Overcoming personal loss, long-time Kennett/Unionville teammates find a way to win
The KAU 16 U Senior Division All Stars after dominant performances in the District 28 and Section 7 championships, won the Pennsylvania State Championship in Emporium, P.A. late Monday night, by beating DuBois by a score of 12-1.
The KAU team is primarily made up of players from the Unionville and Kennett areas.
Through the strong starting pitching of Alex Pechin, Andrew Jones, Joe Zirolli and additional support from Tucker Reese, Ryan Barrett and Eric Takoushian, KAU only gave up six runs in 5 games. In addition, to complement strong pitching, the defense was outstanding led by Catcher Eric Duerr who shut down the running game, as well as the exceptional catches and play of OF Drew Jarmuz and strong defense up the middle with Takoushian and Freeman.
Moreover, KAU scored 42 runs in the series through numerous hits and extra base hits paced by Duerr, Jarmuz, Jones, Pechin and Takoushian.
So why has this championship run been so sweet?
First, there is a core group of players that have been together as far back as when they were 10 years old, so there is a strong passion and mutual accountability to play hard and win.
In addition, while KAU has played well in past years, the team had some tough loses in Sectionals two years in a row, which further motivated members of the team to work even harder over the winter, to insure a banner season.
Last but not least, the KAU baseball family has rallied around one of their key players Tucker Reese, whose mother Cathy Reese passed away due to cancer. Just before she passed away, as a big fan of course of Tucker and baseball, she had a note on her bed that said Play Ball! So, during Sectionals, Tucker shuttled two and a-half hours each way to play and be home with his mother, in which fittingly he did an outstanding job hitting and pitching in the Sectional Championship game! Shortly thereafter she died and the team attended an amazing celebration of her life before heading to the state championships.
In winning the State Championship, the KAU All Stars are moving on and representing the State of Pennsylvania in the East Regional Championship Round in West Deptford New Jersey just over the Commodore Barry bridge at the West Deptford Little League Complex (Union Field) where their first opponent will be the Allegany County Team from New York, on Saturday at 5pm.
One final note, as the State Championships were broadcast throughout the country and world streaming online via river98.9.com (Emporium, P.A.) And the support by Historic Kennett Square and The Mushroom Cap in Kennett Square was greatly appreciated.