SOUTH CAROLINE 11-12 BASEBALL

Members of the District 6 champion South Caroline Little League baseball team are from left, coach Henry Diefenderfer, Nate Zdobysz, Chase Vanderhoff, Brody Omohundro, Hayden Diefenderfer, Nicholas Shoemaker, coach Ray Bennett, John Beaven, Jordan Wallace, Caleb Rouser, Brox Meissner, Tyler Libby, Coach Rob Meissner, Skyler Endzel, and Jamie Mensonides.

Traditionally, Little League all-star teams have been put together by drawing a few standouts from this team, maybe a big arm and a slugger from that team, and a couple selections from that team over there.

But South Caroline Little League did not have a large pool to draw from this season. In fact, the league’s 11-12-year-old baseball division had just one team that went out and played other area teams. When its regular season was complete, South Caroline had put together a tidy 12-0 record.

And when it came time to picking its all-star team for the annual District 6 tournament, well, South Caroline just stuck with what it had. And won.

“We were at a bit of a disadvantage because we didn’t have the luxury of combining other players,” said Rob Meissner, league president and assistant coach. “But these kids played together and were confident all year. And they proved themselves in the tournament.”

Oh, and they’re not done yet.

Caleb Rouser jacked a three-run homer and a pair of doubles, and Jamie Mensonides and John Beaven handled the pitching duties last Friday as South Caroline advanced to the state Little League tournament with a 12-4 victory over Dorchester in the District 6 title game at the North Easton Sports Complex.

South Caroline is scheduled to play the District 8 champion in the first round of the state tourney on Saturday in Davidsonville at 5:30 p.m.

“The majority of the core of them between the 12- and 11-year-olds have played together since pretty much coach-pitch, some even T-ball,” Meissner said. “And even in multiple sports. They’ve been playing together for a long time. They’re just really good kids. They trust each other. They know what each other’s strengths and weaknesses are and they build each other up.

“We knew we had a good mix going in,” Meissner continued. “But you never really think you’re going to go undefeated. They had one really close game and that was against Tri-City. They walked it off in the bottom of the sixth; 7-6 was the final there. But that was the only game that was really close. They exceeded our expectations, which were high. They certainly played very well.”

And while coaches Ray Bennett, Henry Diefenderfer and Meissner liked their team’s chances heading into the District 6 tournament, Meissner admitted, “We were guarded.

“When you’re playing against teams combined of at least three other teams into one, you never really know what you’re going to get,” Meissner said. “We knew we had a chance. We knew we weren’t going to be a pushover.”

And they weren’t.

South Caroline opened play July 5 with a 9-2 victory over Dorchester, then beat Easton, 4-2, the following night. The team suffered its first loss July 8 as Dorchester earned an 11-7 victory. But in Friday’s championship game, starting pitcher Mensonides and reliever Beaven limited Dorchester during a 12-4 title-clinching win.

“We really didn’t know what we were going to be up against,” Meissner said of the district tournament, where South Caroline also pitched Hayden Diefenderfer, Skyler Endzel and Rouser in addition to Mensonides and Beaven. “To play the way we did against some really good teams, just says a lot.”

The South Caroline team consists Nate Zdobysz, Chase Vanderhoff, Brody Omohundro, Hayden Diefenderfer, Nicholas Shoemaker, John Beaven, Jordan Wallace, Caleb Rouser, Brox Meissner, Tyler Libby, Skyler Endzel, and Jamie Mensonides, and coaches{span} Henry Diefenderfer, Ray Bennett and Rob Meissner.{/span}

Follow me on Twitter @Bill_Haufe. Email me at bhaufe@stardem.com

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