By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
Before his team even stepped foot on a softball field to play a game of ASA softball, Central PA Havoc manager Kevin Wagner had a feeling that his 12U team had more than a lot of potential for success based on what he saw his girls do in practice.
The determination, teamwork, and maybe most importantly, positive attitude, were big indicators of what Wagner knew was to come.
When they won the Amy's Angels Tournament in Beavers Springs earlier this year to earn a berth at nationals, Wagner's feeling of success certainly rang true.
"As soon as I saw how positive they were, I knew this was going to be a special year. This is a great group of young ladies (and) they deserve all the recognition they get now because they worked so hard and they've been a great group of young ladies," Wagner said.
That group of local young ladies -- playing for the first time together with the Central PA Havoc -- nearly claimed the 2013 12U Class B Eastern National championship in Sterling, Va., coming up just short as they lost to the Adrioneack Avalanche, 3-1. In total, 18 different teams competed in the national tournament. The Havoc had to come back through the losers' bracket after losing their second game on Sunday in the championship series. In total, the Havoc ended up playing five games on Sunday.
The Central PA Havoc won the first game against them, forcing a rematch due to it being the Avalanche's first loss. Heavy rain on Saturday pushed a number of games to Sunday and in the process, forced the tournament to reduce the time limit on games played from 1:40 to 1:20.
The Central PA Havoc is comprised of 12 girls mainly from the Lewisburg, Milton, Warrior Run, Danville and Sunbury area.
Delaney Wagner, Katie Koch, Brynna Rutz and Emily Snyder are all from Lewisburg; Amanda Arnold and Ayrie Parsons are from Milton; Gina Beyer and Madie Majcher are from Warrior Run; Lauren Brady and Alexa Willoughby are from Danville and Olivia Kerstetter is the lone representative out of Sunbury. Lewistown's Hanna Kanagy is the only player on the Havoc that is not from the Valley.
Wagner handpicked his 12U team from talented players that he knew of in the area, which paid off with a berth to nationals.
"Everybody that we asked (to play) agreed to it. We started doing fundraising in September of last year to get ready for all this," Wagner said. "We started practices in January and we've been practicing ever since and getting ready for our tournaments and nationals. Every girl was hand-selected. I pretty much knew the really good softball players in this area and we targeted those players and we reached out to them in this age group and asked if they'd be willing to play."
As soon as the tournaments started, the Havoc's success followed.
"We started tournaments in early April (and) we've been very successful so far," Wagner said. "We've either come in first or second in every tournament and we've been in seven or eight already."
This is the first year that Wagner's 12U team has been together and if their success after this one season is any indication, they'll be a force to deal with in coming years if they stick together.