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  • RIP Jay Stuart -- 1961-2014
  • Snow Blows -- Banquet rescheduled for March 8
  • 28+ division to start April 27
  • Congrats to Harry's Hitzmen -- 2013 PMBL Over 40 Champs

Snow blows -- Feb. 15 banquet rescheduled to Marcdh 8.

February 15, 2014

MSBL Harrisburg Bureau -- the 2014 Pennsylvania Midstate MSBL Banquet slated for Feb. 15 has been canceled due to snowy conditions, and will be held instead on March 8 at Nolo's Bar and Restaurant at Rich Valley Golf Course in Mechanicsburg, Pa.

A fresh coating of over five inches of snow doomed the event. Some 65 people were slated to attend. "I hope they can all make it on March 8," said league President Jeff McGaw.

The banquet has become a tradition in the league allowing players to mingle in a non-competitive, friendly environment. In addition to the awards portion of the banquet, guests were slated to hear from local author and baseball historian Terry Walters. A host of prizes, from baseball bats to books, Harrisburg Senators tickets, and a "Bubba Gump's" decorative license plate, were to be raffled off for charity. The bats included two from Bazzi Bats in the Pocono's, and one made by Minersville Brewer player and bat hobbyist Jason Heffron -- the Heffron Hammer.

Jay Stuart -- June 22, 1961-Feb. 1, 2014

February 5, 2014

 

Jay Stuart, left, accepts an award during the 2011 PMBL banquetLongtime local MSBL player Jay Stuart (left in photograph) died Feb. 1 after a five month hard fought battle with leukemia. He was 52.

Stuart, of Palmyra, began playing in what is now the Pennsylvania Midstate Baseball League in 1992 and shared the distinction of having the longest continuous member of that league through 2013.

A solid player who could play literally anywhere on the field, Stuart was for years the face of the East Hanover MSBL franchise having coached that team – Marlins, Cardinals, Astros, Braves – for much of that time. He was active in MSBL tournaments  having played at the MSBL World Series in Phoenix, and having led several teams to the MSBL Fall Classic in Clearwater and Jupiter, Fla.

Most recently, he was a member of the Hitzmen in the Pennsylvania Midstate MSBL’s new Over-40 division. The Hitzmen won the 2013 championship in November, and dedicated the season to Stuart.

Jay's many victories as a competition softball player resulted in his receiving numerous large trophies. When space became an issue, Stuart sold those trophies for next-to-nothing to the local MSBL league. The trophies -- some of them three and four feet tall, were re-purposed and given out as trophies at the annual Harrisburg Over Thirty (HOT) Baseball Tournament held in the Harrisburg area.

Stuart was a 1979 graduate of Hershey High School. He was a CAD Manager for McClure Company. He was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church, Hummelstown, and a member of Local 520 Plumber's and Pipefitters.
He is the son of Larry and Grace Knoll Stuart of Hershey, and is also survived by his wife, Cindy Kerlin Stuart; son, Zachary; Father-in-Law, Dean Kerlin; sister, Sherri Vickroy (Rick); sister, Deanna Smith; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Services will be held on Thursday, February 6th, at 10:30am in the Hoover Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc., Route 422 & Lucy Ave., Hershey. Viewing will be Wednesday, February 5th, from 5-7pm and also from 9:30am until time of service on Thursday. Interment will be in Gravel Hill Cemetery, Palmyra.

All who attend are encouraged to wear your favorite baseball attire in honor of Jay's love for the game.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Palmyra Civic Baseball, PO Box 485, Palmyra, PA 17078 or to the Jay Stuart Memorial Fund, c/o Members 1st FCU, 176 Hershey Road, Hershey, PA 17033 to assist the family in paying for Zachary's college education.
Visit the online guestbook at www.hooverfuneralhome.com to share condolences with the family.
www.pennlive.com/obits - See more at: http://obits.pennlive.com/obituaries/pennlive/obituary.aspx?pid=169507282#sthash.XM2XZocv.dpuf

 

Born June 22, 1961, Jay was the son of Larry and Grace Knoll Stuart of Hershey.
Jay was a 1979 graduate of Hershey High School. He was a CAD Manager for McClure Company. He was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church, Hummelstown, a member of Local 520 Plumber's and Pipefitters and played baseball for the PA Men's Baseball League.
Surviving, in addition to his parents, are his wife, Cindy Kerlin Stuart; son, Zachary; Father-in-Law, Dean Kerlin; sister, Sherri Vickroy (Rick); sister, Deanna Smith; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. - See more at: http://obits.pennlive.com/obituaries/pennlive/obituary.aspx?pid=169507282#sthash.XM2XZocv.dpuf
Born June 22, 1961, Jay was the son of Larry and Grace Knoll Stuart of Hershey.
Jay was a 1979 graduate of Hershey High School. He was a CAD Manager for McClure Company. He was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church, Hummelstown, a member of Local 520 Plumber's and Pipefitters and played baseball for the PA Men's Baseball League.
Surviving, in addition to his parents, are his wife, Cindy Kerlin Stuart; son, Zachary; Father-in-Law, Dean Kerlin; sister, Sherri Vickroy (Rick); sister, Deanna Smith; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. - See more at: http://obits.pennlive.com/obituaries/pennlive/obituary.aspx?pid=169507282#sthash.XM2XZocv.dpuf

League Banquet Feb. 15 at Nolo's

February 5, 2014

The annual Pennsylvania Midstate Basball League Banquet will held from 6-9 p.m., Feb. 15 at Nolo's Bar and Restaurant at the Rich Valley Golf Course. The evening will give players a chance to mingle, and will also give the league a chance to honor its brightest lights during the awards ceremony. Award winners from 2012 and 2013 will be honored as the league did not have a banquet in 2012.

The cost will be $20 per head.

Dinner will include appetizers, salad, a side veggie with dinner and the main course – a pasta bar with choice of red or Alfredo sauce, hot Italian sausage, meatballs or sautéed mushrooms. The price includes all taxes, tips, and non-alcoholic beverages. There is a cash bar.

Most importantly, we need to give Nolo’s a fairly accurate head count within a week of the event  -- so please get a head count – first and last names – of all planned guests no later than Sunday, Feb, 9.

National MSBL Declares War on Lou Gehrig's disease

December 22, 2013

ALS Assoc. teams with MSBL to fight Lou Gehrigh's disease

The Men’s Senior Baseball League is pleased to announce our new national charity for 2014: The ALS Association

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The disease robs people of the ability to walk, to talk and even blink an eye. It traps them inside a body they no longer can control and ultimately prevents them from breathing as it takes their life.  There is no known cause of the disease, although military veterans are approximately twice as likely to develop ALS as the general population. It wasn't until 1939 that Lou Gehrig brought national and international attention to the disease when he abruptly retired from baseball after being diagnosed with ALS.  Most commonly, the disease strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70, For the full release on this new partnership click here.Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Brian Sigler at 631-753-6725 or bssigler@msblnational.com. Sincerely, Steve Sigler, President/Founder. MSBL/MABL National

 

MSBL Feature Story -- That's what friends are for

December 22, 2013

MSBLNational.com -- Baseball is more than just a game for most in the MSBL.
Jerry Milstein would have played ball into his 60's, but a brain tumor came along and changed those plans. See how his friends and teammates from the South Jersey MSBL honored his long history with that league. A moving story of friendship. Click here for the full story.

Tiny Mifflinburg makes big splash at Fall Classic

December 22, 2013

Procrastinator's News Network, Dec. 22, 2013 -- Mifflinburg is a tiny dot on the Pennsylvania map, but for the second year in a row it has made a good sized mark on the second largest MSBL tournament in the country -- the Fall Classic.

The Phillies, including players from the Pennsylvania Midstate Baseball League as well as others from Virginia, Georgia and Florida, entered the 35 American Division finals with a 5-1 mark but lost the last fight versus the Puerto Rico Gigantes 8-1. The Mark LeValley led Phillies also finished second at the 2012 Fall Classic. 

Click here for the full story and for all of the 2013 Fall Classic coverage at MSBLNational.com.

 

Levalley's league all stars play well but fall short in Philly

Some of the Pennsylvania Midstate Baseball Leagues’ finest, clad in Mifflinburg Phillie jerseys, attended the Liberty Bell Classic near Philadelphia in early October, and despite defeating the eventual champion Chester County Cobras in round robin play, the team was shown an early exit.

The Mifflinburg Phillies, managed by two-time league MVP Mark LeValley, shared a 2-1 record with two other divisional foes, but fell short of advancing to the playoffs because they allowed more runs than those other teams.

The team opened the tournament with a 2-1, extra-innings loss to Reading’s Finest. Denny Wonsick, the top pitcher in the PMBL in 2013, threw all eight and allowed just one earned run, but was tagged with the loss.

The Phillies bounced back with a 12-4 thrashing of the Brick Bat Brewers (Delaware MSBL champs) behind the pitching of lefty Pete Hayden.

Roxbury Red Sox veteran Jim Egolf threw a complete game in a 5-3 win against the eventual tournament champion Chester County Cobras in game three.

There were many hitting stars on the day for PAMBL. Matt Diltz (Phillies) was by far at the top of the list not only for the team, but also for the tournament in Round Robin play.

Rob McDonald (Yankees) hit prodigious, tape-measure blast that would have been home run in any normal park, but was mere extra bases in this unconfined patch of suburban Philadelphia grass.  Steve Toth, Ken Connor & Steve Russell had multiple hit games.

The Liberty Bell Tournament is hosted by the Bux-Mont tournament and modeled after the former Harrisburg Over Thirty Tournament that was held from 1996-2005. Each tournament team must endure a grueling three games on the tournament’s first day, with the top team in each bracket advancing to the playoffs the next day.

PHILLIES EARN 14TH TITLE IN CONVINCING FASHION

     On Labor Day afternoon, the Mifflinburg Phillies added another chapter to their storied history when they traveled to Kennedy Field in Dauphin to defeat the Athletics 18-2, while at the same time winning the 2013 best-of-three Championship series, 2 games to 1. In the process, the Mifflinburg franchise also claimed their 14th playoff championship in the 21-year history of the Pennsylvania Mid-State Baseball League, and its earlier predecessors. Amazingly, the Phillies have reached the final game, or series, in 19 of those 21 seasons, and boast an overall franchise record of  404-124-2  (.764).

     A recap of the championship series follows:

 

 Game #1 – August 25 at New Berlin – Phillies 5, Athletics 4:

     The Athletics had reached the title series for the first time in team history by sweeping three games the previous weekend. Dauphin wrapped up its quarterfinal series with a 5-0 win in East Hanover on Saturday, before sweeping their semi-final series 11-1 and 2-0 over the Enola Yankees the next day. Meanwhile, the Phillies earned their way to the dance with sweeps of the Mechanicsburg Mets (7-5 and 16-2) and Hummelstown Nationals (7-6 and 13-3).

     The series opener began as a pitchers duel between Dauphin’s Shane Lenker and the Phillies’ Denny Wonsick. Scoreless in the third, the Phillies broke the ice when their top two power hitters, Ry Carman and Matt Diltz, each connected for a solo homerun. It was the 5th playoff homerun in five games for each lefty slugger.

     After Dauphin sliced the lead in half, the Phillies answered with another two-spot in the bottom of the fourth, this time with some help. Two errors and a Carman sacrifice produced a 4-1 advantage.

     The score remained 4-1 until the sixth when Jason Albright and Eric Yoho singled to start the frame, bringing Tyler Hollenbach to the dish as the tying run. The left-handed Hollenbach, wasting no time, jumped on Wonsick’s first offering and drove it over the rightfield fence to tie the score. Wonsick would recover to retire 6 of the next 7 batters and send the game to the bottom of the seventh knotted at 4-4.

     Leading off the bottom of the seventh, Carman, already 2-for-2 with a homerun and sac fly, picked on a 1-0 Lenker changeup, and drove it over the centerfield fence for a dramatic walk-off homerun. The game-winning blast drew the Phillies to within a single victory of re-capturing the Championship Cup, held for the past two years by the Enola Yankees.

     The homer also made a winner of Wonsick, who improved to 9-0 on the season with a sparkling 6-hitter. Carman and Rich Aurand led the way for the Mifflinburg offense, both going 3-for-3. Knapp and the A’s Nick Johnson each had a pair of singles in the contest.

 

Game #2 – August 25 at New Berlin – Athletics 10, Phillies 1:

     Athletics players displayed a very short memory in game 2, bouncing back from the potentially devastating defeat of the first contest. And they did so in an emphatic way, ambushing the Phils with 12 hits while scoring in each of the first four innings, to build an 8-1 lead.

     An error and an Eric Yoho RBI-groundout got one run home in the first. Singles by Dan Jorich, Jeff Thrush, and Justin Palmer produced another run in the second. Then, in the 3rd, the lumber really came to life for the A’s. Five straight hits to start the inning led to five runs, which chased Mifflinburg starter Mark LeValley from the mound.

     After Nick Johnson singled to get it started, Scott Montgomery blasted a two-run dinger to left to make it 4-1. After an error, Yoho and Hollenbach singled to load the bases. Jorich’s second hit brought in one run, and Thrush’s sacrifice fly knocked in another. Andy Morrison capped the big rally with an RBI-single of his own, making the score 7-1.

     The Phillies would bang out three singles in each of the next two innings to load the bases. But Dauphin starter Brad Sanders worked his way out of both jams to keep the home team in check. Sanders surrendered 12 hits altogether, but none for extra bases. Like Lenker in the first game, Sanders walked one and struck out one to pull his team even in the series.

     RBI-singles from Thrush and Morrison in the seventh produced the last two runs of a 10-1 victory, in which no less than seven Athletics collected a pair of singles. Johnson, Albright, Yoho, Hollenbach, Jorich, Thrush, and Morrison were all either 2-for-3 or 2-for-4. Morrison finished with 3 RBI.

     Steve Russell was 3-for-4 and Kurt Leitzel went 2-for-4 for the Phils. The results of the day set the stage for a third and deciding game, to be played the following weekend on Labor Day.

 

Game #3 – September 2 at Dauphin – Phillies 18, Athletics 2:

     Game #3 promised to be another exciting pitchers duel between Wonsick and Lenker, the third time in six weeks that the two had locked horns. And through 4 frames of the scheduled 9-inning final, it was just that, as the Phillies forged a slim 3-2 lead.

     Singles by Knapp and Hoffman led to an RBI groundout by Don Leitzel, as the Phillies drew first blood in the 2nd. After the A’s Jorich smoked a deep RBI-triple to tie the score at 1-1, Diltz countered with a two-run double in the 3rd. In the 4th, Yoho doubled and came home on an error to trim the lead to 3-2.

     It was still anybody’s ball game with two outs and Carman at first base in the top of the 5th. But then Mifflinburg exploded with an offensive rampage rarely seen in a championship game. Five straight two-out, RBI-hits produced an 8-2 advantage. First, Diltz tomahawked an up and away fastball into the left-centerfield gap to score Carman. Then Aurand singled hard to left to score Diltz. LeValley followed suit by doubling to right-center for a 6-2 lead. Knapp then had himself a tremendous at-bat, fouling off 4 straight 0-2 pitches, before serving a soft RBI-liner over shortstop.  Pinch-runner Russell would chug around to score when Hoffman followed with a hard double down the leftfield line. When the dust settled on the two-out rally, the Phillies had their first comfortable lead of the series.

     Mifflinburg then put the game away in the sixth against Sanders, who entered in relief of Lenker. Shortstop Kevin Kline took a pitch off the calf to get it started and Kurt Leitzel beat out an infield single. Carman’s sacrifice bunt attempt was mishandled to load the bases. Russell followed with a two-run single, and Diltz smoked yet another RBI-line drive, this one to right field. After that, Aurand sacrificed two runners into scoring position, where LeValley’s hit scored one, and Knapp’s sac fly delivered the other. When the smoke cleared on another 5-run inning, the Phillies had a 13-2 lead.

     Though the outcome seemed secure, Mifflinburg put some icing on the cake with yet another five-spot in the top of the seventh. Leading off, Don Leitzel cracked his third playoff homerun to centerfield, before son Kurt lined a single to left. Carman followed with a two-run homer to right, his 7th of the 2013 playoffs, and 9th of the season. Not to be outdone, Diltz followed a Russell single with his 6th playoff homer (8th of the season), while completing a 4-for-4, 2 double, 6 RBI day. Diltz, a former league MVP, whose 4 hits all left vapor trails, finished a triple shy of the cycle.

     After Wonsick retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning, the Phillies again drank from the Cup that they had hoisted 13 times previously. The former Dauphin righthander finished with a four-hit, three-walk masterpiece, which raised his season record to 10-0 and lowered his ERA to 2.98. It was also his third win against his ex-mates in a little over a month. In those 3 complete games, he surrendered just 7 runs altogether.

     Impressive pitching numbers indeed, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Phillies batted a gaudy .448 in this year’s playoffs, and got incredible contributions from each spot in the batting order. Here are some of the eye-popping individual playoff numbers:



Ry Carman    14-for-25  (.560),  7 HR, 17 RBI, 12 runs

Matt Diltz     11-for-23  (.478),  6 HR, 15 RBI, 2 doubles, 10 runs

Don Leitzel     10-for-17  (.588),  3 HR, 8 RBI

Scott Hoffman     10-for-17  (.588),  2 doubles

Kurt Leitzel     9-for-18  (.500),  4 SB, 7 runs

Mark LeValley     9-for-21  (.429),  double  ----  2-1 on mound,  3.50 ERA

Rich Aurand     8-for-17  (.471),  double, 5 BB

Steve Russell     8-for-22  (.364)

Mike Knapp     6-for-18  (.333)

Stu Sumner     6-for-15  (.400)

Denny Wonsick     4 complete game wins, 7 BB, 11 K, 3.50 ERA

 




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