For the Pennridge and Doylestown Legion teams, it wasn’t totally about the final record, but their path throughout the season.
Both teams played through the third day of the recent Bux-Mont League tournament, surpassing their expectations of the postseason.
Pennridge’s season ended with a 6-1 loss to runner-up Quakertown, while Doylestown ended its campaign with a 9-2 loss to Hatfield-Towamencin.
Pennridge finished with an overall 11-10 season and Doylestown was 7-17. Both teams rallied at points during the second halves of their seasons.
After a late, regular-season slump, Pennridge bounced back with a run toward the postseason. Pennridge pieced together an earlier streak in which it won eight of 10 games.
“It was an overall good experience for them,” said Pennridge first-year manager Cory Landes. “This was good for the high school kids because they didn’t have a strong season this year. We had some slumps, but we managed to battle back when they had to and learned from it.
“Most of these kids have the experience of playing in a playoff game for the first time and that’s going to help them. Now, they know what they have to do to reach this level. We all know we have to communicate better during games and get more excited and positive before the games.”
Sean Clayton, who led the team with a .382 average and was a first-team league selection in the outfield, was glad to have a second chance to his season.
“I thought our season went really well compared to our school season,” said Clayton. “We struggled finding that one spark to get our offense going.
“This Legion season we were able to string a lot of hits together to get rallies going. The new coaches brought a lot and they were really committed to making us better ball players. I feel like we really played for each other and not as individuals, which definitely helped out team chemistry.
“Personally, this was one of/or the best season I’ve had offensively where things really clicked.”
Josiah Smith, a Faith Christian standout and team recipient of the Mel Wright Memorial Award for determination and courage, also saw a deep connection. Smith hit .350 for the season.
“To me, the end of the season was a success,” he said. “Even though we didn’t get as far as we wanted, our team stayed together. I am so proud of the team and what we accomplished.
“The coaches are passionate and are willing to dedicate all of their time to improving their players. This was my last year of Legion, but I will be cheering them on in the stands next year.”
Doylestown manager Steve Ruane, who retired after serving 10 years at the helm, watched his club battle through injuries all season and still persevere until the end.
Ruane believed Connor Bates’ two-out, two-strike, two-run double that gave them a 5-4 win over Nor-Gwyn in the postseason was a microcosm of the season. Doylestown rebounded from a 1-8 start at the first-half break, and won six of its last 15 games.
“The wonderful thing about these guys is that they never quit,” said Ruane. “The guys played hard and battled until the end. The win over Nor-Gwyn typified our second half that was exciting for us.
“We had 10 or 12 kids most of the year and we seemed to have every kind of injury. But it didn’t matter to these guys. They gave all they had and they were a joy to coach.”