By Brian Holtzapple
For The Daily Item
NORTHUMBERLAND -- Tough losses are hard to forget, but Selinsgrove's 9-10 Division All-Star team will need to come down with a severe case of amnesia pretty darn quick to erase the memories of its game on Tuesday.
But young ballplayers are resilient -- a fact that Selinsgrove will put to the test today as its players try to bounce back from a 24-0, five-inning loss suffered to South Columbia (1) in the District 13 championship game at Acorn Park.
Now Selinsgrove travels to Bloomsburg's Town Park for game two of the District 13 championship series in what manager April Metzger hopes will be a totally different squad that is set to take the field one more time against South Columbia.
"We've played our hearts out the whole tournament, and we're still alive," said Metzger. "We have another game, and we're going to bring it.
"Everyone knows Selinsgrove isn't going to lay down and die," Metzger added. "We are going to comeback (today) and put a team on the field that feels pride, and we're going to hit, we're going to make some outs and we're going to have pitchers throwing strikes. It's just going to be another game for us."
Selinsgrove entered the district championship game undefeated with a scoring average of nearly 12 runs per contest.
But South Columbia played like it had its back to the wall, and with one loss suffered in Area I play, it certainly was do or die time for the squad.
South Columbia made an early statement by scoring three unearned runs in the first inning before it tacked on five more runs in the fourth behind a two-run double from Zach Burkland and an RBI double from Tristan Crawford.
The game then spiraled out of control for Selinsgrove in the fifth when South Columbia sent 21 batters to the plate for a 16-run inning, which came on a total of nine hits and nine walks, including four with the bases loaded.
Selinsgrove used three different pitchers in the fifth, and five overall in the game in an effort to low down South Columbia, but to no avail.
"Little League pitch count holds you tight, and because of the rain we played back-to-back-to-back games at the beginning of the tournament," said Metzger. "Coming into (Tuesday's game) we were low on pitchers, but we had every kid step up and pitch when they needed to, even in a tough situation as it was, and showing great character.
"I don't have a worry about (the loss carrying over) at all. They are nine and 10 years old. Life goes on. They are resilient, and I bet there are parents who are more upset than the kids at this point," said Metzger. "It's baseball, I know that. We've worked hard and nothing takes that away. They are Area II champions and this game doesn't eliminate that, and we still live another day."
Leadoff batter Dylan Harris carried South Columbia by going 4-for-5 with three RBIs and four runs scored, while Patrick Yost, the No. 5 batter, finished 3-for-3 with a double, two walks, four RBIs and four runs scored.
"We played a really good game on both sides of the ball. I know Selinsgrove is an excellent team and I'm sure they'll be back (today) playing us hard for the championship," said South Columbia manager Donald Harris. "We had to win to go home, and we knew we had to win to keep playing."