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Is this Heaven?

Is this Heaven?

The area’s finest minor leaguers aged 7-10 recently gathered at our magnificent complex off State Route 973. Massive crowds traveled some 50 miles to Cogan Station to witness many spectacular performances and stellar plays. We welcomed teams from Jersey Shore, Muncy, WALL, South Williamsport, Hughesville, Loyalsock, Montgomery, and Montoursville. Several fans pitched their tents to beat the heat. Two weeks of exciting baseball. The who’s who of Lycoming County spent a great deal of time at our little cornfield in the 17728. Our concession stand is the best in Pennsylvania, and folks even came back after their teams were eliminated. Our little tournament is a summertime staple, and it continues to bring out our best.

“People will come, Ray. They’ll come to the 17728 for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll show up in groves not knowing why. They’ll arrive at this field as innocent as children, longing for the past. And they’ll pass over money without even thinking. For it is money they have and peace they lack. People will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.” James Earl Jones. The same dude who played Darth Vadar.

Coach Steve Kreamer was a great dude, and he loved his baseball. The long-time stalwart of Hepburn Lycoming Little League was at every single game and then some. He started our two-week minor league showcase back in the early 90s. And when he unexpectedly passed, it was a no-brainer to honor Uncle Steve by renaming his tournament the ‘Steve Kreamer Memorial,’ to be played every June. Steve was the face of Hepburn for many years. If he wasn’t on the field coaching, you would find him in the press box playing music in between innings or lending a hand. Steve had a passion for baseball and was a permanent fixture at every event. Our friend is still watching. And we remember him with every pitch. I believe this was our 33rd Minor A Tournament.

“It’s always a fun two weeks of baseball,” Marc Hess shared. “The smiles are great. Different faces. But they are all the same. It brings back so many great memories with my father-in-law, Steve. Some teams are already asking about next year. Yes. It is a lot of work, but we will continue to do this every year.”

Jensen and I snuck over for the Championship on Thursday. I recognized several faces and got a chance to say hello to many friends. It brought back so many vivid memories. My son’s team took the title back in 2017. I remembered the nerves. The smells. The roars and the crowds. It was so dang hot, and everyone was doing their best to stay hydrated. Loyalsock and South Williamsport were the last two teams standing. Sock had an easy road to the finals, and the cardiac kids from the South side were looking for some revenge. Sock bounced South last week in the quarters. The Mounties won three games in as many days to earn their place. Outstanding baseball. Fantastic game. A rollercoaster of emotions. Ups and downs. It was insane. South came away with an impressive 11-10 victory to force another CHAMPIONSHIP GAME. Double elimination, folks. We are back at it tonight.

“The boys have been amazing all tournament,” Loyalsock Skipper Mike Richardson explained. “Our pitchers have been dominant, and we are putting the ball in play. It was an emotional game (Thursday), and a lot of credit goes to South. We started a little flat. Perhaps we were a little nervous. Again. South played great. I am sure that we will be ready for tonight. It has been a fun few weeks.”

I would like to thank all of the players and fans for another fantastic tournament. The games started last Thursday, June 13th, and we are still playing. Now, I am out of the loop, but I am extremely happy that the next generation of moms and dads have picked up the slack in the 17728. I love watching these youngsters. They are at an outstanding age. The games are so exciting, and I enjoy the smiles. Baseball is in its purest form. No drama. Bravo, Loyalsock, and South Side. You are all winners in my book, and each one of you has just made your favorite page.

Congratulations to Sock, coached by Mike Richardson. Bravo Jaxton Rupert, Sawyer Eichensehr, Blake Richardson, Crew Wheeland, Devin Reeder, My man Jack Confer, Cash Richardson, Isaac Forsburg, Jaxon Bennett, Colson Bennet, Aiden Kiessling and Grayson Kulp. Much love to the Mounties, coached by Brad Lusk. Well done, Logan Young, Cooper Morrison, Gage Grubb, Brantley Lusk, Eli Gair, Brooks Manikowski, Nolan Edkin, Jameson Keeler, Garrett Loudenslager, Aiden Bower, and Gavin Petrosky. Apologies if I misspelled any names. Blame your coach.

It takes several helping hands to pull off something like this, and thankfully, a few residents pitched in. Hepburn Lycoming continues to shine. I appreciate the umpires and many volunteers, too. Because of them, the 2024 Steve Kreamer Memorial Minor Tournament was another home run. Well done, kids. Cheers.