Alexander takes on new role as manager

ALTOONA — Stephen Alexander has been a player and coach on the Babe Ruth tournament trail, but this will be his first time as a manager.

Alexander, the Burnham coach in the regular season, will lead the Mifflin County 13-year-old all-stars into battle at the Pennsylvania state tournament in Altoona starting on Saturday.

Mifflin County will play at 5 p.m. against District 1 (Delaware County). Then on Sunday at 11 a.m. Mifflin County goes up against the District 1 runner-up.

Rounding out pool play for Mifflin County is a 2 p.m. game on Monday against District 2 — Tri-County (Chester County) — and Mifflin County completes its schedule on Tuesday against Tri-Township, District 3 (Bucks County) at 2 p.m.

The semi-finals are set for Wednesday and the final is Thursday. The winner advances to the Mid-Atlantic Regional in Somers Point, N.J. (the southern part of the state).

Alexander (for Milroy) was a three-time all-star and as a 15-year-old he won the Outstanding Pitching Award. In 2000, when Alexander was 15, the Mifflin County All-Stars finished fourth in the state.

As a manager in Burnham his record is 51-30 and he was an assistant coach on two all-star teams, both 14-year-olds, in 2014 and 2016.

Alexander is being assisted by Matt Shoemaker of Burnham and Kent Smith of Milroy.

Burnham placed four players on the team: Landon Black, Kyler Everly, Trey Shoemaker and Conner Zimmerman.

Milroy, Reedsville, Beaver Springs and Belltown each placed two men on the all-star team: Anson Wagner and Ryan Esh of Milroy; Isaac Knepp and Brayden Swineford from Beaver Springs; Cody Bickhart and Zach Williams, Reedsville; and Dylan Zellers and Isaiah Alters, Belltown.

Three teams had one player each — Belleville, Luke Lyter; Tyler Hunter, Strodes Mills; and Cade Penepacker, Yeagertown.

McVeytown’s Eli Pennebaker and Burnham’s Rylan Bailey were selected for the team but had to be replaced due to an injury.

“We have come a long ways in three weeks,” Alexander said, “We are going to hit the ball and score runs. The key will be to throw strikes and play defense.”

Mifflin County has a 13-15 record in Altoona with its two highest finishes coming in 2013 and 2015 as the 13-year-olds finished second. Other final four finishes in Altoona were in 2011 and 2012, also 13-year-olds, who tied for third.