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Bellefonte Little League Claims District Title with Win Over State College

by on July 11, 2017 10:53 AM

Led by a sterling effort on the mound and at the plate by Braedyn Kormanic, Bellefonte Little League downed State College, 11-1, to capture the District 5 championship and advance to the sectional tournament.

Kormanic held State College to one run with two strikeouts, no walks and five hits and mashed a three-run home run of his own to help Bellefonte capture the title on its home field. (Though Bellefonte hosted, State College was the “home” team by virtue of winning the pregame coin toss.)

“Kormanic was throwing very well on the mound,” said State College manager Greg Albert. “He just had complete control of the game.  We were taking our hacks, but we weren’t producing anything.”

State College had a chance to secure the title on Saturday against Bellefonte but fell in that game, 10-4, setting up Monday’s rematch. State had won its first three games of the playoffs over Penns Valley, Big Valley and Bald Eagle Area before running into Bellefonte.

“It was a good run and then for the last two games, it was a slow walk,” Albert said.

Bellefonte, meanwhile, roared back after an opening round loss to Big Valley, winning out the rest of the way to claim the title.

On Monday, they came out swinging once again, doubling State College’s hit total with 10. All 11 Bellefonte runs were scored in two innings.

It started in the top of the first, with lefty leadoff man Alex Ebeling singling off State College pitcher Eric Weaver and then reaching third on a single by fellow lefty batter Dominic Capperella. Ebeling scored on a passed ball.  

Kaden Clark walked, and Kormanic hit his three-run home run over the center field fence.  

After Tristan Woodring-Heckman and Ethan Struble reached on a single and a walk, it looked like State College would escape further damage when Weaver struck out Jake Corman and Quinn Tooker. But Luke Fisher reached base on an infield error that scored Woodring-Heckman before Ebeling struck out to end the inning.  

Weaver struggled a bit in that first inning, but after striking out the side, he settled down giving up no hits and just one walk for the next three innings. He struck out Clark in the fifth before leaving the game because of pitch count.

With Evan Summerson on to pitch in the fifth, Bellefonte’s Kormanic hit a drive down the right field line and State College’s Hayden Cunningham came up with the defensive play of the day as he ran to his right, dived and fully laid out to make the catch.

But even with two outs, Bellefonte made it a big inning. Woodring-Heckman walked and advanced twice on wild pitches. That was followed by a walk by Struble and singles from Corman, Tooker, Fisher and Ebeling. A wild pitch scored Ebeling with the sixth run of the inning to give Bellefonte an 11-0 lead before Clark flied out to Cunningham in right to end the inning.

State College tacked on one in the bottom of the fifth. With the bases loaded and two outs Carter Salvato singled to knock in State College’s lone score. After Summerson grounded out to end the inning, the game was over because of Bellefonte’s 10-run lead.

“Our boys weren’t happy, but there was no head-hanging that I saw,” Albert said. “I told them how much I enjoyed being with them since they were eight, when I started coaching these boys.  It was an honor and a pleasure to have them.”   

Bellefonte will now head to the sectional tournament, which will be held in State College, opening play against the winner of Huntingdon vs. Mount Union at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

“I think [Bellefonte is] a really good-hitting ball club,” Albert said. “I want to wish them all the best, and certainly we’ll be out to watch them represent our district. I hope they win the sectionals and move on.”

Top photo by Tara Cunningham

See photos by Tara Cunningham from the game in the gallery below.

Photo Gallery - Bellefonte Little League Defeats State College for District Title

Bill Horlacher is a native of Happy Valley, a 1970 graduate of State College High School and a 1974 graduate of Penn State (journalism). He has spent his last 30 years in service to international students, helping them with personal, cultural and spiritual adjustments to America. After 39 years of living in California, Maryland and Texas, Bill returned to State College in 2013 along with his wife, Kathy.
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