SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. (WAVY) — On a day the world was fixed on the Eastern Shore and its storied wild ponies on Chincoteague, the Shore’s residents, at least farther down the road, had something bigger on the agenda in the afternoon.
While the ponies have made the trek across to Chincoteague for 94 years, a Central Accomack Little League team had never even had a look at a potential World Series bid before. Heck, no Central Accomack team across all divisions had won the Virginia state title before this year (both the Senior League boys and girls won the title in 2019).
The boys team had made it all the way to the championship game, and it was streaming live.
With the Shore looking on, Central Accomack traded blows with South Carolina’s Irmo Little League before finally sealing the deal in extra innings, 12-11.
“These boys come from Central Accomack over on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, just a small Little League … it’s like the biggest thing that’s happened on the Shore it feels like,” said Coach Bert Adamos, whose son Brandon plays on the team.
Adamos, a relatively recent transplant to the Shore, knows just how big of a moment it was for the kids and the community that went wild as the wins kept piling up.
“So many people know these kids … they’ve been like a YouTube sensation on the Shore,” Adamos said.
It all started about two weeks ago, when Central went undefeated at the state tournament. Adamos said they were really just trying to win one game, but one game turned into a handful.
When they went down to the regional tournament in Florida, the wins kept coming and the games were streamed live on YouTube.
Taking advantage, popular Shore waterholes like the Island House in Wachapreague and Mallards in Onancock put the game on Wednesday for the team’s cheering fans. Some joked about having to call in sick for the historic moment.
After a rain delay, the game went back and forth, eventually reaching extra innings (regulation in Senior League is seven innings).
So with the game on the line in the eighth, the team did something they jokingly hadn’t attempted much of – they played some small ball.
Dylan Ross laid down a perfect bunt, setting them up to tie and eventually win the game in the final frame. Tyler Greene had a sacrifice fly scoring Luke Parks for the go-ahead run. Parks also had a big grand slam, capitalized with a bat flip, earlier in the game.
Brandon Adamos picked up the win, allowing six runs on three innings, and Everett Savage, who came up big in relief in the state title game, came in and kept South Carolina at bay.
“It’s just awesome to be able to put Central Accomack on the map,” Adamos said. “[This team has] tremendous heart, play as a team, they never get down. They always just keep fighting.”
The team of 14- to 16-year-olds that draws students from both Nandua and Arcadia high schools was the smallest team in number (12 players) at the regional tournament, Adamos says. They also proved to be the most versatile.
So what’s next for these ball-playing YouTubers?
Well, they’re signing off YouTube and headed to the big E — ESPN.
They’re also heading to the medium-sized E of Easley, South Carolina, a city of about 20,000 roughly 20 miles from Clemson University.
Central’s team will be staying in Clemson dorms during the World Series, where they’re guaranteed at least five games in pool play, Adamos says.
That’s five chances for the Shore to cheer on their boys against teams from the U.S., Latin America and more.
The team jumps on a plane tomorrow, hoping to extend its magical run.
There’s no telling what will happen, but one thing’s for certain:
The Shore will be watching.
Central Accomack’s players are Armonte Dickerson, Brandon Adamos, Cade Williams, Dustin Nelson, Dylan Marshall, Dylan Ross, Everett Savage, Jake Meilhammer, Landon Fuller, Luke Parks, Tyler Greene and Zykeese Davis.
Its coaches are Bert Adamos, Ricky Parks and Shane Fowler.