SANDLOT BASEBALL: Newtown goes undefeated to capture state Youth Legion title
CENTER TOWNSHIP — A year after playing second fiddle at states, the Newtown Tropics left fans at First Commonwealth Field with no doubt that they deserved this year’s tournament crown.
Newtown scored the game’s last five runs to pull away from Upper Perkiomen for a 5-1 win in the Pennsylvania Youth American Legion baseball state championship game Wednesday afternoon. The state runner-up from a year ago and this year’s West Lawn Eastern Regional tournament champ, the Tropics (39-3) won their first state title in team history.
Twin County League champ Upper Perkiomen (32-9), which made it to the state tournament for the first time since 1991, went 3-2 in the tournament.
“We had six guys that were on the team last year that experienced getting to that last game and not ending up on top,” third-year Newtown manager Benjamin Battiste said. “I really think those guys came in this year with the new group of guys and really made them believe and really made them think it was possible.”
With the game knotted 1-1 and the bases loaded in the top of the sixth, Newtown’s Tyler Nowmos got hit by a Matt Schneider pitch to forcee in Jared Schram, giving the Tropics a 2-1 lead.
The following inning, Newtown used three hits, two stolen bases, a walk and a hit batsman to score three runs and take a 5-1 lead. Schram, Cole Hofmann and John Coppola each ripped RBI singles to fuel the rally.
“We just couldn’t answer back today,” third-year Upper Perkiomen manager Perry Breyer said. “They kept chewing away at us by getting a couple runs here and there. They put us in a bigger hole each inning that they scored. ... They were just the better team today. They were great.”
Newtown went 5-0 in the tournament and bested the Braves twice. The Tropics outscored their five opponents 39-18.
“A lot of these guys are used to winning,” Battiste said. “The core of this team — the 15-year-olds — were the last Newtown kids to make it to the Little League World Series. We’ve kept them together this whole time, plus we had some guys from different areas that came out and really completed this team. It really shows that we have some great feeders systems in Newtown.”
Coppola and Hofmann each finished 2-for-4 for Newtown. In the tournament, Coppola went 8-for-16 with a double and two RBIs, and Hofmann finished 8-for-1 7 with three RBIs.
Matt Hand, the tournament’s MVP and the game’s winning pitcher, struck out one, walked one and allowed one hit in four innings to earn the win. Hand fanned four, walked two and allowed one earned run in 10 innings in the tournament.
Newtown’s Brandon Shapiro garnered the tournament’s outstanding pitcher award.
Shapiro struck out six, walked two and allowed one earned run in 10 innings.
Tom Aaron went 2-for-3 and drove in Upper Perkiomen’s lone run.