As a reporter, I don't think I did justice to the three games between Lewistown West and Belltown during the just-ended Mifflin County Babe Ruth season.
It was 27 innings of tough, hard fought baseball between the two top teams of 2008 season. It's too bad there isn't a Mifflin County Babe Ruth television network (and isn't that something we all have wished for?) because the West and Belltown games would instant classics and being re-run over and over again.
Here is a review of the 2008 season:
BELLEVILLE (4-19) - For manager Bill Corbin it was a rough year, but the team did improve from opening day until the end of the season. It might not have shown up in the win column, but the team that in April had trouble making routine plays was fielding much better by the end of the season. And help might be on the way, as the Belleville Indians won the Little League Super Series.
BELLTOWN (19-5, 19-6 overall) - It was a dream season for the first half of the schedule (12-0), but after a tough 6-5 loss to Lewistown West on May 26, Belltown lost four more times in the second half of the year. But manager Butch Bender and has staff should be proud - it was the highest finish Belltown has had since 1987, when it finished second.
BURNHAM (10-13, 11-14) - Burnham won four of its last six games and has a bright future with a good talented group of 13-year-olds. At the Bob Reigle Memorial tournament, Burnham was the talk of the end of the year, as it upset Milroy and gave league champion Lewistown West a 5-3 game. Manager Mark Eddy will not be back for 2009, but Eric Weaver, the new skipper, should have plenty of talent to work with.
LEWISTOWN WEST (22-2, 23-2) - Things couldn't have turned out better for the West. It loss only two games all year, each by one run, to Belltown and Reedsville. The scary thing about the West is that it loses only three players. In fact, the West is one of the youngest teams in the league. For manager Bernie Howard and the rest of his staff, next spring couldn't come fast enough.
McVEYTOWN (0-24) - It was another long year for McVeytown and manager Matt Furgison. It has been awhile since McVeytown has had much to smile about on the field. The team did have a few good moments this season. It just missed beating Belleville early in the season dropping a 9-8 game and it played two good games against Strodes Mills, losing 9-4 and 15-7.
MILROY (17-7, 17-8) - The finish and the end is what the 2008 Milroy team will be remembered for. Milroy lost three of its first four games. It fell 10-5 to Belltown in extra innings and loss to Reedsville, 7-6, in the bottom of the seventh. Lewistown West was next and it won 9-5. But manager Ted Rhoades saw his team rebound with seven straight wins at the end of the season, including winning three games in a two-day span.
REEDSVILLE (18-6, 20-6) - Manager Scott Reigle just wishes he could get back the middle part of the season. In a five-game span, Reedsville lost to Strodes Mills, Lewistown West and Milroy twice. During the course of the season, it had nine- and five-game winning streaks. In an 8-3 loss to Belltown, it had one bad inning, giving up eight runs, and in a 9-1 loss to Lewistown West late in the year, Reedsville had fielding problems.
STRODES MILLS (7-17, 7-18) - The highlight for the 'Mills Boys' came in the middle of the year, when they stunned Reedsville, 2-1, and beat Yeagertown 10-9. Manager Chris Flanagan has to be smiling because he only loses one player from his 2008 squad.
YEAGERTOWN (10-14) - Late in the year, Manager Fred Zook saw his Yeagertown team beat Milroy, 17-16, and then beat Belleville, 16-7. But after that there wasn't much to smile about - Yeagertown lost its last five games in a row. But don't feel too bad for Zook - Yeagertown had its own prep (13-year-old) team this year and its Little League team finished second in the Super Series.