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YOUTH LEGION BASEBALL: Kovacik finishes perfect season

by The Indiana Gazette on July 02, 2014 10:50 AM

Kovacik Insurance outhit host Marion Center 10-2 and became the first Indiana County Youth Legion baseball team in 24 years to finish the regular season unbeaten with an 11-4 win Monday. The Giants finished the season 18-0 and clinched the No. 1 seed in the Indiana County Youth Legion playoffs.

“It’s awesome. This is what we’ve been building for since they were kids,” Kovacik Insurance coach Dan Shirley said. “I’m hard on them but I’m so proud that they accomplished this. It’s obviously a big accomplishment when you do something that hasn’t been done in 24 years.”

The Giants erased a three-run deficit and scored the game’s last 10 runs to back a superb effort from reliever Austin Gaston, who struck out five, walked two and allowed no hits, no runs and just three base runners in five innings to earn the win. He also singled and doubled.

“That was the third time we came back this year, and Austin was a big part of it,” Shirley said. “He calmed things down and got us out of a jam. He cruised through those last four innings.”

Rick Shirley and Ryan Shirley smacked two singles apiece for Kovacik Insurance.

Dan Shirley pointed out that without a strong push in the offseason from the team’s sponsor, Al Kovacik, the team may have folded before the 2014 season.

“I have to thank Al Kovacik because without him, things would have fell apart before the season even started,” Shirley said. “As a coach, I can’t ask for a better sponsor, better parents or a better group of kids. Their cooperation really made this happen.”

Marion Center concluded its season with a record of 7-11.

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