UDC wins sectional
begins state playoffs
By Duane Good
UDC 10-11 players and
coaches join together in prayer
following a sectional tournament game.
BLOOMSBURG • The UDC
10-11 All-Stars Little League baseball
team finished another remarkable chapter
in their 2014 campaign by capturing the
Section 3 crown July 21.
The District 24 champs
ovecame an early-round loss to defeat
South Columbia, the program that had
denied them a sectional trophy last
season when many of the players were on
the 9-10 squad.
UDC qualified for the
Pennsylvania state 10-11 Tournament
which began July 25 in Dillsburg. An
update is published on Page A1 of this
Starting with the Section 3
championship game and moving backward, here is a
summary of the team’s run through the sectional
tournament, held July 17-21 in Bloomsburg.
SECTION 3 CHAMPIONSHIP
Noting that SC – the 2014
District 13 champ – ousted UDC in two straight
games last year, Manager Bryan Evans said, ‘‘To
redeem ourselves against the same team is sweet.
After we won (7-6 against SC July 20), the kids
had a feeling that the tide was turning and we
would win again.’’
The locals also ousted two other
district titlists – Sullivan County (15) and
Keystone (12) en route to the title trophy.
UDC 9, SC 6, July 21.
The winner-take-all finale had its own
version of ‘‘The Catch’’ when Jacob
Herman most likely saved the game and
the trophy for his teammates.
With UDC up by four runs
in the sixth inning, Herman lept over
the centerfield fence to turn what would
have been a three-run homer into a
sacrifice fly. The play helped UDC hold
on for the win that also propelled the
boys into the state tournament.
‘‘I knew these kids had
it in them and they deserved (the title)
by playing their hearts out,’’ Evans
The UDC 10-11 All-Stars
Little League won the second leg of the
Triple Crown in its age group.
The first inning saw SC’s Ben
Montgomery posted a solo home run and UDC’s Zach
Smeltz pick up an RBI on a ground out to score
Herman and even the score 1-1. SC then took a
3-1 lead in the third on Montgomery’s second
homer of the game, this one driving in two runs.
The fourth was all UDC as Bryce
Herb led off with a single, Bronson Kelly
reached on an infield error and Nathan Wise drew
a walk to load the bases. Herman’s single scored
a run, then Kelly crossed the plate on a passed
ball. Mason Evans followed with a two-run double
to put UDC up 5-3.
In the top of the fifth, Patrick
Yost’s two-run double for SC deadlocked the game
at five-all, then 10-year-old Nathan Wise –
despite having what Evans called a ‘‘phenomenal
game’’ – was replaced by Herb on the mound.
‘‘We brought Bryce in knowing
that last year he gave SC fits,’’ Evans said.
UDC proceeded to break open the
game with a another four-run performance. Herb
singled, Connor Grow was hit by a pitch and
Kelly walked to load the bases.
Wise then drew a walk to force in
a run to give UDC a 6-5 lead. Herman followed
with a two-run single and Jesse Engle grounded
into a fielder’s choice, making it 9-5 in the
local team’s favor.
‘‘I knew we needed more runs and
Jake delivered,’’ Evans said. ‘‘He has a solid
bat and I was confident he’d come through for
In the top of the sixth, SC’s Ian
Yoder reached the top of the sixth on an infield
error, then moved to second on Zach Smith’s
sacrifice bunt. Jason Riefer singled, bringing
up Montgomery for his fourth straight attempt at
a big blow. (He’d been walked intentionally his
last time at the plate.)
Not surprisingly, Montgomery
blasted the ball deep and high to center field,
but Herman – his glove outstretched – was there
to make the catch for SC’s second out of the
inning. Herb forced the next batter to ground
out to shortstop and was credited with the win.
‘‘After the heartache of last
year’s loss, seeing the joy on the kids’ faces
after our win brought me to tears,’’ Evans said.
‘‘It was such a happy moment for me, our team
and our fans.’’
SECTION 3 SEMIFINAL
UDC 7, SC 6, July 20.
Having lost to SC in an earlier round, UDC was
faced with elimination from the tournament
should it have lost again under the
On the other hand, if they won,
it means facing SC for the third time in what
would be a winner-take-all bout.
As it turned out, the local team
thwarted a late-game rally by SC to earn the
right to avenge the 2013 sectional loss.
Evans said the team and its
coaches – Paul Herb, Eric Stiely and Andy Smeltz
– huddled before the game.
“Our coaching staff told the boys
that it’s time for redemption and to go out and
play hard and do what they did to us,’’ the
“I told them to come out and play
fearlessly, make the simple plays and play smart
baseball,’’ he added. ‘‘As I stressed from the
first day of practice – I told them to look each
other in the eyes; there are 11 brothers playing
here as one, and nothing can beat that.’’
After SC took an early 1-0 lead,
Nathan Wise doubled for UDC at the bottom at the
first. Herman drew a walk, Mason Evans picked up
an RBI double and Engle posted a two-run single
that put UDC up 3-1. Herb then grounded into a
fielder’s choice that scored Engle to end the
After shutting down SC in the top
of the second, Herman’s solo homer to the center
put UDC up 5-1.
“Jake is a solid hitter who
usually hits line drives; I knew he had power,
but I was surprised when he hit that home run,’’
SC narrowed the gap to 5-2 with a
third-inning round-tripper. That score remained
stable until the bottom of the fourth, when
Mikey Myers doubled, Herman singled to drive in
Myers, then scored on a Holden Stiely walk,
making it 7-2, UDC.
SC brought another runner home in
the fifth to once again cut the margin to 7-3.
SC continued to attempt a comeback in the sixth,
two walks and two UDC errors to pull within one
run, 7-6, with only one out. But a Stiely play
to first and a Myers catch to right field ended
Tyler Cleveland was the winning
pitcher. Myers pitched four standout innings and
Smeltz preserved the save.
‘‘This was Tyler’s first pitching
performance of the all-star season and he did a
phenomenal job,’’ Evans said.
UDC 5, Keystone 4, July 19.
After losing by 10 runs to SC two-days earlier,
UDC had to battle back against possible early
ouster and put a plan in place to go for the
‘‘Our coaching staff came up with
a pitching rotation to keep us fresh and to use
pitchers, holding them under their minimum days
of rest to utilize later in the tournament,’’
After Keystone took a
first-inning 1-0 lead, UDC’s first four batters
made good contact with the ball, although only
Herman emerged with a hit (a single). Keystone’s
lead off hitter then smacked a double, then
scored to put UDC behind 2-0 going into the
bottom of the second.
Smeltz posted a single of his
own, then scored on Herb’s single to move UDC to
within one, 2-1. Keystone finished its turn at
bat in the third with two more runs, then shut
down three UDC batters in order to maintain a
UDC responded in the fourth by
retiring the first three Keystone players to
forestall any new scoring. With the locals up to
bat, Evans walked, then was scored on a single,
cutting their opponent’s margin to 4-2 with two
Keystone began the fifth with two
singles, but Engle’s strong throw to Stiely at
third base meant one out. Evans – who came in to
pitch in the third inning – struck out the next
In its share of the frame, UDC
was thwarted by Keystone’s heads-up play and
soon found itself in a two-out situation. Aided
by a walk and hit batter, the locals soon loaded
the bases. Engle then singled to score Grow and
Herman to tie the game 4-4.
Smeltz walked and Stiely’s hard
line drive single scored Evans and gave UDC a
5-4 lead. The locals’ come-from-behind victory
was secured when Keystone was denied any runs in
‘‘These boys never give up; they
continue to battle every inning, every pitch,
every out,’’ Evans said.
Wise pitched the first two
innings while Mason Evans finished the next four
and was credited with the win.
UDC 26, Sullivan County 0,
July 18. Evans called this game a return to
form, saying the locals shook off the
opening-round loss to SC and played the way he
knew they could, finishing a district champion
in just four innings.
‘‘Before the game, our coaching
staff told the boys to go out and play one game
at a time, forget yesterday’s loss, play with
heart and have fun,’’ Evans said. “The boys
responded by playing ‘UDC baseball.’ ’’
In the spirit of its 122-run tear
through districts, the All-Stars collected seven
runs in just the first inning alone. Wise
walked, then scored courtesy of Herman’s double.
Evans’ two-run homer upped the scored to 3-0,
and Sullivan never got close after that.
For the game, Wise was
three-for-three with a double and four RBI.
Herman also was three-for-three with five RBI
and a double. Evans had two RBI in addition to
Adding to the damage were
Cleveland (two-for-three with a double and two
RBI); Stiely (two-for-four with a double and one
RBI); Grow (five RBI and a double on a
two-for-two game); and Myers (two RBI and
two-for-three at the plate).
Pitchers Stiely, Herb and Myers
combined for the shut out.
SC 12, UDC 1, July 17. In the
locals’ initial sectional game, their old
nemesis didn’t exactly roll out a welcome mat,
as Montgomery delivered a big blow in the first
frame and his teammates followed up with 12
hits, all the while remaining unfazed by five
UDC’s usual hitting machine was
held to single digits (six in five innings). The
sole run came on Herb’s single that scored
As a rematch of the last year’s
sectional title game, the All-Stars knew it was
starting this year’s tournament with a big game,
according to Evans.
‘‘We came out kind of flat, with
that ‘deer in the headlights’ look,’’ he said.