The North Allegheny Little League baseball tournament team for 10- and 11-year olds is looking forward to next season after coming close to winning the state title this year.
The squad placed third at the Pennsylvania Little League state tournament for 9-11-year olds in Mt. Union, Huntingdon County, July 29-Aug. 4.
The Section 2 champion, North Allegheny won its first two games before losing to Red Land, 8-3, in the semifinals and Keystone, 9-7, in the loser’s bracket.
Red Land, of Section 6, went on to beat Keystone, of Section 12, for the championship.
“We came up short in our last two games, but in both games, the boys competed until the last out,” North Allegheny coach Alex DelVecchio said.
Cam Ward went 8 for 14 with two home runs and was among top hitters for North Allegheny.
Cole Bianchin was 8 for 15 with two round trippers.
Christopher Zwick (6 for 15); Campbell Melzer (6 for 15, 1 home run); and James DelVecchio (7 for 14, 2 home runs) also played well.
Ward, Melzer and Harron Lee were leading pitchers.
In his first year on the team, Ward, 12, of Marshall said he enjoyed competing with his friends.
Zwick, 11, of McCandless said he had fun playing different teams.
North Allegheny successfully defended its Section 2 title by beating Sharpsburg, 5-4, in the championship game July 25 at West Middlesex, Mercer County.
Andrew Gavlik made a diving catch in shallow right field with the bases loaded to end the game, Alex DelVecchio said.
North Allegheny was eliminated from last year’s state tournament after losing its first two games.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.