Twin Valley’s legion baseball season may have ended in Game 13 of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament, but the Raiders are not going to let that disappointment, tarnish or otherwise diminish what was probably the greatest season in Twin Valley legion baseball history.
“There is no disappointment, there is no nothing but positive as far as I’m concerned, because it was just a great experience,” commented Raider head coach Matt Royer. “They didn’t have a program seven years ago; now we’re playing here, we’re down to the last 3 teams Twenty-four teams left in America and we were one of ‘em.”
Twin Valley showed their grit and determination after falling into the loser’s bracket after the tournament’s opening game. The Raiders dropped a “could-have-been” contest to Stahl Post (Del.) 3-1 in that morning opener.
“It was really three weak ground balls and they turned it into two runs, so that was the difference,” said Royer. “We had second and third out with two outs twice and we struck out each time.”
At that point, however, the Raiders concentrated on the formula for their success during the season: minimize mistakes.The result was a pair of lopsided victories as the green-clad Raiders eliminated Gibbsboro (NJ) by a 12-2 score, then eliminated Berks rival Boyertown 12-1 in their epic eighth meeting with the Bears this season.
The season would come to an end with a 12-6 loss to New Jersey power and host Brooklawn in a game that featured the unfortunate ejection of Royer in the fourth inning over comments exchanged with the Brooklawn dugout.
However, even in defeat in these unfortunate circumstances, the Raiders showed their grit. They held the powerful Brooklawn bats at bay through four innings, leading 1-0 as starting pitcher Matt McInaw picked off five batters. And even when Brooklawn broke through for 12 runs over the next two innings, Twin Valley immediately responded with four runs to avoid an early loss via the 10-run rule. The Raiders added a run in their last at-bat and had the based loaded at game’s end, a testament to their determination and “never-say-die” attitude.
Nevertheless, the season was the greatest season in the history of Twin Valley legion baseball, the Raiders finishing with an outstanding 41-14 record that featured their first Region 2 title and their first trip to a National Regional.
“They played 55 games – that’s a Division I schedule,” said Royer. “They played a Division I schedule in about a half a month less than what colleges do.”
But as Royer commented, there was more to the Twin Valley story than just quantity.
“Our team is what’s good about American Legion baseball. Because it’s a group of guys from the same small town that grew up playing together it’s a group of guys that don’t go every year, it’s just a bunch of friends with lasting relationships and they got together and played baseball all summer.
“So we played a lot of baseball, and they care about each other, and it’s a cool thing. It’s a group of guys who live in the same town doing what they love and kind of having a last hurrah together before they go their separate ways So it’s really a feel-good story about what it should be like – that’s what it should be about.”