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For the Love of the Game

For the Love of the Game

Tip of my Webb Weekly cap with the American Flag on the side to skipper Casey Waller and his South Williamsport Mountie baseballers. South recently won the Backyard Brawl for the first time since 2003 by defeating Montoursville soundly 12-6. Earlier on that Saturday, the Mounties defeated Loyalsock 1-0. It doesn’t get much better than that on the South Side — knocking off two of your rivals on the same day.

The Backyard Brawl is one of the greatest high school rivalry tournaments that can be found anywhere. South, Sock, Montour, and Williamsport squaring off to see who earns bragging rights for the year. The problem recently has been mother nature has won out; last year, of course, it was COVID. It was great to see the event and excitement that accompanies its return, even if it didn’t get played at Historic Bowman Field.

Coach Waller’s ballers played outstanding baseball in both games, committing only two errors behind outstanding pitching. In the opener, Landon Larson was terrific for 5 and 2/3 innings until he reached the PIAA pitch count. That brought in Sam Hostrander to finish things up.

He preserved the 1-0 shut out and propelled the Mounties into the Title Game. In the final versus Montoursville, South was simply the best team that day. They exemplified energy, effort, and fundamental baseball.

A few Webb Gem shoutouts for the tournament. South’s Ryan Rishchoff had himself a day. The junior drove in the game-winning run in the opener and followed it up with a 4-4 performance. In the Championship, he was the straw that stirred the Mounties. Teammate Grant Bachman did a little bit of everything. He is as versatile on the baseball field as he is in being a three-sport athlete. He finished things up on the mound by closing the door on the Warriors. Trent Hampton was an ironman behind the plate catching both games.

For Montoursville, Nolan Kutney was the best hitter in the tournament, cracking a double and homer in each game. He knocked in a total of 4 runs while scoring 5. Loyalsock’s Chase Cavanaugh threw an amazing game versus South allowing just one hit and striking out 10 in a tough loss. Williamsport’s Xavier Taylor was their best player in their opening loss to Montour, going 2-2 and reaching base all four times.

Check out the team photo of the Champion Mounties’ on page 20.

A little baseball trivia to finish up. Coach Waller has now won the Backyard Brawl while managing three schools, South, Sock, and Hughesville. He can repeat that feat if his Mounties add a District Title. One of Coach’s new assistants at South is his son Chase.

In the upcoming PIAA District IV baseball tournament, South will be chasing a title at the 2A level. Loyalsock will compete at 3A, and Montoursville at 4A. It is possible for all to win district gold. Please get out and support our area athletes and teams during this special time of year.

The Williamsport Crosscutters, as seen on the cover, open the season this coming Tuesday. What a great thing for the local area to have Cutters’ baseball back at Historically renovated Bowman Field.

With the restructuring that has occurred within Major League Baseball, they will now be competing in the new MLB Draft League. The Williamsport Crosscutters are proudly one of the founding members of the league.

In the past, any minor league team playing at Bowman Field has been affiliated with a parent organization. Most recently, it was the Philadelphia Phillies. The players were already drafted and signed by the club.

The MLB Draft League will feature players that are draft eligible for future drafts. These players can return to college or amateur league play after the Cutters’ season. These “stars of the future” then can be drafted by any Major League franchise. I anticipate this will make for a much more competitive level of baseball. The young men will be playing and competing for a Major League opportunity. This will result in more effort, more runs scored, and more excitement at the old ballpark.

The celebration of baseball that has occurred at Bowman Field will remain the same. This was made possible through the great efforts of VP/GM Doug Estes and VP of Marketing and Public Relations, Gabe Sinicropi. And of course, Rhashan, the Director of Smiles. Please make sure you get out and about in support of Williamsport’s proud tradition of MLB affiliation.

If you’d like to catch the action, I have four great seats and $35 in Cutters Cash to an upcoming game for the first four folks that call or text me. When I answer, simply let me know what Hall of Famer made the number 35 so popular locally? My contact number is on page 4, as always.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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