Chestnut Hill Legion baseball team wins Philadelphia championship for first time

     (Photo courtesy of Chestnut Hill Legion)

    (Photo courtesy of Chestnut Hill Legion)

    Strong pitching, a team that stuck together and coaching from Jerry Givnish and Bill Foronda led the Chestnut Hill Legion team to their first ever city championship. This year’s Chestnut Hill team broke the club record by defeating four other city teams to clinch the title in the Philadelphia County American Legion League.


    The Philadelphia County Legion League was downsized to five teams this year: Chestnut Hill, Ivy league, Loudenslager, Fox Chase, and Rhawnhurst.

    Round one: Three games, two teams

    Chestnut Hill’s team was slammed in the first game of the first round On Monday July 7, they were trounced 10-2 by Ivy Ridge at the John Boyce Field. But they were more than ready for their opponent the following day.

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    On Tuesday, July 8, strong pitching came into play as Jake Silverman threw a 5-0 shutout against the very same team that had beat them so handedly the day before. Two CHL players, Jalil Freeman-Debrow and Isaiah Gregory, bunted to get on base. And after some fielding errors, Chestnut Hill ended up scoring five runs in one inning.

    The last game of round one had that same familiar match-up. Ivy Hill took an early 4-0 lead, but Chestnut Hill again bounced back. In the next three innings, Chestnut Hill put up some runs, moving the score from 4-2, then 4-4. Ivy Hill answered back to make it 5-4, but Chestnut Hill responded mightily with heavy bats in the last inning for a 10-5 final.

    Championship round: A three-day game and victory

    The first championship game was against Loudenslager at Fox Chase Field On Sunday, July 13. Kurz again pitched four innings to put the team ahead 3-2. A rain delay after the fourth inning postponed the game to Monday night at Mt. Airy’s field. But right as the game was set to begin, the rain came again.

    The two teams headed back to Fox Chase on Tuesday night to play the remaining inning where hearty pitching and a double from Joey Powell led Chestnut Hill to a 5-4 win over Loudenslager. The final championship game between the two teams ended the following night at the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy field with Chestnut Hill’s 4-2 win.

    Gel and grit

    When asked why this year was such a standout for the team, Coach Gerry said of the team, “The kids bonded well. There were kids from many different schools, a really diverse team. The boys liked that and liked making friends across the normal boundaries.”

    Dennis Primavera, president of the Chestnut Hill Youth Sports Club, also commented that this year’s legion team “gelled” really well. And as Coach Givnish pointed out, it’s a young team. Fifteen of the 18 players are eligible to return next year.

    Givnish also credits the work of Coach Bill Foronda in helping make the year so successful, “Bill was a real spark plug, and I have to give him a lot of credit. He came along last year and helped out, and he runs a great practice.”

    The series was intense. The games were back to back, but Chestnut Hill’s team was determined to win, even when facing a wide gap on the scoreboard.

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