The Collier/Chartiers Valley Intermediate 50/70 Little League team lost its division's inaugural World Series title in a nationally televised game Monday in California, but many believe the boys still accomplished something important.
"They put Collier Township on the map," said Amy Zimmer, treasurer of the Collier Township Athletic Association. "We are very, very proud of all of them."
The team, composed of boys ages 11-13, was defeated 10-1 by the Asia-Pacific team from Osaka, Japan. However, to reach Monday's championship berth at Max Baer Field in Livermore, Calif., the boys first had to win four games in a row in tournament play.
By defeating teams from Arizona, Central Michigan, California and Texas they earned the U. S. championship for their age group.
Off the field, Collier players made friends with the Japanese players, Mrs. Zimmer said. "Our boys actually hung out with them all week," she said.
She noted that the Collier team draws its members from a group of about 30 local players, whereas the Japanese team was selected from all over that country.
Collier's team members are Steven Alauzen, Reed Bruggeman, Domenic Cepullio, Konnor Corchado, Hunter Gordon, Ian Hess, Caysen O'Keefe, Zackary Pilossoph, Zach Rohaley, Nick Serafino and David Yurchak. Head coach Jeff Gordon is assisted by Jack Hess and Steve Alauzen.
Because the Little League World Series took place on the West Coast, most of Collier's 8,000 residents could not attend the tournament. However, the entire U.S./Japan championship game was broadcast live on the ESPN2 network.
At the Bottleshop Cafe at Collier Town Square, supporters gathered to watch the team, said Commissioner Kay Downey-Clarke, who attended with her husband, Gerry.
"[The team] had a couple of tough breaks in one inning," she said. "Whenever we got the one run, everyone was happy."
Residents including Rennerdale's Doreen Ducsay thought it was an accomplishment that the team kept winning and lasted the whole week of final play. The day after the game, she contacted township manager Sal Sirabella about arranging a welcome home celebration.
To honor the team, Collier's volunteer fire department trucks traveled to Pittsburgh International Airport to bring the players home Tuesday. Waiting for the team at its Webb Park home field were about 200 residents with signs, American flags and shirts.
"With a great sense of pride from the Collier community, we thank the boys, the manager and the coaches, all of whom worked hard to prepare for the season, dominate the district, capture the state championship, roll through the regionals and win the national title," Mr. Sirabella said. Another celebration is being planned, he said.
Little League Baseball started the Intermediate Division for players 11-13 last year. The 50/70 division refers to the pitching and base distances.
Carole Gilbert Brown, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.