ATLEE – The 8-10 Powhatan All-Stars’ season didn’t end with a win or a championship.
But it did end with the players enthusiastically rushing towards their head coach, Michael Keeler, with a cooler filled with water and splashing him in a gleeful, championship-like celebration at the Atlee Little League complex.
Keeler chuckled right before getting showered, and, smiling, he thanked his players right after. In his postgame interview, he praised them as a good group of kids. The team had just lost two games in a row, but as Keeler pointed out, the players kept their spirits up.
“They’re gonna be back,” he said. “They like to play. We like to coach them. They’re coachable. They’re a good team.”
His Powhatan All-Stars team, he said, was a team with a lot of heart – a team that practiced hard and looked forward to both of the games in which they played during the District 5 tournament.
“They love the game of baseball,” Keeler said. “They were a joy to coach.”
Against Huguenot in Sunday evening’s elimination game, Chandler McPherson pitched the first two innings, striking out three. He also plated a run on a walk with the bases loaded in the top of the third inning and reached base in both of his plate appearances. The Powhatan All-Stars also made multiple big catches in Sunday’s game.
“We’ve got some athletes on this team,” Keeler said. “They’re not afraid to dive. They’re not afraid to jump for the ball…when you see these players play well, it’s not all coaches. It’s athletic ability. Some kids just have athletic ability, and it’s fun to watch them play.”
While the Powhatan All-Stars took losses in both tournament games played – they were defeated by Atlee 8-0 on Saturday in the first round before getting eliminated by Huguenot 11-1 in 4 innings on Sunday – it was good for the players to see and play against that kind of competition, because it will help them improve, Keeler said.
And he added of his Powhatan players: “They don’t back down.”
Powhatan’s coaches, who also include Sam Hull and Joel Eberts, love the game, love the players and help the players during practices and games, Keeler noted.
“They’re the biggest cheerleaders,” he said. “It’s good to see that.”
And the spectator turnout from Powhatan, he pointed out with joy, was strong at both tournament games.
“There were a lot of fans here both yesterday and today,” Keeler said Sunday. “That was nice to see.”
The Powhatan All-Stars 8-10 players were Zachary Bilthuis, Aaron Keeler, Evan Eberts, Dylan Eberts, Chandler McPherson, Seth Hull, Blake Woodley, Brody Gobble, Landon Garland, Sam Wilson, Carter Baggette and Tyler Paulette.