Murrysville Junior Legion hoping to make noise at state tournament
Chas Brncic had a feeling this could be a special season for the Murrysville Junior Legion team.
But making a trip to the state tournament wasn’t something he expected.
“I knew we had a good chance at competing for a division title, a league title and could make it to regionals, but I didn’t know about the state tournament,” Brncic said. “If you can pitch, you’ll be in any game.”
But that is where Brncic and Murrysville were headed Friday, off to Spring City for the state tournament which begins on Saturday.
Murrysville, which finished third in the West Region tournament, will face host, Spring City, at 7 p.m.
Monroeville, which plays Northampton at 4 p.m., was the other Westmoreland County Junior Legion team to advance. Murrysville (19-8) has lost four times to Monroeville, three were by a run.
“They’re a solid team,” Brncic said of Monroeville. “We’re not bad either. We rely on strong pitching and defense. We tend to keep games close and score runs in bunches.
“We’ve been in a lot of close games all season, so the team should be prepared for some tight battles at states.”
Brian Pirone, Connor Helm and Luke Treloar have been the main starters of the pitching staff.
“We have seven or eight guys who can pitch,” Brncic said. ”Our starting pitching has been strong and our defense, especially up the middle, has been very good. Not many teams try to run on us.”
Shortstop Jeff Downs and outfielder Noah Sofran are two of big offensive contributors for Murrysville, which defeated Young Township, 11-1, in the third-place game at Homer City last week.
Murrysville won the Central Division of the Westmoreland County League and entered the playoffs as the third seed. It lost to Monroeville in the title game.
West Point opens state tournament with a win
There is a sign that hangs at the West Point Little League Complex honoring all the state, regional and World Series champions.
The West Point 11U softball all-stars would like to be the next team to be added to that board.
West Point opened the Pennsylvania Little League softball tournament Friday at the Yough Little League Complex in Turkeytown with an impressive 17-0 victory against Pittston.
Winning pitcher Riley Miller allowed three hits and struck out eight in three innings of work and helped her cause with three hits, including a double.
Morgan Griffin had three hits and Lauren Howard and Maddie Bova added two hits each for West Point, which pounded out 15 hits.
“My niece (Emma Coletta) played on three consecutive state championship teams, and I remember how much fun she had,” West Point coach Jen Bova said. “People talked about what an experience it was, and my team wants to experience, too. We’re trying to rebuilding the softball program at West Point.”
West Point will play Yough at 7 p.m. Saturday.
In other action, Lower Perkiomen defeated Clinton, 10-0, in five innings. Pittston at Clinton will play at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Yough hosting LL tournament
Yough Little League softball coach Denny Turek said his squad, which hosts West Point on Saturday, will be ready for anything his team faces.
“We played in Wellsboro last year, and I think that experience will help us,” Turek said. “We haven’t played West Point this season, and I’m not sure the players know their history.
“We’ve faced a lot of good teams over the season, and I’m sure we’ll be ready.”
Yough Little League is hosting its first state tournament. The complex is located in Turkeytown, which is off Rt. 31.
The Hempfield Maxwell 10U Spartans baseball team won the Pony League East Zone Region tournament in Hempfield on Sunday and advanced to the East Zone championship tournament in Richmond, Va.
Hempfield lost its opening game Thursday, 9-5, against Wilmington, N.C. The champion advances to the Mustang Division World Series next week in Louisiana.
The team includes Wil Bateson, Cooper Santangelo, Lucas Simmons, Dom Magill, Lucas Harshman, Isaiah George, Danny Husenits, Jacob Hamilton, Brock Heisler, Drew Jones, Jaden Hamilton and Brett Anthony.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.