Monthly Archives: July 2008

GREATER CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA IN THE HUNT

Bill Byham

Bill Byham

CENTRAL PA. GRAVEDIGGERS ADVANCE IN USSA FAST PITCH WORLD SERIES

Orlando, Florida – Fifty five Under 15 softball teams from all over the Continental United States are in Orlando, Florida this week in search of a world series softball championship.

Among the teams in play is the team from the Greater Central Pennsylvania known as the Gravediggers and whose roster carries girls from Beech Creek, Lock Haven, Jersey Shore, Williamsport, Loyalsock Twp.,South Williamsport and Warrior Run.

The locals, following their arrival and the opening ceremonies, were guaranteed three games in their pool play and promptly dropped their opener 5-2 to the Orange Blazers out of Dayton, Ohio to put pressure on the team as advancement out of a pool took at least a 2-1 record.

Casey Ulmer and some solid hitting evened their record to 1-1 with a 8-3 win over the Fremont Giants from Toledo, Ohio. Ulmer pitched a full game while Stephanie Allen, Amanda Daneker and Ulmer  were all multi hit players in the all important win.

Game 3 was a heart Stopper as the Gravediggers pulled out an 8-7 win over the Louisiana Lightning behind the pitching of Sara Shick and Ashley Bair. The hitters ganged up on the Lightning pitching with a 13-hit barrage. Brittany Koch (2-4), Ulmer (3-3 with a double), Bair (3-3 with a double), Dominque Thomas (2-3, double), Kayla Allen (2-3, HR), Daneker (1-3, Triple).

That win sent the Gravediggers out into the tourney proper where the remaining teams are playing in a double elimination format.

In their first game the young ball club were paired against one of the tourney favorites. Playing against the Louisiana Lady Hawks, a 15 U team that was coming off playing for their winning high school program and a team that finished in the Top 10 in the 2007 World Series.

It was the upset of the tourney thus far as the Gravediggers calmly got out in front and closed the game winning by a 5-2 score. Ashley Bair pitched a full game. She was aided by five key hits off the bats of Casey Ulmer (2-3), Sara Shick (2-3, double) and Dominque Thomas (1-2, double).

After Wednesday’s play there were 16 undefeated teams left in the double elimination tourney with each team scheduled for at least two games Thursday. A loss would then add a third game to the day.

Video Replay to be Used at 2008 Little League Baseball World Series

2008 Little League World Series

2008 Little League World Series

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa – Video replays will be used under limited circumstances for the first time at the Little League Baseball World Series, it was announced today. The 62nd annual tournament for 11-12-year-olds is scheduled for Aug. 15-24, the culmination of more than 16,000 games played worldwide to determine the World Champion.
 
The use of video replay will be limited to the case of a batted ball that leaves the field of play at or near the outfield fence, or should have been ruled out of the field of play at or near the outfield fence. Some examples of these types of batted balls are a home run, a double by rule, a ball that goes under the home run fence, and fan interference at the home run fence.
 
“We are able to do this because all 32 games are televised on the ESPN family of networks,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “As we have seen even in the professional ranks, these calls are among the most difficult for umpires to make, for a variety of reasons. Using video replay, in very limited situations and on an experimental basis for one year, simply gives us a better chance to get these calls right. In 2009, we will evaluate the program and decide if it will be used again.”
 
When a play occurs that fits the criteria, a “Replay Team” composed of a Little League International Tournament Committee member (the Game Operations Replay Official) and a volunteer Little League Baseball World Series Umpire, will review the play on video provided by up to 12 camera angles from ESPN. If the Replay Team believes there is clear and convincing evidence to reverse the call made on the field, the decision will be relayed to the Umpire-In-Chief. If there is not enough evidence to reverse the decision, or if evidence shows the correct call was made, the play will stand as called on the field.
 
“From the beginning, we wanted our volunteer umpires, who pay their own way to come to the Little League World Series from all corners of the globe, to be involved in the decision-making process,” Dennis Lewin, Chairman of the Little League International Board of Directors, said. “Our volunteer umpires are second-to-none, so this simply provides them with another tool.”
 
Little League International will not extend the use of instant replay to calls of out/safe, ball/strike and fair/foul on plays inside the fence, nor for any thrown ball. No player, manager or umpire can request that video replay be used under any circumstance. That decision rests solely with the Replay Team, which will be located in an office at Howard J. Lamade Stadium, where most of the games are played. A second Replay Team, also located at Lamade Stadium, will be used for games originating at Little League Volunteer Stadium.
 
The Replay Team will view every play via a live feed from ESPN on a monitor. ESPN will provide the equipment that makes reviewing the plays possible.
 
“We applaud this move by Little League Baseball,” said Len DeLuca, ESPN Senior Vice President, Programming and Acquisitions.  “Replay will be appreciated by our fans and the many participants of this world class event.”
 
After the Umpire-in-Chief announces the decision by the Replay Team, it will be relayed to fans in the stadium by the Public Address Announcer.
 
“On these specific types of plays, there is usually a delay of a minute or more before play resumes,” Mr. Keener said. “Our Replay Team should have ample time to review all the angles and make a decision in that time. We really don’t expect there to be any significant delays.”
 
Should the schedule of games require adjustment because of weather delays, and if a game is not televised, video replay will not be used for that game.
 
“We want to thank our broadcast partners for offering to assist us on this initiative,” Mr. Keener said. “It only underscores once again how cooperative our friends at ESPN and ABC have been over the years.”
 
Discussions on the possibility of using video replay at the Little League Baseball World Series began at Little League International in late 2005, and did not involve ESPN until earlier this month.
 
In the 1980s, ABC first introduced the “umpire cam” at the Little League Baseball World Series. Starting in 2002, all 32 games of the Little League Baseball World Series have been televised by the ESPN family of networks nationally and internationally. Last year, Little League International and ESPN signed an eight-year contract that calls for at least 49 games to be televised nationally every August, not only in the Little League Baseball Division, but in all its divisions of baseball and softball.
 
Here is the Video Replay Rule:
 
Video Replay: At the Little League Baseball World Series level only, video replays may be used to reverse the decision made on the field, provided each of the following situations are in place:
1.                  The game is being televised or taped for televised replay.
2.                  The Replay Team must be at the replay facility, and must be able to review replays of the play in question from all camera angles available, through voice contact with the television producer.
3.                  The decision whether to use video replay rests solely with the Game Operations Replay Official and the Umpire Liaison, as the only two components of the Replay Team. Players, managers, coaches and umpires are not permitted to call for a video replay.
4.                  After the play in question, the Game Operations Replay Official will communicate to the Umpire-in-Chief that a play is under review, whereupon the Umpire-in-Chief will call “time.” The game will not resume until the Game Operations Replay Official informs the Umpire-in-Chief of the decision.
5.                  If another pitch or play takes place before the game operations official informs the Umpire-in-Chief that the play will be reviewed, video replay cannot be used.
6.                  For the purposes of this rule, the play in question will be considered as one continuous play, which may actually consist of multiple actions by players on defense and offense.
7.                  To reverse the decision on the field, the Game Operations Replay Official must determine that there is clear and convincing evidence to overturn the call on the field of play. In the absence of clear and convincing evidence, the decision of the umpire(s) on the field stands.
8.                  The only plays on which video replay may be used are those in which a batted ball leaves the field of play over the outfield fence, or if the Game Operations Replay Official believes there is a possibility that the ball should have been ruled that it left the field of play over the outfield fence, but is ruled otherwise on the field.
9.                  The outfield fence at both stadiums is defined as the fence or wall (including padding and signage) that extends in an arc from foul territory on one side of the field, into fair territory, then to the other side of the field in foul territory.
10.              In no event will the decision on any batted ball that is declared “foul,” “dead,” “double by rule,” “home run,” or otherwise called out of play, be reversed so that the ball is live again.
11.              This rule in no way restricts the traditional ability of the umpires on the playing field to gather to discuss a play, if the umpire who originally made the call wishes to do so.
 
Example 1: A fly ball near the foul pole is nearly caught by the right fielder, and the ball falls to the ground in the field of play. The umpire erroneously rules that the ball is in play. Upon review, the Game Operations Replay Official determines that there is clear and convincing video evidence that the ball struck the foul pole before touching the ground, and before it returned to the field of play. Ruling – The Game Operations Replay Official, through a Little League official at the field, instructs the Umpire-in-Chief that the call is reversed. The Umpire-in-Chief then awards a home run to the batter.
 
Example 2: A fly ball near the foul pole is nearly caught by the right fielder, and the ball falls to the ground in the field of play. The umpire erroneously rules that the ball is fair, and in play. Upon review, it is determined by Game Operations Replay Official that the ball was actually foul. Ruling – Because the ball did not leave the field of play, even though the incorrect call was made, the call cannot be altered using video replay.
 
Example 3: A fly ball near the foul pole is nearly caught by the right fielder, and the ball falls to the ground in the field of play. The umpire erroneously rules that the ball touched the foul pole in flight, and awards a home run (which is a dead ball) to the batter. Upon review, it is determined by the Game Operations Replay Official that the right fielder deflected the ball, and it did not touch the foul pole. As such, the ball should have been ruled in play. Ruling – Because there is no way to assume how the play might have progressed had the correct call been made, the call cannot be reversed, even if video evidence shows that the incorrect call was made.
 
Example 4: A fly ball near the outfield fence appears to have been caught by the outfielder, and the umpire erroneously rules the batter is out. Upon review, it is determined by the Game Operations Replay Official that the outfielder trapped the ball against the padding on top of the fence, and the batter should have been permitted to continue running at his/her own risk. Ruling – Because the ball did not leave the field of play, even though the incorrect call was made, the call cannot be altered using video replay.
 
Example 5: A fly ball near the right field fence at Lamade Stadium appears to have been caught by the outfielder, who reached over the fence and returned with the ball in his/her glove. The umpire erroneously rules the batter is out. Upon review, it is determined by the Game Operations Replay Official that the outfielder trapped the ball against the ground just beyond the outfield fence, and the batter should have been awarded a home run. Ruling – The Game Operations Replay Official, through a Little League official at the field, instructs the Umpire-in-Chief that the call is reversed. The Umpire-in-Chief then awards a home run to the batter.
 
Example 6: A fly ball near the right field foul pole clearly travels over the fence, and is erroneously ruled a foul ball by the umpire. Upon review, it is determined by the Game Operations Replay Official that the ball should have been called fair, and the batter should have been awarded a home run. Ruling – The Game Operations Replay Official, through a Little League official at the field, instructs the Umpire-in-Chief that the call is reversed. The Umpire-in-Chief then awards a home run to the batter.
 
Example 7: A fly ball near the right field foul pole clearly travels over the fence, and is erroneously ruled a fair ball (home run) by the umpire. Upon review, it is determined by the Game Operations Replay Official that the ball should have been called foul. Ruling – The Game Operations Replay Official, through a Little League official at the field, instructs the Umpire-in-Chief that the call is reversed. The Umpire-in-Chief then calls the play a foul ball and instructs the batter to return to the batter’s box.
 
Example 8: A fly ball near the backstop is erroneously ruled by the umpire as a catch by the catcher. Video evidence clearly shows that the ball hit a part of the backstop before being caught by the catcher, and it is clear that it should have been ruled a foul ball. Ruling – Since this type of play is not reviewable under the conditions of the rule, the play stands as called.
 
Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.7 million players and one million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and scores of other countries.

Several First-Time Countries in Little League International

Uganda Flag

Uganda Flag

Several countries are participating in the Little League International Tournament for the first time, helping to extend the benefits and reach of Little League to more children around the world.

In the Africa and Middle East Region Tournament being played in Kutno, Poland, the Reverend John Foundation Little League of Kampala, Uganda is trying to become the first African team to reach the pinnacle of all youth sports competitions: a berth in the Little League Baseball World Series.

In the recently completed Asia-Pacific Regional Tournament at the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, there were two newcomers: BB and SB Confederation of India Little League of Delhi, India, and Hills Little League of Sydney, Australia. The India and Australia National Champions fell short of qualifying to advance out of pool play, as Guam went on the claim the title.

“We’re pleased that these nations have joined the dozens that compete for the highest honor in youth sports each year,” Patrick Wilson, Little League International Vice President of Operations, said. “We have seen tremendous growth internationally in Little League, and we hope the success of these countries will fuel even more growth around the world.”

A Saying of Jesus is focus of New Book by Lycoming College Faculty Member

Dr. Steve Johnson Book

Dr. Steven R. Johnson Book

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Steven R. Johnson, associate professor of religion at Lycoming College, has published a new book titled “Seeking the Imperishable Treasure,” an in-depth study of how a saying of Jesus might have been transmitted in the time of the early Christian apostles. According to Johnson, some form of the saying is found in each of the biblical gospels, two of the biblical letters and in other early Christian literature as well. The message of the saying discussed is found to be quite flexible, but follows two distinct paths of interpretation: the moral and ethical use of wealth and the search for divine wisdom, knowledge or truth.
 
“I originally wrote this book as my doctoral dissertation for Claremont Graduate University in California,” Johnson said. “It was inspired by a desire to uncover source teachings used by the writers of the gospels.”
 
The specific Jesus saying Johnson examines, known as the Treasure in Heaven, is mentioned in the Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Colossians, James, Q and Gospel of Thomas books.
 
“I eventually settled on the saying of Jesus commonly referred to as the Treasure in Heaven saying because I discovered that it was widely used, it was repeatedly modified to fit different social and theological contexts; and it is found not only in the biblical gospels, but in biblical epistles and non-biblical texts as well.”
 
Despite the author’s interest in the Treasure in Heaven saying of Jesus, Johnson’s desire to write this book was based on his passion of more than just one saying of Christ.
 
“If there is any underlying motivation in the writing of this book, it is to demonstrate that Jesus’ teachings were not simply memorized verbatim and endlessly repeated until someone wrote them down,” Johnson said. “They were part of a living tradition of interpretation that responded to the pastoral or spiritual needs of different audiences. This study shows the conscious and conscientious creativity of authors who modified and applied the teachings of Jesus to varied situations in the life of the early church.”
 
Johnson says the book may be relevant to work of biblical scholars, but it will also be an interesting read to clergy and the general public.
 
“The motivated layperson might simply enjoy the book as something of a scholarly detective novel, weaving through the evidence and the numerous theories to get at the motivations and messages of various first-century writers,” Johnson said.
 
Johnson, a Tustin, Calif., native, earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University, Fullerton, a master of divinity degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary, and a master’s degree in religion from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. In 1998, he earned a Ph.D. in religion with a specialization in New Testament studies from the Claremont Graduate University. Johnson joined Lycoming’s faculty as an assistant professor in 1999, and was named the department chair for religion in 2002.
 
Along with his recent release, Johnson is also a managing editor of the International Q Project and is the author and editor of “Q 7:1-10 The Centurion’s Fain in Jesus’ Word” and the soon-to-be released “Q 12:33-34: Storing up Treasures in Heaven.”
 
“With studies like Steve Johnson’s, the study of the Gospel of Thomas is entering a new, more mature phase, where careful, thorough analysis of particular texts can begin to make substantive contribution to our understanding of the Jesus tradition and its early history,” said Stephen J. Patterson, professor of New Testament at Eden Theological Seminary in Saint Louis, Mo. “(It’s) an exemplary piece of critical scholarship.”
 
Founded in 1812 in Williamsport, Pa., Lycoming College is a national liberal arts school dedicated to the undergraduate education of more than 1,450 students. Lycoming is one of the 50 oldest colleges in the nation. For more information, visit www.lycoming.edu.

Matamoros Little League Wins Mexico’s National Championship, Earns Berth in 2008 Little League Baseball World Series

2008 Little League World Series

2008 Little League World Series

WILLIAMSPORT – Matamoros Little League earned its fourth trip to Williamsport by winning Mexico’s National Championship on Sunday in Monterrey.
 
The Matamoros Little League of Tamaulipas, defeated Guaymas Sector Pesca Little League from Guaymas, Sonora, 5-1, to win the Mexico Region championship. Matamoros Little League finished the 12-team, three-phase tournament with an 11-1 record.
 
Teams from Mexico have won the Little League Baseball World Series three times, the most recent in 1997 when a team from Linda Vista Little League in Guadalupe defeated South Little League of Mission Viejo, Calif., 5-4, in the world championship game.
 
Matamoros Little League, which had previously reached the Little League Baseball World Series on three occasions (1990, 2001 and 2006), joins Caribbean Region Champion, Pabao Little League; Middle East and Africa (MEA) Region Champion, Arabian American Little League; Asia-Pacific Region Champion, Southern Guam Little League of Yona, Guam; Latin America Region Champion, Coquivacoa Little League of Maracaibo, Venezuela; and Japan’s National Champion, Edogawa Minami Little League from Tokyo, as participants in the 2008 Little League Baseball World Series.
 
The Little League Baseball World Series for 11-12-year-olds will be played in Williamsport, Aug. 15-24. Sixteen teams from around the world will take part.
 
The World Series championship game can be seen live on ABC at 3:30 p.m., on Sunday, Aug. 24. ABC also will televise the International Championship Game on Saturday, Aug. 23 at 12:30 p.m., followed by the United States championship at 3 p.m.
 
The 2008 World Series will be the second operated under the eight-year television contract agreement with ESPN/ABC. Five games will be televised on ABC. This will be the third year that all of the World Series games will be televised in high definition. For the seventh year since the tournament expanded from eight to 16 teams in 2001, every team will have games on national television.
 
All 32 games of the World Series will be televised again this year. Fifteen World Series games will be televised on ESPN and 11 will be televised on ESPN2.
 
In addition, the ESPN family of networks will carry all eight of the U.S. Regional Championship finals in the Little League Baseball division. The U.S. regional finals have been televised by ESPN and ESPN2 every year since 1997. Little League International also has formed a unique relationship with the New England Sports Network (NESN) and Madison Square Garden network (MSG) to televise the New England and Mid-Atlantic regional tournaments in Bristol, Conn. Each network will televise four early-round games.
 
The next berth in the Little League Baseball World Series is expected to be decided on Friday, Aug. 8 when the Europe Region Tournament in Kutno. Poland is due to end.
 
The U.S. region finals, which will be televised live, are: Thursday, Aug. 7 – Southwest (Waco, Texas, 9 p.m., ESPN2); Friday, Aug. 8 – Southeast (St. Petersburg, Fla., 8 p.m., ESPN); Saturday, Aug. 9 – Midwest (Indianapolis, noon, ESPN); New England (Bristol, Conn., 2 p.m., ESPN); Great Lakes (Indianapolis, 7 p.m., ESPN); Northwest (San Bernardino, Calif., 9 p.m., ESPN2); Sunday, Aug. 10 -West (San Bernardino, Calif., 10 p.m., ESPN); Monday, Aug. 11 – Mid-Atlantic (Bristol, Conn., 8 p.m., ESPN).
 
Little League Baseball and Softball is the largest organized youth sports program in the world, with 2.7 million participants in all 50 states and scores of other countries.