Notes from the 15-year-old Babe Ruth tournament trail

Mifflin County is the second league from Pennsylvania to send a team to a Babe Ruth World Series twice in three years. The other is West End (Williamsport), which sent 13- and 14-year-old teams in back to back years in 2009 and 2010.

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Two of the three junior Babe Ruth World Series have Pennsylvania teams in them for 2018. The 15-year-olds have Mifflin County and the 13-year-olds have Broomall-Newtown. Levittown leads all Pennsylvania leagues with five appearances in the World Series, while Mifflin County and West End each have four. Broomall and Drexel Hill each have three.

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Once the Mifflin County 15-year-olds get home from Longview, Washington, they will have traveled 9,658 miles in three years. They also played in Ottumwa, Iowa; Queensboro, N.Y.; seven trips to Lehighton and nine trips to Williamsport. Mifflin County played six games as 14-year-olds in Lehighton, but they had to make seven trips as one game was cut in half by rain.

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Justin Yoder, the Mifflin County manager, now has a 20-2 record in two years of All-Star competition, ranking him seventh on the Mifflin County list. Yoder’s overall record is 111-97, 12th overall. Yoder is just the third Mifflin County manager to lead a team into a Babe Ruth World Series. The others were the late Fred Zook in 2004 with the 15-year-olds and Scott Reigle twice, 2002 (15-year-olds) and 2016 (13-year-olds).

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Ryan Rupert, one of the assistant coaches on the 15-year-old squad, was a member of the 1997 Mifflin County 15-year-old team that won a state title. Mifflin County played its regional in Millville, N.J., and went 1-2. One of its two losses was to Maryland, which went on win the regional and moved on to the Babe Ruth World Series in Longview.

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Mifflin County’s record in Babe Ruth World Series games is 9-6 and in August it’s 69-61. Mifflin County is 2-2 in its last appearance in Longview (2004). Mifflin County beat one of the host teams, Kelso, and Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and lost to Jefferson Parish (New Orleans) and Southern Washington. Jefferson Parrish went on to win the national title.

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The class of 2018 has now established a new record for most wins for a class with 37 (37-3). The old record was held by the class of 2009 with a 33-5 mark.

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In the last three years, Mifflin County has racked up a 60-17 record including four district titles, a state runner-up, three state titles, a regional runner-up, two regional champs and a national champion.

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Mifflin County will not be wearing their regular All-Star uniforms. Once in Longview, they will wear Mid-Atlantic uniforms. The last All-Star team not to wear Mifflin County uniforms was the 1973 13-year-olds in the Mid-Atlanitic regional. In 1973, Mifflin County wore Pennsylvania uniforms. That was the last team to wear the state uniforms.

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Mifflin County now has an overall record of 689-300 and needs just 11 games to reach 1,000 games played.

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Ray Wilde covers Babe Ruth baseball for The Sentinel.

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