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Sports Article
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12U Travel Team ‘Thrilled’ to Play Games
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            The Upper Perkiomen Youth Baseball League's 12U travel team was the first team to return to the field following a four-month pandemic-induced hiatus. Last weekend, the Indians were the only game in the Valley. They opened their season with a doubleheader sweep of the Northeast Titans on Saturday, July 11, at Kistler-Bitting Park.

            "Everyone was thrilled to be playing games," Manager Matt Weiss said.

           The following day, they lost 6-1 to a team from Lower Perk on the same field in East Greenville.  The Indians struggled at the plate, according to Weiss.   

            "Our offense was not good," the manager said Sunday night. "A solid mental approach is going to be the last thing to come back."

            The current group of players is in its fifth and final season together, according to Weiss. He said he expects at least half the 12-man roster to make the Kiwanis' Youth American Legion team next season.

            "This is a very talented group," the manager said. "They have a good mindset and are hard-working."

            The team took the field after holding just eight practices while Montgomery County was in the yellow phase as part of Gov. Tom Wolf's phased reopening plan.

            Three other youth travel teams made their season debuts Sunday.

            Weiss thanked officials from his team's parent organization, the Upper Perkiomen Youth Baseball Association, for working to allow it to take the field. Weiss described the value of the league's in-house season as underrated.

            "Now everybody understands how   important that league is," he said, adding that its cancellation cost each player 50 to 60 at-bats.

            Against the Titans, based in the Poconos, the Indians used seven pitchers over 10 combined innings. Weiss said he hopes to slowly build the arm strength of his hurlers.

            "It's great to get back on a field," the manager said. "The boys were very happy to play. It's nice to get back to some kind of a routine."

            The games against the Northeast Titans were played under normal conditions. According to Weiss, the parents of the 12 players gave the coaches permission to forgo any social distancing restrictions, which include no leads off bases or sliding into home plate.

            However, keeping from delivering high fives was a challenge, according to the manager. He said that instead of shaking hands at the end of the game, players from both teams lined up and tipped their hats.

            This coming weekend, the team is scheduled to compete in a tournament in Phoenixville. According to Weiss, the Indians hope to compete in the Cal Ripken National Invitational, scheduled for the second week of August in Branson, MO.






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