A third Hill brother gets his shot to play in Little League World Series
Oh brother, where art thou?
Well, if you're one of the Hill brothers, there's a good chance you're in Williamsport, Pa.
The Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores team stormed through the Great Lakes Regional over the weekend and is headed back to the Little League World Series for a second consecutive season — albeit, this is an entirely new collection of 12-year-old sluggers.
Led by left-handed ace Brennan Hill, Woods-Shores routed New Albany, Ind., 13-0, in a four-inning mercy Saturday night to clinch the ticket to Williamsport.
Brennan now becomes the third Hill brother to play in the Little League World Series, joining Drew, who was on last year's team, and Ty, who was on the 2013 team. Their father, Jason, coached last year's team, before turning it over to Kurt Barr this year.
"Dude, it's insane," Barr said Sunday night, shortly after the team's charter bus pulled into Williamsport. "I was joking with Jason, 'I've got a lot of pressure on me! I gotta get No. 3 there!'
"Three-for-three? It's just wacky."
Hill dominated on the mound Saturday, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out nine, including the last batter of the game, before chucking down his glove in celebration. Hill also homered and had two hits in three at-bats.
Hill is likely to get the ball in Woods-Shores World Series opener at 4 p.m. Friday at Howard J. Lamade Stadium against the Northwest Regional champions from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
The 16-team, double-elimination tournament — there are eight teams from the United States and eight international teams — begins Thursday, and continues through the championship game Sunday, Aug. 26.
The other teams in this year's field include: Staten Island, N.Y.; Des Moines, Iowa; Coventry, R.I.; Peachtree City, Ga.; Houston; Honolulu; Seoul; Gold Coast, Queensland; Surrey, British Columbia; Guayama, Puerto Rico; Barcelona; Kawaguchi, Japan; Arraijan, Panama; and Matamoros, Mexico.
Woods-Shores is trying to become the second Michigan team to win the Little League World Series; Hamtramck won it in 1959.
And Woods-Shores will be riding quite a high entering play this week.
The team of 12-year-olds was rarely challenged in the Great Lakes Regional. It won its games by a combined score of 46-6, and played into the sixth inning just twice. Woods-Shores outhit its opponents, 43-7. Woods-Shores scored in 14 of its 18 offensive innings.
"No, man," Barr said, when asked if he expected this kind of dominating performance. "Not even close."
It was a far cry from the state tournament last month, when Woods-Shores had to executive epic rallies in both the semifinals and finals to earn the trip to the regional.
Jarren Purify added a home run and three walks in the championship game in Westfield, Ind., just outside Indianapolis, after racking up three hits in the semifinal victory. Hill had three RBIs in the final.
The Woods-Shores team shared a charter bus with the Midwest Regional champions from Des Moines, Iowa. The bus pulled up to the hotel in Westfield around 8 a.m., and arrived in Williamsport shortly after 5 p.m., a long day for anyone, but especially the coaches, who, Barr admitted, didn't get much shut-eye Saturday.
"I don't know if any of the coaches slept," said Barr, whose next few days leading up to the start of play will be a blur, too, with uniform fittings, ESPN media obligations and such. "We are whipped."
The Little League World Series was first held in 1947, and Woods-Shores will be the 12th team from Michigan to compete in it, joining the Woods-Shores teams from 1979, 2013 and 2017; Hamtramck in 1955, 1956 and 1959; Escanaba in 1957; Birmingham in 1973; Wyoming in 1982; Brooklyn in 1990; and Georgetown Township in 1998.
Woods-Shores was eliminated in two games in both 2013 and 2017, losing to eventual U.S. champion California, 3-0, in extra innings in 2013, and eventual U.S. champion Texas, 5-1, in 2017.
Little League World Series
Game 1: Puerto Rico vs. South Korea, 1 p.m.
Game 2: Staten Island vs. Des Moines, 3 p.m.
Game 3: Mexico vs. Australia, 5 p.m.
Game 4: Coventry vs. Houston, 7 p.m.
Game 5: Spain vs. Japan, 2 p.m.
Game 6: Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores vs. Coeur d’Alene, 4 p.m.
Game 7: Panama vs. British Columbia, 6 p.m.
Game 8: Peachtree City vs. Honolulu, 8 p.m.
Game 9: Game 1 loser vs. Game 3 loser, 1 p.m.
Game 10: Game 2 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 3 p.m.
Game 11: Game 5 loser vs. Game 7 loser, 6 p.m.
Game 12: Game 6 loser vs. Game 8 loser, 8 p.m.
Game 13: Game 1 winner vs. Game 3 winner, 9 a.m.
Game 14: Game 2 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 11 a.m.
Game 15: Game 5 winner vs. Game 7 winner, 1 p.m.
Game 16: Game 6 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 2 p.m.
MONDAY, AUG. 20
Game A: Game 9 loser vs. Game 10 loser, 11 a.m.
Game 17: Game 15 loser vs. Game 9 winner, 1 p.m.
Game 18: Game 16 loser vs. Game 10 winner, 3 p.m.
Game 19: Game 13 loser vs. Game 11 winner, 6 p.m.
Game 20: Game 14 loser vs. Game 12 winner, 8 p.m.
TUESDAY, AUG. 21
Game B: Game 11 loser vs. Game 12 loser, 11 a.m.
Game 21: Game 17 winner vs. Game 19 winner, 3 p.m.
Game 22: Game 18 winner vs. Game 20 winner, 7:30 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 22
Game 23: Game 13 winner vs. Game 15 winner, 3 p.m.
Game 24: Game 14 winner vs. Game 16 winner, 7:30 p.m.
THURSDAY, AUG. 23
Game 25: Game 21 winner vs. Game 23 loser, 3 p.m.
Game 26: Game 22 winner vs. Game 24 loser, 7 p.m.
SATURDAY, AUG. 24
Game 27: Game 23 winner vs. Game 25 winner, 12:30 p.m.
United States Championship
Game 28: Game 24 winner vs. Game 26 winner, 3:30 p.m.
SUNDAY, AUG. 25
Game 29: Loser Game 27 vs. Loser Game 28, 10 a.m.
Game 30: Winner Game 27 vs. Winner Game 28: 3 p.m.