For the past two years, the nucleus of the Mifflin County 15-year-old All-Stars traveled to Gettysburg to play in the District 7 tournament.
The top competition was Upper Adams, a team that was made up mainly of players from Hanover (York County). Mifflin County played the boys from Hanover twice as 13-year-olds and won 11-2 and 8-4. As 14-year-olds, Mifflin County lost 5-4, then won 16-2 and 11-4.
This year it was expected that Upper Adams would make the trip north to play at Armagh Memorial Field.
It would have been nice to show them how many people come to the games and how nice the stadium is for Babe Ruth baseball here in Mifflin County. The two teams battled each other for two years and it would have been fun to see them play in front of the crowds in Mifflin County.
But the boys from Hanover - mostly, kids who played baseball for Delone Catholic - decided to drop out of Babe Ruth. Without them, there weren't enough 15-year-olds available for the Upper Adams league to field a team.
In fact, Adams County won't be represented here at all this weekend - Gettysburg also opted not to come.
In 56 years of Babe Ruth competition, Mifflin County has never forfeited in 784 games. It has always played what was in front of it, regardless of circumstances.
Sometimes the odds were stacked against the local boys, as in 1981, when they had to go on the road to Mount Union and then travel to Upper Darby to play in two very hostile environments.
There have been games in which Mifflin County suffered a heartbreaking loss and still had to show up the next day. In 1986 in a 13-year-old tournament, Mifflin County fell to Levittown, 12-11, after holding an 11-1 lead and being one pitch away from the state finals. In the next game Mifflin County was eliminated, 11-4, by North Chester County.
In 2007, at the 13-year-old regionals, Mifflin County dropped a doubleheader to Western New York, 14-3, and Southern New Jersey, 12-2, on a hot, humid Saturday in the Garden State. The doubleheader loss all but eliminated Mifflin County. But the next day, Mifflin County came out and beat the host team, 20-5.
You might say that this is a credit to the players and the coaches. But, it also is a credit to all the parents of the hundreds and hundreds of Mifflin County all-star players who supported their sons through thick and thin.
Life isn't always made up of home runs, triples and wins. It's also made up of strikeouts, errors and losses. You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad in life.
The boys from Mifflin County went to Gettysburg and faced their foes. It's a shame the kids from Adams County won't be here this weekend.
Ray Wilde is a Sentinel correspondent.