Milwaukee Beckum-Stapleton Little League aims for state title

Over the last decade, the Beckum-Stapleton Little League team has grown very close. Now, they're looking to cap it all off with a state championship, but they've already proven themselves to be winners.

Any and every day of the week, the team of 15- and 16-year-old players can be found at their happy place, on the diamond.

"It feels amazing, especially when I’ve got my groove going," said Anthony Brown, player. "I’m doing my thing. My team."

They’ve been doing it for years as part of the Beckum-Stapleton Little League team, and it just keeps getting better for Xzavion Walton.

Beckum-Stapleton Little League

"It just kind of happened," said Walton. "I didn’t expect to play this far. I was just doing it as a fun kind of thing at first, but then I came to love it, and I figured out I want this to become my career."

Robert Stokes, or Coach Rob, has seen almost every pitch, hit and run.

"I started coaching them when they were 7, and now, they all playing high school ball," said Stokes. "We still together, and I love them all."

The sentiment is the same from the players like Anthony Brown.

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"He made everything fun about this since we were small playing," said Brown. "It was never just something we had to do. We enjoyed doing it. He took us to everything, basically set it up. That’s how we got here."

"Here" is more than just being at a practice on a summer day. It’s being with family, having fun and following a positive path.

"With all the stuff that’s going on in the community, you know, we need something positive, and I feel like I got a lot of diamonds right here that’s in the rough, and they need some type of attention," said Stokes. "Somebody needs to see these gentlemen and see what we got here in the inner city."

Beckum-Stapleton Little League

Tawyana Duncan, the league’s vice president, understands the role that the Beckum-Stapleton Little League plays in the lives of these kids.

"It teaches them team building," said Duncan. "It teaches them camaraderie. It teaches them accountability, and it keeps them geared towards something positive."

"It turned us to men," said Brown. "It was just bigger than baseball at some times. We learned life skills like how to be brothers, how to be a family, how to care about each other. It was just a lot that we learned other than baseball from our coaches, family, everything."

One big step forward was taken in 2019 with then-Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun. He took a few kids shopping including Brown and Robert Stokes, Jr.

"He taught me a lot," said Stokes, Jr. "I studied his game. I talked to him. Just, he helped me."

"That was really an amazing thing to do for our program, just giving us an opportunity to just have fun, spend time together, especially meet him," said Brown. "Considering we’d been watching him so much, to actually have him right here, that was amazing."

Four years later, they’re hoping they’re closer to reaching the same place that Braun was at.

"I just want to make it to the big leagues; get out there and play for an MLB team," said Walton. "See what happens."

Coach Rob will be with them the whole way.

Beckum-Stapleton Little League

"It hit a soft spot with me because I know that my time with them is actually starting to wind down, so within the next year or so, I’ll probably be a spectator, man," said Stokes. "Being able to sit in the stands and cheer them from in the stands."

And just maybe, he’ll get there with their help.

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"It’ll be everything," said Stokes. "Like I said, I want to see them succeed, man. Somebody got to make it. I believe somebody going to make it. I need one of these guys to bring me back a pickup truck!"

Beckum-Stapleton Little League

The Beckum-Stapleton All-Star team is playing Madison West in a best-of-three series for the state championship.