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The DICK'S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series

West Zone - San Jose, CA

                                                                        West Zone - San Jose, CA

WASHINGTON, PA (August 11, 2021) — PONY Baseball’s West Zone representative in the 2021 DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series will be San Jose, CA. In the tournament’s 69-year history, this will be San Jose’s first appearance. 

For San Jose’s coach, Shane Hall, making the trip to the PONY World Series is a dream come true.

“My involvement in the San Jose PONY League started 35 years ago as a kid growing up and playing ball in San Jose,” said Hall. “I’ve coached for some time now in PONY, and when San Jose PONY gave me the opportunity to coach, there wasn’t even a question.”

Hall’s deep roots in the San Jose PONY League allow him to understand just how special this opportunity is for his players, and after his team’s performance in the West Zone tournament, he has big expectations for his team as they head to Washington, PA. 

In the West Zone tournament, San Jose powered its way through teams from Utah and California, outscoring its opponents 32-9.

San Jose will play its first game in the 2021 DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series against Brownsville, TX, at 5:30 PM on Friday, August 13, at Lew Hays PONY Field in Washington, PA.

East Zone - Manchester, NH

                                                                         East Zone - Manchester, NH
 

WASHINGTON, PA (August 10, 2021) — PONY Baseball’s East Zone representative in the 2021 DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series will be Manchester, NH. In the tournament’s 69-year history, Manchester is the first team ever from New Hampshire to make the August journey to Washington, PA.

Manchester’s coach, Micah Durham, is especially proud of his team being the first from New Hampshire to ever qualify for the PONY World Series.

“We have a great group of kids that have been working together for about a month,” said Durham. “They continue to surprise us with their dedication, work ethic and determination. We as a coaching staff truly believe they can achieve anything they set their minds to.”

Durham also believes his team is strong both offensively and defensively, which Manchester proved in its qualifying tournaments. In the East Zone tournament, Manchester’s bats scored 39 runs, while the team’s pitchers held opponents to just five runs. 

Manchester will play its first game in the 2021 DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series against Johnstown, PA, at 8:00 PM/ET on Friday, August 13, at Lew Hays PONY Field in Washington, PA. 

Host-Area Runner-Up - Youngstown, OH

Host-Area Runner-Up - Youngstown, OH

WASHINGTON, PA (August 8, 2021) — PONY Baseball’s Host-Area Runner-Up representative in the 2021 DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series will be Youngstown, OH. The Ohioans will represent Youngstown's fourth consecutive World Series berth. 

The team’s coach, Dominic Triveri, certainly has his fair share of experience as a youth baseball skipper. Triveri has managed youth baseball teams for over 20 years, and his 2021 team in Youngstown’s regular season went 25-0, winning the league championship. Although Triveri has an extensive coaching background, this will be his first trip to Washington, PA.

“This will be my first time attending the PONY World Series,” said Triveri. “We are excited to represent Youngstown and show everyone the talent these players have coming out of Youngstown.”

After outscoring its opponents 50-4 in the Host-Area Tournament, Triveri believes his team is solid on both sides of the ball.

“We have a great hitting line up with both power and good contact hitters, great pitching staff, and our defense is outstanding,” said Triveri.

Youngstown will play its first game in the 2021 DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series against Washington County, PA, at 8:00 PM/ET on Saturday, August 14, at Lew Hays PONY Field in Washington, PA.

Host-Area Champion - Johnstown, PA

                                                              Host-Area Champion - Johnstown, PA

WASHINGTON, PA (August 7, 2021) — PONY Baseball’s Host-Area Champion representative in the 2021 DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series will be Johnstown, PA. The 2021 squad will be the tenth team from Johnstown to make the trip to Washington, PA, and will be Johnstown’s first representative since 2016.

The Johnstown team has certainly been a powerhouse in recreational and sanction play, going 18-1 in local league play and undefeated in the Host-Area tournament. In the Host-Area tournament, Johnstown outscored its opponents 37-13. After racking up so many runs, it comes as no surprise that Johnstown believes its greatest strength is its batting.

“We hit the ball well from top to bottom,” said Brian Oleksa, Johnstown’s coach. “The boys have a great bond, like brothers. We are looking forward to good competition and a great atmosphere.”

Johnstown will play its first game in the 2021 DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series against PONY’s East Zone Champion at 8:00 PM/ET on Friday, August 13, at Lew Hays PONY Field in Washington, PA.

South Zone - Brownsville, TX

                                                                         South Zone - Brownsville, TX

WASHINGTON, PA (August 5, 2021) — PONY Baseball’s South Zone representative in the 2021 DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series will be Brownsville, TX. The 2021 Texan squad will be the fourth consecutive team from Brownsville to reach the World Series.

Although Brownsville will be making its fourth straight appearance, qualifying this year was certainly no easy feat. Brownsville fought its way through a 16-team, double-elimination bracket, outscoring its opponents 17-5.

With such a dominant performance, it comes as no surprise that Brownsville’s coach, Ruben Lopez, believes his team’s greatest strength is its batting. 

In years past, Brownsville has always made a splash at its trips to the World Series in Washington, PA. The 2017 team featured Brownsville player Marco Martinez hurdling Washington County’s catcher to win the game in walk-off fashion. Martinez’s hurdle was SportsCenter’s top play of the month for August. The 2018 Brownsville squad featured Anny Rivera, the first girl to ever participate in the PONY World Series.

To see what surprises Brownsville brings this year, check out Brownsville’s first game against the West Zone champion at 5:30 PM/ET on Friday, August 13, at Lew Hays PONY Field in Washington, PA.

North Zone - Bay County, MI

North Zone - Bay County, MI

WASHINGTON, PA (August 3, 2021) —PONY Baseball’s North Zone representative in the 2021 DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series will be Bay County, MI. The 2021 squad will be the ninth consecutive team from Bay County to make the trip to Washington, PA. 

The Bay County team hopes to build on the impressive showing they had in the 2019 World Series, finishing as the runner-up after losing a hard-fought championship game to Chinese Taipei.

Jim Butts, who was also the coach of Bay County’s 2019 team, will be the team’s manager again this year. After his team’s impressive showing in 2019, Butts has some high expectations for this year.

“To be able to see and play against some of the top teams in the world is humbling,” said Butts. “We certainly exceeded our expectations last time and have a greater appreciation for the previous accomplishments of the Bay County PONY League. As far as what it has taught me for this year, I would say that it has raised expectations and maybe the ability to make the boys believe in the possibilities in front of them."

Although Butts believes in his team’s ability, his main goal is for his team to play hard.

“All I know is that these boys love the game and will play hard,” stated Butts. “I guess that's all I can ask for.”

Also coaching the Bay County squad is Craig Revette, the team’s business manager. Craig was a perennial assistant to his father, Dan Revette, on many of Bay County’s trips to the PONY World Series. 

Unfortunately, Dan passed away shortly after the 2019 tournament. Although many names and many deeds go unrecorded in minutes of meetings and reports of activities, they are engraved on the hearts of those young people who benefit from the time, the effort, and the talent that volunteers have given to them through PONY Baseball and Softball, with Dan Revette’s efforts being no exception.

Bay County will play its first game in the 2021 DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series against Bayamon, Puerto Rico, at 5:30 PM/ET on Saturday, August 14, at Lew Hays PONY Field in Washington, PA.

Caribbean Zone - Bayamon, Puerto Rico

Caribbean Zone - Bayamón, Puerto Rico

WASHINGTON, PA (July 23, 2021) — PONY Baseball’s Caribbean Zone representative in the 2021 DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series will be Bayamón, Puerto Rico. Due to international travel restrictions from the Coronavirus Pandemic, Puerto Rico will be the only international team in the 2021 tournament.

Bayamón went undefeated in the Puerto Rican National Championship, outscoring its opponents 25-7. Bayamón defeated Levittown, Puerto Rico, in the championship game by a score of 10-2. 

After Bayamón’s performance in the Puerto Rican Championship, it comes as no surprise that the team’s coach, Anthony Rodriguez, believes that the team’s biggest strength is its batting. 

“All year we have had big hits at the right moment,” said Rodriguez. “Myself and our parents are very proud of our team, and we hope to end the summer as World Series champions.”

To prepare for the 2021 World Series, Bayamón practices each day of the week and plays tournament games on weekends. 

The 2021 Bayamón squad will be the eighth team from Bayamón to play in the DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series. Bayamón won the 1995 PONY League World Series and is making its first appearance since 2013. Bayamón will play its first game against the North Zone champion on Saturday, August 14 at 5:30 PM/ET at Lew Hays PONY Field in Washington, PA.

Host Team - Washington County, PA

Host Team - Washington County, PA

WASHINGTON, PA (July 13, 2021) — The host team in the 2021 DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series will be Washington County, PA. The growth of the Founder’s League gave Washington County 12 PONY teams, allowing 31 players to try out for the World Series team.

Ben Miller, the coach of the 2019 Washington County squad, will also be the head coach of the 2021 team. Miller grew up playing baseball in Maryland and was a catcher in high school and at Waynesburg University, where he was a three-year starter. The remainder of Miller’s coaching staff consists of John Stack, John Rieg, and Jason Vankirk, all of whom have extensive coaching experience in Washington Youth Baseball.

When questioned about the team selection process, Miller detailed just how difficult picking the right World Series team is. 

“The team selection process began before the first game of the regular season,” said Miller. “I went to about 25 games to watch the kids play. Following the playoffs, we offered a three-day tryout and collected video and mechanical data, along with quantitative evaluations.”

Miller is also working his team hard to prepare them for competitive World Series play. The Washington County squad practices six days per week and will play in four tournaments. Miller also has his team playing in two tournaments against 15- and 16-year-olds to prepare for better pitching. 

After winning two games in the 2019 World Series, Miller has certainly set some high expectations. Although the 2019 Washington County squad was the most successful since the 2006 team, which also won two games, Miller does have a few things he wants to do differently.

“First, I want to focus on all the preliminary tournaments from a learning perspective, rather than winning,” said Miller. “The only thing I want to repeat from 2019 is to make sure my guys know how much I believe that they can end this summer as world champions.”

Washington County will play its first game in the 2021 DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series at 8:00 PM/ET on Saturday, August 14 at Lew Hays PONY Field in Washington, PA.

Washington County Founder's League Continues to Expand

Washington County Founder’s League Continues to Expand

WASHINGTON, PA (July 9, 2021) — The Washington County Founder’s PONY League has added more teams in 2021, allowing the host team to be more representative of Washington County for the DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series.

In recent years, Washington County has grown its footprint through the Founder’s League and is becoming a truly county-wide league. In 2016, the Founder’s League was formed between Washington and Canon-McMillan Youth Baseball, which were the first two PONY leagues in the world. In 2020, Chartiers-Houston also joined, with Fort Cherry joining in 2021.

In total, the school districts of Trinity, Washington, McGuffey, Bentworth, Chartiers-Houston, and Fort Cherry are now included in the Founder’s League. The 2021 team will feature five Trinity students, three McGuffey students, three Chartiers Houston students, two Canon-McMillan students, one Washington student, and one Bentworth student. Per the League’s by-laws, new leagues must wait one year before they are eligible to have players on the World Series team, so Fort Cherry players would not be eligible until 2022.

Founder’s League President, Dale Lolley, has spearheaded the growth of the league. It is Lolley’s hope that a larger league will lead to a more representative team for Washington County.

“We had twelve teams in our league this year with about 150 players,” said Lolley. “That makes us one of the largest PONY organizations in Western Pennsylvania, if not Pennsylvania overall. As single organizations, we just couldn’t compete on our own at the international level. Together, we’re all stronger, and it gives us more teams to play against in the rec season, which is a win-win for everyone.”

Having 12 teams allowed the Founder’s League to form a second all-star team that will play in the Host-Area Zone tournament and qualify for the World Series, which Lolley recognized as significant.

“We had 31 kids try out for the World Series team this year, which is the most we’ve had in my time doing this,” stated Lolley. “It’s only going to continue to grow.”

Both Lolley and Rick Herrnberger, President of Washington Youth Baseball, are confident that the league will continue to grow.

“We’ve been in talks with Peters Township about joining in 2022, which is looking very likely at this point,” said Herrnberger. “Obviously having a more competitive team is great for the World Series. When Washington plays more games, more fans will come out, giving us better exposure.”

Abraham Key, President and CEO of PONY Baseball and Softball, also recognized the importance of the Founder’s League as a way to represent more communities within Washington County and get them involved in the World Series.

“PONY was founded in Washington in the summer of 1951 with six original teams of 13- and 14- year-olds,” stated Key. “As the game continues to evolve, we want to be inclusive and more representative of Washington County. The addition of several new programs in the Founder’s League will allow for a robust regular season of local baseball for our county players and expand the eligible player pool for the PONY League World Series host team.”

The impact of the Founder’s League growth has certainly been evident in recent years, with the 2019 Washington County team beating London, United Kingdom, and Simi Valley, CA. The last time that Washington won two games was in the 2006 World Series when the Washington squad lost in the semi-finals to Simi Valley, CA, a team which featured 2018 National League MVP Christian Yelich.

World Series Tournaments, Inc.
World Series Tournaments, Inc., a nonprofit organization in Washington, PA, is the host organization for the DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series. This all-volunteer organization is responsible for the funding and staffing requirements of the event, along with all other related operational activities. WSTI solicits funding from businesses and individuals to cover the expenses and invites additional volunteers and workers to handle the variety of activities prior to and during the World Series. More information is available at plws.org.

PONY Baseball and Softball, Inc.
PONY Baseball and Softball is an international youth baseball and softball organization headquartered in Washington, PA. Founded in 1951, PONY has over 500,000 annual participants ages 4-23 in over 50 countries. The name PONY comes from the acronym of “Protect Our Nation’s Youth.” Member leagues are designed as a method of community action to help young people develop into better adults through participation in organized and supervised recreation. More information is available at pony.org.

DICK'S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series Will Return in 2021

DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series Will Return in 2021 and DICK’S Sporting Goods Extends Naming Rights Agreement

 

WASHINGTON, PA (June 9, 2021) — PONY Baseball and Softball has announced that it will have the 2021 DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series from August 13-18 at Lew Hays PONY Field in Washington, PA.

After canceling all World Series play in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, PONY Baseball and Softball President and CEO, Abraham Key, was delighted to announce the annual August classic will return to Washington County this summer.

“PONY is proud to announce the dates for the 2021 DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series,” said Key. “As you can imagine, the last fifteen months have been challenging, and we are not yet back to 100% operational. However, there is significant domestic and international interest in resuming a normal tournament season, including the DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series.”

World Series Tournaments, Inc., PONY’s host organization for the event, echoed Key’s sentiments. “World Series Tournaments, Inc. is once again excited to be hosting the DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series on behalf of PONY Baseball in Washington County,” said Nathan Voytek, President of Tournaments, Inc. “The tournament is a staple of summer for our community and region, and we look forward to again seeing the top thirteen- and fourteen-year-old youth baseball players from around the world compete on historic Lew Hays PONY Field.”

Although it is certain that there will be a 2021 tournament, it is not certain which of PONY’s international zones will be represented. Thus far, PONY has announced that, due to international travel restrictions, its Mexican and European zones will not be represented, causing the field to be reduced from ten to eight teams. PONY is still working on securing a representative from its Caribbean and Asia-Pacific Zones. However, PONY will have all four of its domestic zones represented, along with the Host-Area zone and the host team, Washington County.

In response to questions about the decision to host the 2021 event, both Key and Voytek acknowledged the decreasing severity of the pandemic and the relaxing of Pennsylvania’s Covid-19 restrictions. On June 1, 2021, PA Governor, Tom Wolf, announced that all events could return to 100% capacity, followed by a removal of the state’s mask mandate on June 28.

Washington County Tourism and Promotion Agency President, Jeff Kotula, also recognized the significance of the tournament’s return. In 2019, almost 25,000 attended the World Series at Lew Hays PONY Field, helping the week-long event generate a regional economic impact of over $4 million.

“Based on a 2019 study commissioned by the county tourism agency, 39% of spectators attending the PONY League World Series are first-time visitors to Washington County,” said Kotula. “As such, this event continues to present a significant opportunity to showcase the county’s many historical, entertainment, and cultural attractions, and we are proud to continue our longstanding support of the event.”

Key, Voytek, and Kotula also acknowledged the sponsorship support from DICK’S Sporting Goods as a key reason for the event’s return this summer. Further, all three were pleased to announce a contract extension with DICK’S Sporting Goods as the event's title sponsor, helping the World Series to continue to grow in future years.

Fans who plan to attend this year’s tournament can expect the baseball action to kick off at Lew Hays PONY Field on Friday, August 13, with the championship game being on Wednesday, August 18. During the evening of Thursday, August 12, fans can also attend the Ansys Fan Fest at the Washington, PA, DICK’S Sporting Goods location. Further updates and details can be found on plws.org as they become available.

 

World Series Tournaments, Inc.
World Series Tournaments, Inc., a nonprofit organization in Washington, PA, is the host organization for the DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series. This all-volunteer organization is responsible for the funding and staffing requirements of the event, along with all other related operational activities. WSTI solicits funding from businesses and individuals to cover the expenses and invites additional volunteers and workers to handle the variety of activities prior to and during the World Series. More information is available at plws.org.

PONY Baseball and Softball, Inc.
PONY Baseball and Softball is an international youth baseball and softball organization headquartered in Washington, PA. Founded in 1951, PONY has over 500,000 annual participants ages 4-23 in over 50 countries. The name PONY comes from the acronym of “Protect Our Nation’s Youth.” Member leagues are designed as a method of community action to help young people develop into better adults through participation in organized and supervised recreation. More information is available at pony.org.

Happy 65th Anniversary, Washington '55


PONY Baseball started in Washington, Pennsylvania. Therefore, it was expected that Washington would have a strong program in PONY’s early years. A Washington team qualified for the first World Series in 1952 and earned a spot in the tournament three years later. 

A powerhouse team from Monongahela won the 1954 PONY title, much to the delight of the people in Washington County. Could Washington match Mon City? Area hopes were certainly high in 1955. 

The fourth PONY League World Series was set to open Thursday, August 18, with four games. The opener was scheduled for 9:30 am with an afternoon game and two evening contests to follow. Friday and Saturday had an identical schedule. Of course, in 1955, playing youth baseball on a Sunday wasn’t even a consideration. A single game was set for Monday with the championship round on the docket Tuesday and Wednesday.

Washington opened the 1955 World Series with a squeaker against Greensboro, North Carolina. As a crowd estimated at 4,500 watched, Billy Klinzig led off the top of the seventh inning with a home run to center field, breaking the 7-7 tie. It was Klinzig’s second home run of the game, giving him four RBI in the 8-7 win.

Fred (Reggie) Bolden came on in relief and picked up the victory. He allowed just two hits over the final 3.1 innings. Greensboro had 11 hits over the opening 3.2 frames. 

For all of the drama in the locals’ opening-round win against Greensboro, the squad’s second game win over Marquette, Illinois was rather run-of-the-mill. Washington scored two runs in the first inning, then put up back-to-back three-run frames in the third and fourth. John Phillips got the 8-3 victory, tossing a complete game. 

Bolden, playing first base, had two singles, a double, and a home run, driving in five runs. His four hits established a new PLWS record. 

Washington left fielder Don Richmond stroked a home run and drove in three. The win put Washington just one victory away from a spot in the 1955 PLWS Championship Game.

Unfortunately, Youngstown, Ohio was the team with all the “Wright” stuff, Butch Wright, that is. Early on, it looked like the local squad was in good shape, scoring two runs without a hit in the first inning. Youngstown pulled even in the fourth, and Wright took over on the mound. The reliever held Washington at bay, striking out seven of the nine batters he retired over the final three innings. Wright added a double and a home run to get the 4-2 win. And it was Youngstown getting the berth in the championship round. Washington headed to the losers’ bracket and a meeting with San Antonio, Texas. 

A rainy Monday gave the teams a second day off and moved the elimination game to Tuesday night. For Washington fans, it was well worth the wait. Trailing 2-1 early, Washington scored three runs in the third inning and added five more in the fourth against San Antonio, a program that won the first-ever PLWS in 1952 and was making its third appearance in the tournament’s first four years. Don Ferrell and Richmond blasted home runs for the winners. Both had two RBI along with Bolden, the winning pitcher, as Washington claimed their spot in the finals with a 10-3 victory.

Off since Saturday’s win over the host, all the Ohioans needed was one win to claim the 1955 PLWS title. Washington needed to beat Youngstown twice to win the championship. 

Scoring four times in the top of the first inning, it looked like Youngstown might have it wrapped up. But Washington never quit. After a single run in the fourth, the locals tied the game with three more runs in the sixth.

Sloppy play certainly helped the rally. Ferrell singled, stole second and moved to third on a wild throw. He scored when Bolden’s grounder was fumbled. Richmond singled, and he and Bolden moved up on a balk. Both scored on another error. 

The estimated crowd of 6,000 had to endure the tension of extra innings. But relief came off the bat of Richmond, a towering two-run home run that gave Washington a 6-4 win and a winner-take-all rematch with Youngstown. 

With the championship on the line, and the ball in Bolden's hand on the mound, Washington had to like its chances. But Wright was on the mound for Youngstown, and everyone remembered his stifling performance Saturday night.

The game really boiled down to one inning, the Washington third. Joe Kern led off with a walk and moved to second on a balk. John Voytek laid down a perfect bunt single, putting runners on the corners. Joe Hagan singled to right, driving in Kern. Pete Vactor walked to load the bases. Voytek scored on a force play at second. Phillips' sacrifice bunt scored Hagan. Catcher's interference added another run, making it 4-0.

Now, with a four-run lead, Bolden just had to hold off any potential Youngstown rally over the final four innings. Two batters had reached base in the first inning. Only two others reached the rest of the way. When Vactor caught Gerry Beck's fly ball to right field for the game's final out, Washington became not just "the Home of PONY Baseball" but "the Home of the 1955 PONY World Series Champions," much to the delight of the 7,500 fans in attendance.

Bolden held Youngstown to one hit, no walks and struck out ten, earning his third win of the World Series, a record that has been equaled but never bettered.

The Washington Observer newspaper described the post-game ceremony this way: "The championship trophy was presented to (Art) Sandusky by Commissioner Lew Hays. Sandusky, half-choked by emotion and partially hoarse from shouting, thanked all those who had helped him lead the squad to the championship."

During the championship game, contributions were collected to send the World Series champions to New York City for a five-day trip. The winners went to Ebbetts Field to see the Brooklyn Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals, then dined at Gene Leone's Restaurant in Times Square. They visited Grossingers' camp to watch heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano work out for a fight, then swam in the famed Grossinger pool. The '55 champs visited the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and the US Military Academy at West Point.


Washington 8

Greensboro 7

 

Washington 8

Marquette 3

Youngstown 4

Washington 2

 

Washington 10

San Antonio 3

Washington 6

Youngstown 4

 

Washington 4

Youngstown 0

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