DuBOIS — Destiny.
There is no better word to describe the journey the DuBois Senior League All-Star baseball team went on to become the Pennsylvania state champions, particularly the last five days on its home field at Stern Family Field.
DuBois went 9-1 overall in All-Star play, suffering that lone loss in the opening game of Section 1 play before bouncing back to beat Titusville twice in the row _ the second of which came in Titusville to send DuBois back home to compete at states.
DuBois opened state play with a pretty mundane 10-1 victory against Hanover on Wednesday. The real craziness ensued from there as DuBois recorded three straight walk-off victories — the final two in extra innings — to not only capture DuBois’ first Senior League state championship since 2008 but also the first since the league took over running Senior States in 2014.
That wild sequence of games, which featured an 8-7, 9-inning walk-off victory against Loyalsock in the winners’ bracket finals that ended at 12:36 a.m. Friday night into Saturday, was punctuated by an even more improbable 4-3 walk-off victory against Upper Moreland in Sunday’s state final.
DuBois had already beaten Upper Moreland in walk-off fashion (6-5) on Thursday by scoring four runs in the final two innings without the aide of a hit.
DuBois looked to be even more behind the 8-Ball on Sunday as it mustered just two hits through six innings and trailed 2-0 as the Section 8 champs scored single runs in the third and fifth against DuBois starter Aiden Snowberger.
Upper Moreland then tacked on a run in the top of the seventh on an obstruction call that was indicative of the crazy happenings of the tournament. DuBois third baseman Kaden Brezenski made a nice diving stop on a hard grounder on the play and caught Upper Moreland’s Alex Best between third and home.
A rundown ensued and Best was eventually tagged out at home by Brezenski. However, after a conference by umpires, best was ruled safe because it was determined pitcher Tyler Chamberlin had impeded his path to plate by standing in the baseline just prior to him being tagged at home.
That insurance run actually proved to be more important to Upper Moreland than they might have thought as things quickly got away from the Section 8 champs in the bottom of the seventh.
Reliever Jimmy Torpley, who came on to start the second, quickly retired the first two hitters and it appeared the tourney was headed to an if-necessary title game.
That’s when the aura of the word destiny reared its head.
Garrett Frantz extended the game with a two-out walk and quickly stole before Matt Pyne legged out an infield single. Kaden Clark then reach on an error by third baseman Donato Incollingo that saw Frantz to score to make it 30-1.
Torpey then got Carter Hickman to hit a high popup into shallow left that shortstop Shawn Townsend backed up on and had a bead on. However, the ball popped out of his glove as he tried to make the catch. The crucial error allowed both Pyne and Clark score to even the score at 3-3 to force extra innings.
DuBois reliever Tyler Chamberlin, who came to start the seventh after Snowberger reached the pitch limit, retired the first batter of the eighth only to have Brian Murtha rip a single inside the first-base bag.
After a flyout to Pyne in center, Bets reached on a two-out error that put runners on the corners. Chamberlin made sure the rally stopped there, though, and picked off Best at first to end the inning.
The bottom of the eighth began quietly enough as Torpey got Brayden Fox to ground out to second before being lifted from the game for reliever Jack Hoetzel.
Snowberger greeted Hoetzel with a double that got over the right fielder’s head after he initially took a couple steps in. Snowberger then swiped third to put the winning run just 90 feet from home with designated hitter Cartar Kosko at the plate.
And Kosko delivered in the clutch, hitting a fly ball to left that Torpey initially took a step in on but retreated on in time to appear to make the catch. However, the ball fell out of his glove as Snowberger raced home with the game- and state-championship winning run.
Even had Torpey held on to the ball, Snowberger, who was tagging, still would have easily scored with Torpey’s momentum taking him away from home plate. The play officially went into the scorebook as an E7 on Torpey but a sacrifice fly and RBI for Kosko.
“You can’t get much better than the last two games we’ve played ... staying with it, staying with the process and trusting each other and coming up big in some spots,” said DuBois manager Evan Snowberger. “You can’t say enough about this group. You don’t call them the Cardiac Kids for nothing. And, that’s they way you go out.
“We knew what we had when we got these kids together. This is a special group, and I’m proud of all of them. I’ve coached then all since they were younger and to see them grow into this caliber of a team and keep battling every day and grind every day. It’s awesome. You don’t see that much any more.
“And, the town has really been behind us. Senior League baseball is starting to get a little thin on numbers for different teams and stuff, and you like to see the town come together. And, this brought the town closer together today. There were a lot of people in the stands hooting and hollering.
“That’s what the kids need, and when we won and went out to left (field after game), I told the kids I wanted them to take a couple deep breaths because you’ll remember this for the rest of your life. All-and-all, it’s been one heck of a ride.”
Following the championship banner ceremony, the players, coaches and league officials were paraded around the park area of the City on a fire truck. As the winning team, DuBois’ players and coaches also received a specially engraved bat from BWP Bats to commemorate being the state champions.
Unfortunately for DuBois, the current group of Senior League All-Stars won’t get the chance to continue its season at the Eastern Regional Tournament like so many other DuBois squads have — like the 2008 Senior League squad that featured several players who made regionals three years in a row.
Those teams, managed by Ken Snedden, finished second at regionals in 2006 (Junior League) and 2007 (Senior League) and third in 2008 (Senior League).
Little League made the decision to only hold regional and World Series tournaments for All-Stars at the 12-year-old division in both baseball and softball because of ongoing concerns with COVID-19 and international travel. The two World Series events will feature only teams from the United State this year.
DuBois’ last appearance in a Senior League state final was 2013 — the event’s last year in Emporium — when DuBois lost the title clash to Kennett Square, 12-1, in six innings.
UPPER MORELAND 3, 8 innings
Score by Innings
Upper Moreland 001 010 01 — 3
DuBois 000 000 31 — 4
Shawn Townsend ss 3111, Jared McClellan cf 2000, Jimmy Torpey lf-p-lf 4011, Donato Incollingo p-3b 4010, John Baker dh 4000, Tanner Sharp 3b 0000, Dylan Wood lf 0000, Jack Hoetzel p 0000, Brian Murtha 1b 4020, Paul Meyers c 4000, Alex Best rf 4120, Nathan Kelly 2b 1110. Totals: 30-3-8-2.
Matt Pyne cf 3110, Kaden Clark rf-lf 4110, Carter Hickman ss 3000, Kaden Brezenski 3b 3000, Brayden Fox 1b 4000, Aiden Snowberger p-rf 4110, Cartar Kosko dh 2001, Davey Aughenbaugh spr 0000, Tyler Chamberlin lf-p 0000, Trey Wingard c 3000, Andrew Green 2b 1000, Garrett Frantz ph-2b 1110. Totals: 28-4-4-1.
Errors: UM 5, DuBois 1. LOB: UM 8, DuBos 8. DP: UM 1, DuBois 2. 2B: Townsend; Snowberger. SF: Kosko. SAC: Kelly. HBP: Pyne. SB: Sharp; Pyne, Snowberger, Frantz. PO: Best (by Chamberlin).
Upper Moreland: Donato Incollingo-1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 HB; Jimmy Torpey-6 1/3 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO; Jack Hoetzel-0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO.
DuBois: Aiden Snowberger-6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO; Tyler Chamberlin-2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO.
Winning pitcher: Chamberlin. Losing pitcher: Hoetzel.