LEWISTOWN - The Mifflin County Babe Ruth regular season couldn't have ended in a more dramatic way than Thursday night.
Lewistown came into its last game of the season riding a 47-game winning streak and had a chance to become just the third team to go undefeated in the regular season since the league expanded to a more than 20 teams back in 1977.
The 2009 West edition went through the regular season and the Bob Reigle tournament with a perfect 30-0 record. The 2010 West team was 26-0 in the regular season before it lost in the finals of the Bob Reigle tournament to Beaver Springs.
That loss snapped a 73-game winning streak, the longest in league history.
Standing in the West's way on Thursday night: Belleville.
The Big Valley club came into the game in fourth place with a 15-10 record. And it was a Belleville team back in June of 1965 that stopped Burnham Green's 44-game winning streak, which at that time was the longest on record.
History was again made on Thursday as Belleville gave the West its first defeat of the season, 2-1, and snapped the second longest winning streak in the 58-year history of the league. The last time Lewistown fell was on May 13, 2011 to Yeagertown on the road, 3-2.
And in fact, it was the West's first home defeat since May 11, 2008 as Belltown edged Lewistown 3-2 in eight innings.
"They played well and we played well," said West manager Bernie Howard. "We outhit them and I thought Peyton (Reesman) pitched a fabulous game. We just didn't get our lead off man on base four innings in a row. Give (Zach) Stauffer credit. The last time we saw him, we hit him all over the park. Not tonight, he had us popping up. My two pitchers didn't walk a batter tonight. But, we are still league champs and I told the kids that after the game."
Belleville scored a run in the first inning as it put together three straight hits from Stauffer, David Walker and Dylan Billett. Billett's single knocked home Stauffer.
The West tied the game in the bottom of the first as Max Remy tripled and one out later scored on a single by Lucas McKay.
Lewistown started Blaise Roush and he went the first three innings. He gave up four hits, struck out three and hit a batter. In fact, when Philip Yoder was hit by a pitch with one out in the second, it would be Belleville's last base runner until the sixth inning.
But, it was that base runner that would make the difference. Walker led off the sixth with a triple. Billett grounded out to Reesman, who came in to pitch for Lewistown at the start of fourth inning.
Isaac Maclay then tried to put down a squeeze bunt. Walker started toward home plate, but when Maclay missed the ball, Walker froze coming the down the line.
But when the ball glanced off the glove of the Lewistown catcher, Walker scored.
Stauffer started for Belleville and went the first four innings. He gave up four hits, struck out two and walked one. The Big Valley club closed with its ace, Torquato.
In the fifth, Torquato set down the side in order. Then in the sixth, McKay led off with an infield single, but when he tried to steal second, he was thrown out. Aaron Snook then drew a walk and Willie Duncan was put into pinch run.
But Duncan wasn't on the base paths very long as Reesman hit into a 6-3 double play.
Roush led off the seventh with a single. Teague Miller popped up to Stauffer at second base. Trent Hidlay then grounded out to second and Roush moved into scoring position.
But, he stayed there as C.J. Reigle grounded out to Philip Yoder at first base.
One big difference in the game was that Belleville's defense didn't commit an error and that has been one of the big problem spots all year for the Big Valley club.
"As long as you throw strikes and can field the ball, you can stay in games," Belleville manager Bill Corbin said. "We got a couple of lucky breaks tonight and as they say I'd rather be lucky than good,
"We went with Zach (Stauffer) and he did a great job," Corbin said. "They (the West) had seen him twice. He had one inning left, but the top of their order was coming up, so I went with Ross (Torquato). I just can't say enough about Ross. He finished tonight and got the win. He has carried us all year on the mound."
In other Babe Ruth news, Burnham, for the second game this year, couldn't field enough players and forfeited to second place Beaver Springs.