HistoryUpdated Tuesday November 22, 2016 by Demitri Pagonis.
The Pennsbury Gems were started by Arthur and Craig Coleman. Art passed away in 2001 and was the director of the Pennsbury Invitational Tournament for 21 years. Craig is the Coach at Robert Morris College. The travel team was founded in 1976 and has been known as the Gems since 1981. They entered the Pennsylvania ASA State Tournament in 1976, finishing third. The Gems were State Champions and regional champions in 1978 and in 1983 they finished 4th in the nation. Since then, the Gems under Les Venella have been synonymous with, not only producing highly competitive teams, but with generating academically qualified skilled athletes sought after by all levels of NCAA softball programs.
The Pennsbury Invitational Tournament was an idea conceived by Art Coleman that began with just 8 teams in 1980. Art Coleman, who was the Pennsbury Gems coach at the time, continued to develop and work the tournament over 21 years helping to grow the number of teams participating as the Pennsbury organization grew and as the number of new fields became available. Prior to Art’s untimely passing away in October of 2001 the tournament had grown to 64 teams and in addition had the NFCA holding its administered recruiting camp the day before. Les Venella and Joe Parell assumed the task of administering the tournament after Art’s death and continue to run it with the same goal; create a large venue that college coaches could attend, observe and recruit players from all over the United States and Canada. Today over one hundred elite 18U teams will compete and showcase their talents over a three day event on over twenty fields. For more information contact Less Venella at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or go to the website at www.pennsburyinvitational.com.