The champion Orchard Park Little League 10-and-under team pictured here includes Kyle Zelasko (laying), from left, first row: James Velasquez, Jake Hollins, Kyle Kuczewski and Jake Janus. Second row: Matt Wagner, Sean Riter, Griffin Dietrich, Colin Giancaterino and Bryce Schreiner. Third row: Connor Phalon, Connor Bowman, Blake Breidenstein and Carson Senfield. Fourth row: coaches; Scott Schreiner, Jeff Dietrich and Ted Phalon.
The Orchard Park Little League 10-and-under baseball team continued it’s quest for a state title, advancing to the Section I championship game on Monday where it defeated LeRoy 4-2 in the final at Hanover Field In Silver Creek. The six teams that competed represent all the Little Leagues in Western and Central New York (west of Syracuse).
The win qualified Orchard Park for the 10-U State Championship Tournament from July 23-29 in New York City. The team will begin their journey, driving to the Big Apple on the morning of Monday, July 22. Their first game in the tournament is the next day against the Section III representative, coming from the Capitol Region (Albany). Aside from the teams from Orchard Park and the Albany Region, teams will also be coming from the Catskill Region, New York City, Eastern Long Island and Western Long Island.
On July 15 in Silver Creek, LeRoy scored early taking the early lead, 1-0, until the middle of the game, when OP scored four runs thanks to timely hits and some crafty running. LeRoy tacked on one run late in the game, but, OP’s pitching and defense slammed the door.
OP had defeated two teams over the weekend to earn the right to play for the Section 1 championship. On July 13, the team defeated the Auburn Americans of Central New York 13-2 in a four-inning game that was ended by the mercy rule. This victory set up a semifinal game against Wellsville on July 14, which OP won again by the mercy rule, 15-4 over Wellsville. The team displayed the offensive firepower in the four inning game.
The week prior, O.P. won the New York State Little League District 1 Baseball Championship on Sunday (July 7) with a 13-5 win over Mel Ott Little League. The team of 9- through 11-year-olds consist of players from the towns of Orchard Park, Hamburg, West Seneca and Wales/Aurora.
To get to the championship game, O.P. defeated Southline Little League 12-5 on July 5. The team began their championship run in a five-team qualifying tournament held at the Springville Little League Complex. In this tournament, Orchard Park captured four straight wins. Playing against Southline, River Rock, Mel Ott and North Tonawanda. Orchard Park scored 64 total runs while yielding only six.
If Orchard Park can capture a state title, the team moves on to the Eastern Regional Championships in Rhode Island during the first week of August. Ten states along the east coast will be competing for that title.