It’s an unusual situation created by the clash of tournament dates and press deadlines, one where you the reader know the final outcome of the Region 2 Tournament while reading this article, but I the writer do not know the final outcome. Nevertheless, here are 14 random quotes/notes from the Region 2 Tournament, a tournament that is recently concluded, as you read the article, but only approximately halfway completed as I write it – and is off to an incredible start, at least on the field:
1. “I think the field looks better than it did all year. It’s in tip-top shape . . . ready to go!” (Mark Hughes, father of Bears second baseman Dalton Hughes and a member of the incredible grounds crew led by Scott “Skinny” Moatz, the evening before the start of the tournament. As always, the grounds crew did an incredible job keeping the field in “tip-top shape.”)
2. “I think we’re excited and we’re excited to be here and hopefully we’ll have a better result than we did last year.” (Oley/Topton assistant coach Mike Distasio, shortly before the Patriots opened the tournament with a 6-3 win over North Parkland. Mike and I had a nice chat reminiscing about his 1986 Oley State Champions.)
3. “We’ve been playing together our whole lives, and I wouldn’t want anyone else alongside me in the infield.” (Aiden Flynn, North Parkland shortstop, on forming his team’s double play combination with his brother Alex.)
4. “It’s a mutual feeling.” (Alex Flynn, North Parkland second baseman, following up on his brother Aiden’s quote from above.)
5. “It’s fun!” (Zack Trenberth, younger brother of Nazareth DH Jake Trenberth. Zack graciously volunteered to fill in as a much-needed ballboy for Game 2 and did a commendable job.)
6. “Fantastic. Gorgeous facilities, great hospitality.” (Rollie Pastor, father of Nazareth right fielder Tyler Pastor, during Nazareth’s Game 2 win over Salisbury. Rollie and his wife Joy provided help in the pronunciation of players names, and for that we thank them!)
7. “Great day for a ballgame. Kids are playing well, and we just hope that they keep playing well.” (Joy Pastor, mother of Nazareth right fielder Tyler Pastor, during Nazareth’s Game 2 win over Salisbury.)
8. “That lefty for Nazareth pitched a great game . . . You don’t make the plays, you don’t deserve to move on, anyway.” (Salisbury head coach Scott Heppenheimer, after his team’s 4-3 loss to Nazareth in Game 2. Salisbury probably did not deserve to win this game, but they most certainly did deserve to win Game 6, failing to do so when an obvious ball four with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning of a tie game with Pottstown was called a strike.)
9. “I was playing a little deep, it’s always easier to come in on a ball.” (Easton centerfielder Troy Naiden, on two tough plays in centerfield that fell in for hits in his team’s tough loss to Twin Valley in Game 3.)
10. “We fought and got a win . . . I was just trying to hit a line drive somewhere.” (Twin Valley’s Tyler Sternat, who had 3 hits (missing a cycle by a home run) and broke a 6-6 tie with a bases-loaded, 3-run double in the top of the eleventh inning in Twin Valley’s 9-6 win over Easton in Game 3.)
11. “We didn’t do much right.” (Pottstown head coach Todd Endy, after his Steelers lost to Boyertown, 11-1, in Game 4.)
12. “We were in great position to win that game . . . a couple of calls that didn’t go our way . . . we fought hard all day.” (Justin Aungst, after an incredibly tough, 11-inning loss to Pottstown in Game 6. A sort of press-box favorite in the game, Justin did about as much as anybody could to help Salisbury win, including a single in the bottom of the ninth-inning that set up the unfortunate “non-call” on ball four referenced in Quote #8 above.)
13. “No, not at all . . . I’m not a home run hitter.” (Boyertown’s Tyler Comport, who missed hitting for the cycle by a home run in Boyertown’s 11-2 win over Nazareth in Game 8 (the last game played before this article went to press), when asked if he was thinking about getting the homer to complete the cycle.)
14. As a last note, quotes are still forthcoming from the umpiring brothers of Ed and Del Hauck, more volunteers, fans, and players . . . and, hopefully, from a group of happy Boyertown Bears, jubilant after their first-ever Region 2 title at Bear Stadium. Indeed, as this article goes to press, the Bears have certainly elevated their game to a new level with a pair of one-sided victories, and look as impressive and imposing as any of the 8 participants.
CHALK DUST: As this article goes to press, Easton and Salisbury have been eliminated from the tournament. The Bears play league rival Twin Valley in the winner’s bracket finale tonight after winning back-to-back games by the nearly identical scores of 11-1 and 11-2 . . . Congratulations to the Bear-Cubs, who won the Junior Legion Berks County playoff with a narrow, come-from-behind win over West Lawn. The Bear-Cubs open play in the Pottstown Eastern Regional with a Saturday game versus Norriton . . .