By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
It was a hard loss for the Amy's Angels 10U softball team to take. While the girls did make the state tournament at York, coming in second was a bit short of the goal they'd set.
Assistant coach Steve Kremer made the best of the situation and tried to put the loss in the proper perspective.
"They were upset. It was a tough loss," Kremer said. "They were sad at first, but like I told them: if somebody told us when we were practicing in January that we'd end up being second-best in the state, wouldn't you be happy? Hopefully it benefits us. We're looking to get some redemption."
Amy's Angels are currently in Sterling, Va., to play in the 2013 ASA 10U Class B Eastern National tournament, which begins Thursday. Per ASA rules, once a team reaches a state tournament it is permitted to proceed to the national level.
While this is Kremer's first time at the national level, it's not so for manager Ken Wagner, who actually took Amy's Angels to nationals in 2012. That team finished second at the regional tournament in Connecticut.
"Absolutely (it's beneficial). He knows what to expect," Kremer said of Wagner's experience.
Amy's Angels consist of players from Sunbury, Mifflinburg, Lewisburg and Selinsgrove, along with some others from out of the area.
Katelynn Kremer, Kierston Long and Kayleigh Lenner are from Sunbury; Brynn Wagner, Erin Field and Kara Koch are from Lewisburg; Delaney Good and Angela Reamer are from Mifflinburg; and Lexi Guyer comes from Selinsgrove.
Kremer, Guyer and Wagner have pitched every game for the Angels this season, while Lenner and Long have been a driving force for the Angels' success offensively.
"It's important that Ken said we stressed the basics with these girls," Kremer said.
Wagner's house has a pool building nearby with batting cages set up inside it. Since they started practicing in January, the Angels have used that building to practice not just batting, but pitching as well until the weather cooperated enough to practice outside.
The Angels have been traveling to various tournaments all spring long, playing anywhere from Lewistown to Reading before heading to Virginia. By Kremer's last guess, they haven't had a weekend off from softball since April. Thankfully for the Angels' coaching staff, though, the group of young players absolutely love to play softball.
"We got a good group of girls with dedicated parents and the girls love the game," Kremer said. "We can have two-, three-hour practices and they enjoy it, and they're a good group of girls that listen and enjoy the sport."
The girls of Amy's Angels are just 10-year-olds, but even though they're young, it's a safe assumption they'll remember the trip to Virginia and the memories with one another.
"We got a lot of support from the community. It's a great experience for the girls. Some of them played Little League and this is just a step up. To pull girls from the local area and make the trek down here, it's been a neat experience for them," Kremer said.
"They got to meet other girls from out of our area and it's neat to see how they gelled as a team. First couple of tournaments it was hit or miss, (but) they're becoming a team now and they're starting to stick together."