Penn Hills Pony League baseball team wraps up strong season with championship
Sunday July 24, 2022 | 9:01
Mason Wade felt the Penn Hills Pony A team was in the middle of what would be a good run. By the time the championship match rolled around July 18 against Squirrel Hill, Wade was confident.
“I had a good feeling halfway through the season,” said Mason, who is a 13-year-old Penn Hills resident. “We got on well as a team. We worked together.
Mason, who had previously played youth baseball in Monroeville, was happy to be back on a team in his community. Penn Hills had a strong season in the CitiParks RBI League, going 12-1-1 which was capped off with a 17-13 win over Squirrel Hill in the championship game.
“The pitches were staggered and there were a lot of steps,” Nathan said.
Other team members included Anthony Sipple, Deejay Goods, Dontae Gidens, Isaiah McFarland, Kashden Wiggins, Kevin Buckner, Korey Buckner, Logan Bollinger, Mariano Pofi, Marques Brown, Rio Stotts and Rocco Ahers.
Many players have taken steps.
“I hit my first home run over the fence,” said 14-year-old Kevin Buckner.
Coach PJ McGough said Penn Hills decided to join the league three or four years ago. The move placed Penn Hills with mostly teams from the city of Pittsburgh, in contrast to the group of suburban schools they had played with previously.
McGough thinks the move better suits the program.
“There’s a wide variety of players out there,” McGough said. “There is a mix of cultures. Good to see a different variety of kids there.
Penn Hills winning the championship was a turnaround after the team struggled last season. Injuries have made things difficult for Penn Hills. When a few players over the age of 13 came out for the team this year, it put Penn Hills in a better position.
“Last year we took our pieces,” McGough said. “Injuries hampered us and we could only rely on a limited number of people.”
During the regular season this year, Penn Hills ran away with the league crown. Penn Hills finished in first place with a 10-1-1 record. The team finished with a plus-70 point differential, outscoring their opponents 133-63.
Other Pony A teams in the league were Squirrel Hill, Urban Impact, Mt. Washington, 14th Ward, Westwood Oakwood, Swissvale and Southside.
In the playoffs, Penn Hills knocked out Mount Washington, 7-1, to advance to the championship game. Throughout the season, Wade was happy with how he adapted.
“I adapted well,” Nathan said. “I knew the competition was going to be tougher to play against older kids.”
Penn Hills had to adapt in the championship game after falling 7-0 in the first set.
“It was wild,” Kevin said. “Having time to come back made it easier, but it was still difficult. We knew we could come back. »
After some tough times last year, McGough was thrilled that Penn Hills was able to pull off a strong season. He thinks the program has found a good landing spot in the CitiParks League.
“They grew together over the weeks,” McGough said. “The progress of the year has been enormous.”
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