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Jason Whitney had a lot of faith in his Orioles team this season even though the youngsters didn't start out well in their Manchester Baseball Association's ages 8-10 division.

Most of them were only 8 or 9 years old and didn't have a lot of game experience. In addition, Whitney and assistant coach Jerry Bayliss, along with Whitney's daughter Mercedes, had to work their players into the right positions. All of this took awhile.

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But once the kids were set, they were ready to roll. They got hot near the end of the regular season and then swept three playoff games to win their postseason tournament championship.

The division's teams draft from scratch each season which means that the Orioles were a totally new team this year. The players were unfamiliar with each other and often with the positions in which they played.

However, their head coach wasn't concerned about that. He knew things would get better as they ultimately did.

"But at first they didn't know each other, and it took awhile for them to see how each other played," Whitney said. "Also, the kids are only allowed to throw 60 pitches, so we had to find out who on the team could pitch. Some didn't want to pitch. But we got six pitchers."

With six of his 11 players able to pitch, Whitney had enough to make it through the many make-up games that became necessary.

The make-ups were needed because the Orioles team had to reschedule five rain outs. Perhaps it was better that some early games were rained out because the youngsters were struggling and may have lost them. They went only 3-5 in the early going.

But after playing a 10-10 tie May 30 with the Rangers, the kids began to click. The won four of their last five regular season games, including their last three.

"The pitching was pretty good, and some kids were putting good wood on the ball and moving people around," Whitney said.

Their record wasn't spectacular. They finished second, but their record was only 7-6-1. And they finished well behind the first-place, 11-2 Nationals.

When it came time for the tournament which was played at Christmas Tree Park in Manchester, Whitney felt things were pretty much up to his players.

"I just told the boys that from here on we either win or we go home," Whitney said.

It turns out they won.

They opened June 17 against the Pirates. The Orioles scored five runs an the fourth inning and five in the fifth. They went on to win 14-8. Kyle Bohn was the winning pitcher. He also scored three runs. His catcher, Dakota Barnard, stopped the Pirates' base stealing by throwing out several runners. He also scored a run.

Mason Patterson walked twice and scored two runs for the winners.

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Game 2 the following Wednesday was against the Nationals. They had beaten the Orioles in two of three regular-season games.

The Orioles though, had recently claimed the Nationals as part of their three-game season-ending winning streak.

They also claimed them this time by winning 12-2. The winners scored five runs in both the first and second innings. Teams are limited to five runs per inning.

Whitney's son Javin, who is only 7, "pitched his best game of the year," the coach said.

The youngster started and was the winner.

Anthony Patterson played well on defense and also drew a walk. Colin McKenzie walked three times and scored three runs. Mason Wike had a hit and scored two runs.

Then they faced the Rockies in last Saturday's finale. The Orioles had already beaten that team three of four games.

But their coach faced a big problem. Vacations had taken players, and he had only eight. But the coach and his kids decided to play the hand they were dealt.

"I could have pulled a player up from the lower age group, but they wanted to win on their own. They said they could do it," Whitney said.

He played that championship game with only two outfielders, but that was enough.

They went out and beat the Rockies 17-10. The winners scored three runs in the first and were never headed after that. They also scored five runs in both the fourth and fifth innings.

Luke Bourg had a single, two walks and two RBIs.

Starting and winning pitcher Cayman Bayliss had a walk, a hit and scored two runs. Outfielder Camden Yowell also had a hit, walk and two runs scored. In addition, he made a big defensive play.

"He chased down a ball, hit the cutoff man and the batter who hit the ball was thrown out at the plate," Whitney said. "It was our best defensive play of the year."

Three runs had scored on the hit but the batter was denied his grand slam.

And his Rockies team would be denied a championship. That title went to the Orioles.

"That was the best game we played all year," Whitney said.

He was happy for his team. But he says he knew early on that his players had a winning make-up, and he wasn't shocked that they eventually came through.

"I'm not surprised. I'm proud of them," Whitney said. "They really wanted to win, and they did it themselves."

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