SPORTS DIGEST by Bill Byham

Bill Byham (WOL File Photo)

Bill Byham (WOL File Photo)

LITTLE LEAGUE WRAP – Tell you what I think. The 2008 Little League world series was one of the best I have covered in some years. It got to a point where we (WRAK guys) would be getting ready to broadcast a game. In the process of doing our line ups we would ask each other about which of the teams would win. We did not log an accurate account of who had the best record but the point here is that the teams playing showed so much equity it was difficult to pick winners on a consistent basis.No question the talent pool is getting better every year. Young base ballers and dedicated adults in just about every corner of this nation can find ways to play and practice the game for longer periods of time. Even in our Valley we now have the Dome where baseball enthusiasts can get time on the schedule, no matter the weather, to do some cage hitting. pitching or even take a few ground balls or fly balls .

I really am not aware of all of the baseball that is being practiced and played. There is Little League. There is Babe Ruth. There is Ripken Ball. There is Pony Ball. There is Fall Ball. There is Travel Ball . At this world series we heard about and talked about players from several teams that were here on Little League teams who had Travel team or Ripken ball experience.

I think the place where we see the most improvement is in the use of the glove. How many great defensive plays did we all see over the ten days of play. Some of them bordered on being labeled unbelievable Plays that were made by kids 11-12-13 years of age that we had never seen in past series. Plays that show hours and hours of practice. Hours that were not available in past years.
I can say that I did not pick Hawaii as my world’s champion. For several minutes Saturday afternoon my pick ( Louisiana) was winning 5-1 over the Hawaiians but a great come back led the now Little League champions to a come back 7-5 win.

It was a great show.

CAN’T BEGIN TO EXPRESS ENOUGH THANKS – The ‘ole guy has been trying really hard to make all things run as they always did but parts of the machine are showing wear and tear.

Through this entire 2008 Little League experience I have been given so much help getting here and there that it has overwhelmed me.

Just take the WRAK broadcast crew. Scott Lowry, Mike Fogarty, Ken Sawyer, Gary Chrisman and Tom Speicher. There are not enough plaudits to show how I feel about them. Then the Borough of South Williamsport, through Mayor Bill Miller, stepped up with support given which made it possible for me to even think about getting to the series.

Those and the many others who offered a hand, a thought or an idea made the series one more great one for me.

DA CUTTERS – One of the things I like about Short-A baseball is the late start. A lot of long time Williamsport baseball fans of the Double A days can tell you stories about those cold nights when the season opened in April.

The problem with Short A ball is it ends so quickly. That is the story of the 2008 Crosscutter year. The regular season ends in Jamestown on August 2nd so the time is running out.

The ball club ,with a mixture of players who came north with the team and those who have been assigned here during the season, have played what we used to call “elevator baseball” over a season. That definition comes from a season of up and down baseball. A four game win streak followed by a four game losing streak. The Cutters have played that style and coming into these final days there is no hope of them winning the Pickney Division regular season championship.

But there is more baseball to be played and I feel it will be very interesting to see how this team will close out their season. They had a five game win streak broken Saturday night in 12 innings. They finished the road trip with division leading Batavia after being in Auburn for a three game set.

Notice that all of the rest of the season will be played against Pickney Division teams.

They came home last night (Tuesday) and will be home the rest of this week plus the first two days of September. When you get to historic Bowman Field this evening they will be facing Auburn. Batavia, division leaders, arrive for three games. All of this followed by two home games with Mahoning Valley and two more versus Jamestown,.
The Cutters will finish the season on the road with games at Mahoning Valley and Jamestown.
It could very well be an interesting finish for the ball club.

A NEW HIGH SCHOOL SPORT SEASON IS UNDERWAY.
High school golf teams are playing in their opening rounds and soccer and football will show up at the end of this week.

All eyes are on how this first year of the brand new Heartland Conference season will develop. The new conference is going to take schools into new challenges.

– THAT’S 30 –

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