It will be the second time in three years that Youngstown has qualified.
By MARK W. MILLER
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- For the second time in three years, a Youngstown team is going to play for the 14-year-old Babe Ruth World Series championship in Quincy, Mass.
Manager Al Franceschelli led the 14-year-old Babe Ruth All-Stars as they defeated Williamette Valley (Ore.), 3-1, for the 2003 title.
"Thirty thousand teams throughout the nation started playing last spring and now there are 12 left," said Franceschelli. "It's unbelievably tough to win the World Series."
Last year, most of this 14-year-old team played in the 13-year-old Babe Ruth tournament and finished third at the regional.
"The kids are close and get along well," Franceschelli said. "They are decent kids, that's what makes them so successful. They are very fast, good hitters and play outstanding defense."
Youngstown will play Pacific Northwest on Aug. 19 at 11 a.m. with Cory Hill (3-0) pitching. Hill also plays first base and Hill has a .450 batting average.
"We'll be in pool play with teams in each pool," Franceschelli said. "That guarantees each team four games and then they'll take the top four teams for single elimination."
Also on the Youngstown team are: Drew Fitzpatrick (second base, .500 batting average for the tournament); Jamie Shephard (center fielder, .571); Shane Wagner (right field-pitch, .316, 1-0 record); Kevin McCulloh (shortstop, .440); Nick Crum (outfield-pitcher, .545); Pat O'Brien (infielder, .333); Jared Turocy (pitcher-outfield, .350); Anthony Franceschelli (third base, .571); Rick Segesto (outfielder, .545); Jason Cagoly (catcher, .583); Shawn Roman (outfielder-pitcher, .438); Danny Bacco (catcher-outfield, .500); Ben Bechto (catcher, .350); and Nick Binello (outfielder, .300).
Dominating the regional
During the past nine weeks, Youngstown won four games to capture the state title in Mount Vernon and then swept the regional in five games in New Castle, Ind.
Youngstown scored a record 67 runs in the state tournament, shattering the old mark of 38.
"Our kids are team-oriented with a positive attitude. They support and root for each other," Franceschelli said. "They work hard and are dedicated, that's what makes them World Series contenders."
"When they get behind, they always find a way to win," Franceschelli said. "They are one of the most talented teams I've had in my 25 years of coaching. They blend well together."
Tom Fitzpatrick and Terry Landis are coaches for the team.