After rallying for three runs in the top of the sixth to take a 5-4 lead in its final pool-play game Tuesday at the Cal Ripken 10-year-old World Series, Crown Point was eliminated after Sarasota, Fla., responded with a two-run surge in the bottom half of the frame to win 6-5.
Both teams had 1-2 pool-play records going into the game, and were vying to advance to the single-elimination round starting today in Bentonville, Ark.
"It was very unfortunate and disappointing the way things ended," Crown Point manager Bill Nelson said of the season-ending loss. "But we told our boys they have nothing to hang their heads about.
"They set the bar higher for themselves and higher for everyone else. It's going to be harder to get back next year (as 11-and-unders) because everyone is going to be looking at us and saying, 'That's the team that made it to the World Series. If we can beat them that means we can make it, too.' "
Crown Point finished the season with a 48-6 record. It is the first Crown Point team to make it to the Cal Ripken World Series. The town program made the move to Cal Ripken from Little League five seasons ago.
Half of Crown Point's losses were sustained at the World Series.
"But we were in every game," said Nelson, who mentioned that the competition at the state and regional levels was comparable in most ways to the caliber of play at the World Series.
"From what I've seen, the hitting is about even across the board, and the pitching ... ours was one of the best among all the teams down here," Nelson said. "It's the defense that sets World Series teams apart.
"During this past week, I've seen more double-plays turned than I have all year. And most all of the routine plays were converted."