By Mike Tenney
The West University Little League Senior All-Star team will play for the Texas East Little League State championship 7 p.m. tonight (July 19) in Tyler, after advancing to the championship series.
The Seniors need just one win to bring home another Texas East state championship banner and will face a tough Barbers Hill team that won its game against Tidehaven 11-1 Monday night in the elimination bracket finals.
So far, the WULL Seniors are unbeaten, so even if they lose tonight, they would return Wednesday morning against Barbers Hill in a one-game, winner-take-all contest.
The Seniors beat both those teams to reach the finals, beginning Saturday night when they knocked off Tidehaven 10-0 in a mercy rule win. That put them into the second round Sunday evening against Barbers Hill, which had opened Saturday with a 5-3 over the Rose Capital East team.
The Hill put up a fight before manager Clint Sauls’ team took a 4-3 win to get a day off on Monday while the elimination bracket played out.
With a win in the finals, the Seniors would begin play in the seven-team Southwest Regional tournament in Seguin at 10 a.m. Saturday against the state champions from New Mexico. And with a win in that game, they would come back that evening for their second game at 7:30 against the Senior state champs from Louisiana.
The WULL Seniors are the two-time Senior League World Series champs and are pursuing their fourth World Championship since 2009 and another trip to Bangor, Maine, where the 10-team tournament is held.
The Senior Leaguers are not the only West University Little League team currently competing in Tyler with the Juniors playing an elimination game Monday night against Lufkin with the winner going on to face Bridge City starting tomorrowevening in the finals.
The Juniors started play at the Texas East state tournament Saturday afternoon, defeating District 10 champion Lufkin, 4-3, in a good ballgame. That moved them to the semifinals of the winner’s bracket Sunday evening, where they lost, 13-6 to Bridge City, making the team from the Texas-Louisiana border to reach the championship series.
That meant the West U Juniors cannot lose again or their season will end and they took on Lufkin Monday night in a rematch in which they winner will play Bridge City and need them to beat them twice (Tuesday night and then Wednesday morning) to get to the Southwest Regional, which starts Friday, Aug. 5 in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
The Junior 14s team that wins the Texas East state tournament in Tyler will face the state champions from Mississippi at 12 p.m., Friday, Aug. 5 in their first-round game.
The WULL 14s are also still trying to reach the Juniors World Series in Taylor, Mich,
for the first time ever.