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Giants prevail: Penn Valley team wins Tournament of Champions

Submitted by Arielle Davis
Manager and Penn Valley Little League President Ben Pope celebrates a championship with one set of Giants this year: Coaches Danny Renfrow, David Wilkins and Derek Spangler led players Easton Wilkins, Jack Renfrow, Jamie Frisbie, Kason Davis, Lexi Spangler, Liam Schmidt, Owen Zimmerman, Brayden Newell, Cade Cose, Chris Hopkins, Colby Hilliard, Colton Pope, Cyrus Noling, and Dillon Pope. Submitted by Arielle Davis.

The kids who make up the AAA Minor Division Giants of the Penn Valley Little League had much to celebrate this season.

The team finished their regular season of interleague play with a 13-4 record and advanced to the District 11 Tournament of Champions, which brought them a well-fought victory.

“Our AAA Minor Division team had an outstanding season this year,” said the team’s manager and Penn Valley Little League president, Ben Pope. “Our kids came out hungry and ready to play ball.”



The team was coached by David Wilkins, Danny Renfrow, and Derek Spangler. The league as a whole had about 140 kids playing ball.

The tournament began successfully June 17 for Penn Valley in a match-up against Sierra Foothils, based in Colfax. The next game was versus Tri-Cities Little League.



“The game against Tri-Cities was tough,” Pope said. “We were up and down, it was a very competitive game, but in the end our kids were resilient and we pulled it off.”

They ended up clenching a 12-8 victory that propelled them to a meet-up with Auburn Little League.

“We played well and by the bottom of the fourth inning we were up 11-4,” Pope reported. “Auburn strung together a great fifth inning, taking advantage of some fielding errors to score five runs.”

By the middle of the fifth inning the score was 11-9, bringing Auburn a bit closer to catching up to Penn Valley.

“Our players came to the plate ready to get some runs back in the bottom of the fifth. We battled to score two runs and bring the score to 13-9.”

In the top of the sixth Penn Valley exercised their honed defensive skills, giving up one run before ending the inning. The final score was 13-10 for Penn Valley.

“It’s a big deal for our small league to win the Tournament of Champions,” Pope said. “I don’t know the last time our league accomplished such a feat.”

He said he has seen plenty of good ballplayers come through the league, but this team was special.

“I am so proud of the heart and sportsmanship that our players displayed every time they stepped on the field this season,” he said. “This team and their accomplishments is a memory I’ll hold forever.”

Pope has served as president of the Penn Valley Little League for five seasons, but will soon be leaving the area. Anyone interested in filling his spot, he said, should email info@pennvalleyllb.com.

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at jnobles@theunion.com.

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