MILROY - Mifflin County manager Bernie Howard has wished for years that the opposition in the Babe Ruth District 7 tournament was just a bit more competitive.
He got his wish in 2013.
The experienced manager saw his 15-year-old All-Star team capture the district title with hard-fought wins over Gettysburg, 6-2, and Altoona, 8-1 and 10-7.
With the win, Mifflin County advances into the state tournament, at Williamsport's Logue Field, playing its first game today against Keystone (Lock Haven), the District 8 runner-up, at 1 p.m.
Keystone is the District 8 representative much as Mifflin County is for District 7 in the 13-year-old tournament; Williamsport's West End club is guaranteed entry as the host.
Play continues for Mifflin County in pool portion of the tournament on Friday as it meets Broomall/Newtown at 1 p.m.
On Saturday, Mifflin County tangles with Bensalem at 7 p.m. Mifflin County will close out pool play on Sunday as it meets ChiChester, the District 2 champion.
The final four begins play Monday. The finals are set for Tuesday.
Mifflin County got tremendous pitching from its staff as it used four hurlers. Alex Hackenberg worked in two games and got the win in the final game. Graham Rhoades pitched a complete game in the first win against Altoona over a three-day period due to rain. Peyton Reesman picked up the win against Gettysburg in the opener as he struck out the six men he faced in the final two innings of the game.
Aaron Sharp closed out the game against Altoona and got a save.
Jared Soles leads Mifflin County with six hits, while Lucas Harshbarger is close behind with five. Zach Hostetler, Andrew Larson and Hackenberg each have four hits. Rhoades is next in line with three.
Mifflin County has six extra-base hits with Hackenberg getting two doubles, while Harshbarger, Soles and Rhoades each have one. Hostetler has the team's only triple.
Howard now has an overall record of 389-90 record and an All-Star mark of 76-23.
Notes: Mifflin County's record in Williamsport is 25-18. ... Mifflin County won a state title in Williamsport in 2007 at the 13-year-old level. The manager of the team was Bill Corbin. ... This is the first time Mifflin County has ever played Keystone. It marks the 114th league that Mifflin County has played and 89th in Pennsylvania. ... The Mifflin County 15-year-olds recorded the league's 600th win with its 6-2 victory over Gettysburg.
Getting there: Take U.S. 220 North to U.S. 15 North to the West Third Street exit. At the end of the ramp turn left on Third; at end of Third, turn right onto Poplar Street. Proceed to red light and turn left onto Fourth Street. Go 1/2 mile to Foresman Street; Roosevelt Middle School will be on your right. Turn left onto Foresman Street and proceed two blocks. The field will be on your left.