Stokes Quotes

Champions aren't made in the gyms.  Champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision.




West Hempfield to open District 31 playoffs vs. No. 2 Latrobe

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2016 - Cory Hegedus
2015 - Eric Loucks
2014 - Grant Fox
2013 - Tyler Lilja
2012 - Anthony Fanelli
2011 - Zach Zimmerman
2010 - Tim Norris
2009 - Jon Murphy
2008 - Dan Norris
2007 - Zack Martin
2006 - Mike Harvat
2005 - Brandon Gnesda
2004 - Dave Campbell
2003 - Tyler Anderson
2002 - Eric Floriani

It has been four years since the West Hempfield American Legion baseball team has advanced past the District 31 playoffs.  But that could change this season. West Hempfield manager Bob Stokes, who almost resigned after last season, feels this club is capable of making another run at making the Region 7 tournament.  That will start Saturday when the District 31 playoffs begin.  The first-round pairings were announced Thursday night at the Mt. Pleasant American Legion as eight teams, four from each division, will battle for the District 31 title and two berths in the Region tournament at Clearfield.  Last year, Latrobe and Irwin battled for the title and advanced to the Region tournament at State College.  West Hempfield will open the  playoffs against second seed Latrobe at 1 p.m. Saturday. The other first-round matchups pit Bushy Run at Hempfield East at noon, Greensburg is at Kiski Valley at 10:30 a.m. and Irwin will be at Murrysville at 10 a.m.  "We're definitely capable of advancing," Stokes said. "We have three good pitchers. I need other guys to step up to be our fourth or fifth guys. I have the hitters and we'll field the ball."  West Hempfield will need to play its best ball to advance past the experienced Latrobe squad that features a couple college players.  "Last year, we were 3-16," Stokes said. "We gave up 206 runs, made 63 errors and only scored 95 runs. I almost gave it up.  "I never doubted my coaching ability. I doubted that I was getting through to kids. My message got through loud and clear. We scored 108 runs, made only 24 errors and allowed 99 runs.  "The year of experience is the big difference. I only had one lead last year. My older kids are bonding with the younger kids."  Stokes welcomed the return of two players: Zach Zimmerman and Alex Haines. Both were out with injuries.  He said shortstop Brennan Rahl, third baseman Tyler Lilja, catcher Anthony Fanelli, pitcher Jared Hensler and center fielder Tim Norris benefitted from playing last year.  Tim Norris, the leadoff hitter, is batting .472, scored 19 runs and stole 16 bases.  "The key to getting to Clearfield is quality starts from the pitching staff," Stokes said. "We'll refocus on Saturday. The spirits are good.  "This is what you play all season for to get to the dance. We've been in a lot of close games and four come-from-behind victories. We have a lot of character and I'm so proud of the young kids because they're not worried about failing."