MILROY - Last year, the Mifflin County 13-year-olds were close to getting to the Pennsylvania Babe Ruth state finals. Mifflin County lost in the semi-finals to Bensalem, 4-2, after scoring the first two runs early in the game and then watching its offense freeze up like a cold winter day in Altoona.
Now, a year later, Mifflin County is ready to start the tournament trail again and this time there won't be much traveling until the team would have to go the Mid-Atlantic Regionals if it won the state championship.
Mifflin County will open District 7 tournament play tonight at 7:30 p.m. against Perry County. The state tournament starts on July 19 (Mifflin County plays on the 20th) and it too will be at the Armagh Memorial Field.
The district tournament is double elimination and the winner of the Mifflin County-Perry County game will take on Gettysburg at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. The state tournament will consist of pool play and then single elimination for the final three days of the tournament.
This year's 14-year-old team is managed by Scott Wright of Beaver Springs. He is being assisted by Steve Kratzer and Scott Sharp, both of the Springs, and Bill Corbin of Belleville.
Wright has an overall record of 101-63 and an all-star mark of 5-2. However, Wright has been associated with two other all-star teams in 2001 (14-year-olds) and 2002 (15-year-olds). The 2002 team not only won the district title, but went on to win the state title, the regional championship and finished in the top six in the country.
Another member of the coaching staff also has gone to a World Series as Corbin was an assistant coach on the 15-year-old team in 2004.
Wright became the 12th manager in league history to win at least 100 games. He was the seventh fastest to get to the century mark with a 100-62 record.
"I think I have 15 players that will compete at this level," Wright said. "Of the teams that I have been associated with this is most well rounded. We will go as far as our pitching and hitting will take us."
Beaver Springs, the second place team in the league, placed three players on the team, Andrew Bishop, Aaron Sharp and Alex Hackenberg. Hackenberg won the league's batting title for the 2012 season.
Milroy also placed three players on the team, Graham Rhoades, Jared Soles and Trevor Bulick.
League champion Lewistown placed two players on the team, Isaiah Kearns and Peyton Reesman.
Yeagertown and McVeytown each had two players, Nate Earnest and Ty Hunter (Yeagertown), along with Drew and Lucas Harshbarger of McVeytown.
Rounding out the squad are Andrew Larson of Strodes Mills, Tyler Powell of Burnham and Zach Hostetler of Belltown.
Bishop, Sharp and Bulick are all first-time all-stars.
Mifflin County enters the 2012 post-season with a record of 577-248 in all three age brackets.