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State College Little League Continues to Roll in District Playoffs

by and on July 01, 2016 10:00 AM

Keyed by a strong outing from pitcher Andre Marshall and a grand slam by John Olsen, State College Little League improved to 3-0 in the District 5 Playoffs with a 14-3 win over Penns Valley Thursday night at Montresor Field.

Marshall pitched the entire game, which ended after four innings due to the score, giving up one hit and three walks while striking out six.

“All the love goes to Andre Marshall," State College manager Eric Gulley said. "At Bellefonte [State College’s opening win], he struggled to throw strikes. Well, he wanted a chance at redemption, and we went back to him. He threw 62 pitches and made just one mistake.”

That one mistake was a two-run home run by Kyle Niewinski, which came in the second after a fielder's choice scored Penns Valley's other run.

The rest was all State College. Before Penns Valley could settle in, State College put six on the board in the first. State's first three batters walked and Jaden Torres singled in a run. Olsen came to the plate with the bases still loaded and sent one over the fence for a grand slam, followed by a solo shot from Evan Martin to put State College up 6-0 in the first.

“One play can sometimes make the game, and John Olsen’s hit may have been that play," Gulley said. "He launched an 0-2 pitch for a grand slam. I must have jumped six feet off the ground when he hit that ball.” 

After Penns Valley's second inning narrowed the lead, State College responded with three in the third to go up 9-3. State tacked on five more in the fourth as three walks, two Penns Valley errors, several wild pitches and a misplayed third strike against a State College hitter produced the final scoring.

The final surprised Gulley, as Penns Valley fields a strong team that had beaten State College in a separate tournament in Mifflin County two weeks ago.

“I was stunned [by the winning margin] because [Penns Valley] is such a good baseball team," Gulley said. "We knew they could play, and I was really stunned.”

State College now needs two more wins to capture the title of the 12-team District 5 and to advance in Little League playoffs. The team's next test comes at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Clearfield.

“They’re very good, we’ve got to travel to their place, and they’ve got big kids," Gulley said. "We’ve got our work cut out for us.”   

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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