Two from Niles helping team to World Series
By By Mira Poncin / Special to the Niles Daily Star
Michigan Predators 14 and under travel team that plays in the USSA baseball league have qualified for the 14 and under world series scheduled for July 20-27 in Canton.
Not a novice to successful coaching, Scott Ponegalek led his 13 and under division team to the world series last year. Ponegalek explained that there are 100-plus teams that go to the world series. Last year every state was represented by at least one team.
The Predators were able to get into the world series this year by sweeping the Kalamazoo tournament 5-0. That was their fourth tournament for the year.
Their winning record for the year is currently 24-2.
With five players from Bridgman, three from St. Joseph, two from Niles and one from New Buffalo, the team is comprised of youth throughout Berrien County. The team travels to Battle Creek, Kalamazoo and Holland for game play. The state tournament will be held in Battle Creek next week.
Coach Ponegalek is proud of his team and described their many strengths.
Coaching staff is Rod Nemitz, Verne Rambo, and head coach Ponegalek.
The Predators were ranked number one in the state of Michigan as of June 11. They were also rated number one in the Great Lakes Area which includes Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan.
Ponegalek commented about the upcoming world series, "This team has the potential to be the best team in the state and has a shot at doing very well in the world series if they all come focused, ready to play, and give 100 percent for the rest of the games in the season. They must remember their goals."