Site updated 07/29/14 08:54 AM Upper Dauphin Sentinel ©2006
Little League Baseball - Pennsylvania
District 24 -
July and fireworks just seem to go together.
The UDC 10-11 team had that in mind as it lit up scoreboards en route to the Pennsylvania District 24 Little League championship for 2014.
Exploding for 122 runs in six games – that’s an average of just more than 20 per outing – the squad of all-star players from community LL teams north of Peters Mountain dominated Cressona 18-2 to claim the crown July 13
It the second consecutive district banner for “the valley;’’ many of the same players comprised the team that won last year’s 9-10 pennant, then advanced to the Section 3 final.
UDC qualified to play in the Section 3 tourament late last week. Results will be published as they are made available.
Starting with the July 11 title game and moving backward, here is a summary of the team’s remarkable championship run.
UDC 18, Cressona 2, July 13. Despite scoring 104 runs in the previous five contests, Manager Bryan Evans expressed surprise at his team’s onslaught against what he called a tough competitor.
‘‘I wasn’t expecting to score this many runs in the championship game,’’ he said. ‘‘We watched Cressona play and we knew they were a nice ball team; they played us tough last season.’’
Evans credited winning pitcher Mason Evans for keeping the Cressona batters off balance and not knowing what to expect. He also praised coach Eric Stiely for mixing Mason’s pitching combinations.
UDC’s defense held Cressona to a pair of scores in the top of the fourth, both of which came off a homer.
Nathan Wise, Jacob Herman, Jesse Engle and Mikey Myers all went three-for-three, enabling UDC to break the game open in the second inning, as 12 runners crossed the plate.
Herman batted in six runs, Wise scored three times and added four RBI. Myers tallied three runs and three RBI..
According to Evans, the concept of playing as a team was stressed from the very first day of practice.
‘‘I told the boys to look each other in the eyes; I said that is who you are playing for. The players took that and ran with it,’’ he said.
Every player made some kind of contribution – no matter how large or small – to the team’s success this year, Evans said.
‘‘They are a very special group of boys,’’ he added.
Evans also said his coaching staff – Stiely, Paul Herb and scorekeeper Andy Smeltz – has been an integral part of the team’s success as well.
UDC 15, Orwigsburg 5, July 11. Playing at its home field in Gratz, the local squad was down by one run in the bottom of the third frame when it peeled off eight runs to pull away for good.
Zach Smeltz led off with a single, then advanced to second on a passed ball. Bryce Herb and Bronson Kelly each singled to load the bases. Connor Grow drove in two runs on a single, then Wise added another RBI, again on a single, to give UDC a 5-3 lead.
Singles continued to be the key for UDC as Mason Evans drove in two runners then Jesse Engle and Smeltz loaded the bases. After Holden Stiely found a gap in left field, Evans and Herb scored to raise the total to 10-3, UDC.
Although Orwigsburg had scored in the first, UDC responded with Evans’ sacrifice fly, which scored Wise, followed by Smeltz’s single to center, bringing home Herman.
Orwigsburg narrowed the gap to 10-5 before Engle’s single to centerfield drove in two runs and Smeltz added another single to make it 13-5.
In the fifth, Herman drove in Herb and Myers – once again with a single – to end the game via the 10-run rule.
Wise, the winning pitcher, retired seven batters and gave up six hits.
POOL 2 GAMES
UDC 27, Pottsville Railway 0. Mason Evans had a perfect game on both the mound (eight strikeouts and no walks) and at the plate (five-for-five) in a four-inning affair that completed an unbeaten run for the local team in Pool 2 competition.
As Manager Bryan Evans pointed out, Mason was backed by a 26-hit assault by his teammates. Herman and Wise also were flawless in the box, finishing five-for-five and four-for-four, respectively.
Wise, Herman and Engle all had roundtrippers, while Herman drove in six runs and Wise and Evans posted five RBI each.
UDC 22, Ashland 1. In making quick work of its third opponent in three games, Both Wise and Smeltz rounded third and headed for home, while Smeltz also joined Engle in going four-for-four in yet another four-inning match.
Smeltz belted a grand slam in the third as part of a six-RBI performance for the day. Engle posted both a double and triple. Wise’s homer brought in three runs; for the game, he was three-for four with a double and six RBI. Stiely earned the win on the mound.
The game clinched a semifinal berth for the locals.
UDC 21, Schuylkill Haven 1. The locals’ previous contest also ended early via 17 hits in four innings and Evans’ six strikeouts in only three frames.
It was ‘‘boom time’’ twice in the contest, as Wise blasted a grand slam homer in the fourth to follow-up Evans’ two-plater as part of a seven-run third.
Wise had five RBI, while Smeltz and Stiely were three-for-five in hitting.
UDC 19, Ashland 1. The locals wasted no time in setting the tone for their championship run, delivering an 18-hit performance.
Engle put up a three-run homer and an RBI double as UDC crossed the plate three times in the first, seven in the second and nine in the fourth.
Stiely was three-for-four, while six other players had two hits each – Wise, Evans, Smeltz, Myers, Kelly and Herb. Wise, Herman and Smeltz scored three times each. Evans posted three RBI.
Wise and Stiely combined to hold Ashland to two hits.
Expresses thanks. Bryan Evans said the entire team, coaches and players, wanted to thank everyone who attended their games.
‘‘It truly means a lot to these boys to come out and play the game they love so much in front of a full crowd,’’ he said.
He also said the Gratz Little League association should be recognized for allowing the team to play on ‘‘a great field.’’
Evans said, ‘‘The field was immaculate through tournament play and was complimented by other opposing teams traveling to Gratz for the first time.’’
(Editor’s Note: We thank Bryan Evans for submitting the information used to prepare this summary.)