Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Deep Talent Pool Benefits Blackhawk

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Deep Talent Pool Benefits Blackhawk

Article excerpt

In some communities, American Legion baseball is dying.

As other options emerge, whether it be year-round training for another sport or just another summer league to play baseball, participation declines and rosters dwindle. Some programs cobble together a team only to find out that they have to forfeit games or withdraw from postseason tournaments. Others fold altogether.

And then there are the exceptions. Blackhawk is certainly one of them.

Legion baseball continues to thrive in Blackhawk. Not only is manager Bob Amalia and his staff able to attract a large number of players, they are able to attract the top talent in the area.

The results have showed on the diamond and this summer was no exception.

Blackhawk finished the 2013 Legion season with a 26-6 record. It won the Beaver County championship and Region 6 championship. It reached the Pennsylvania State Tournament for the seventh time since 2000.

The state tournament got off to a rocky start for Blackhawk. With their ace, University of Louisville recruit Brendan McKay, on the mound in the opening game of the eight-team double-elimination tournament, Blackhawk fell to Region 4 champion out of York County, Spring Grove, 2-1.

"I'd be telling a lie if I said it didn't take the wind out of our sails," assistant coach Joe Basile said. "We just didn't catch a lot of breaks, a lot of things didn't go our way, but that is baseball. I was still certain [after game one] that the kids were going to come back."

Blackhawk did bounce back in an elimination game and knocked out the Region 5 champion out of Wyoming Valley, Greater Pittston, 4-2. With McKay slated to pitch game four, the path to a potential sixth appearance in a national tournament was close, but Blackhawk fell, 4- 0, in game three to Region 3 champion out of Chester County, Downingtown.

Assistant coach Lou Wolber compares making postseason tournaments to making a bowl game in college football. …

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