By Steve Svetovich
Memories are often created by youngsters on a baseball diamond.
Take the case of the Ackourey and Turel Pony League team in the Dunmore Little League.
This group of youngsters came into the Dunmore Pony League Tournament as underdogs this past June 27.
Coached by Mark Levendoski, the boys had a 12-5 regular season record entering the Pony League Tournament. The team defeated Eastern Residential Solutions 6-2 in the first round of the playoffs. Then after a bye, the team faced the undefeated 3 Jacks Bar and Grill in the championship game. The 3 Jacks team was 16-0 and the favorite coming into the game.
But the Ackourey and Turel Pony League team, a group of youngsters between 6 and 8, rose to the occasion and easily beat the favored team, 16-2, to capture the Dunmore Pony League championship.
“I can’t even single one player out,” said coach Levandoski. “Every player on our team had multiple hits. They kept hitting and hitting. It is just a great group of kids who all get along with each other. They are all students at Dunmore Elementary Center.”
Levandoski is assisted by coaches Mike Coleman, Chris Bantell, Ashley Lancia and Luke Coleman, a former college baseball pitcher.
“It is coach-pitch, so our kids really rocked Luke Coleman, a former college baseball pitcher, who was pitching to them,” said Levandoski, a 1998 Dunmore High School graduate who works for Schiff’s Food Service, Taylor. “We were kidding him about that.”
“The kids were all excited after we won. They were presented with medals and all had pizza at the field after winning the games. It was an all day tournament. They really enjoyed it.”
Levandoski said most of the youngsters will be playing fall baseball in Dunmore starting in early September. “They are looking forward to it already,” he said.
This was Levandoski’s second year coaching the team. He has been involved in the program for the past five years.
“All of the kids played great during the tournament,” Levandoski said. “They were all hitting and making the plays. These kids are all friends in school. They are all good kids and love playing the game. They get along well.”
Levandoski said the kids were so excited after winning the championship that they poured water all over him. “Yes, I was soaked. But it was all good. The kids were happy and having fun.”
Team members include Marcus Levandoski, Michael Coleman, Jack Coleman, Kate Coleman, Connor Sciartilli, Brady McCarthy, Hunter Smolskis, Carter Bantell, George Siracuse, James Archer and Hannah Scanlon.
The graduating members are Marcus Levandoski, Connor Sciartilli, Hunter Smolskis and Michael and Jack Coleman.
“The graduating players kind of led the way for us this year,” said Levandoski. “They got us going.”
Levandoski said the graduating players will go on and play in the Dunmore Minor League which consists of 9-10-year-old youngsters. After Minor League, the kids progress to the Dunmore Little League.
“These kids will just keep on playing and having fun,” he said.