Avon Grove all-star softball team earns third-place finish at state tourney08/17/2021 03:04PM ● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
At the end of the regular season for the five-team Avon Grove 10-and under softball league in early June, a total of 12 players were selected to the league's all-star team.
As with any collection of all-stars, the talent was there, spread evenly among the roster. The cohesiveness that forms every successful team, however, had to be pieced together practically overnight.
When head coach Lou Chance and his assistant coaches Mike Bertotti, Steve Krech, Chuck Rotche and Shar Rotche first gathered their team for their first practice on June 7 at Penn London Elementary School, they knew that their first district all-star game would be played two weeks later.
“We had a group of girls who had been playing together as part of a travel team, but there were four girls who weren't a part of that, so we focused on the collaboration from the outset, making sure that those who played together and those who didn't came together as an all-star team,” said Chance, whose daughter Molly played third base for the team. “We had three of the best shortstops in the league on this team, so it was about assessing who fit best in what positions in order to field the best talent we could.”
The chemistry of the girls worked in tandem with their talent, and after a hard-fought district win, the team qualified for the state 10U double-elimination softball tournament in Fairchance, Pa. in late July, a four-and-a-half-hour trip from West Grove.
Immediately, the team jumped out to an early lead in the state tournament brackets, defeating Central Columbia Little League from Bloomsburg 4-2 on July 22, and Northwest Little League from Bloomsburg by a score of 15-2 on July 23.
In between games – that involved adjusting to cramped hotel accommodations – team mom Lori Chance helped schedule fun activities that included miniature golf and a cave tour.
After two early wins, Avon Grove lost its third game on July 24 by a score of 8-0 to Dandy Lion Little League in Moscow – the eventual state champs, who were undefeated during the entire tournament – and on July 26, the team finished tournament play with an 11-1 loss to Lower Perkiomen Little League in Collegeville.
The team drove back to Chester County, having earned a third-place finish in the state tournament.
“Even after a tough loss to the second-place team, the girls quickly put smiles back on their faces, congratulated the other team then proceeded to eat, laugh and play with that team for the next hour at the field,” said Mandy Bertotti, the mother of shortstop Brielle Bertotti and the wife of assistant coach Mike Bertotti. “Later that night at the hotel, they all sang 'The Star-Spangled Banner' loud enough for the whole hotel to hear!
“Our team and their families are so generous and kind-hearted, and it shows in the way our girls treat the other teams. We as parents couldn’t be more proud of how our girls handled this whole amazing journey. It helps to have such caring coaches that support our girls through it all.”
Chance sees the Avon Grove 10U Little League softball program – including the players on this year's all-star team – as an potential incubator affiliate for future softball teams at Avon Grove High School.
“Even while we were playing through states, that was top of mind – that some of our responsibility as coaches was to develop them as players and bring them together,” he said. “They have such a bright future that they really are going to be the girls who will make up Avon Grove's softball team in about six or seven years, if not sooner.”
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].
The Avon Grove 10U All-Star Softball Team Roster
Coach Lou Chance
Assistant Coaches Mike Bertotti, Steve Krech, Chuck Rotche and Shar Rotche
Team Mom Lori Chance