After defeating Falmouth on July 21 for the Maine State Junior League title, the Bronco Little League all-stars earned a trip to the East Regional tournament in Freehold, N.J. Their journey to Freehold started at 4:30 a.m. Friday morning.

“We’ve been told it’s an eight- to 12-hour bus ride, depending on traffic. We’re hoping it’s towards the eight-hour side,” said team manager Pete Huston.

With the baseball tourney beginning Saturday against New Jersey state champion Manchester, Bronco Little League, which fields players from Hampden, Newburgh, Winterport and Hermon, expects to play solid baseball but are keeping a humble attitude going in, according to Huston.

“To come from Maine and to say ‘we are going to come down and are going to win every game’ or ‘we are going to make a march through the winners bracket’ I think is unrealistic, I think it’s unrealistic for any team because you don’t really know the competition,” Huston said.

“We set team objectives and team goals. We want to score five to seven runs per game, we don’t want to walk any batters, and we don’t want to make any errors. If we can do those things that we can control, then we will take any outcome that comes our way,” he added. “It’s a great experience for the kids, and if they can go down and do what they’re capable of then they can be proud of themselves. We do believe we can win some games.”

Much like the district and state tournaments, in order to win the East Regional tournament, Bronco Little League must win several consecutive games. Huston says the pitching staff that got them to this point will be key.

“In order to win, you have to win seven games in eight days, and to do that, you need a deep pitching staff. We believe we have that, we demonstrated it in the district and state tournaments with five different kids getting pitching wins. We have that depth,” Huston said.

If the team makes a run, Huston believes there are more kids than just the five he used in the previous tournaments who can get victories.

“The more games we win, the more pitchers we have to use. We believe we have six kids who can win games. The further you go, the more kids you need to have pitch, and we are comfortable with all of them,” he added.

Bronco Little League’s ability to bounce back from deficits will be pivotal as well.

“Every time our opponents put up a couple of runs, we came back and responded by scoring runs that met or capped their runs,” Huston said.

The team itself doesn’t have many weaknesses, but mistakes have to be capped for success.

“These are 13- and-14-year-old kids, and as with any age group, you can make physical mistakes. If you have three, four or five errors in a game against this competition, you won’t overcome that. If we keep mistakes to a minimum, try and get two or fewer errors a game, we should be successful,” Huston said.

Huston mentioned the 14-year-olds are his key players, with maturity, consistency and defense being common denominators.

“Tyler Beaton from Hermon has a lot of maturity, he pitches and bats fourth or fifth in the lineup. He is a key cog,” Huston said.

“Jackson Gilmore from Hampden, he can play a lot of different positions and is a very mature hitter. We expect a lot out of him. Matt Leach is our second basemen. He is a defensive rock and a phenomenal number two hitter for us. Our leadoff hitter is Ben Huston. He sets the table for us, and the team follows the inning starting with having a lead-off base runner on,” Huston added.

The rest of the lineup has contributed as well.

“Zach Nash has been a great pitcher and first baseman, Tyler Knights is an outfielder for us, Nick Robidoux has been a defensively rock-solid right fielder, [and] Christian Greener is our catcher and has a lot of responsibilities behind the plate” Huston said. “Casey Sudbeck has been great for us, [while] Andrew Gendreau and Max Thomas round out the roster.”

Bronco Little League takes the field against Manchester Saturday at 10 a.m., with the winner facing Delaware Sunday at 4 p.m and loser headed to a losers bracket game Sunday at 1 p.m.