Jeannette Kiwanis plays in World Series of Greensburg
Seven- and 8-year-old baseball is played so that the participants can learn the game at its most basic level.
Score is only kept informally, winners and losers are not defined and every player receives ample opportunity to learn the fundamentals — hitting, base running, fielding and throwing.
Bill Bedont's Jeannette Kiwanis team plays by the same rules, but this year, this group of 7 and 8 year olds played their way into a unique, one-game, “World Series of Greensburg” matchup last Saturday at Lynch Field in Greensburg against the Maxwell Bulldogs of the Hempfield Amateur Athletic Association.
Jeannette, representing the Westmoreland County Baseball Association, lost to Maxwell 12-8, but this game was not the story of the Kiwanis' season.
Bedont said everything that led up to the game is what Jeannette's season was all about.
“I want to celebrate the great season we had,” said Bedont. “They got better and better all season and played great in the playoff tournament at the end of the year.”
The double-elimination playoff tournament Bedont referenced was a four-game playoff between the best teams from Jeanette, Greensburg, South Greensburg, Delmont and East Hempfield.
The Kiwanis won four straight games including a dominating 11-0 win in the championship game against South Greensburg's entry.
A core of 7-year-olds, who have been playing with Bedont as their coach for three seasons, led the Kiwanis team. Their progress has impressed their coach.
“The improvement has been great. In the first year, we were kind of like the Bad News Bears, but they have come a long way.”
Five players from the Kiwanis team, Tyler Horn, Jake Phillips, Alex Deluke, Mason Yates and Jaydin Canady represented Jeannette in the WCBA All-Star Game played in June.
Bedont hopes to continue coaching — his son was a player on his team — and would like to keep some if not all of his core group together.
“Every year we have come further and further,” said Bedont. “The next step for them is Little League where the kids pitch and the rules are more formal. They should do great.”
Dave Moio is a contributing writer.