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The Journey Begins As Little League Tournaments Kick Into Full Swing

A 12-year-old baseball player stepped into the batter’s box during a regular season game. His team was trailing by one run, and their perfect record was on the line.

It’s a moment that happens every summer as youth baseball takes center stage for youngsters and parents hoping to build memories and friendships on the field.

It’s the start of that journey for plenty of kids as the area lights up with District tournaments featuring the best softball and baseball players in the area. In Williamsport, it’s hard not to get swept up in the excitement of youth sports in the summer.

The young player waited for a pitch he liked. Being patient only added to the drama as he worked the count to three balls and two strikes. He anticipated something off-speed. He guessed correctly.

The next pitch was chipped through the gap in between center and right fields, scoring a run and tying the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. He legged out a double and stood on second base. Moments later he scored to keep his team’s perfect record intact.

In 20 games, each and every player had a moment charged with emotion. The young players supported each other throughout their campaign, being rewarded with a perfect season. The memories formed that summer were ones that still stick with the managers, coaches, players, and parents.

Each and every member of the team has grown up, but the memories of that summer never leave them. Growing up in Williamsport, it’s hard not to run into people with fond memories of Little League baseball or softball. It’s ingrained in the blood of the town.

Years later that young player would return in the summer to see those memories created from a completely different side. It was now time to simply observe the players and coaches, getting to tell their stories as they were created on the field.

As he settled into his role with local papers and websites, a small group of players opened their District tournament with hopes just as high as that young player’s when he helped his team remain perfect. Years prior to that game a team from the same league reached the highest level of the competition. That was the motivation.

Districts were a breeze as the team was rarely challenged throughout the tournament. Games were called early, batting averages were bloated, and ERAs were low as the group’s confidence hit a high heading into Sections.

The tournament again went the way of the favorite as they continued to build a following. The league had a reputation as one of the best in the state and each game they added to it.

A trip to Pittsburgh for the State Tournament ended with one of the most dramatic wins in the team’s postseason run. They lost a game and were challenged for the first time. It only added to the story as they marched back through the tournament to claim the ultimate prize and advance to the Regional Tournament. A tournament win there would mean returning home to play for the home crowd at the Little League World Series. It came down to the final game and a loss to a team that would eventually claim the highest honor by winning the World Series.

The journey fell just short, but it was another special summer centered around baseball. Youth baseball is one of the best parts of the summer for Williamsport and the surrounding communities. Every year a story is built and every year youth baseball and softball takes over. It will be another great one filled with teams building memories as the postseason kicks into full gear.

Editor’s Note: If you want to keep up with the D12 Tournament, be sure to check out Brett will have a ton of coverage for you!
Local Athlete Update:

After competing at the PIAA Track and Field Championships, Loyalsock’s Hailey Zurich recently took on another challenge at New Balance Nationals. She finished third in the State in the Pole Vault but topped her height posted at Shippensburg. At states, she posted an 11-0 to finish third. At Nationals she posted an 11-8.5 to finish 14th. Zurich was outstanding throughout the season and ended with one of her biggest jumps in the biggest meet. Zurich’s hard work throughout the season put her on the shortlist of best pole vaulters in the state.

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