On the night of June 21, there was news breaking at every ball park in the Mifflin County League. At Rec Park, Milroy won its fourth game of the year - which was big news in Milroy - and later on that night, Lewistown and Beaver Springs, the top two teams in the league played in an epic battle of 12-11 with the West holding off the Springs through the seventh inning.
In Belleville, Yeagertown pulled off a triple play, while in Burnham the host team's pitcher, Dylan Ritter, struck out 14. At Armagh Memorial Field that night, Reedsville's Scott Reigle tied a coaching mark with his 298th win, moving him into a tie for fourth place on the all-time list.
Some nights the news was beter than others. Here is a run down of the 10 teams in the league and what they did this season.
BEAVER SPRINGS, 21-6 league record, 24-6 overall - The second-year club had quite a season as it ended the long Lewistown winning streak at 73 games in the final of the Bob Reigle Memorial Tournament. The Springs kept getting closer each game, 21-2, 8-5, 12-11 and finally a victory, 6-4. Scott Wright's team had a few downfalls, losing to Belleville and Belltown, but overall his team won the games they should have and had a great year.
BELLEVILLE, 11-15 - Depth played a part in Belleville's record, but Bill Corbin, the longtime manager, can look forward to 2011 as he has seven of nine starters back. The key again to Belleville's success or failure will be its depth and bench play. One week late in the season, Belleville experienced the highs and lows of the Babe Ruth league, beating second-place Beaver Springs on a Monday (June 14) and two days later losing to last place Milroy.
BELLTOWN, 11-16, 11-17 - Butch Bender's club was somewhat of a surprise. One weekend early in the season it played what at that time were the two top teams, losing to Burnham, 14-8, and Lewistown, 14-9. There weren't any big-name players or three-time All-Stars in Belltown. Bender had 15 players, who just wanted to play ball everyday - and they did.
BURNHAM, 16-10 - Everything that could have gone wrong at Burnham did during the 2010 season. The team had more injured players some nights than sodas in the concession stand. The new manager, Tom Heller, took over the team in mid-season and won seven of the last 11 games. The team does have a bright future with a solid rookie class.
LEWISTOWN, 26-0, 27-1 - Bernie Howard, the West manager, guided his team to another undefeated regular season. In the final of the Bob Reigle Tournament, the West lost for the first time since 2008. The winning streak lasted for 73 games. How impressive is that number? Sometimes it's hard for teams to win 73 games in a decade, not to mention a three-year span. The veteran manager is going to miss his seven 15-year-old starters, but as Howard likes to point out, when spring arrives the West is always pointed toward the championship.
MCVEYTOWN, 7-20, 7-21 - From June 7 to June 19, McVeytown played its best baseball of the season, winning four of seven games. This was the most productive season Matt Furgison has had with McVeytown. The good news is that most of his players are returning for the 2011 season. But, McVeytown must learn to play like it did for that 12 day stretch in June if it wants to contend for a title.
MILROY, 4-23 - There weren't many bright spots for Milroy, but for two days in late May it put together back-to-back wins against Strodes Mills and McVeytown. What Ted Rhoades, the Milroy manager, has to hope for is that his team doesn't have nine- and 11-game losing streaks next summer. Milroy, which only loses two players, ended on a bright note, winning two of its last five games.
REEDSVILLE, 11-16, 12-17 - A foul ball that was wind-blown fair was just one of many plays that went wrong for Reedsville this summer. After an early season, seven-game losing streak, Reedsville got back on the right track and made it back to .500 at 10-10. Then disaster struck again and it went on another five-game losing streak that ended all hopes of a winning season. The game that Scott Reigle, the Reedsville manager, will remember this winter will be the Strodes Mills game late in the season when Reedsville was ahead 9-0 and lost 13-9. Reedsville had its own 13-year-old team this year, so it could be back at the top in a couple of years.
STRODES MILLS, 8-19, 8-20 - Strodes Mills was so close to being a .500 team that rookie manager, Butch Larson, could almost reach out of the dugout and pull it in. On May 22, Strodes Mills was 5-6 and playing Milroy. That, however, did not turn out the way Larson had hoped it would and Strodes Mills didn't win again until June 8 - and by then the season was on a downward spiral. Strodes Mills only loses six players so things are at least looking up for the Mills boys.
YEAGERTOWN, 18-8, 19-9 - The surprise team in the league was Yeagertown. Fred Zook, the veteran Yeagertown manager, used a lot of 13- and 14-year-olds to win 18 games in the regular season. The younger players got help from some 15-year-olds, who had better-than-average years, and together the Green and Yellow had a year to remember, including a stretch from May 15 to June 8 when it rolled off 11 wins in 12 games.