Summer fades, but memorable baseball stories remain

You just hate to see some summers come to an end.

Hamburgers on the grill, early morning runs and baseball – well, baseball is the main topic here.

From March until August, baseball is played throughout the area and in every game there seems to be a different story.

Youth baseball was alive and well for the summer of 2013.

First came the high school season that kicked off the summer.

The Mifflin County High School team had a good showing in the Mid-Penn Conference, but couldn’t get out of the first round in the District 6 Class AAAA playoffs. Meanwhile, in Middleburg, Midd-West had a great showing in the District 4 Class AAA playoffs, just missing the district title. It was a nice turnaround for the Mustangs as they have had some down years before reaching the finals this spring.

Of course, old reliable Mount Union went to the state tournament after finishing second to Blairsville in District 6 Class AA. The Trojans won their first game before dropping a 1-0 contest to eventual state runner-up Beaver.

In Little League, the Big Valley 9-10-year-olds won the District 5 tournament and advanced to the sectional. The team was managed by Gary Eichhorn. Not only did Big Valley win the District 5 tournament, but it got as far as the Section 4 final, losing to Red Land, 3-2.

The girls got into the action, too – the Mifflin County Little League 9-10 softball team won the district and the section, advancing to the state tournament in Thorndale, the furthest any non-Babe Ruth team went this summer.

Larry Wolfe’s Mifflin County American Legion team had a great year, going 21-10 and missing the state tournament by a game. The team was very young, as it only had three 18-year-olds. Mifflin County was the regular-season champ in the Central Penn League and represented the league in the Region 7 tournament.

And then there was Seth Wagner. Anytime a local player gets drafted by a major league team, it’s big news. Wagner, a Mifflin County graduate in June, was drafted later that month and signed in August with the the Minnesota Twins and is now in Florida.

Which brings us to the end of another summer. Aug. 6 marked 40 years since I had my first byline in The Sentinel.

In 1973, Mifflin County won its first 13-year-old Babe Ruth state title by beating Levittown, 9-1, in Phoenixville. It was only the second state championship for the league and the first one that I had a chance to report on. Since then there have been plenty of games and many more state titles, but that day in Phoenixville is one I’ll always remember.

Members of that team included Randy Corbin, Ken Crum (Milroy), Ken Goss (Belltown), Brent Hartman, Steve Johnson (Yeagertown), Randy McLaughlin, Dale Reynolds, Dean Reynolds (Strodes Mills), Shane Rook, Kerry Rager (Reedsville), Darrell Kanagy, David Long, Chuck Osborne, Daryl Treaster and Doug Wyland (Belleville). Coaches were Carl Scheaffer, Walter Ciecierski and manager Gary Ciecierski of Strodes Mills.

And what a way to wrap up my 40th year writing for the Sentinel – with another state championship in Babe Ruth for Mifflin County.