approaching chill of autumn, thru the bitter cold of winter to
the anticipated rebirth of spring it was a hot-topic of
conversation whenever coaches, players or fans gathered to talk
about the 2013 local high school baseball season. Indeed,
accompanying the arrival of the ill-fated Williamsport Outlaws
and their takeover of Bowman Field the constant question
remained; what affect will the ice rink on the baseball-playing
surface have relative to the annual Backyard Brawl?
the importance and yearly anticipation of the one-day scholastic
spectacular all the right things were said by the
powers-that-be. Yes, the field would be ready. Yes, the games
will be played. Yes, the high school players will get to
experience the thrill and memories of playing on the local
treasure often dubbed "The Gateway to the Majors."
May 11 has
come and gone. No games were played. The scoreboard was never
turned on. But if it had been itís line score would have read;
Mother Nature 1, City Officials 0, Loyalsock-Montoursville-South
Williamsport- Williamsport 0. It was just a bad gig all the way
the preparation we earthlings can muster Mother Nature is always
the winner when she decides to dump the unwelcome upon us.
Things of much more importance than a few baseball games played
in the middle of May have been washed away before and will be
again in the future. There can be no blame cast as to the
decision reached on that dreary Saturday morning to cancel the
Brawl. Decisions leading up to it, certainly; but not the final
decision on that day.
should haves and would haves have long been part of the sports
lexicon. Depending on how your favorite team or athlete
performed in any given contest at one time or another weíve all
used the familiar CSW-haves. The Brawl is not a newcomer to the
local sports scene and each year its arrival is looked upon with
anticipation in all four participating communities. But this
year the Williamsport hosted tournament had many fans drooling
at the match-ups.
As the teams
prepared to brawl it out Sock, South and Montour were bringing a
combined 39-4 record into the fray with the Lancers and
Mountaineers only one loss of the season coming at the hands of
the other. Montoursville had lost but twice and was hot on the
heels of the other two for top seeding in this weekís District
Four AA tournament. The Millionaires were carrying an 11-4 log
into the event and were keenly aware of their three neighboring
rivals lofty accomplishments and strong desire to knock them
desires to emerge as Backyard Brawl champions the three smaller
schools seemed to approach the May 11 diamond dual with
South Mounties traveled to league foe Shamokin on the Thursday
before the Brawl. With two league games remaining on their
schedule two wins would assure the South Siders of at least a
share of the Heartland-II title. Finn elected to throw his top
three pitchers, Tyler House, Cody Nelson and Billy Rummings
limited innings in hopes of winning the game and having
eligibility for Saturday. The strategy worked as the Mounties
avoided an upset defeating the Indians 5-3.
afternoon Jeremy Eckís Lancers traveled to Lewisburg to meet the
Dragons in an equally import HAC-II encounter. Should Loyalsock,
like South, win their remaining league games they would share
the league crown with the cross-river Mounties. Eck kept his
sophomore ace Kyle Datres off the mound (maintaining his
eligibility to pitch against Williamsport) and prevailed 4-1.
When it was
learned that the Brawl was going to be moved from Bowman Field
to Williamsportís Logue Field Montoursvilleís head man Travis
Wurster seemed disappointed but unconcerned saying at the time,
"weíll play these games in a parking lot just as long as we get
on the Friday before Wursterís decision clearly showed his
priority was on a league title. Montourís ace Pierce Ranck
gutted out a 3-2 win at Danville meaning that neither he nor the
Tribeís number two hurler Andrew Null would have been eligible
to throw on Saturday.
cancellation made that decision a wise one. Wurster had his
sights set on trying to catch Jersey Shore for the HAC-1 title.
"If we would have lost to Danville at least we went about it the
right way. Saving guys for a tournament would be the wrong way
to play the game. We didnít want to do that.
for Williamsportís Dave Howe was much easier as the Cherry &
White had a four-day rest heading into the big day. Despite the
rest they too remained waterlogged.
So it was, the
most anticipated high school tournament of the season fell
victim to the elements. While all still have hopes of some
district and statewide glory ahead they shared something in
common with many of those disgruntled protestors of the 1960s,
they all walked away brawl-less.