Latrobe, Unity Legion Teams Take Part In Annual Tradition

latrobe 1American Legion baseball game between Latrobe and either rivals Unity or Derry

The Fourth of July in Latrobe is a special day.

Thousands line the streets for the annual parade. Many flock to Legion-Keener Park for the carnival which features rides and plenty of food. And there is the fantastic fireworks display at night.

Another annual event that draws a large crowd is the American Legion baseball game between Latrobe and either rivals Unity or Derry that is played in the park. The Unity players almost all attend Greater Latrobe High School.

 

This year's battle was against Unity, which had defeated Latrobe the night before. But on this day, Latrobe got the win on the Fourth and as a result, the teams finished with identical 12-8 records and met in the first round of the District 31 playoffs.

Unity knocked Latrobe out of the league playoffs for the second consecutive season with a two-game sweep.

In Game 2, Unity overcame a 7-1 deficit and rallied for an 8-7 victory to advance to the league semifinals.

"This is my first year playing in this game," Latrobe first baseman Anthony Monteparte said. "It's a game I always attended when I was young. It's always competitive and sometimes it gets heated."

unity 1"You never want to lose to Unity," Latrobe center fielder Matt Shoemaker said. "It's bragging rights.""You never want to lose to Unity," Latrobe center fielder Matt Shoemaker said. "It's bragging rights. I have a lot of friends on the team. We're teammates in the spring, but you want to beat them in the summer."

And while it's an intense battle during the game, friendships return after the game as the teams shake hands until the next battle.

Fans from both sides enthusiastically root for their players and heckle the opponent. The games at Unity's field in Whitney, where fans are closer to the action, can get heated.

"It's always a fun game," Unity first baseman Eli Imbrogno said. "You know everyone on the team. I like this game because you get a chance to play in front of a big crowd. It's a game a lot of friends will come to watch."

Unity coach Ed Guzik said it's always special to play Latrobe on the Fourth. He said it's better when you win.

Latrobe isn't the only game at Legion-Keener on the Fourth. Two teams from the Latrobe-Derry Teener League also play an annual game.

While Latrobe's season isn't over despite the loss because it will host the Region 7 tournament later this month, Unity must win the district tournament to advance to regionals.

Unity (14-8) will face No. 2 Irwin (16-6) in the semifinals that begin Wednesday. Game 2 is Thursday at Whitney in the best-of-three series. The other series pits Hempfield East against rival West Hempfield.

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5095 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Source - TRIB Live