Monday, May 28, 2012

P. A.'s LL World Series

Dare we ever forget?

That a team assembled in Clinton County became the state's Little League champs in August, 2011, then went on to win the regional contest beating teams from New York state and New Jersey. These Keystone Kids came from villages most Pennsylvanians have never heard of: Beech Creek, Mill Hall, Castanea, Blanchard, Monument, Marsh Creek, and Loganton.

There's something very right about this. It tells us small-town America still counts. We're reminded the backroads of our country can still produce excellence. That the crossroads of rural P. A. can make history glow brightly on the national map.

I live in Montana but remain tethered to P. A. Last summer, Billings, you may remember, sent a team to South Williamsport, the first-ever from Montana. Had Clinton County and the Billings All-Stars met  under the lights of Lamade Stadium . . . well, I would have gone up in smoke.  My Perfect Season.

Not long ago, I wrote of the spell cast by baseball in a novel entitled Return to Summers Run. My character tells us:

"Make such a memory you’ll want to bottle it, set it on the mantle, and let your grandkids get a whiff, the aroma, the sights, sounds of the crowd, the magic of it all. Because, there is a magic in baseball that’s unique, all its own. . . .
"You have a bat named 'Wonderboy', or you drive out to a cornfield in Iowa where legends from the past walk down the rows to again play like they used to years ago. Fictional, fantasy, yes of course, but there’s something about this game that inspires these flights of fancy." 

When we visit the Summer of Dreams the Keystone boys shared with us, we wonder what their futures hold and wish them well. For their brand of baseball brought growth, friendship, and the bittersweet farewell to boyhoods that will never come again. We've all lived some of it.

Jim Cotton
Stevensville, Montana 

My thanks to photographers Christopher Weddle and Abby Drey of the Centre Daily Times for providing the visuals for this backward glance.

From Castanea, P. A.,

southpaw Brandon Miller, commanded first base and pitched. He drove out the team's only home run of the LLWS.

Celebrating with teammates,

Ethan Watkins played third base and also pitched. He's from Marsh Creek, P. A.

Under the tag

slides outfielder Mitchell Smith. He's from Loganton, P. A.

Sending one out

is Cole Reeder, pitcher and third baseman. Cole is from Mill Hall, P. A.

About to connect

is Trebor Nicodemus. Outfielder and pitcher, he's from Loganton, P. A.

Effective closer, Tyler McCloskey

pitched three innings at the LLWS posting an ERA of 0.00. He posted the second highest batting average there as well, .444. He's from Monument, P. A.


Wyatt Koch from Beech Creek. Wyatt tied for third highest batting average, .417.

Laying down a bunt,

Mike Keibler, outfielder from Blanchard, P. A.

From Mill Hall, P. A., pitcher

and second baseman, Alex Garbrick. Alex led the team at the LLWS with a .538 batting average.

From Beech Creek, P. A.,

shortstop Talon Falls. Talon tied for third highest batting average at Williamsport, . 417.

Outfielder and pitcher

Landon Breon bats and throws left. Hometown: Castanea, P. A.

Keystone's Final Lap

becomes the bittersweet last statement of the team's farewell to the crowd and for most of the players, the end of their Little League career. This group is led by Cole Reeder followed by Ethan Watkins, Talon Falls, and Tyler McCloskey. Reeder pitched an excellent game against the Great Lakes entry in the LL World Series and also recited the Little League pledge at the opening ceremonies in South Williamsport, PA.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

One of the Most Handsome

tractors of its era, the 1950s, bore the Oliver marque. Here it appears as a utility model "55". Oliver followed a numerical pattern for its tractors, 55 being one. The Oliver 77, big brother to the one pictured, was especially popular as a row crop and plowing tractor. This beautifully maintained or restored example is advertising this year's Nittany Antique Machinery Association show of Central Pennsylvania. Details below in our list. 

For yours truly, I'd rather be driving this than the latest whiz-bang from Detroit or across either ocean.