The LYBL Majors All-Stars, representing the United Kingdom, turned in a fantastic performance at the Europe-Africa Little League Regional tournament in Kutno, Poland. The Bulldogs made it all the way to the championship game on Tuesday, July 25, against defending champions Emilia Romagna of Italy, but fell 12-2. Italy returns to the Little League World Series, Aug. 17-27 in Williamsport, Pa., for the second straight year and third overall as Team Europe-Africa.
Team UK played more games than any other team in the 14-team field, finishing 5-2. Victories came against Ukraine (16-2), Spain (3-2), Netherlands (8-5), Spain again (6-0) and Czech Republic (19-4). The only other loss was also against Italy (11-2).
Ben Fitzgerald was GB's most valuable player, finishing with a tournament batting average of .619. He hit four home runs in the tournament and pitched a no-hitter in the second Spain game. Cole Nakazawa collected three home runs and Nate Lewis hit two, including a grand slam in the Czech game that was the longest shot of the tournament. Another highlight was the complete game thrown by Jack McCarthy against Netherlands.
The boys played hard and played fair, exhibiting excellent sportsmanship throughout the event. They also donated gear to teams with fewer resources, and team parents organized a gift of equipment to the Romania team.
Team UK generated memories to last a lifetime and inspired all of their fans with their grit and talent. Well done, Bulldogs!