A lot of uncertainty lies ahead for Mifflin County
LONGVIEW, Wash. — When Mifflin County looks around at the other teams playing for this year’s 15-year-old Babe Ruth national championship, they won’t see anybody that looks familiar.
There are no leagues here from 2016.
Going to one World Series is tough enough, much less going to two.
In Mifflin County’s pool are two of the toughest regions in the country, the Southeast and Pacific Southwest.
The first team, Mifflin County will see is Tallahassee, Florida (Southeast). This will not be the first time that Mifflin County has squared off against the Florida power. In 2002, Mifflin County fell 1-0 in the single-elimination part of the tournament to Tallahassee.
Midd-West graduate Matt Wright, who later played in college and the minors, pitched a complete game on zero days rest and Mifflin County left two men stranded late in the game.
The Tallahassee league is no stranger to the World Series. It has won five national titles at two different age levels. Tallahassee won 13-year-old national titles in 1999, 2007 and 2009, and won two more champioships at the 15-year-old level in 1984 and 2009.
The Pacific Southwest champion is Torrance, California. a suburb of Los Angeles. Torrance knocked off Hawaii in the Pacific Southwest regional. Hawaii was the defending national champion at the 14-year-old level. It was Hawaii that Mifflin County beat for the 13-year-old national championship in 2016.
Torrance has also been in the winner’s circle for national titles, winning two at the 15-year-old level in 2006 and 2008 and one as 13-year-olds in 2010.
In 2002 (15-year-olds), Mifflin County faced its only other team from Southern California, El Segundo (another Los Angeles suburb). It was Mifflin County’s first Babe Ruth World Series game and Mifflin County lost 18-0. El Segundo went on to win the national title.
Mifflin County also will play one of the two host teams, Kelso. Mifflin County beat Kelso in 2004 by a 12-6 score.
Mifflin County’s other pool opponent will be the New England winner, Concord, New Hampshire. Mifflin County played its first opponent from New England in the 2016 13-year-old World Series, beating Connecticut 9-1.
In the other pool are Denver City, Texas (Southwest), which is located in the Texas panhandle and is just 13 miles from New Mexico.
New Castle, Indiana, represents the Ohio Valley. New Castle is a small city of 18,114 just east of Indianapolis. The Midwest Plains representative is Albany, Minnesota, which is located west of the city of St. Cloud.
The other team in the pool is from the Pacific Northwest — Woodland, Washington, which is located between Longview and Portland, Oregon.
Going into the 2018 season, Mifflin County had played 92 different leagues in Pennsylvania, seven Mid-Atlantic hosts, three World Series hosts and 21 different states or regions.
Added to that list in 2018 was Westmoreland in Pennsylvania; Southeastern New York, which is now a combination of New York City and the southeastern section New York, which is just north of NYC.
New Hampshire also will be a new state, which will now give Mifflin County 126 different leagues, hosts or states that it has played.