It didn’t take long for the State College Little League baseball team to assert itself in this year’s Pennsylvania District 5 Little League Tournament.
State College scored in double figures in each of the first three innings it played and then from there took four straight tournament-game wins to win the 2019 championship.
That first game, against Big Valley on June 23, ended in three innings with a final score of 34-0, and then State College advanced to the semifinals with a 10-3 win over Bellefonte on June 27 in Bellefonte.
Bald Eagle Area was next, and SC dominated again with an 11-3 win that put it into the finals against either Bellefonte or BEA.
Since this was a double-elimination tournament, BEA and Bellefonte had to play a lower-bracket final for the right to face State College in the tournament final. Bellefonte, down early, staged a comeback and prevailed by a score of 6-4 and set up a meeting against SC on July 6.
Bellefonte, with one loss, would have to win twice to take home the trophy.
State College was on a roll, however, and behind the no-hit pitching of Michael Gaul and Gavin Kendrick, along with a 10-hit attack, the team completed its tournament sweep with a 10-0, four-inning victory.
State College went ahead with a run in the second inning and then took control with six more in the third. Another three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning ended the game and sent SC into the upcoming sectional tournament.
Kendrick and Sebastian Rhoades led the offense for State College with two hits and two RBI each, while Gaul had one hit and scored three runs and Asher Cunningham had two hits.
“What happened was what happens a lot with our guys,” State College coach Matt Gaul said. “We pitched really well and more than that our bats were pretty good. So they hit well and certainly pitched alright as well. All of our guys can really hit. It is an incredible group for sure.”
State College will now move on to the sectional tournament, which will be held Saturday through Wednesday in Mechanicsburg. As it stands now, SC is scheduled to take on District 11 Indiana Little League on opening night.
From there, the winner advances to the Pennsylvania State Tournament which is scheduled for July 21-28.
BELLEFONTE LITTLE LEAGUE’S Jaeden Gabrovser looks to put the tag on State College’s Asher Cunningham during the District 5 Majors Championship game held July 6. State College went on to defeat Bellefonte 10-0. Photo by Heather Weikel/For The Gazette