PUNXSUTAWNEY - The local Junior American Legion Baseball team is going further and farther than it ever has before.
Further, because Warren Post 135 finished third on Wednesday at the eight-team Youth Legion Western Regional Tournament in Punxsutawney.
This, after winning the Junior American Legion Baseball playoffs in northwestern Pa.
Photo submitted to Times Observer
Advance to Jr. Legion states
Warren Post 135 finished third on Wednesday at the Youth Legion Western Regional in Punxsutawney to advance to the Youth Legion Baseball State Tournament beginning this weekend in Shillington. Team members, from left, in front, are Dominic Funari, John White, D.J. Fehlman, Collin DeLattre, Derek Reagle, and Seth Baldensperger and, back row, manager Jon Vincent, Casey Vincent, Ryan Gustafson, Jim Vile, Kyle Hunt, Mitch Dorunda, Mark Reiff, and coach Blaine Gunn.
Farther, because Post 135 advances to play - for the first time - in the 2012 Youth Legion Baseball State Championships beginning Saturday in Shillington, Pa., near Reading.
Johnny White was the winning pitcher twice in the same day earlier in the week, defeating Murraysville, 4-3, in one game after Murraysville entered the tournament with just one loss all season.
On Wednesday, Casey Vincent pitched Post 135 to states, throwing a complete-game, four-hitter in a 4-3 win over Franklin. He struck out seven, allowed just one earned run, and shut Franklin out from the fourth inning on, allowing Post 135 to come back from a 3-0 deficit.
Warren trailed 3-1 after Collin DeLattre scored from third on a catcher's balk. While Franklin was intentionally walking Vincent, the catcher was ruled to have jumped out of the catcher's box too early, allowing the run to score with two outs.
Post 135 did it with two outs again in the sixth inning. White walked to start the inning and D.J. Fehlman singled. Both moved up on a wild pitch. Ryan Gustafson's RBI single made it 3-2 Franklin, and Derek Reagle's two-out, two-run single gave Warren the lead for the first time.
"This was a really tough win for us because that's four times we've beaten Franklin this year," said Post 135 coach Jon Vincent, whose Warren Jr. Legion team is 17-4 on the season. "It's pretty hard to beat a team four times, especially a good team."
Post 135 finished 3-2 at the tournament which started on Saturday, and needed to win the third-place elimination game on Wednesday.
Reagle finished 2-for-3 and was 9-for-14 over five games. White was 8-for-14 with two pitching wins, and Vincent 8-for-16.
A number on Post 135 will be eligible to play Jr. Legion again next year, including Fehlman, Vincent, Reagle, Mark Reiff and Mitchell Dorunda.
Vincent, White, Gustafson and Kyle Hunt will each be making at least their fourth trip to a state level tournament, including three times in Little League; Jimmy Vile his third trip to states.
This come-from-behind win "just says they never quit, and they haven't through our whole season," said coach Vincent. "We've had a lot of comeback wins this year.
"Here it is August and these kids are still playing ball," he said.
Franklin 021 000 0 - 3 4
Post 135 000 103 x - 4 6
WP-Casey Vincent. LP-Desko.