Penn-Trafford Junior Legion team wins 1st state title
Wednesday, July 28, 2021 | 7:53 PM
That’s what Penn-Trafford Junior Legion baseball coach Steve Freas said his team did Wednesday by winning the Pennsylvania American Legion Youth title.
The Warriors defeated Connellsville, 6-0, in the championship game at Berwick.
Ty Freas, the coach’s son, drove in four runs with two doubles, and pitchers Drew Sherwin and Chuck Fontana blanked Connellsville on seven hits.
It was the fourth time in the past three weeks Penn-Trafford has beaten Connellsville. Penn-Trafford defeated Connellsville in the Westmoreland County Junior Legion championship game, in the West Region championship game and twice at Berwick.
“The goal before the season was to win the state title,” coach Freas said. “We’re the first team from Westmoreland County since 1965 to win a state title.”
The Lower Burrell senior team is the last county squad to win the American Legion title. Penn-Trafford is the seventh Junior team from the West Region to win a state title since the junior tournament began in 1969.
The previous winners are 14th Ward Pittsburgh (1969), Kittanning (1970), Blairsville Giants (1975), Homer City A’s (1976), United (1983) and Punxsutawney (2002).
Sherwin worked out of two bases-loaded jams before Penn-Trafford broke a scoreless tie with a run in the fifth inning.
Owen Demari singled, stole second and scored on Tyler Freas’ double.
Connellsville loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the sixth inning before Fontana came on in relief of Sherwin to get out of the jam.
Penn-Trafford broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Sherwin led off with a single, and Ethan Septak walked. Carmen Metcalfe laid down a bunt and beat it out for a hit to load the bases.
Demari walked to score the first run, Jason Sabol singled home the second run of the inning and Freas followed with a bases-clearing double.
Tyler Freas had three hits.
Kace Shearer had two doubles, and Jake Lee added a double for Connellsville.
“Drew was lights out,” Coach Freas said. “He kept them off balance and pitched ahead. We couldn’t be happier.
“Connellsville played great. Brian (Sankovich) gets everything he can out of them. It was neat that the top teams were from the Westmoreland County Junior Legion. Connellsville was a tough out.”
Freas said the teams also became close. They were both housed in a hotel in Bloomsburg.
“They developed a closeness,” Coach Freas said. “It was neat to neat to see.”
Connellsville advanced to the championship game by defeating Upper Perkiomen, 7-3.
“Everything came together,” Coach Freas said. “We had outstanding pitching, timely hitting and we played solid defense.
“These guys care about each other. They didn’t care about individual honors. They were a pleasure to coach.”
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 email@example.com.
More Baseball• Elizabeth Forward grad Luke Padezan takes reins as Gateway’s new baseball coach
• After more than 3 decades as an assistant, new coach takes reins of Chartiers Valley baseball
• Wild Things Park to host WPIAL baseball finals through 2027
• Hempfield’s Dylan Firmstone commits to Penn State baseball
• Penn-Trafford baseball making strides in offseason, wins fall league title