Bushy Run, Penn-Trafford complete strong Legion seasons

Sunday, August 7, 2022 | 8:01 AM

If anything was learned about the Bushy Run American Legion and Penn-Trafford Junior American Legion programs in 2022, it’s that the future is bright and the programs remain strong.

Both teams had successful campaigns this summer.

Bushy Run finished second in the District 31 American Legion regular season, third in the District 31 playoffs and second to state champion Phillipsburg in the Region 7 tournament at Bedford.

The Junior Legion team, which was the state champion in 2021, finished second in the Westmoreland Youth League, second in the league playoffs, second in the Western Regional and was 1-2 in the state tournament, dropping close games to Northampton and Connellsville.

“It was a good season,” Penn-Trafford coach Steve Freas said. “We dropped a couple heartbreakers, but overall, it was another successful season. We had a lot of players step up.”

Penn-Trafford was leading Connellsville, 2-0, into the sixth inning when the Yough City nine scored three runs to grab a 3-2 lead. Connellsville added two more in the seventh inning for a 5-2 win.

The Warriors opened the regional tournament with a 7-3 loss to Northampton. Drew Sherwin blanked Northampton over the first five innings, but the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead. Northampton scored five runs in the sixth inning and two in the seventh.

Braden Kane had a triple and RBI against Northampton.

Kane was the winning pitcher in an 11-1 win against Taney. Logan Matrisch had a triple and single for Penn-Trafford.

Johnny Lovre went 4 for 4 against Connellsville, but Freas said the team missed scoring opportunities and didn’t get a key hit when needed.

Zach Feldman and Lovre pitched well, Freas said.

Murrysville went on to defeat Connellsville and Upper Perkiomen to win the state title. It was the second consecutive season that a Westmoreland County team claimed the state title.

“We were a different team this season,” Freas said. “We had a strong 14-year old group and they learned how to mesh as a team. We had a good mix.”

Bushy Run places 2nd

Bushy Run put together a strong season and played well in the regional tournament at Bedford. Its only losses were to Phillipsburg.

Bushy Run rallied to defeat St. Michael, 8-5, in the first game as Gavin Good’s three-run double with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning highlighted the comeback.

Bushy Run, the third-seed team from District 31, came back from a 5-0 deficit, scoring three runs in the third inning, one run in the fifth and four in the sixth.

In the sixth inning, prior to Good’s big hit, Eric Birosak executed a squeeze bunt to tie the score. Chuck Fontana relieved Tyler Freas and shut down St. Michael over the final four innings.

In Game 2, Brody Hoffman hit a grand slam on a 1-2 pitch with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, and Bushy Run walked off with a 7-5 victory against Young Township.

Bushy Run lost to Young Township in the league semifinals.

Hoffman’s blast highlighted a five-run seventh inning for Bushy Run.

Game 3 didn’t go as well as Phillipsburg handed Bushy Run a 4-1 defeat.

On the final day of the tournament, things started well as Bushy Run used two big innings, a three-run first and a four-run eighth, to defeat District 31 champion Latrobe, 7-3, in the semifinals.

But the day didn’t end as well as Bushy Run dropped a 5-3 decision to Phillipsburg in the championship game.

Phillipsburg scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull out the win.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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