Little League & Pony League

In Sports….

The Free Press WV

►  Be good sports at Little League games

Little League baseball is alive and thriving across the country with its lush green grass, perfectly striped infields, fresh air and sunshine.

Kids learn what I consider the best game in sports as coaches pass on their knowledge while trying to teach the difficult skills and rules of the game.

It’s fun at first, but then something happens at the Minor/Major league levels.

The game becomes all about winning. Period. Some of the worst observers come to Little League baseball games, where there are clearly awards and championships to win, swearing loudly and challenging the officials calls. If you can’t control yourselves and act responsibly, stay home.

The boards responsible for these venues should provide security to show rude, inconsiderate people out of the park. There is no room in today’s society for this type of public stupidity. Especially in a family-oriented activity where competition is supposed to be good clean fun and sportsmanship rules.

Be part of the solution. Offer your time like these league officials, coaches, managers, umpires and “team moms” do. Volunteer for snack bar duty or make a donation to the league. Their job is not easy. It is very busy after a day’s work, taking kids back and forth to school, homework, chores and other interests. Hot and cold weather, preparing meals, making sure the kids have all their gear together.

If you take part you’ll have a different perspective and maybe an appreciation for the work this really is. Kids’ sports are a great opportunity for exercise and fresh air. Socializing and making new friends while learning teamwork and camaraderie playing a fun game. Some lifetime friendships are forged on that field.

Let’s face it folks, it takes a lot of energy to be mean and spiteful. Why put you or anyone else in that position? Show up, participate, engage the other families with positive energy and enjoy the moment.

►  Cycling Champ Hit by Van, Killed

Michele Scarponi, who won the Giro d’Italia in 2011, died after a collision with a van while training on Saturday. He was 37. Scarponi was training near his home of Filottrano, near Ancona, Italy when he was hit by a van at a crossroads, Team Astana said. According to Italian media reports, the Astana cyclist died on the spot and was unable to be revived by emergency services. Team Astana called it “a tragedy too big to be written” in a statement, per the AP. “We left a great champion and a special guy, always smiling in every situation, he was a real milestone and a landmark for everyone in the Astana Pro Team,“ it added.

Scarponi is survived by a wife and twin sons. He had returned home after finishing fourth in the Tour of the Alps on Friday in Trento. He won the first stage on Monday. Scarponi had tweeted a photo Friday night, with his sons on his back and the caption: “Even if only for a day I thought I’d bring home two leaders’ jerseys.“ Scarponi—who was awarded the 2011 Giro trophy after Alberto Contador was stripped of the title because of doping—had been named as Astana’s leader for the upcoming Giro d’Italia, which starts in less than two weeks, after Fabio Aru pulled out with a knee injury. “An infinite tragedy. Words don’t exist. Rest in peace my friend,“ Aru tweeted.

In Sports….

The Free Press WV

►  Teen’s Heart Stops After Baseball Hits Him, Then a ‘Miracle’

Two Virginia teens are suddenly more than just baseball teammates after a near-death experience during a practice July 14, NBC Washington reports. Steve Smith was running the bases when a throw from the catcher inadvertently nailed him under his left armpit, causing cardiac arrest. “His heart stopped immediately,“ his father and coach, Tim Smith, tells ABC News. “When I got to him he was stiff, like his body was trying to breathe but his eyes were rolled back in his head.“ Teammate Paul Dow started performing CPR, a skill he had recently learned during lifeguard training. Dow tells NBC that performing CPR on Smith “felt like I was having a spiritual conversation with him.” Twelve minutes after Dow started CPR, medics arrived and used a defibrillator to restart Smith’s heart.

Smith was unconscious for a few days but woke up July 17 feeling fine. Tim Smith credits Dow for preventing his son from suffering brain damage and probably saving his life. “It’s a miracle,” he tells ABC. Dow says God helped him save his teammate. “There is no way in heck I did that by myself,” he tells Fox 5. Smith says he likely wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for Dow. “Before the accident, we were friends,“ he tells NBC. “Now, we’re actually brothers.”

►  New Orleans Saints to Aid Flood Victims in West Virginia

The New Orleans Saints will be in West Virginia helping out after deadly floods ravaged the region where they hold training camp.

A news release says the Saints players and staff will be at Villa Park in White Sulphur Springs on Wednesday to help with flood relief. Their training camp begins nearby Thursday morning at The Greenbrier Sports Performance Center.

The June 23 floods killed 23 people and destroyed homes, businesses and infrastructure. Fifteen of the 23 killed were in the Greenbrier County, where the Saints will train for part of the summer.

►  Auto racing glance



Site: Long Pond, Pennsylvania

Schedule: Friday, practice, NBCSN (8 a.m.), qualifying (NBCSN, 1:15 p.m.); Saturday, practice (NBCSN, 8 a.m.); Sunday, race, 10:30 a.m., NBCSN.

Track: Pocono Raceway (oval, 2.5 miles).

Race distance: (400 miles, 160 laps).

Last year: Matt Kenseth held off Brad Keselowski and Jeff Gordon to win despite leading just two laps.

Last week: Kyle Busch won from the pole in Indianapolis to capture the weekend sweep.

Fast facts: Busch has won at every active Sprint Cup track except for Pocono and Charlotte. But Busch has posted four top-five finishes at Pocono, and he’s tied with Brad Keselowski with four wins in 2016. ... Jeff Gordon will again drive the No. 88 car this weekend as Dale Earnhardt Jr. continues to recover from concussion-like symptoms. Gordon was 13th in his return to the series last week. ... Kyle Larson grabbed a spot on the Chase grid by finishing fifth in Indianapolis.

Next race: Cheez-It 355 at the Glen, Aug. 7, Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, New York.




Site: Newton, Iowa

Schedule: Friday, practice (NBCSN, 2 p.m.), practice (NBCSN, 4 p.m.); Saturday, qualifying (NBCSN, 1:15 p.m.), race, 5 p.m., NBCSN.

Track: Iowa Speedway (oval, 0.875 miles).

Race distance: (218.75 miles, 250 laps).

Last year: Ryan Blaney led for all but eight laps in a dominant run at Iowa’s short track.

Last race: For the third race in a row, Kyle Busch won both the pole and the race. Busch has won seven Xfinity races so far in 2016.

Fast facts: Sam Hornish Jr. became the third driver with multiple wins at Iowa when he won there for the second time in his season debut in June. ... Josh Berry will make his 2016 debut in the No. 88 car for JR Motorsports. He was 12th at Iowa in 2014. ... Joey Gase drove the pace car for Saturday’s race around nearby Des Moines on Wednesday, operating as an Uber driver for two hours. The proceeds will go to charity.

Next race: Zippo 200 at the Glen, Aug. 6, Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, New York.




Site: Long Pond, Pennsylvania

Schedule: Friday, practice (FS1, 9:30 a.m.), practice (FS1, noon); Saturday, qualifying (FS1, 6:05 p.m.), race, 10 a.m., FS1.

Track: Pocono Raceway (oval, 2.5 miles)

Race distance: (150 miles, 60 laps)

Last year: Kyle Busch picked up his first series win of 2015, holding off Kevin Harvick.

Last race: Kyle Larson won on the dirt at Eldora after a crash took out pole-sitter Bobby Pierce.

Fast facts: Brett Moffitt, the Sprint Cup rookie of the year in 2015, will drive the No. 11 truck for Red Horse Racing. Moffitt debuted for Red Horse at Kentucky, finishing 31st after engine trouble. ... Tyler Reddick, the series runner-up last season, has posted top-10 finishes in six of his last seven races after a slow start.

Next race: Unoh 200, August 17, Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tennessee.




Site: Lexington, Ohio

Schedule: Friday, practice, (7 a.m.), practice (NBCSN, 11 a.m.); Saturday, practice, (6:45 a.m.), qualifying (NBCSN, 11 a.m.); Sunday, practice (7:15 a.m.), race (11:45 a.m.), CNBC.

Track: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (road, 2.26 miles)

Race distance: (202.3 miles, 90 laps)

Last year: Graham Rahal took first in his home state, his first of two wins in 2015.

Last race: Will Power won for the third time in four races — with a second-place finish in between — in Toronto.

Fast facts: The IndyCar series visits its ninth road/street course of the season at Mid-Ohio. Scott Dixon has been dominant on this course, winning five times since 2007. ... Chip Ganassi Racing has won 10 times in Ohio, including six of the last seven races. ... Simon Pagenaud heads into the weekend with a 47-point lead over Power in the championship race.

Next race: ABC Supply 500, Aug. 21, Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pennsylvania.




Site: Hockenheim, Germany.

Schedule: Friday, practice (1 a.m.), practice (5 a.m.); Saturday, practice (2 a.m.), qualifying (5 a.m.); Sunday, race, 5 a.m., NBCSN.

Track: (circuit, 2.8.4 miles).

Race distance: (190.4 miles, 67 laps).

Last race: Lewis Hamilton took over the championship lead for Nico Rosberg, winning the Hungarian Grand Prix for a fifth time.

Fast facts: Ferrari technical director James Allison and the team have decided to part ways after three years. Ferrari announced the move on Wednesday. Mattia Binotto will take over. ...Nico Rosberg will attempt to become the first German driver to win back-to-back Grand Prix races in his home country. Rosberg won the last event at Hockenheim in 2014. ...Six of the last 10 races on this circuit have been won from the pole.

Next race: Belgian Grand Prix, Aug. 28, Spa-Francorchamps Circuit, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium.




Site: Sonoma.

Schedule: Friday, qualifying (5:15 p.m. and 8 p.m.); Saturday, qualifying (1:45 p.m. and 5 p.m.); Sunday, finals, 3:30 p.m., FOX.

Track: Sonoma Raceway.

Last year: Antron Brown won for the fourth time at Sonoma in 2015.

Last race: Eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher finally broke through with a victory this season near Denver.

Fast facts: With a win this weekend, Brown would tie Doug Kalitta for the most wins at Sonoma Raceway. ... Brown leads the point standings, sitting 57 ahead of Kalitta. Schumacher moved to fifth, 229 points behind Brown, after last weekend’s win.

Next race: Northwest Nationals, Aug. 5-7, Pacific Raceways, Seattle.



WORLD OF OUTLAWS: Friday, Hartford Speedway, Hartford, Michigan; Saturday, O’Reilly Auto Parts Badger 40, Wilmot Raceway, Wilmot, Wisconsin.


In Sports….

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►  Excited about baseball season? Watch this kid bust a move on first base

►  Soccer Star on Lack of Equal Pay: ‘We Are Done With It’

Carli Lloyd loves playing soccer—so much so that she helped the US national women’s team to two gold Olympic medals and the 2015 World Cup. What she doesn’t love: the estimated 40% wage discrepancy between men and women players paid by US Soccer, leading her to join a federal suit against the organization with four other players. In a New York Times essay, Lloyd explains why she felt it necessary to take that step, noting it has nothing to do with her passion for the game and “everything to do with what’s right and what’s fair, and with upholding a fundamental American concept: equal pay for equal play.“ Lloyd makes her case on merit, citing the team’s champion play and the fact that, with a total of three World Cups and four Olympic gold medals under its belt, the “United States women’s national team is the most successful team in the history of US Soccer.“ (Meanwhile, another Times article notes the men’s team “has historically been mediocre.“)

And it’s not just the team’s trophy-gathering that deserves recognition, but also its ability to draw TV ratings and millions of dollars in profit for US Soccer, Lloyd says. The numbers she puts forth are jarring: She notes that men’s team members who win a World Cup receive a $390,000 bonus, while she only brought home $75,000 after last summer’s win. The women are apparently shafted even on their per diem payments, with Lloyd stating she gets $60 per day while she’s traveling, compared to the $75 that men’s player Michael Bradley pockets. “Maybe they figure that women are smaller and thus eat less,“ she wryly notes. There are other figures she throws out, though she insists there are no sour grapes with the guys, whom she says they “love” and “support.“ It all comes down to the federation itself. “Simply put, we’re sick of being treated like second-class citizens,“ Lloyd says. “It wears on you after a while. And we are done with it.“ (Her hard-to-argue-with argument in full   HERE .)

In Sports….

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►  High School Coach Promises Team: Win 14 Games, Name My Kid

A Florida high school baseball coach has given his players unusual motivation: If they win two more games, they can name his baby, the AP reports. Coach Rob Query of Heritage High in Palm Bay tells Florida Today he promised his players that if they won 14 games, they could name the baby boy he and his wife Julia are expecting. The team is 12-6 with seven games left.

Query’s players have a name picked out: Benjamin Smalls Query. The name comes from the team’s favorite baseball movie, The Sandlot. The fictional team’s best player is Benjamin Rodriguez and the lead character, Scotty Smalls, is part of the movie’s most famous line: “You’re killing me, Smalls!“ Julia Query is being good-natured about the team’s suggestion, saying, “I’ll take it into consideration.“

►  Bad News for Guy Tied for First in $50K NCAA Contest

Deadspin’s “oh noooooo” is probably the best way to express the sad tale of James Kiki. The resident of Syracuse, NY—and refugee from South Sudan—decided to enter Yahoo’s bracket contest for the NCAA basketball tournament, making his picks for the $50,000 grand prize, reports. And when he went to the site Monday morning to check out how he was doing, he had two surprises waiting: First, out of more than a half-million entries, his “Jahmo Syracuse” handle was tied for first place with two other contestants, and second (as loads of messages from Yahoo users informed him), because he has a giant “No Pick” for the eventual winner of the entire tourney next to his name, he has zero chance of actually taking home the money.

In a heartbreaking turn, although Kiki had assigned 141 points to the last game, he had mistakenly forgotten to fill in the slot for the final victor—which Deadspin explains isn’t that hard to imagine, considering what it calls “Yahoo’s somewhat unintuitive picking system”: Entrants might not catch a glimpse of the final field all the way at the top of the page, which is apparently different than how the other 62 choices show up in the center. Kiki says his original thought was to pick Villanova, but now that there’s no cash at stake, he’s just going to go for his adopted hometown of Syracuse. He hasn’t had the heart yet to think about trying his hand at next year’s bracket, but if he does, he says he’s “going to make sure everything is saved before I hit submit.“ This isn’t the first time this has happened: Per Deadspin, a “poor schmo” lost out on the chance to grab $100,000 from Yahoo for the same reason two years ago.

►  5 Women Stars Hit US Soccer With Equal Pay Complaint

Five players acting on behalf of the US women’s national soccer team have filed a complaint against the US Soccer Federation, alleging they’re paid 40% of what their male counterparts earn, despite winning three World Cups and four Olympic gold medals. In a federal complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, and Hope Solo—whom the New York Times says are among “the most prominent and decorated female athletes in the world”—argue female players earn less, as well as receive less in bonuses and appearance fees. For winning the 2015 World Cup, for example, the women’s team was awarded $2 million. The men’s team, which lost in the Round of 16, received $9 million, reports Today.

Female players receive up to $72,000 per year, plus a $1,350 bonus for each win. Members of the men’s team receive $5,000 for a loss in a friendly match and up to $17,625 for a win over a top-ranked team. Those payments were agreed to in separate collective bargaining agreements, but the women’s CBA expired in 2012. Discussions on a new CBA are ongoing, and “the USSF has made it clear that they will not consider equal pay [with the men] in the negotiations,“ though the women “have outperformed the men both economically and on the playing field in every possible way the last two years,“ the team’s lawyer tells Sports Illustrated. “We continue to be told we should be grateful just to have the opportunity to play professional soccer, to get paid for doing it,“ Solo adds, per ESPN. The USSF says it is “disappointed about this action.“

In Sports….

The Free Press WV

►  Nike’s New Shoes Lace Themselves

The future is now, people! Ever since Marty McFly donned self-lacing shoes in Back to the Future, people have been dreaming about sporting a pair of their own—because, you know, tying laces sucks. Nike has finally brought the dream to life, reports the Verge. The company has announced a power-laced shoe called the HyperAdapt 1.0, which uses a sensor in the sole to read your foot position, then automatically tightens with a series of battery-operated pulleys, per Wired. You can adjust the fit with buttons on the sides of the shoes, which will learn your preferred setting after a few wears.

But that’s just the beginning. Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield suggests a more automatic version of the shoe that uses biometric data to sense the perfect fit could be on the way. “Wouldn’t it be great if a shoe, in the future, could sense when you needed to have it tighter or looser? Could it take you even tighter than you’d normally go if it senses you really need extra snugness in a quick maneuver? That’s where we’re headed,“ he says on The yet-to-be-priced shoes will be available in three colors around the holidays, but only for Nike+ members. The downside? You’ll have to charge them every two weeks.

►  White Sox Player Ditches $13M Job for His Son

Ken Williams, executive VP of the Chicago White Sox, says he doesn’t have a problem with players’ kids hanging out in the clubhouse, per the Chicago Sun-Times. But Drake LaRoche, the 14-year-old son and constant companion of first baseman Adam LaRoche, was there just a little too much for his liking—“he had a locker,“ Williams notes—so he asked the elder LaRoche to cut back on father-son time on White Sox premises. Instead, LaRoche abruptly announced Tuesday he’d be retiring and leaving his $13 million salary behind, the AP reports. LaRoche tweeted later that afternoon, “Thank u Lord for the game of baseball and for giving me way more than I ever deserved!“ accompanied by a #FamilyFirst hashtag. But Williams tells Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that the team’s policy on bringing kids to the clubhouse hasn’t changed, that “everyone loves” Drake, and that “in no way do I want this to be about [Drake].“

Instead, Williams notes, he simply wanted LaRoche to “dial it back.“ “I don’t think [Drake] should be here 100% of the time,“ he tells Rosenthal, adding to the AP, “Even 50% is probably too much, but there is a wide range between zero and 50%.“ But some feel that Drake, called the team’s “26th man” by his dad last year, has been more blessing than burden. “Drake would clean cleats ... help out in drills ... he didn’t say boo to anybody and was never a trouble in the clubhouse,“ White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton tells Fox. In a follow-up, Rosenthal says some players see Williams’ point (e.g., players might not want a kid around if they’ve had a bad day or may feel compelled to censor themselves), but he wonders if Williams would have issued the mandate if LaRoche had had a better 2015 season. Meanwhile, player support for LaRoche continues, per Sports Illustrated, with Brewers pitcher Blaine Boyer telling Rosenthal, “I honestly think this is between good and evil. I know which side Adam lives on.“

►  Ravens Player Critically Injured in Motorcycle Crash

Baltimore Ravens cornerback Tray Walker is in critical condition after a dirt bike crash in Miami, police say. Miami-Dade police say Walker was riding a Honda dirt bike with no lights and wearing dark clothing when he collided with a Ford Escape at about 8pm Thursday, the AP reports. The Ravens say Walker is at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Police are investigating. In a statement, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said, “This is devastating news. Our prayers and hopes are with Tray and his family tonight.“ WBAL reports that police say alcohol and drugs are not believed to be factors in the crash.

Gilmer Pony Fall Invitational

The Gilmer Free Press

On Sunday September 20, 2015, Gilmer County Pony League followed up their Saturday Mustang tournament by hosting a Pony tournament for the 13-15 year olds.

Five teams entered play at the beginning of the day in a consolation bracket play.

Marion, Lewis, Buchannon, South Harrison, and local Gilmer County fielded teams for the tournament.

At the conclusion of the tournament South Harrison brought home 3rd in walk off fashion with Marion taking home 4th place.

The championship game pitted Gilmer against Buchannon with Buchannon claiming the championship for the day.

Congratulations to all these teams, parents and coaches for battling threw a long and grueling tournament.

Would also like to thank GSC baseball team for their assistance and help with the tournament.

The Orioles fall 10-4 to Buckhannon despite Tristan Peggs’s effort

The Orioles collected four hits, but the Orioles fell 10-4 to Buckhannon on Sunday.

Logan Bailey got the win in relief for Buckhannon. Bailey pitched two innings and allowed one run.

Buckhannon’s Calef-boring, Bryant, Bailey and Seech combined for 10 hits and six RBIs.

Tristan Peggs took the loss for the Orioles. He lasted just three innings, walked one, struck out none, and allowed four runs.

After a quick strike from Buckhannon, the Orioles responded with one run in the first. The Orioles scored on a passed ball.

Buckhannon didn’t relinquish the lead after scoring three runs in the second inning when it scored on two errors and a groundnut by Seech.

Buckhannon built upon its lead with four runs in the sixth. Bailey started the inning with a single, scoring Bryant. That was followed up by Calef-boring’s single, plating Seech.

Two runs in the bottom of the sixth helped the Orioles close their deficit to 8-3. A walk by Nickoli Wright and a passed ball triggered the Orioles’ comeback. The Orioles threat came to an end when Bailey finally got Aaron Ball to ground out.

One the Orioles run crossed the plate in the bottom half of the seventh, making the score 10-4. An error gave the Orioles life. But, Bailey got Trenton Frame to to end the game.

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13-Year-Olds Being Phased Out Of Little League

The Gilmer Free Press

Little League is getting younger.

The organization announced Thursday it is changing its age requirement, phasing 13-year-olds out of the division that plays in the annual Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

They are doing that by changing the league’s “age determination date” to Aug. 31. That will prevent anyone who turns 13 during the baseball season from playing in the major division of Little League baseball.

The change, which affects all divisions from tee-ball up, fully takes effect beginning in 2018. The current birthdate cutoff of April 30 will remain in effect in 2016 and 2017 for players born on or before Aug. 31, 2005.

Little League District Administrators had voted in 2014 to move the age cutoff date to Dec. 31. But Stephen D. Keener, the league’s president and CEO, said they moved it again after getting feedback from parents, coaches and others.

The administrators felt the Aug. 31 date would be more appropriate in meeting “the goal of making the Little League Baseball Division truly a 12 and under program, while also mitigating the impact to those currently participating in the Little League program,“ Keener said.

The move to Aug. 31 also will bring its registration in line with most school districts, allowing more kids to play with their classmates.

Many of the stars of the Little League World Series have been 13-year-olds and 67 teenagers were among the 209 players who competed in the just completed tournament in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Andrew Solomon, the coach of the Pearland, Texas team that made it to this year’s U.S. championship game, said the older kids have had an advantage since tee-ball, when several months in age can make a big developmental difference. They were more physically advanced than their peers, which led to them being the top players, which often meant more playing time, which helped them improve their skills and perpetuated the cycle, he said.

“I think the change makes a lot of sense,“ he said. “They are aligning kids with the peers that they will eventually play high school ball with, and keeping the older kids off that smaller field.“

But league spokesman Brian McClintock said the change had nothing to do with the number of hits, home runs or no-hitters being recorded by 13-year-olds. He said the league doesn’t even track those numbers.

It comes after a 2011 internal research study, which among other things, found parents and players wanted more opportunities to play with their classmates and more opportunities for younger participants, he said.

Japan Wins Little League Title, Beating U.S. 18-11

The Gilmer Free Press

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, PA—With more than 42,000 fans cheering against them, the Tokyo players found themselves down eight runs in the first inning of the Little League championship game against Lewisberry, Pennsylvania.

That brought out manager Junji Hidaka’s inner Yogi Berra and sparked a record rally that saw the Kitasua Little League pound out 22 hits in an 18-11 comeback victory in a battle of undefeated teams.

“I told the players it doesn’t end until it ends,“ Hidaka said through a translator.

Tokyo responded with seven runs in the second, four in the third inning and five in the sixth.

Masafuji Nishijima had four hits and six RBIs, and Shingo Tomita hit two of Tokyo’s five home runs.

Tokyo’s third pitcher, Nobuyuki Kawashima, held Lewisberry in check most of the game, giving up just one run and two hits over five innings.

“Today my fastball wasn’t going fast enough,“ said the 12-year-old, who lived for four years in California, and speaks fluent English. “I knew my breaking ball had to be on the corner, down low, where the batters can’t reach too far or it just gets them off-balance.“

It was the 10th title for Japan, second behind Taiwan’s record 17. It’s the third title for the Kitasuna Little League team, which also took home championship pennants in 2001 and 2012.

Tokyo had given up a total of 10 runs in its other tournament games, but Lewisberry scored 10 times and sent 14 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first after falling behind 2-0.

Lewisberry knocked out starting pitcher Daiki Fukuyama before an out was recorded in the first. Dylan Rodenhaber made his first hit of the tournament count, hitting the ball over the right-field fence for a grand slam. Jaden Henline added a three-run homer, a shot that went deep into the shrubbery in straightaway center field.

The Red Land Little League, which draws players from several central Pennsylvania towns around Lewisberry, scored three more times sending what amounted to a hometown crowd of more than 42,000 fans into a frenzy.

Fans of the Lewisberry team helped set a tournament attendance record of 499,964, well over the previous mark of 414,905 set in 2011 when a team from Keystone, Pennsylvania, was in the tournament.

Tokyo responded after their manager’s pep talk. Yugo Aoki hit a three-run homer in the top of the second, which was followed with solo shots from twin brothers Kengo and Shingo Tomita.

Daiki Fukuyama added a two-run double up the middle to bring the Japanese back within a run.

Shingo Tomita tied it at 10 in the third inning with a solo home run to left field. Three batters later, Masafuji Nishijima hit a three-run homer to make it 13-10.

“They just put the bat on the ball,“ Lewisberry manager Tom Peifer said. “They hit pitches I’ve never seen kids, especially 12-year-olds, hit.“

Lewisberry got one back in the bottom of the third. Braden Kolmansberger hit the ball over the head of Japan’s center fielder and eventually scored when third baseman Koki Jo could not handle a slow roller by Henline.

The teams broke the previous Little League record of 23 combined runs in a championship game - a mark that had stood since 1947. Lewisberry’s 10-run first inning also was a record, as was the teams’ combined 30 hits. The eight-run deficit was the largest overcome in any Little League World Series game.

Tokyo had not one a game by more than two runs all tournament and had won its last two in the team’s final at-bat.

It used the final inning in the championship game to add five insurance runs, highlighted by Kengo Tomita’s triple that scored Aoki and opened the floodgates.

Pennsylvania came in with four World Series titles, but the last was in 1960 when a team from Levittown accomplished that feat. Lewisberry is the first in-state team to win the U.S. title since a team from Shippensburg did it in 1990.

“There are a lot of tears, even from myself, to know that the run is over” said Peifer. “But we quickly told them, `When we leave here, let’s get the tears out, because there is nothing to be sad about.‘“

Braxton County Allstars in the State Championship

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

Gilmer County Dodgers Win Lewis County Tournament

Gilmer County Pony League 11-12 year old Dodgers Baseball team won the Lewis Classic Baseball tournament held May 29th-31st at the Lewis Baseball Association Sports Complex, Robert J Conley Fields. The Dodgers went 4 for 5 in the three day tournament.
The Gilmer Free Press
(BR, L-R) Coach Martin Hess, Kyle Moss, Gary Hess, Justin Frymier,
Hunter Bailey, Brady Fitzwater, Aaron Ball, Manager Brett Chapman.

(FR, L-R) Ty Wellings, Ean Hamric, Avery Chapman, Corbin Grove,
Cutler Bailey, Justin Liu, Coach Tommy Wellings.

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