Colts fight through injury plagued season, finish in top six of the league
By Dave Conard Sports Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com
Sure it’s nine guys playing together and yes the rules, with the exception of a few local leagues, which play nine innings or use wood bats, are generally the same as high school ball.
So what’s the big deal about “Legion Ball” that lures young men, that are either already in college or getting ready to close out their high school career, to give up time they could spend at the beach, Great Adventure any of a dozen other “summer distractions” that could claim their attention.
Perhaps the Kennett Colts this weekend, as the Chester County playoffs got underway, exhibited one of the best examples of just how special “Legion Ball” can be.
After a season in which they could have just as easily donned the white and red colors of a M*A*S*H unit as opposed to the green and yellow that has been the Colts trademark, Kennett (15-12) battled Conestoga on Friday before falling 4-3 to the Pioneers.
On Sunday, thanks to the storms that rolled through Chester County on Saturday, Kennett was face with the unenviable task of playing two games in the sweltering heat as they took on Oxford at home at 11 am.
After getting behind early by a count of 9-1, the Colts, fueled by a sensational effort by the entire team and more specifically Drew Diehl, who has established himself ass a leader in a big way, battled back to claim a 22-11 mercy rule shortened game.
Outscoring the Braves by a 21-2 count over the final three innings was nothing short of amazing as the bats came to life.
“For these guys to come back from that deficit, says something about their character,” said manager Jim Smedley, in his seventh year running the program which has grown by leaps and bounds in his tenure. “They just wanted to keep on playing another day, it would have been easy for a lesser team to pack it in but that is just not this group of extraordinary men.”
The win against Oxford eliminated the Braves and advanced Kennett into an elimination game with Spring City, which has played in the league playoff final for five consecutive seasons.
With Kutztown sophomore Conor Wing taking the hill for the second time all season, the Colts and Wing throttled the Red Sox bats with some nasty breaking stuff delivered courtesy of Wing and some outstanding defense by shortstop Sean Faux.
With two outs in the second inning Tyler Hall recorded the Colts’ first hit of the tilt and was quickly followed by Kevin Welch who drilled a base hit up the middle.
Faux hade it the hat trick as he rapped a single, the third consecutive two out hit, to score Hall and following a throwing error by Spring City catcher Ryan Conway, Kennett found themselves leading 2-0 when Hall came all the way around to score from first base.
Wing and company held the 2010 Pennsylvania State champion Red Sox scoreless through the first four innings until Spring City (21-6 league) rallied to post single runs in the fourth and sixth inning to compliment the two runs each in the fifth and seventh inning allowing the Red Sox to escape with a 6-2 win, ending the Colts season.
“Drew Diehl is a hell of a baseball player,” said Conor Wing, whose Kutztown teammate Shayne Houck was just drafted by the San Francisco Giants. “I have learned so much from him and he showed earlier today what kind of tam mate he is. I am so lucky to be able to play with this bunch of guys.”
“Hey its what you have to do at this point in the season,” added Unionville graduate Wing when ask of the effect of the elements. “It’s not so much the heat, but the humidity that gets you, buts it’s the same for both teams. Them being able to wait for us as we played a tough game earlier was clearly and advantage, we just came up short.”
Spring City will now square off Monday against Conestoga as they have already played Lionville, with Caln, who eliminated Westtown, meeting the Hillcats.
“Every team but the winner of the world series ends their season this way,” added Smedley. “They will all be standing where we are right now, it’s just a matter of when. When you see the guys after the game with tears in their eyes after playing their guts out, and not wanting to say goodbye to each other, as a coach you know you had the right kids on the team.”
“I could not be prouder of the effort these guys gave all year, especially since we never had the team on the field that we drew up in planning the season due to so many injuries.”
Look for our “Building Blocks” feature on Monday about the Kennett legion team and it’s growth over the past eight years.
Kennett 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 – 2 8 3
Spring City 0 0 0 1 2 1 2 0 X -6 10 3
To view a gallery of photos from the game click on http://drcphoto.photostockplus.com
To contact Dave Conard sports editor, email at Dave@timescommunitynewsgroup.com