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Bellwood VFW Teeners finish second at States

B-A 2007 VFW Teener League State Runners-up

The B-A 13/14-year old VFW Teener League stars placed second in the VFW State Tournament in Lebanon. First Row: Jared Minori, Tyler Beech, Deryk Montgomery. Second Row: Brian McCracken, Lucas Evans. Third Row: Cody Krepps, Tobias Patterson, Garrett Lender, Derek Denny, Brian Leap, Eric Miller, Andrew DeGol. Coaches: Kenny Denny, Brian Leap, Jim Krepps, Bob Montgomery. (The Daily Herald/Courtesy Photo)

How this Bellwood 13 and 14-year VFW Teener Al-Star team handled their adversity this year was truly sensational. They were a team of 12 players out of the 30 or so that played baseball in Bellwood. They had played on the same team for years and had done quite well.
To get into the VFW State Tournament, they first had to be one of the top two teams in the Area 4 VFW Tournament. The teams represented in the Area tourney were Bellwood, Tyrone, Hollidaysburg and Altoona. Each of Bellwood’s opponents had a much larger amount of players to pick from. It was run in a round-robin format with the teams playing each other twice. Only the top two teams would advance to the State VFW Tournament.
In their first game, Bellwood took care of Altoona by the 10-run Mercy Rule and followed that by doing it again against Hollidaysburg. Both of these games were played at home at Bellwood’s own Drost Field. In their third game, played at Tyrone’s Ferner Field, Tyrone handed Bellwood their first loss. The next contest was against Altoona, on Altoona’s field, just behind the Drost Field, which they also dropped. Then a down-in-the-dumps Bellwood team traveled to Longer Field in Hollidaysburg, where they lost their third straight game to Hollidaysburg. At that point, they were 2-3. Their final game of the round-robin was at home against Tyrone. Bellwood battled back from their first loss at Tyrone to down Tyrone and finish 3-3. Altoona lost to Hollidaysburg to fall to 2-4, allowing Bellwood to advance to the State Finals, as the second Area 4 seed, along with Hollidaysburg, who finished 5-1.
The VFW State Tournament was played in Lebanon, and was double elimination. Bellwood faced adversity in their very first game, getting edged by Schuylkill 11-10 to fall into the loser’s bracket.
But on the second day of the tournament, Bellwood quickly decided that they would not be sent packing after two straight losses. They rallied against their next opponent to beat Lebanon Valley 4-2 in the first of what turned out to be two straight games against teams from the area. In the second game, against Lebanon City, Bellwood racked up 13 runs, while limiting their foe to just one hit in a 13-0 shutout. In back-to-back games, Bellwood had sent both host teams packing.
In Day Three of the tourney, Bellwood got a rematch against Schuylkill, the team that had knocked them into the consolation bracket on the first day. Bellwood players gained a sweet measure of revenge in beating Schuylkill 14-5 to eliminate them. Bellwood then advanced to the state finals by edging Punxsutawney 7-6, to maneuver the difficult road through the loser’s bracket to the championship games.
Going up against Bellefonte, the winner’s bracket juggernaut, Bellwood faced the unenviable task of having to beat undefeated Bellefonte twice to claim the championship. In the first game, Bellwood, behind a superb offensive attack led by Jared Minori, who bombed a three-run home run over the 320-foot left field fence, handed Bellefonte their first tournament loss, 12-6. The next game spelled disaster for Bellwood however. Bellefonte shut down the Bellwood offense and put the team in a hole, from which they were unable to climb out. Bellwood suffered an 8-4 loss to Bellefonte forcing the locals to a runner-up position.
Deryk Montgomery pitched two complete games and Garrett Lender tossed the one-hitter versus Lebanon City.
Bellwood couldn’t have achieved any of this success without their superb ability to play together as a team, excellent coaching, and lastly, raw talent. They were able to place second at the VFW State Finals, a very considerable accomplishment for a team of 12 players, coming out of a Single-A school District and a very small town. Bellwood finished the State Tournament 5-2 and were 8-5 overall counting their Area 4 Tournament competition. The second place finish in the VFW State Tournament this year, was the best ever in the history of the Bellwood VFW Teener history.