Well it's that time of year again. The boys of summer from the West End Babe Ruth League are making some big noise statewide and beyond. Babe Ruth All-Star baseball has four divisions for players 13, 14, 15 and 16-18 years of age. On July 15, West End had a league first, winning a game at each level on the same day. Quite an accomplishment.
The West End youth baseball league began in 1943 and in 1972 became a Babe Ruth League affiliate. The league will be marking their 75th anniversary this upcoming season. The league is comprised of 13 to 18-year-olds from the greater Williamsport area. During the regular season there are three divisions — 13, 14 and 15s play together, as do the 16-18. This is a great way to get the younger players acclimated to a big league sized field coming up from the Little League level.
One of the best aspects of West End baseball is you have young folks from up and down the West Branch Valley that attend different school districts coming together in the name of baseball.
They make new friendships, play for different coaches and then form an area All-Star team at the end of the regular season. It is a great learning experience that reaches far beyond baseball, providing an introduction to the future when they will stretch their legs outside the comfort of their local league and school district.
A tip of Babe Ruth's cap to Jim and Bonnie Winder. The husband and wife team have made West End near and dear to their hearts for 37 years. Jim has been league president for the past 30 seasons — of course this has been under Bonnie's close guidance. "The league has been blessed with great volunteers," Mr. Winder informed me. "Without so many good people giving their time year after year the league couldn't be what it has become. I also can’t say enough about the great ball players we seem to have season after season."
Jim and Bonnie have been elected into the Pennsylvania and Mid Atlantic Babe Ruth Halls of Fame. George Lepley, Tom Marnon, Dave Cipriani and umpire Mike Sharrow have been inducted into the PA Babe Ruth Hall of Fame.
As far as the West Ender's success on the diamond, they have won 18 State Championships and been to seven World Series. All four All-Star teams competed for State Titles this season. s I am penning this week's column the senior Babe Ruth All-Stars managed by Tori Shimp have already won the State Championship and are competing at the Mid Atlantic Regional in Mt. Olive, NJ. They defeated South Jersey in their first game.
The 13-year-old squad coached by George Lepley unfortunately lost to Upper Darby-Drexel Hill in extra innings, finishing State runner up. Mr. Lepley informed me this is one of the most talent-laden teams he has ever coached, from top to bottom. His team held a two run lead heading into the bottom of the 9th inning, but that’s baseball. George has had great managerial success over the years — winning nine State Championships and advancing to five World Series.
The 14-year-old team guided by Nate Mazzante holds an 8-4 lead in the bottom of the 5th over Mifflin County; the game was suspended due to bad weather. It was not scheduled to resume until after press time.
The 15-year-olds managed by long time West Ender, Tom Marnon held an 8-5 advantage after 5 innings. However, it wasn’t to be their night as they dropped a tough 12-8 decision to Mifflin County.
Look for future features on all the State Championship baseball and softball teams from the area in upcoming issues. We have truly been blessed with great ball players and teams from the high school levels right down to the beginning level of Little League.
Passing the Torch
It was my pleasure to work with Mr. Frank Tripoli owner of Tripoli's Triggers over the years. Frank had his business and shooting range for decades. We teamed up to educate and train over 300 ladies on the safe execution of their Second Amendment rights. Thank you to Frank and his staff — they did all the hard work.
Well time stops for nobody and unfortunately Frank has had some health issues over the last few years. This made it necessary for him to sell his shop on Washington Boulevard. Good luck and best of health in your retirement, Frank.
For those of you that travel the Boulevard you have noticed the transformation of Tripoli's Triggers into National Range and Armory. Adam and Karyn Kordes partnered with Justin Moore and purchased the business. To say they dropped a few Ben Franklins on the renovation of the building would be an understatement. For the Kordeses of National Sporting Goods in Jersey Shore and Justin from JMC Firearms it seems like a perfect fit. Big believers in our Second Amendment rights, they have teamed up to provide a complete shooting and personal defense training center. The store will provide a shooting range, gun sales, gun rentals and have the area's most elite training staff available. They will be open seven days a week to accommodate everyone's schedule.
It is Adam, Karyn and Justin's goal to provide the best customer service, training in the safe use of a firearm, and self-defense training possible. They want to create an atmosphere of safety and comfort for the beginner and provide the highest level of training possible for the more experienced shooter.
A few new features are an in store classroom for more in depth education, you can now bring your own ammo, but rounds may also be purchased at the store. A $15 rental fee gets you access to shoot a wide selection of firearms; you may book range time or training online for your convenience and Benchmade knives are available for sale along with Benchmade custom laser engraving. If you purchase the knife from National the engraving is free of charge.
Make sure you stop by and check out the facility, it's amazing. Training classes will begin immediately.
Congrats and good luck to Adam, Karyn and Justin on a job well done.
God Bless America.