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Reedsville returns as Babe Ruth League prepares for 67th year

MILROY — The big news in the Mifflin County Babe Ruth League for the 2021 season is Reedsville is back.

Reedsville didn’t field a team for the 2020 season, but it will this spring.

The new season starts on Saturday with four games. Milroy will be at Belleville, Beaver Springs, the defending league champion, travels to Belltown and Strodes Mills is at Burnham. Those three games start at 5 p.m. Reedsville will host McVeytown at 7 p.m.

On Sunday, Lewistown opens its season by hosting Belltown at 3 p.m. In other games on Sunday, Burnham travels to Beaver Springs, Belleville is on the road in McVeytown and Strodes Mills is at Milroy. All those games begin at 3 p.m.

This will be the 67th year for the Mifflin County league, which was formed in 1955. Mifflin County holds the Pennsylvania Babe Ruth record for most consecutive regular seasons in a row.

The new manager for Reedsville will be Jeff Kanagy.

Kanagy is no stranger to the Babe Ruth world. As a 15-year-old in 1987, he was the starting catcher for Belleville as it won the league title, the first one under the leadership of Bill Corbin. He then was one of the main spark plugs on the Mifflin County 14-15-year-old All-Star team that captured the state title that summer.

Kanagy was a three time All-Star and from 1987 to 2012, he was the all-time leading hitter for the Mifflin County All-Stars with an average of .510. Lewistown’s Isaiah Kearns edged him out by a point .511 after the 2012 season. Kanagy now sits in third place as Belleville’s Casey Conner is the all time league leader with a mark of .543.

Kanagy’s youth career was just getting underway and by 1990 he was a senior on the Indian Valley baseball team that finished second in the state in Class 3A at the highest level of PIAA competition. He was the number one catcher on that team and one of its main hitters.

No other team in the history of high school sports in Mifflin County has ever finished in the state finals at the top classification of PIAA play.

Despite not playing in 2020, Reedsville still has played the most games over the last 54 years (1967-2020). 1,233. Belleville is second with 1,226. There were no complete standings from 1955-1966.

Kanagy is not the only first-year manager in the league this spring. Taking over for Justin Yoder in McVeytown is Denny Yetter. Yoder retired with a 115-107 record in McVeytown and an overall record of 145-114 (12th place on all-time Mifflin County Babe Ruth coaching list).

Phil Guss will be the new man in the Milroy dugout. He takes over for Josh Edwards. Edwards managed two years, one in Reedsville in 2019 and in Milroy in 2020. He finished with a record of 18-19. Edwards was the last coach in the league from the 2016 13-year-old national championship team.

Other managers returning are Brad Wagner, Lewistown, fourth year, 20-40; Mike Souders, Burnham, fourth year, 42-17; Mike Wolfley, Beaver Springs, second year, 13-0; Jason Hunter, Strodes Mills, second year, 2-11 and JP Pannizzo, Belltown, second year, 1-12.

Back in Belleville is Bill Corbin, who starts his 39th year. Corbin has a 620-346 record in Big Valley and his All-Star coaching record is 96-41. His overall record is 716-387 and he not only holds the Mifflin County mark for most wins, but he also holds the record for most wins by a Babe Ruth manager in Pennsylvania.

It isn’t often that a major award winner as a player comes back to manage in the league. But, this year Kanagy and Yetter have accomplshed that feat. Kanagy was the MVP in 1987 and Yetter won the batting title for McVeytown in 1978.

The only other two men to do that were Stephen Alexander, who was the Outstanding Pitcher in 2000 and managed Burnham in 2014, 2016 and 2017 and Bronson ‘Bam’ Hunter, who was the MVP for Yeagertown in 1986 and then managed Yeagertown in 2017.

There is one major award winner returning in 2021 as Lewistown’s Ryan Hine won the batting title last summer as a 14-year-old.

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