Penn-Trafford Junior Legion team captures Westmoreland league title

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Sunday, July 18, 2021 | 9:01 AM


The Penn-Trafford area baseball community continues to find success.

Bolstered by players choosing to compete for the community teams, rather than all-star travel programs, the area squads are tearing up summer leagues.

Penn-Trafford has formed its only travel teams at the younger levels that compete and regularly beat the travel all-star teams.

The Bushy Run American Legion team reached the District 31 semifinals and lost to Young Township in the consolation game to fall short of a berth in the Region 7 tournament. However, Bushy Run did accept an invite to participate in the Region 6 tournament as a replacement team.

The Penn-Trafford Junior Legion team was able to field two teams after 45 players showed up for tryouts.

Penn-Trafford No. 1 (14-2) won the Northern Division and went on to win the Westmoreland Junior League title by defeating Plum (10-0), Monroeville (11-8) and Connellsville (5-2).

The team advanced to the West Regional at Punxsutawney on July 16 to face Oil City. They faced Punxsutawney on Saturday and Monroeville on Sunday to compete pool play.

The top three teams in the West Regional advance to the state tournament at Berwick.

“We’ve had a really good season,” Penn-Trafford Junior Legion coach Steve Freas said. “These guys have been together for six or seven years. We’ve been able to keep the team together and add a few players along the way.”

There are four players — Jason Sabol, Chuckie Fontana, Ian Temple and Tyler Freas — who were members of the Penn-Trafford High School team that made the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs.

Sabol was the starting leftfielder as a freshman. He plays center field for the Junior team.

Sabol and pitcher/corner infielder/catcher Drew Sherwin are also on the Bushy Run roster.

Freas’ son Tyler, Temple, Sherwin, Brandon Roher and Hunter Brown have been the top pitchers.

Freas, Temple and Sherwin play different positions when not pitching. Freas plays shortstop. Temple is the catcher and Sherwin can play anywhere.

“To be successful in the playoffs, you must have good pitching, limit walks and play good defense,” coach Freas said. “Our hitting has been solid from top-to-bottom.”

Sabol and Ethan Septak (two home runs) have been the top RBI producers and Freas has been the top hitter.

Other key contributors are middle infielder Brody Hoffmann and outfielders Carmen Metcalfe and Eric Biroscak. Outfielder Owen Demari, who sustained a shoulder injury early in the season, could return if Penn-Trafford qualifies for the state tournament.

Others on the team include Brandon Long, Evan Gross and Jonny Lovre.

“The amount of time this team has been together and their familiarity with each other has been the key,” Coach Freas said. “We’d love to make the state tournament, but we’re focused on our games at Punxsutawney.”

The Penn-Trafford organization tells the parents: “why travel hundreds of miles and spend thousands of dollars when you better competition at home.”

It seems to be paying off.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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