Babe Ruth league reaches milestone
Ruling drops 1,000th to lower bracket
MILROY — It wasn’t the way anyone involved with Mifflin County Babe Ruth baseball envisioned the 1,000th all-star game in county history going down.
The 14-year-old team went to bed Friday night believing they defeated West End (Williamsport) and would play Saturday afternoon in the winner’s bracket of the District 8, 14-year-old all-star tournament against Altoona, and that would be the league’s 1,000th contest.
Instead, a protest from Juniata County — that Mifflin County used an ineligible player against West End — resulted in a forfeit victory for the team from Williamsport, pushing Mifflin County into the early elimination bracket game against Juniata.
Mifflin County, behind solid pitching from Jaron Yoder and hot-hitting throughout the lineup, made lemonade out of lemons in a 12-2, five-inning defeat of Juniata County Saturday afternoon at Armagh Field.
“There’s always a concern when you have something like that happen, especially with 14-year-old kids. Before the game, we got together and had a talk about the situation and what was going on,” Mifflin County assistant coach Jason Yoder said. “We have to do what we can do to handle it and how we handle it is to play ball. They were very motivated.”
Juniata County saw its tournament end with the loss, but manager Ed Jamison was happy for his club and the experience it picked up.
“It’s exciting for us to be here. We had more kids in the teener age group than we have in years. It’s nice to see the kids play. That’s what we want. We want them to play baseball,” Jamison said. “We want to develop them in the younger age groups so when they are 13 and 14, they’ll play better baseball. That’s what we are after. The goal is to get more kids to play.”
Prior to this year, Juniata County played Little League Junior baseball, and has also had Junior American Legion and even Babe Ruth ball in the past.
Jaron Yoder went the distance for the win, going five innings, giving up two runs on four hits with six strikeouts and no walks.
“Before the game, I said to Jaron, ‘The key thing is it’s an all-star game. You have eight all-stars behind you,'” Jason Yoder said. “You don’t have to do it all yourself. You don’t have to strike out everybody. Use your defense and good things will happen and that’s what he did.”
Mifflin County scored 12 runs on seven hits picking up four runs in each of the first three innings to put the game out of reach early.
Jessie Herman was 2-for-3 with four RBIs to lead the victors. Teammate Julian Krainak had two RBIs.
Mifflin County, down 1-0, scored four in the bottom of the first on RBI singles from Preston Arbogast, Herman and Cole Chilson with Arbogast plating on a Juniata County error.
Krainak had a two-run knock in the second with Herman and Logan Stimely getting consecutive RBI doubles.
Mifflin County plated its final runs in the third when Kaden Mitchell came home on a passed ball, Krainak on a wild pitch and Herman had a two-run single to left.
“We came out hitting, fielding and playing the way you should play ball,” Yoder said. “The kids played hard and took control early.”
Juniata County scored a run in the first on a sacrifice fly to center by Danny Freed and a run in the fourth on an RBI groundout by Joel Davis. Tait Jamison led Juniata County, going 2-for-2. Owen Dressler took the loss on the mound.
“It’s great to come up here and play and play everybody else. The kids played hard. They never gave up. The only thing that really got us was some mental mistakes and some errors,” Jamison said. “Everybody developed, everybody got better as the year went on. It was good for us. It was a short tournament, but this is the first time we’ve ever had a 13 and 14 team entered. It’s a learning experience for us.”