East Boynton Beach Little League knows a little bit about winning.
The league that famously produced the 2003 United States champion at the Little League World Series now has a new group of (older) stars.
East Boynton’s Big League All-Stars, 15-to-18-year-old ballplayers well known in Palm Beach County for their high school baseball exploits, are competing in this weekend’s Southeast regional tournament at Fort Lauderdale’s Floyd Hill Stadium as part of the Big League World Series.
They won the Florida state Big League championship last weekend, exacting revenge on Dunedin, which beat East Boynton in the state final a summer ago.
“It’s a group of really talented kids who’ve played together and are jelling at the right time,” East Boynton Beach coach Phil Terrano said.
Pitching has been the difference for East Boynton. Former American Heritage standout Anthony Delaney is the team’s ace, with help from lefty Alex Demchak, a Spanish River grad.
East Boynton shut out Port St. Lucie in the sectional championship series and only allowed nine runs in four games at the state tournament.
“Pitching wins these tournaments,” Terrano said. “We’re a force to be reckoned with.”
Terrano’s team plays three pool-play games at regionals, starting with a 6 p.m. matchup tonight with Georgia’s state champion. East Boynton then plays South Carolina’s champ at 3 p.m. Saturday and North Carolina’s title winner at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.
The top two teams from the tournament’s two pools advance to a knockout phase, and the winner goes to the Big League World Series in Easley, S.C., where ESPN will broadcast the championship at 6 p.m. on July 31. Last year’s champion, San Juan, Puerto Rico, beat Easley’s team in the final.
Broward County won the 1985, 1992 and 1997 championships. A Palm Beach County team has never reached the tournament’s final game.
“This division has taken a back seat to showcase and travel ball,” Terrano said. “I told the kids, ‘You don’t have to play showcase ball to get recognition.’ That’s worked for us.”
Last year, Terrano had 18 players try out for his team. This summer, 38 tried out. He carries 17 on his roster, and his team looks formidable this weekend.
“For them to go back to Little League, where they all started, it’s really cool,” Terrano said. “It’s been a treat for all of us.”