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Eighth Grader Leads Team to Little League World Series

Jack+Savery+%28third+row%2C+second+from+left%29+and+his+teammates+display+their+southeast+champions+banner+during+the+opening+ceremonies+of+the+Intermediate+Division+Little+LEague+World+Series+in+Livermore%2C+California.
Jack Savery (third row, second from left) and his teammates display their southeast champions banner during the opening ceremonies of the Intermediate Division Little LEague World Series in Livermore, California.

Jack Savery (third row, second from left) and his teammates display their southeast champions banner during the opening ceremonies of the Intermediate Division Little LEague World Series in Livermore, California.

Photo courtesy of Mrs. Savery

Photo courtesy of Mrs. Savery

Jack Savery (third row, second from left) and his teammates display their southeast champions banner during the opening ceremonies of the Intermediate Division Little LEague World Series in Livermore, California.

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Becoming a professional baseball player and performing on baseball’s biggest stage is a hope shared by many young athletes. One Benjamin student may have gotten one step closer to that dream this past summer.  Eighth-grade student Jack Savery and his North Palm Beach baseball team qualified and played in the Intermediate Division Little League World Series (LLWS) this past summer. This division was created in 2013 to bridge the gap between the Little League World Series (televised on ESPN each year) and the Junior League World Series. Intermediate is for players 11-13 years old, and follows rules closer to Major League Baseball, but is  just a step below the Junior League, which is for athletes between the ages of 13-15.

Savery received a baseball card photo as a result of being in the LLWS this year.

Savery’s team has been to the national tournament for three straight years, so he is  a veteran when it comes to playing in this high stakes annual competition.The intermediate league has been played in Livermore, California since its inception, where ten teams compete to be the best in the country. This year, the tournament was held July 30 to August 6 and, as is customary, featured  two groupings in the tournament: the A division, for American teams, and the B division, for international teams.

The intermediate division is double elimination, meaning a team is out if it loses twice, until the semifinals and finals, which are single elimination. Although Savery’s team did not advance to the semifinals, he’s already looking forward to next year. “I was disappointed that we lost since I knew we could have won the whole thing,” Savery said, “but that also gave me hope for next year since I feel like we have an even better chance to win.”

According to Savery, this year’s [squad] won four tournaments to get to the national championship: districts, sectionals, states, then regionals where [it] won the Southeast and represented the [region] in the World Series.” Savery feels that they dominated their games leading into the tournament, but they stumbled and could not get on a roll in the LLWS. His team only won one game and lost four, eliminating them from championship contention, but all of the losses were decided by one run. “The first game we lost 11-10 to the West representative, but we were leading 10-9 with two outs left, and our catcher threw the player on the other team out, but it was a close call and the [umpire] called him safe,” said Savery. He was not happy with the call since he feels if his team had won that first game, it would have won the championship. Conversely, he felt  that initial loss was a tough one to get over, which sent the team on a downward spiral.

However, Savery did everything he could to will his team to victory.

Jack, who played every possible position, batted  .500 with seven home runs  in the tournament, which he credited to practice. “We practiced 3 times a week while preparing for the World Series, which really helped me play even better than I had during the season.” Yet it was what he was able to do defensively that brought him the most satisfaction. “I had many clutch hits and home runs, but I am most proud of my pitching in a game when we were down 7-2 in the fifth [inning],” said Savery. “I came in and we came all the way back, but I eventually had to come out due to pitch count, and we lost.” Savery was disappointed with his team’s loss, but is excited, for the opportunity to make it back to the World Series next year, which he is able to do since there are many divisions.

Middle School Athletic Director and middle school baseball coach Mr. Toby Harbeck is excited “such a good athlete” is able to continue to play on the biggest stage. “I’m glad a kid who is so athletically gifted specialized in baseball as his sport, and that he is able to continue playing in great championships,” said Harbeck, who has coached Savery the past two years at TBS.  “He spent more time [than other great athletes] at hitting and pitching and throwing and fielding, making him better.”

It’s not just his coach who recognizes Savery’s talent, either. “Savery was easily the best player on our team, he improved our team a lot,” said fellow eighth grader Ryan Casey, who plays with Savery on the TBS team. Fortunately, Jack will suit up again for Benjamin’s baseball team this spring and look to improve so he can hopefully not only lead the Bucs to a title, but also his little league team next summer.

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Eighth Grader Leads Team to Little League World Series