Layritz earns ticket to B.C. Little League Championship

The road to Williamsport, the dream of every Little League player to play in front of 40,000 fans and on ABC/ESPN, continued for Layritz.

Layritz defeated Beacon Hill 4-1 in the District 7 Little League championship game Sunday afternoon at Hampton Park as Zephyr Cowan took the win on the mound.

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Beacon Hill beat Central Saanich 8-3 in the semifinals earlier in the weekend while Layritz survived a scare in edging Hampton 2-1.

“Hats off to Hampton, which played the underdog role great,” said Layritz head coach Dave Potter.

“But we held our composure and didn’t panic.”

The round robin had finished with Layritz 5-0, Beacon Hill and Central Saanich 3-2, Hampton 2-3, Lakehill 1-4 and National 0-5.

Layritz advances to the B.C. Little League championship beginning this week at Little Mountain in Vancouver.

Layritz opens Saturday against Vancouver West-champion Dunbar and Sunday against North Shore champion-Highlands. Layritz continues the round robin by playing Vancouver East-champion Hastings on Monday, Kootenays-champion Trail on July 23, host Little Mountain on July 24 and the Fraser Valley champion Coquitlam on July 26.

The first- and fourth-place teams, and second- and third-place finishers, will meet in the semifinals July 27. The final is July 28.

The winner will represent B.C. at the Canadian Little League championship in Ancaster, Ont., from Aug. 1 to 10. The Canadian champion will represent the country at the 2019 Little League World Series from Aug. 15 to 25 in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Teams from B.C. have been dominant and have represented Canada in the Little League World Series 27 times. B.C. teams have won the Canadian championship every year since 2005 except for 2013, when East Nepean of Ottawa was the national champion.

No Canadian team has won the Little League World Series. The 2018 Canadian champion was Whalley, which went 2-2 in Williamsport.

Layritz is looking to become the third Island team to play in the Little League World Series after Esquimalt-Vic West in 1974 and Gordon Head in 1999, the latter with former MLB player Michael Saunders.

Layritz will host the 2020 Canadian Little League championship tournament. With that in mind, 12 of the Layritz players are 11-years- old and just two are 12 -years-old.

“This year’s provincial tournament is more about having our 11-year-olds get a taste of how well they will have to compete next year against top teams like this,” said Potter.

“But I also strongly believe we can challenge this year, too.”

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