Babe Ruth prepares for new season

LEWISTOWN – Although the local baseball season has been over for months, there has been plenty of news in the Babe Ruth world.

Opening day for the 2014 season for the Mifflin County Babe Ruth League will be on April 19. This will mark the league’s 60th year. Gary Stimely, the league’s president, made the announcement recently.

The opening day lineup includes Yeagertown at Belltown, McVeytown traveling to Beaver Springs, Belleville visiting Milroy, Lewistown going to Reedsville and Burnham hosting Strodes Mills.

The Mifflin County 14-year-old state championship team was honored with a banquet on Nov. 7 at the Lewistown Moose Family Lodge. Each of the players received jackets and rings and were also given citations from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, state Rep. Adam Harris (R-Mifflintown); and state Sen. Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte).

The guest speaker was former Babe Ruth player Seth Wagner, who played in Burnham from 2008-10. Wagner later played for Indian Valley and Mifflin County high schools and in June was drafted by the Minnesota Twins (39th round) and signed with the American League team later in the summer.

Members of the team were Cade Attick, Tyler Bedelyon, Ty Bodtorf, Gage Boreman, Kenny Cavanaugh, Austin Erb, Trent Hidlay, Damon Jasper, Jonah Kile, Jordan Marshall, Isaac Maclay, Logan Peachey, Nicholas Poche, Jake Spickler and Ross Underhill.

Also honored were managers Kevin Reigle and Scott Reigle and coaches Don Attick and Craig Bitner.

Altoona, which was a member of District 7 this past summer, has gone back to District 8. For the first two years that Altoona was in Babe Ruth, it played in District 8 (Williamsport area), but last year it moved. Altoona won the District 7 title at the 13-year-old level and was runner-up in the 15-year-old bracket.

Pennsylvania State Commissioner Ron Zimmerman has announced the sites for the state tournaments for the 2014 season. The 15-year-olds will be held at Drums (Valley, host); 14-year-olds, Milroy (Mifflin County, host) and 13-year-olds, Altoona (Altoona, host). This will mark the fourth-straight year that Altoona has hosted the 13-year-old tournament.

All three of the District 7 tournaments (13, 14 and 15) will be held at Milroy.

West End of Williamsport will host the 14-year-old Mid-Atlantic regional, which means that two teams other than West End from the state tournament at Milroy will be going to Williamsport for regional play.

Babe Ruth International Headquarters in Trenton, N.J., announced that for the 2014 All-Star tournaments an extra hitter may be used. Teams do not have to use the extra hitter, but if a team starts the game with one, it must finish with it.

This is the first time that Babe Ruth has gone away from National League rules, with the exception of pitching limitations.

A statistic that was overlooked this summer was the league’s 7,000 hit. It came on July 23 in the top of the second inning in a 15-year-old game in the state tournament against Broomall-Newtown in Williamsport. Tyler Powell led off the second with a double.

Mifflin County finished the season with 7,064 hits in 879 games.

During the off season, I try to find new statistics to expand the Mifflin County league’s numbers. This one should have been done years ago – single season top 10s in hits, runs and RBIs.

The leader in runs and RBIs was Kent Weaver, who as a 13-year-old and member of the 1983 state championship team had 24 RBIs and scored 28 runs.

Nate Burkey from the 2002 15-year-old World Series team is the all-time leader for hits in one season with 27.

One current player, Ty Bodtorf, who will be going into his 15-year-old year in 2014, made the list in two top 10s. As a 13-year-old in 2012, he drove in 18 runs, which tied him for second. Last year as a 14-year-old, Bodtorf registered 25 hits, which ties him for second in that category.

The Mifflin County league announced the league official for the 2014 season. McVeytown’s Gary Stimely will be back for his 30th year as the league’s president. Charlie Connahan of Beaver Springs will be the league’s vice president. It will be Connahan’s fourth year in that position.

The league’s treasurer is Belleville’s Bill Corbin, who will be in his 11th year. The new secretary will be Tammy Matthews of McClure.

Word came out of Phoenixville this past week that one of the that league’s key administrators had passed away.

David White, 61, was a charter member of the Pennsylvania Babe Ruth Hall of Fame (2000). White was a do everything man as he was the league’s public relations person, ran the press box, was the league’s statistician and scheduled umpires. For years he also served the District Two Commissioner. White was involved with Phoenixville from 1977-2013. Since White came into the Phoenixville league, it won eight state titles and appeared in 14 state finals.

Mifflin County fans will remember White as the Phoenixville public address announcer at DeSanto Field, the home Phoenixville Babe Ruth.