Boyertown Legion team honored at annual baseball banquet

Photo by Luanna Zambanini Daulton Weeks receives the 2012 Legion Bears Raymond Pidge Kepner award as the Rookie of the Year from assistant coach Chris Mackey.

Three months and three days after their season ended, the Boyertown American Legion Baseball Bears held their post-season awards banquet. Rick Moatz, vice-president of Boyertown Area Youth Baseball, Ltd. and head coach of the team, served as master of ceremonies for the event, which was held at the Bally Fire Company on Sunday, Nov. 4.

After greeting those gathered, Assistant Coach Craig Eddinger led the assembled in the pledge of allegiance while team physician Dr. Garland Fisher led the pre-meal prayer. Eddinger then had the 15 players in attendance introduce themselves and their guests.

After the meal, Moatz, in a variation on the usual theme, introduced the entire Board of Directors of Boyertown Area Youth Baseball, Ltd., then had the various committee chairs and area leaders recognize the volunteers in their particular areas.

In particular, Mike Ferreri recognized those who assisted in team marketing; Harvey Shaner recognized the groundskeepers as well as the kitchen volunteers; Dave Ellis and Rob Zambanini recognized the volunteers in the press box; Dan Ritter recognized the volunteers in the ticket booth; and Eric Eidle recognized those who aided with parking and security.

After Eddinger introduced Region 2 Director Don Lambert, who offered additional congratulatory remarks, Moatz reviewed the 2012 season. He mentioned that while the Bears may not have compiled gaudy statistics, the team did achieve in three important areas: experience; game-awareness; andcompetitiveness.

Moatz then introduced his three assistant coaches, who offered their reflections. Chris Mackey spoke first, thanking the various volunteers in the organization. Pitching coach Pete Hiryak a recently-inducted member of the Pennsylvania Legion Baseball Hall of Fame then offered his usual humorous reflections on the season. He referenced the fact that the Bears will host consecutive tournaments in 2013, and encouraged the players to continue to improve.

Finally, assistant Coach Craig Eddinger spoke. He first thanked his wife Bobbi, then thanked the committee, Legion Post 471, and team physician Dr. Garland Fisher. Eddinger acknowledged how the pitching and defense was a key component in the teams success. In addressing the offense, he stated that the team lost 8 contests in which the opposition scored two runs or less.

Continuing that theme, he designated the teams 3-1 loss to Shillington in the winners bracket finale of the county playoffs as the game that he would like to have back. He completed his comments on an optimistic note, recognizing that with an improvement in offense, the team can return back to where it had been: winning championships.

It was then time to present the post-season awards. First, Ronnie Mauger was presented the Jason Benyo / Brandon Mason Scholarship by members of the Benyo and Mason families. Next, Mackey presented the Raymond Pidge Kepner award as the Rookie of the Year to Daulton Weeks while Hiryak announced and bullpen catcher Cory Fox presented the Dick Ludy Pitching Award to Dan Woodley.

The high point of the awards came next, when Moatz returned to the podium to present several awards. He first presented the Melvin Buck Rhodes Award as Bears MVP to Colby Hartman. Next, he acknowledged the passing of long-time Bears groundskeeper Bob Horn, the Godfather of Grounds Crews, with long-time scorekeeper Bob Ellis offering additional thoughts. After recognizing departing senior Alex Jazlovietcki, Moatz announced that each team member would receive a $100 gift certificate to Schuylkill Valley Sporting Goods, and announced that Hartman, Mauger, and Ryan Pinter were awarded American Legion scholarships.

Before closing the banquet, Moatz referenced the three tournaments that would be hosted by Bear Stadium in 2013: the NCAA tournament in early May; the Region 2 Tournament from July 20-25, inclusive; and the State Tournament after that. Moatz then thanked the volunteers and everybody associated with the program one last time before Dr. Garland Fisher offered the final prayer.

BEAR TRACKS: The Bears finished with a final record of 24-23 . . . Weeks led the team in most of the offensive categories (batting average, slugging average, hits, runs, rbis, doubles, and triples), while Mauger led in on-base average and stolen bases. Woodley finished with a 0.88 ERA and a 3.5-1 strikeout-walk ratio . . . New Orleans (LA) won the 2012 Legion World Series by shutting out Brooklawn (NJ), 4-0.