LEWISTOWN - No Babe Ruth All-Star teams are the same and no games are ever alike.
After 45 years of covering the Mifflin County Babe Ruth League, you do see some patterns.
The Mifflin County 15-year-olds played four one-run games in a row in the recent Pennsylvania Babe Ruth tournament in Drums during the heat of the day. It was to say the least very intense baseball.
In 2002, the Mifflin County 15-year-olds ran off 11 wins in a row, but the last four in the Mid Atlantic Regionals were all wins in extra-innings. Then in the first game of the World Series it ran into the eventual national champion from Los Angeles and fell hard, 18-0.
In 2006, Mifflin County was the two-time defending state champion winning the state titles at 13 in 2004 and 14 in 2005. It went into the state tournament with two of its best players on the shelf.
Mifflin County came out and loss the opening game to Franklin Township, 2-0 and then won three in a row to grab the top seed in the final four before losing in the semi-finals to State College, 2-0.
This year it was almost a carbon copy. Mifflin County was the defending champion and loss its first game to West End of Williamsport, 2-1.
And then battled the back to get the top-seed winning three one-run games in a row. It finally won a 10-run game beating the host team in the semifinals (Valley) 12-2 before losing the state championship game to Broomall-Newtown, 8-3.
Not many people knew this, but the odds of Mifflin County beating Broomall in the finals wasn't in the local All-Stars favor. Mifflin County had beaten Broomall for a state title five of the last six times the two leagues have met. Mifflin County had also won four state titles in row against the league from Philadelphia.
Give credit to the players and their parents for the great effort in Hazleton. Mifflin County made this a business trip. Most of the players and their parents commuted the 125 miles (one way) every day. This wasn't a tournament where the team was having fun around the pool every night.
You also have to give huge amounts of credit to the coaching staff. No pitcher was over used. The coaches got every ounce of talent it could from the arms on the team.
One thing over the last two years that has rung true about this team is how well behaved it was off the field. In Wrightstown (Bucks County, state tournament in 2013), Clifton Park, NY (Mid-atlantic Regionals, 2013) and Drums this summer, the People who ran the tournaments noted how mature the team was.
In all three places, Mifflin County was praised for how it acted on and off the field and how polite the players were.
The players on this years team included Cade Attick, Tyler Bedelyon, Ty Bodtorf, Kenny Cavanaugh, Austin Erb, Trent Hidlay, Damon Jasper, Isaac Maclay, Jordan Marshall, Logan Peachey, Nicholas Poche, Levi Sherwood, Jacob Spickler, Eddie Hamman and Ross Underhill.
That saying in baseball, "Nice guys, finish last," doesn't hold water to the the Mifflin County Babe Ruth Class of 2014. In three years, it won three District Seven titles, finished in the Pennsylvania final four three times, was a state runner-up, won a state championship and finished in the single elimination part of the Mid-Atlantic Regional (top six) as 14-year-olds.
These nice guys were champions.