One day before a new league champion is set to be crowned, the American Legion District 31 All-District Team was released.
Latrobe, the regular-season league champion, had eight players named to the All-District Team, while Unity Township and Derry each had one representative.
Jake Bradish and Payton Henry led the charge for Latrobe, as both were First Team representatives.
Bradish appeared on the list in two categories, on the First Team as a pitcher, and as a Second Team outfielder. Bradish is a returning two-time All-District honoree as a pitcher and a returning All-District mention as an outfielder. Just last Saturday, Bradish tossed a no-hitter during the Jethawks’ victory in Game 1 of their semifinal-round playoff series against Young Township. Henry was named to the First Team as a pitcher.
Logan Gustafson, Logan Short, Vinny Amatucci, Clay Petrosky and Ben Anderson were all named to the Second Team for Latrobe, while Erick Batista was an Honorable Mention.
Gustafson, Short, Petrosky and Anderson are all returning All-District mentions, while Amatucci is a two-time returning All-District representative. Bradish and Amatucci are the only two Latrobe players to make the list as two-time returning All-District mentions.
Gustafson is a Second Team pitcher, while Short made it as a catcher. Amatucci and Petrosky are both a Second Team infielders, while Anderson was named to the Second Team as an outfielder. Batista was an Honorable Mention as an outfielder.
Chase Sickenberger was the lone Unity Township representative and Ryan Bushey made the team from Derry. Sickenberger was a First Team infielder, while Bushey appeared on the Second Team, also as an infielder. Bushey was a returning All-District Honorable Mention in the past.
Top-seeded Latrobe is scheduled to square off with No. 3 Yough during the American Legion District 31 championship game, which is set for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Legion-Keener Field in Latrobe.
Wednesday’s championship game will be broadcast live on the Westmoreland Sports Network. To listen to the game, fans can visit westmorelandsports.com on their computers or mobile devices. The game will also be archived, allowing fans to listen back later. Bulletin Sports Writer Sean Meyers and Roger Downs will call the action.
Latrobe swept No. 4 Young Township, outscoring the Renegades 15-3 during the two-game semifinal-round series. Yough also finished a sweep of No. 2 Bushy Run on Monday.
Latrobe and Yough both qualified for the upcoming Region 7 Tournament, which begins Saturday in Saint Michael, near Johnstown.
The American Legion season was canceled last year because of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but Latrobe participated in a new one-year independent summer baseball league, which consisted of nine Westmoreland County-based teams.
Latrobe made a championship-game appearance in that independent league and a trip to its regional tournament.
One year later, the Jethawks are going back to the District 31 championship game and the Region 7 Tournament.
The Jethawks have won 16 of 18 and 19 of its last 22 against league opponents. Latrobe has outscored the opposition 107-22 in its last 12 games.
The Jethawks are now 10-time District 31 finalists, last appearing in the championship game in 2016 prior to last year’s title-game appearance in the independent league. Latrobe has appeared in the championship game four times in the last seven seasons and seven times in the last 14 years, dating back to 2008.
Latrobe has appeared in the Region 7 tournament 13 times since 1992, including last season’s independent league and the host team in 2019. The Jethawks have been involved in regional play nine times in the past 14 years, including the last three seasons. They have appeared in the regional seven times in the last 10 seasons. Latrobe captured the Region 7 Tournament and advanced to the Pennsylvania State Tournament, both in 2013.
Latrobe qualified for the Region 7 Tournament for the 17th time in program history, good for fifth all-time in the region. The Jethawks were crowned champions twice, in 1981, along with the 2013 title victory. They carry an all-time 31-29 record.
Yough is in the regional tournament for the second consecutive year, and the second time all-time in back-to-back seasons as the current franchise. Yough went 3-2 in last year’s tournament held in Hollidaysburg.
Other Region 7 qualifiers include St. Michael as the host team, Latrobe, Yough, Bedford, Claysburg and Philipsburg.
Unity Township finished as the No. 6 team in the regular season, while Derry earned the No. 7 seed for the playoffs. Yough swept Unity Township in the best-of-three quarterfinal-round of the playoffs, while Bushy Run swept Derry, also in the opening round.
Pitchers – Jake Bradish, Latrobe; Payton Henry, Latrobe; Vinny Martin, Yough; Nate Wilkins, Yough.
Catcher – Cole DeFillippo, Bushy Run.
Infielders – Connor Helm, Murrysville; Kameron Pritts, Yough; Giovanni Scott, Bushy Run; Chase Sickenberger, Unity Township; Brady Yard, Young Township.
Outfielders – Trevor Brncic, Murrysville; Liam Heilman, Bushy Run; Vinnie Martin, Yough.
Pitcher – Riley Bellan, Bushy Run; Blake Fairman, Young Township; Logan Gustafson, Latrobe; Ethan Prugh, Young Township; Sean Royer, Yough; Brady Yard, Young Township.
Catcher – Steve Manon, Yough; Logan Short, Latrobe.
Infielders – Vinny Amatucci, Latrobe; Ryan Bushey, Derry; Ryan Firmstone, Hempfield East; Zack Hoffman, Bushy Run; Clay Petrosky, Latrobe; Ryan Scavnicky, Bushy Run.
Outfielder – Ben Anderson, Latrobe; Jake Bradish, Latrobe; Michael Bell, Yough; Brice Laurenti, Young Township; Zach Miller, Murrysville.
Pitcher – Dustin Coleman, Young Township; Jake Chrise, Bushy Run; Jeffrey Downs, Murrysville; Nolan Marasti, Bushy Run; Chris Pagano, Murrysville.
Catcher – Allen Novacek, Yough; Hayden Teska.
Infielders – Jonathan Hotalski, Kiski Valley; Brayden Patton, Hempfield East; Jack Sampson, Yough; Braden Staats, Young Township.
Outfielders – Erick Batista, Latrobe; Brandon Coughlin, Hempfield East; Matt Lichota, Bushy Run; Christian Park, Yough.