Logic dictates that as Bi-State advanced deeper and deeper against stiffer competition there would at least be some slowing down, not necessarily of the winning but at least in the scoring. But, that simply is not happening; Bi-State continues to dominate game after game.
It’s been a magical ride, and the best part honestly is seeing the community really behind these boys. All of Mineral County and really the entire Tri-State area is showing a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm, both on social media and in person. This is a journey well-documented, and one that will be remembered forever.
“We would like to thank everyone at home for the support and the positive comments, the team really appreciates it,” Coach Orndorf commented.
Hopefully, the team knows we appreciate them, their efforts, and the way they’ve represented themselves and Mineral County.
Keep it going boys.