A team of Mt. Pleasant Little League baseball players is heading back to the state tournament.
Host Mt. Pleasant, the District 9 champion, defeated Moon, 13-3, at Willow Park on Tuesday night to win the Section 2 tournament and earn a berth to the Pennsylvania Little League tournament for 11- and 12-year-old players.
Most of the players also took part in the state tournament as 10- and 11-year-olds last summer.
“Last year was kind of unchartered waters for our league because we never sent a team to states,” Mt. Pleasant coach Scott Salvatore said. “This year is unchartered because Mt. Pleasant never had a team win the (12-year-old) district title.
“It kind of validated what happened last year.”
On Tuesday night, Mt. Pleasant (6-1) was led by Kyle Jones and Donavin Bair, who each doubled, homered and had four RBIs. Hunter Tate also doubled in the victory.
Nathan Kubasky tossed a five-hitter with five strikeouts. He also had two RBIs.
“This team is better than we were last year,” Salvatore said. “Even in coming into our district tournament, we felt like we had a bull’s-eye on our back. We were able to still push through that and then play really well in the section (tournament).”
The key to Tuesday’s victory was a nine-run outburst in the bottom of the second that helped Mt. Pleasant bounce back from a 3-0 deficit.
“It was just one hit after another,” Salvatore said. “Our hitting has been contagious. Everything was going into gaps and finding holes. Everyone was trying to outdo what the previous person would do.”
With one out, Jones doubled, and four straight singles followed. After a walk and two more singles, Bair belted a three-run home run.
“It was a no-doubter,” Salvatore said.
Mt. Pleasant reached the section title game after opening-round victories over West Middlesex, 16-11, and Moon, 12-11, over the weekend.
The double-elimination state tournament gets under way Sunday at Newville Little League in Newville, near Carlisle. Mt. Pleasant will play the Section 8 champion at 1 p.m.
The winner of the eight-team state tournament advances to the Mid-Atlantic Regional tournament in Bristol, Conn.
“Last year, we didn’t win a game (at the state tournament),” Salvatore said. “It would be great if we were able to win a couple games and advance to the final four round and compete for the state title.”
Bill Hartlep is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected].