The Greater Wyoming Area 9-10 year old all-star team won the state championship last Sunday in Hellertown. They open East Regional play today at the Christy Mathewson Little League in Fleetville.
GWA’s Annie Campbell takes a cut during the state championship tournament in Hellertown.
They were on the outside looking in. At least that’s what they were told.
But after a call to Little League Eastern Regional Headquarters in Bristol, CT, the Greater Wyoming Area 9-10 year old softball all-star team – half of them already on their way home from Hellertown to Northeastern Pennsylvania – were told they had indeed qualified for the Pennsylvania State Championship semifinals.
Two games later, GWA had won the state title they almost didn’t a chance to play for.
“The site administrator told us we were the team on the outside looking in and were eliminated from the tournament based on run differential,” said Coach Paul Orzel in an email to The Sunday Dispatch. “The girls were in tears when we broke the news to them.”
The original ruling came because of the three-way tie in the East Pool between GWA (2-1), Exton (2-1) and Avon Grove (2-1) – a team Greater Wyoming Area had beaten during pool play. But when state officials called the Bristol office, it was determined that the head-to-head result should have be used as a tie-breaker before run differential.
“Most of the families had packed up their gear and were headed up the turnpike,” said Orzel. “Only a few of the families were staying the extra night. And at about 6:30 p.m., (Manager) Steve (Mytych) called to tell us we had been awarded the second-seed from the East Pool and would play in Saturday’s semi against the top-seed from the West, Warren Little League.”
With a second life, Greater Wyoming Area took full advantage of its situation.
The GWA girls outlasted West Pool champs Warren, 7-4, on Saturday in the semifinals at the Hellertown-Lower Saucon Little League in Hellertown behind Gwen Glatz’s fourth-inning triple.
Trailing 3-1 entering the fourth inning, aggressive hitting and base running combined with Glatz’s timely hitting, Greater Wyoming Area pushed ahead, 5-3, headed into the fifth inning.
Warren added a run in the fifth to get within, 5-4, but GWA answered with a run in each of its last two at-bats to come away with the win.
In the title game against West Point – the defending state champions and tourney favorites – Greater Wyoming Area came away with an 8-3 victory to earn the state title and a berth in the Little League Softball 9-10 year old Eastern Regionals, which begin today in Fleetville at the Christy Mathewson Little League.
GWA imposed its will from the start, shutting down West Point in the first inning before scoring two runs in the bottom of the first to take a lead it would not relinquish.
The lead moved to 5-0 after three innings as Glatz and Aubrey Mytych stroked RBI singles, and Cassidy Graham drove in a run with a double.
West Point got on the board with a run in the fourth, but GWA got two more in its half of the inning to take a 7-1 lead.
Greater Wyoming Area went ahead 8-1 in the fifth, and West Point scored two in the sixth to get within 8-3. But GWA shut down WP to earn the win.
Glatz struck out nine to earn the victory, and scored three runs for GWA.
“The girls did whatever the coaches asked,” said Orzel. “Bunt, take a pitch, steal. No matter what we asked, they did all for the benefit of the team.”
After taking a victory lap after receiving its championship banner and medals, the Greater Wyoming Area team headed home where they were greeted by fans, fire trucks, ambulances and police cars from the three communities represented by the championship team – Exeter, West Wyoming and Wyoming for a parade they took them down Wyoming Avenue to St. Barbara’s Parish Picnic where they were recognized by local singer Jeanne Zano who introduced the state champs on stage to the crowd.
“The first question I was asked as the girls ran off the field after winning the state title was, ‘Do we get to rid on the fire trucks?’ said Orzel. “They have been practicing almost everyday since June 15, hitting before each game. They have worked hard.
“There are 11 girls from six different GWA League teams on this team from Exeter, Wyoming and West Wyoming. The girls along with the parents have developed some nice friendships during the last six weeks. Once the kids hit sixth grade they will all be attending the same school. They are going to be able to build on this experience in the future.”
Gwen Glatz pitched four hits of no-hit ball before finishing with a complete game three-hitter to lead Greater Wyoming Area to a win in its opening game in the Pennsylvania State Little League Softball 9-10 All-Star Tournament in Hellertown-Lower Saucon Little League in Hellertown.
Glatz, who fanned 14 in the victory, also smacked four hits with a triple and scored three runs.
Brianna Pizzano added three hits and three runs scored, and Aleah Kranson had two hits.
After a morning practice in 90-plus temperatures – and an afternoon swimming to cool off – the GWA team was “flat” according to Orzel, and “looked lost from the first pitch” as they lost 18-0 to Exton in the second game of East Pool play at the state championship.
But Orzel said the loss brought the team “down to earth” as the hot-hitting GWA offense managed just two hits in the loss.
Kranson and Glatz had the only hits for Greater Wyoming Area.
In a game played in 100-degree heat, Greater Wyoming Area rallied for a 9-8, seven-inning win over highly regarded Avon Grove to finish East Pool play with a 2-1 record.
GWA took a 5-1 lead into the fifth inning but Avon Grove scored five in the fifth and two in the sixth to take an 8-5 lead.
But Greater Wyoming Area used the hammer in the bottom half of their inning to force extra inning.
Pizzano reached base on an error before a Glatz single knocked her home to get GWA within 8-6. Cassidy Graham followed with a walk, and Cassidy Orzel singled home Glatz and Graham to knot the score at 8-8 to force extra innings.
Avon Grove went 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh, and Annie Campbell set the stage for GWA in the bottom half of the inning.
Campbell reach on an error, stole second and third before Pizzano drilled a two-out pitch to the outfield for the game-winning single which scored Campbell.
The Greater Wyoming Area 9-10 year old Softball All-Stars will open Eastern Regional play practically in their own backyard this afternoon at the Christy Mathewson Little League in Fleetville.
GWA opens the regional when they host New York at 12:30 p.m. They will play one game each day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Monday they will play New Jersey at 3 p.m., and on Tuesday they will face Maryland at 3 p.m. On Wednesday, GWA will play Delaware at 5:30 p.m.
Should they qualify for the semifinals after pool play ends, Greater Wyoming Area, which is playing in the Mid-Atlantic Pool with New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware, will take on the first or second seed from the New England Pool (Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and Rhode Island) on Friday evening. The Consolation and Championship games will be played on Saturday.
The Christy Mathewson Little League is made up from the towns of Benton, Dalton, Factoryville, Nicholson, and Lake Winola. Games will be played at the Benton Little League Field in Fleetville.
To get to the field, take Interstate 81-N to Exit 201. Turn left at the end of the exit ramp and follow Route 107 to Fleetville. At the blinking light, turn right onto State Route 407. The field is on the left hand side behind the Benton Civic Center and Post Office.