Warwick 9U Stars win District title
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
Patience, patience, patience.
That’s the message which was preached to the players of Warwick Little League’s 9U All-Star team by their coaches.
It obviously sunk in.
Warwick capitalized on five walks in the first two innings against Cocalico on Saturday, July 20 in New Holland while jumping to a 7-0 lead, and they never looked back. In the end, the Warwick 9U All-Stars rolled to a 10-2 win and captured the District 23 championship.
"We were really patient at the plate, we made the pitchers earn it," Warwick skipper Kevin Lanson said. "One thing this team loved to do was hit, though."
Warwick’s offensive prowess was reflected in them outscoring their opponents 41-9 en route to a perfect 4-0 record in the double-elimination tournament.
Both of Cocalico’s losses came at the hands of Warwick. After Cocalico knocked off Penn Manor 11-1 in a play-in game, they suffered an 8-2 defeat to Warwick, but then bounced back to win four straight. Behind a hard-hitting offense, Cocalico beat Conestoga Valley 16-0, Ephrata 14-4, Octorara 16-10 and Manheim Township 6-4 to punch its ticket to the finals.
"Cocalico battled throughout the entire tournament to get back, so that team hung in there," Lanson said. "Hats off to those guys."
Warwick’s batters hung in as Cocalico’s starter struggled with command early on. David Woolley, Evan Rohrbach and Matthew Seibert all walked and scored on Matthew Williams’ (2-for-3, 4 RBI’s) long single.
"He creamed that ball," Lanson said. "Matthew Williams is one of the biggest 9 year olds we’ve ever seen."
Leading 3-0 after one, Warwick added to its lead with a four-run second-inning rally. AJ Germaine walked, Jacob Lobb singled and Ryan Fink earned a free pass to load the bases. Woolley followed with a two-run single and then Chase Horst (2-for-3, 2 RBI’s) and Rohrbach (2-for-3, 2 runs, 2 RBI’s) each delivered RBI base hits.
That was enough for Williams, who was dominant pitching four shutout innings for the win. He allowed just two hits and K’d two.
"We had some really good pitching in this tournament," Lanson said. "We really worked on the hitting, we had great pitching and we focused on catching. Matthew Seibert did a great job as a catcher."
Cocalico got one run back in the fifth on Current’s double and Angstadt’s RBI single. But Warwick scored its final three runs in the bottom of that inning to grab a commanding 10-1 advantage. Horst doubled and scored on Rohrbach’s RBI single. After Seibert walked, Williams had an RBI single and then Seibert stole home for the third run of the inning.
Debalko RBI single drove in Cocalico’s final run in the top of the sixth, but Warwick would not be denied.
"This is one of those teams that’s like a sandlot baseball team," Lanson said. "They came early, they stayed late to practice. They were there an hour before the game, they just love baseball and they kept their focus all game. They knew this was just another game, however they knew that if they won it, they’d win the championship. This is something these kids have been wanting to do and it was fantastic. We were really excited for the kids and also for Warwick Little League."
The kids were certainly excited to get back into game action following a long break at the end of the regular season. Rohrbach, who shared the bulk of the pitching duties with Williams, struck out 10 and yielded only one hit in four innings as Warwick opened with its 8-2 victory over Cocalico. Luke Shreiner was 1-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored and Germaine scored twice to help lead the winning effort.
"It was a team effort in that game," Lanson said.
Next was Octorara, and Warwick prevailed 7-0 behind Horst, who laced two triples and drove in three runs, and Woolley, who was 2-for-3 and scored three runs. Williams pitched five shutout innings, struck out nine and allowed just one hit for the win. Octorara didn’t get a runner past first base in the game.
From there, Williams’ three-run 200-foot homer highlighted Warwick’s 16-5 pummeling of Manheim Township.
"That was just a sight to see," Lanson said. "I’ve gone seasons without seeing a home run from a 9-year-old and it was definitive. It was a blast."
Woolley (3-for-4, 3 runs, 2 RBI’s), Horst (2-for-4, 3 runs, 2 RBI’s), and Rohrbach (2-for-4, triple, double, 3 RBI’s) also had a big offensive day at the top of Warwick’s batting order. Plus, Rohrbach pitched three innings and struck out seven to record the decision.
By following with their victory over Cocalico in the finals, Warwick’s 9U team became the third WLL All-Star squad this summer to capture a District championship, joining the 16U and 12U teams.
"Give them a lot of credit," Lanson said of his club. "They stepped up, they played together as a team and they cheered each other on. We always knew who was on the mound, who was at bat, and we came together as a team. We didn’t get on ourselves if they got a few runs on us and we didn’t get overly high if we got a big lead. We just stayed focused."
Assistant Darel Seibert added, "One of the things we really promoted was encouraging each other. Mistakes are going to happen, but pick each other up. That was a key thing for the whole series that we really impressed on the players."
More WLL STARS, page B-4