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Experience plagues Springville in 12U tourney

Pitcher Nick Pfarner and the Springville 12U District 1 tournament team were eliminated by Grand Island on June 27. Photo by Dave DeLuca.
The Springville 12u baseball team was eliminated from the District 1 tournament on June 27. Springville was competing in the tournament that gave them a chance to advance to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the home of the Little League World Series.

Springville went 1-2 in the tournament and was eliminated after a 10-0 loss to Grand Island. Springville had a young team with five 11-year-olds on the roster.

“We just lacked experience,” Springville head coach Jim Mansfield said. “If we had a couple more experience guys on the team, maybe we could have done a little better. All-and-all, I think they played very well.”

Nick Emmick, Ty Dash, Wyatt Fuller, Austin Walker and Alex Elkins and rounded out the teams’ 11-year-olds that were called up to the 12u team. Mansfield mentioned that he was impressed particularly with the play of Fuller and Walker.

“Wyatt with his speed, he is really fast and has unbelievable speed on the bases,” Mansfield said. “I think he could bunt every time and get on base. I don’t think anyone could throw him out. I was really impressed with Austin Walker, too. Defensively, he made some superb plays for us at third and second [base]. His bat is okay, it’s not great but he makes contact. I’m really excited about those 11-year-old kids.”

Springville was one of the smallest teams in the tournament, having just 10 kids try out for the team before 11-year-olds were promoted. In comparison, teams like Orchard Park, Grand Island and Lockport have 60-70 kids trying out.

“We were at a huge disadvantage, when a team can grab from a pool of 60-70, that’s amazing compared to us,” Mansfield said. “

The number of participants in travel ball was much lower than years past.

“All the 12-year-olds, I encourage them to come out and play the house league,” Mansfield said. “Whether you can make every game or not because of other obligations, come out and play. That way you’re eligible to play districts. I think it would really mean a lot and help the team move on much farther in the tournament with a little more experience.

Springville opened up district play with a 12-1 win over Somerset on June 22. Nick Pfarner tossed a gem on the mound, now allowing an earned run in a one-hitter, 16 strikeout performance. Pfarner pitched four no-hit innings, but a double in the fifth inning broke up the no-hitter.

“There is no question, that was the best game I’ve ever seen him throw, Mansfield said of Pfarner.

“He was getting ahead of the hitters. He was getting ahead 0-2 and then just blowing it by them. I’ve never saw him throw that well ever. He had a lot of 0-2 counts and a lot of three-pitch strikeouts.”

At the plate, Cam Lynch went 2-for-3, including a home run in the sixth inning that easily cleared the fence in left field. Lynch is one of the leaders of the team, having the ability to pitch, play shortstop and play outfield. He also has the ability to hit anywhere in the order and get things going on the basepaths mentioned Mansfield.

“I had him down in the lineup a little bit to give a spark to the bottom of the order, “Mansfield said of Lynch. “He was one of our better contact hitters and for his size, he has surprising power. It just amazes everyone. He doesn’t swing really hard at it, it’s just a nice smooth, fluid swing and when he connects, it’s really solid. His base-running skills are really good, too. He can get from first to third in three or four pitches.”

Springville fell in its second game to Central Amherst, 8-5. The game was tied at 5-5 going into the sixth inning, but Central Amherst clubbed a go-ahead, three-run homer that proved to decide the game. Pfarner and Travis Mansfield each went 2-for-3 at the plate to lead Springville offensively.

Other members of the team included Caleb Darnley, Andrew Walker and Cody Wells.

Playoffs for the “majors” division in the SYI house league will start next week.

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