The Elkridge Hurricanes completed a sweep of the 8U Machine Pitch Cal Ripken Maryland State Championships during the first weekend of July at Rockburn Park, winning both the A and B brackets.
A second Elkridge Hurricane B team lost in the semifinals to the eventual championship team from Elkridge.
Elkridge was the only organization to have one A and two B teams in the tournament, and this was the first time that one league has won both the A and B tournaments in the same year. Elkridge first won the B tournament in 2010, and won the A tournament in 2011.
"We now have a reputation" for success, coach John Haberern said. "We established our rookie league for (the Elkridge Youth Organization). We ramped up the coaching, all the little things you need to do to put the kids in a position to be successful."
In machine pitch baseball, a batting practice pitching machine propels baseballs directly down the center of the plate at a preset height at 40 miles per hour.
"It's a hitters game, so you've got to play defense," Haberern said. "The cool thing about machine pitch is that you know there is going to be a hit so you can focus on playing defense."
The A team defeated Mount Airy, 10-3, and the B team defeated Prince Georges County, 22-9, in the championship games. The tournament featured more than 20 teams from all over Maryland, including teams from Washington County andQueen Anne's County.
"It truly is a state-wide tournament," Haberern said.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun