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Dunbar All-Stars ready for state tournament

| Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Dunbar Junior League All-Stars played as a team for long, but they've already accomplished a lot in a relatively short period of time.

"They're athletes, and they want to compete," Dunbar coach Joe Bonadio said.

After receiving a bye through the District 9 tournament, Dunbar captured the Section 2 tournament title last week and will be one of eight teams competing in the Pennsylvania state tournament Thursday through Monday at Cranberry Little League's ballpark.

Going into the start of competition, Bonadio wasn't exactly sure how good of a team he had. But he did know one thing.

"I knew they could hit," Bonadio said, noting that his team showed off its offensive ability during various practices leading up to the games.

Dunbar certainly brought out the bats during the Section 2 tournament; it scored 41 runs in four games.

Among the highlights: a three hits from Caleb Stevenson in a 7-0 victory over West Point in the title-clinching game; and a three homers by Matt Butler throughout Section 2 play.

"We're hitting the ball, and we think we can hit even better," Bonadio said. "If the guys can continue to come together, we'll be tough to stop."

Of course, hitting isn't everything. Pitching will be key at the state tournament, and Bonadio is confident in his hurlers as well.

"We have a lot of guys that can pitch," Bonadio said.

The ace of the staff is Ryan Huey, who tossed a two-hit shutout in the Section 2 championship game. Jimmy Malone is also a capable pitcher.

The state tournament will begin with four days of pool play. Dunbar is in the West Pool and will open against Warren at 5:30 tonight.

"Getting off to a good start in pool play is huge," Bonadio said.

Dunbar will play Worthington at 1:30 p.m. Friday and Montoursville at noon Sunday. The East Pool includes Marvine/Weston Park, Pennridge, Pen Mar and Levittown Continental.

The top two teams in each pool advance to semifinal games Monday, with the championship game scheduled for Monday night.

"Expectation-wise, we expect to win," Bonadio said. "We're a good team, so let the chips fall where they may."

The winner of the Pennsylvania state tournament will advance to the East Region Tournament from Aug. 5-11 in Freehold Township, N.J.

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