Thank you, Bernie Howard, for your work

To the editor:

I’m taking this time out of my day to recognize and thank Mr. Bernie Howard.

I have been lucky enough to have coached with three of the best baseball coaches in Mifflin County history. First Mr. Frank Pupo, Mr. Fred Zook and finally Bernie Howard. All three of these men had or have a passion for the game of baseball and mentoring the youth of Mifflin County. All three have spent countless hours at the ball field doing what was necessary to play the game, but Bernie Howard stands out above the rest in my book.

I just finished up coaching with Bernie and Chuck Curry (they are retiring) for the last five years. Bernie gave me a shot to run the Junior Varsity program at Mifflin County High School. There is no one out there that has spent more hours on a program, from the regular season, to Legion Ball, to fall ball and then back to offseason workouts in January and February. His program took two months off in November and December. That’s it!

He provided baseball almost year round for our athletes. He spent countless hours at the field readying it for practice or games. He ran the Legion Baseball team as soon as the high school season was complete. He set up a Fall Ball League for kids to play in the fall. He set up indoor workouts in January and February for our athletes to get multiple swings and work on technique. I’m sure he would still be doing it if it wasn’t for personal reasons.

Now critics may question records and championships. What you don’t understand is the schedule that these kids play. Red Land, Cedar Cliff, Central Dauphin, Cumberland Valley. The Mid Penn is arguably the toughest conference in the state. Our season is basically played in three weeks due to the spring showers so pitching is a must. Our kids play a tough schedule and the result of that just showed (during the American Legion Region 7 tournament) in Latrobe. We defeated and then lost to the eventual champion Hempfield East. Hempfield just went 2-0 in the State Legion tournament before losing to Swoyersville (who is year in year out very good).

Bottom line — our strength of schedule in the Mid-Penn has made our athletes better regardless of championships. I wish the coach of the future the best of luck and I hope they devote half the time of what Bernie did for this program. Thanks again Bernie!

William E. Snook