W2W4: Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores continues quest for Little League crown in Williamsport

Representing the state of Michigan and Great Lakes Region in the Little League World Series are the kids from Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores and come Friday, they will continue their quest to be the first Little League champions from Michigan in nearly 60 years.

The 72nd running of the Little League World Series kicks off Thursday afternoon, with eight of the 16 teams in action. Grosse Pointe will take the field for their first game on Friday at 4 p.m. ET.

The Woods-Shores squad is enjoying a standout summer on the diamond. After steamrolling through district play and the state tournament, they carried their “champions of Michigan” moniker to the Great Lakes Regional Tournament and continued their dominance, capping it with a 13-0 blowout of their counterparts from New Albany, Indiana in the championship last weekend.

In that Great Lakes Regional, Grosse Pointe outscored their opponents 46-4, a four-game stretch that included two shutouts and three shortened games via the run rule (or the more commonly-used and scrutinized “mercy” rule). They were led by Jarren Purify, who hit .900 (9 for 10) with two homers, eight total extra-base hits, and eight runs batted in. Perhaps more impressive, his home run and RBI total did not even lead the squad. Brennan Hill only went 5 for 13, three of those leaving the yard and drove in a team-high 10 runs.

Hill also served as the resident “ace” for Grosse Pointe out in west Indianapolis during the regional. He logged 8.2 innings of the team’s 20 total on the bump, allowing just two runs (one earned) and punching out 19 (!!) batters. Incredibly, Brennan is the third Hill brother to end up in Williamsport in the last six years. Last year’s team, coached by father Jason, featured brother, Drew. His oldest brother, Ty, played on the Woods-Shores team that made it in 2013.

Brennan is likely to get the ball in Grosse Pointe’s opener of the Little League World Series on Friday, which begins at 4 p.m. ET. All games during the 11-day event can be seen on the ESPN family of networks. The Woods-Shores team is one of eight U.S. teams and one of 16 overall (other eight are international). Their first contest will be against the Northwest Region representatives from Couer d’Alene, Idaho.

[Click here to view the Little League World Series title in its entirety.]

This marks the 10th time ever that a Little League team from Michigan has made it to Williamsport. Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores is responsible for now four of those instances, including three times in the last six seasons. They are a combined 1-8 in games played in Williamsport; the state of Michigan is just 7-18 all-time at the Little League World Series (dating back to the original Central Region in 1957).

Michigan’s one and only Little League championship came way back in 1959, courtesy of Hamtramck National LL and the legend of Art” Pinky” Deras.

[Feature image courtesy of Terry Schaefer from the Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores Facebook Page; Team and player stats courtesy of GameChanger]

Written by Alex Muller

MSU Graduate. Just a city boy born and raised in south Detroit. Baseball is life, a pitcher at heart. Freelance writer for MIPrepZone (News-Herald, Press & Guide).

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