District streak ends with loss to Altoona

MILROY – The Mifflin County Babe Ruth streak is over.

For the past 11 years Mifflin County has swept District 7 – 13, 14 and 15-year-old titles – along with the last one played in 2001, for a total of 34 district crowns in a row.

The streak ended Friday night at Armagh Memorial Field as Altoona, a third-year Babe Ruth league and a new league in District 7, ended the run with a 6-2 win in the District 7 13-year-old championship game.

The streak is a Pennsylvania Babe Ruth record. During the streak, Mifflin County had a record of 228-83 and finished in the Pennsylvania final four 27 times, winning 10 state titles and finishing second six times. It also included six finishes in the Mid-Atlantic Regional and two titles and two trips to Babe Ruth World Series tournaments, which included two top 10 finishes.

Altoona, which went undefeated in District 7, beat Mifflin County twice, 13-3 and 6-2, and downed Perry County, 5-2. For Mifflin County, to win the title, it would have had to win on Friday and also win a second “if-necessary” game, which would have been played today.

“Every year is different,” said Mifflin County manager Bill Corbin, “I feel that I’m the unluckliest manager in the league when it comes to All-Star games at Milroy. We hit balls down the line and they go foul. They hit balls down the line and they stay fair.”

Corbin, who is the winningest manager in league history (591-319), has won four state titles, but all of them have come on the road. Two of his four state runners-up, however, did occur at Armagh Memorial Field.

Miffllin County’s season is not over. Since Altoona is the host team for the state tournament and gets an automatic berth, Mifflin County will go as the District 7 represenative. The state tournament starts on July 17.

On Friday, the difference in the game was walks. The two Altoona pitchers didn’t give up a walk, while the two Mifflin County pitchers gave up seven. Four of those seven walks came around to haunt Mifflin County.

Mifflin County scored two runs early, but that was the end of the offense. Cole Baker led off the first with a triple and scored on a throwing error giving Mifflin County a 1-0 lead.

In the second, Mifflin County added another run for a 2-1 margin. With one out, Carson King reached on an error and Thomas Remy followed with a double. Collin Stuck went down on strikes, but when Chris Elliott reached on an error, King scored.

But that was the end of the scoring for Mifflin County. In four innings, Mifflin County came up with a base hit, but couldn’t score. Kyle Peachey picked up his second hit in the third, but was erased on a double play.

With two out in the fifth, Baker got his second hit, but was stranded on second. Then in the sixth, Derick Cross singled, but could only get as far as third base.

And finally in the seventh, Mifflin County got a base hit from Joe Taptich with one out, but was doubled up to end the game.

Mifflin County started Aaron Kanagy and he sailed through the first three innings. He gave up only two hits, but in the second Keaton Nolan walked with two outs. He stole second, went to third on a passed ball and scored when Avery McGinnis reached on an error.

In the fourth, however, Kanagy ran into control problems as he walked the first three men he faced and all three came around to score. After the third walk, Corbin went to his bullpen and Taptich was greated with a two run single from Nolan.

Taptich, however, only gave up two runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out one.

Mifflin County out hit Altoona, 7-5, but in the walk department Mifflin County gave up seven and Altoona didn’t walk a batter. Mifflin County committed three errors, while Altoona had four miscues, but did complete three double plays.

“We walked too many batters tonight,” Corbin said. “We are going to have to keep working if we expect to do well in the state tournament. Altoona was a very opportunistic team. They were very discipline and we weren’t. We swung at too many 2-0, 3-1 pitches. They made some errors tonight as opposed to the first game (one error), but they also came up with three double plays.”