County is no stranger to the event
MILROY — Mifflin County has been the host of the Mid-Atlantic Regional only two times, 2003 and 2004, and both of those tournaments were at the 15-year-old level.
In 2003 Mifflin County put together a 10-1 record before getting to the regional. Under manager Bernie Howard, Mifflin County won the District 7 title with two wins over Gettysburg and a victory over Upper Adams.
Then came the opening game of the state playoffs and it was tough 11-3 loss to arch rival State College. It was a game Mifflin County wouldn’t forget.
Mifflin County won two more games, 11-3 win over West End (Williamsport) and 2-0 over Blue Valley North.
Then it was on to the state final four in Broomall.
Mifflin County won the first game, beating Broomall 7-4, and then stunned State College, 7-1. State College had gone to the Babe Ruth World Series the year before as 14-year-olds.
In the win against Blue Valley, Ben Yoder and Ben Allen combined for an extra-inning win. Those two pitchers were the aces of the staff. In the 7-1 State College win, Allen tossed a five hitter.
The State College win put Mifflin County into the finals against undefeated Drexel Hill. Mifflin County had to win twice to win the state title. Mifflin County won the first game, 7-3, behind the a four hitter from Yoder.
In the if-necessary game, Allen came in relief in the third inning and kept Drexel Hill off the scoreboard. The game went to extra innings as a 1-1 tie.
Greg Barber led off the eighth with a walk and Yoder and Allen followed with base on balls. Chad Snook then delivered the game-winning hit.
Once the team got home, it didn’t fare as well as it did in the state tournament. Mifflin County beat Northern New Jersey in the opener of the regionals, 4-2. The seven-game winning streak came to end with a loss to Metro New York, 10-0, and Mifflin County was eliminated by Drexel Hill, 10-5. The highlight of the Drexel Hill game was a home run from Thad Gearhart.
Metro New York went on to win the regional.
Members of the team were Allen, Yoder, Snook, Barber, Gearhart, A.J. Wray, Chad Battista, Sean Fultz, Matt Grassmyer, Matt Hilton, Kevin Reigle and Anthony Trutt. The assistant coaches were Bruce Brumbaugh, Chuck Curry and John Hilton.
A year later, after finishing second in the Mid-Atlantic Regional as 14-year-olds, Mifflin County was ready for the 2015 postseason.
But everything didn’t go the way it was planned.
Mifflin County won the District 7 crown by beating Gettysburg and Upper Adams twice.
Then it was off to the state tournament in Williamsport.
Mifflin County beat Blue Valley North, 14-3, and State College, 3-1, before losing to Aston Valley, 4-3, and being eliminated by Levittown, 8-1.
The team looked to be in disarray.
The manager, Fred Zook, said once the team got home, it would win the regional.
It seemed like an out of the world prediction, but Zook was right.
Kyle Heane took control of the first game on the mound as he beat Western New York, 10-1.
Then it was time for Matt Gregg to become a hero. He smashed a three-run triple in helping Mifflin County to a 9-8 win over Eastern New York. Chris Tressler had to pitch twice in the game, first as a starter and then came in relief to close out the win.
Next was Aston Valley, the Pennsylvania state chamapion. Aston Valley was managed by Dickie Noles, the former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher. His twin sons were the stars of the team.
Mifflin County jumped out to an early lead and then held on for a 6-5 win. Mifflin County scored four times in the third inning behind singles from Dane Glick, Matt Mazzoni, Tressler and Gregg. Again the star pitcher in relief was Heane.
In the semifinals, Mifflin County met Maryland, a team up to that point that held a 4-0 margin in games played.
That changed as Mifflin County won another one-run game, 7-6. Tressler tossed a six hitter and Mazzoni did the hitting with a double and a triple.
In the finals, the two teams met again and this time Mifflin County went wild with the bats as it won, 15-6.
Gregg was the big hitter of the night as he had five hits and drove in five runs. Jay Hartman was right behind Gregg with three hits. Curtis Eversole, Tressler and Glick each had two.
Mifflin County turned four double plays and Heane got the win in only a fitting matter as he ended the regionals the way it started, with a victory.
Then it was a cross country trip to Longview, Wash.
Mifflin County got off to a great start as it went 2-0. It beat one of the hosts teams, Kelso. Mifflin County came out on top, 12-6. Mifflin County had 10 hits with Tressler getting three and Eversole two.
In its only win over a team from outside of the United States, Mifflin Country beat Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 8-7. Tressler smashed a two-run homer earlier in the game, but it was won when Josh McKay raced home on a pitch as an intentional walk was being issued in the bottom of the eighth. McKay opened the inning with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Kris Shank and went to third on a passed ball.
The next two games didn’t end so well. Mifflin County fell to Jefferson Parish (New Orleans), La., 9-0. Jefferson went on to win the national title. Mifflin County fell in its last pool game to Southern Washington, 4-2 in eight innings, on a two-run homer.
Mifflin County was 2-2 and did not advance into the single elimination part of the tournament. It was tied for seventh place in the nation.
Members of the team were Eversole, Glick, Gregg, Hartman, Heane, Mazzoni, McKay, Shank, Tressler, Michael Armstrong, A.J. Boreman, Scott Goss, Johnny Jurasz, Kevin Ryan and Josh Yoder.
Assistant coaches were Butch Bender, Bill Corbin and Dave Stuck.