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.




 Delay Gives Players Needed Rest

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By Paul Schofield
Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The opening game of the District 31 American Legion baseball finals between Murrysville and West Hempfield was delayed until today to let players get refreshed.

District 31 president Doug Walker postponed Game 1, which was supposed to be held Monday at Haymaker Park in Murrysville, at the request of both coaches. The series will begin at 5:30 tonight.

"I asked for a day off because we've played for six straight days," West Hempfield coach Bob Stokes said. "We needed a day away from the field, and I'm glad Doug pushed the series back." Walker said he wanted the players to be fresh for the final series. The only thing he worries about is the weather.

"We need to crown a champion by Friday," Walker said. "That's what the Region 7 director (Jim McKee) wants."  The Region 7 tournament will be held in Indiana.

West Hempfield (16-9), the defending District 31 champion, has been resilient in this year's playoffs. Stokes' crew has defeated the top two teams in the Southeast Division -- Hempfield East and Latrobe -- in three-game series. "We just play and have fun," Stokes said. "We don't quit, and we'll never quit."

West Hempfield needed a grand slam by John Veach-Dixon in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat Latrobe and stay alive in the playoffs. Veach-Dixon and Steve Dubich then combined to hold down Latrobe in Game 3 on Sunday.

Now it faces Murrysville, which easily defeated West Hempfield earlier this season.

Murrysville (19-6) finished second in the Northwest Division behind Burrell, and it defeated Irwin and Bushy Run in its three-game series.

"We were supposed to run straight through," Murrysville coach Larry Wayman said. "But Doug made the decision, and I don't have a problem. You don't get mad, you learn you adjust."

One of Wayman's biggest concerns entering the finals is his team's health. He said they're a little short on pitching. "We're as healthy as we can be," Wayman said. "I'm not surprised we've made it this far. I expect to win." Wayman said the leadership of second baseman Jeremy Rehak has been a key to the team's success. Shortstop Len Gallo, center fielder Zach King and first baseman Mike Pelekanos have also helped lead the team. Stokes said catcher Mike Harvat, shortstop Dan Norris, center fielder Kyle McCullough, Dubich and Veach-Dixon have had outstanding seasons.

"We're pretty solid, up and down our lineup," Stokes said. "The players know how to win now."