A season to remember for the Morrisville Riverdogs

by Karen Sangillo

The Morrisville Riverdogs are the newly-crowned champions of the Eastern Region Invitational 11-and-under Little League baseball tournament, held outside of Boston.  Morrisville topped its first three foes in the regional tourney, scoring a combined 35 runs while allowing only one.

The mercy rule was invoked in all three games.  The wins put Morrisville in the title game against previously undefeated (17-0) South Shore, the New York state champion from Staten Island. 

The Riverdogs trailed 1-0, but capitalized on a four-run rally in the top of the fifth inning to claim the victory. Starting pitcher Wyatt Bressler went the distance for the win and fielded a bunt for the final out of the game.   

“We just found a way to score four runs,” Morrisville manager Matt Wolski said. “We didn’t really have one big hit. It was a combination of everyone working together and not giving up, even when things weren’t going great. We left runners on base three times, but we kept telling the kids that they could come back, and they believed it. They believed in themselves.  

“One of the lessons the kids learned is that two outs mean nothing. They just kept plugging, and I’m so proud of them.”

Winning this title is as far as the team can go.  Next year, as 12-year-olds, the Riverdogs will be able to compete for a spot at Williamsport for the Little League World Series title. Morrisville won the Little League World Series in 1955. 

“From the beginning, I thought this team was going to do well,” Wolski said “We tried to put together the most difficult schedule we could so that at the end of the year, the kids aren’t surprised by the level of talent they’re facing. They’ve already seen it. 

“We played against some 13-year-olds and it was good for the kids to see guys who were bigger and stronger and throwing harder. We figured if we lose against really good competition, we’d still be all right, and we won our fair share. 

“There were times when we were losing but there were lessons learned. They saw how this little mistake could magnify against a really good team in a close game at the end of the year, and the only way for them to understand those things were for them to happen during the season.” 

The Riverdogs defeated Council Rock Newtown to become the Pennsylvania champions.

“That was special, that two of the top teams in the state were both from the same area,” Wolski said. “Pennsylvania is really a big state and to have two teams from next door to each other as the last two standing was really great. We were fortunate to come out on top.”

The game went eight innings, and Morrisville ended up with a 2-1 walk-off win.

“That was as good a baseball game as you’ll see,” Wolski said. “Very well played by both teams.”

Morrisville lost in the state final last year. 

“That loss was very motivating for our kids,” Wolski said. 

As a team, the Riverdogs committed just 24 errors all season and had a fielding percentage of .893%. The pitching staff of Will Szablewski, Bressler, Tilak Patel, Matthew Wolski, Aaron Huffman and Holden Perry combined to surrender only 14 earned runs.

At the plate, Wolski and Perry led the team with 12 hits apiece, with Wolski getting three doubles. Wolski had nine RBIs while Perry had 10.

Robbie Ellis had 11 hits, including two doubles and added six RBIs, Seamus Burke had 10 hits and 10 RBIs, Gavin Reilly pitched in with eight hits, two doubles and a triple, Szablewski also had eight hits and one double, Huffman had seven hits and a triple, Patel and Alex Pappas each doubled and Charlie Holmes chipped in three hits for Morrisville.    

Coaches for Morrisville are Brian Holmes, Ben Bressler and Jason Huffman. 



The team players are, from left, Will Szablewski, Aaron Huffman, Seamus Burke, Gavin Reilly, Charlie Holmes, Matthew Wolski, Alex Pappas, Holden Perry, Robbie Ellis, Wyatt Bressler, and Tilak Patel; in back, coaches are Brian Holmes, Ben Bressler, Jason Huffman, and Matt Wolski (Manager). Photo by Allyson Szablewski

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