STOVERSTOWN -- York County may or may not have a sandlot baseball champion in 2012.
It likely depends on which side of the baseball fence you sit on -- the Central League or the Susquehanna League.
Susquehanna League champion Conrads and Central League champion Stoverstown battled in what was supposed to be a best-of-3 series this past weekend to determine the overall York County champion.
Conrads won the opener on its home field 5-1 on Saturday.
Game 2, and Game 3 if needed, were set to be played at Stoverstown on Sunday.
After falling behind 4-2, Conrads rallied to take a 6-5 lead after 41/2 innings. Since the home team, Stoverstown, trailed, the Tigers had to bat in the bottom of the fifth to have the
But heavy rains then pounded the field, leaving it unplayable, and the contest could not be continued.
Neither team felt it could adequately field a team to play one or possibly two more contests sometime later this week. Both sides had a number of players who were scheduled to head back to college Sunday night. And the Tom Kerrigan Colonial York Tournament looms next weekend.
That left Conrads manager Chad Kennell and Stoverstown skipper Tim Thoman in a no-win situation. Both managers left the field believing there would be no York County champion for the second year in a row. Last year's series was rained out.
A few hours after the game, however, Susquehanna League president B.J. Chambers had a different take after talking with Central League president Mark Skehan.
"Mark Skehan and I decided this would be the best thing for York County baseball, to have a champion, and Conrads has become the champion" Chambers said in a phone interview.
Skehan, when contacted later, didn't remember it quite that way.
"They have declared themselves the champion," Skehan said. "We are not in agreement with that. It's a best-of-3 championship and we did not play the requisite five innings (in the second game). We're not going to argue about it. I told (Chambers) 'if that's the way you guys want it, then fine.' But it will be (a) tainted (championship)."
Skehan said the Central League has the championship trophy, which it will give to the Susquehanna League, to do with it as it pleases.
"They want it, they can have it, but as far as I'm concerned they're not the champions," Skehan said. "Nothing against the manager or the players (from Conrads), but baseball has rules for a reason."
Chambers had a different opinion.
"I saw Conrads handle (Stoverstown on Saturday) and rally from a (4-2) deficit (on Sunday) to take a 6-5 lead," Chambers said. "In my book, Conrads is champion and that's the bottom line. ... it was won on the field. Conrads was three outs away and Mother Nature took over and said we're not finishing. But Conrads deserves to be the champion."
The managers: The managers, meanwhile, were disappointed that the series ended the way it did.
"It is what it is," Kennell said after the game. "We wanted to go back out and get that fifth inning in. I didn't want to see it go this way."
Thoman was ever the optimist in how he thought the game might have unfolded had the rain not interfered.
"Offensively, I think we were going to come back," he said. "Just like every other game (this year). But we can't control Mother Nature. It was disappointing."
Remembering 'Curly:' Thoman, who has never played in or managed a game in the county championship series during his 30-plus year career, was also saddened about the outcome for another big reason.
Thoman still takes a lot of pride with his club's history, especially regarding former Manager Marlyn "Curly" Holtzapple. The team has Curly's old uniform number -- 7 -- emblazoned on all four corners of their cornhole board that they play after home contests.
The Tigers were hoping to complete the "grand slam" -- winning the regular-season and postseason Central League titles in addition to the county championship as well as the upcoming Colonial York crown -- to pay tribute to their late manager.
"We were really working hard to do well this year in his honor," Thoman said.
Colonial Tournament: Both teams will now set their sights on next weekend's Colonial Tournament. The lingering controversy from the York County title series could add some intrigue to that event.
Both clubs stocked up with additions of eligible players from other teams in their respective leagues. Not unexpectedly, both managers are hoping to claim what is thought of as the World Series for local baseball.
"We will have a nice team," Thoman said. "And we picked up some nice pieces. I'll take my team. We did great (with pickups) as far as I'm concerned."
"We can definitely hit," Kennell said of his club, which led the Susquehanna League in runs scored this season. "And we got some (more) pitching so we'll see how it shakes out."
Notes: Stoverstown catcher Austin Botts was the offensive star on Sunday before the rains came, smacking a three-run homer in the first and a solo shot in the third in his only two at-bats.
Botts' blast in the first knocked out Conrads starter Randy Stewart, who failed to record a single out after throwing just 10 pitches.
Teammate Zach Schuler provided the Tigers other run with a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the first.
Conrads scored two runs in the top of the first inning, both with two outs. Travis Hake, who walked, stole second and advanced to third on Botts' throwing error and scored when center fielder Kyle Wildasin misplayed the over-throw. Anthony Ferrell later singled in Kevin Keesey.
The visitors struck for four runs in the third to regain the lead. Two walks and four hits led to the outburst during a time when the rain first started to fall. Josh Knaub's two-run double highlighted the big inning, when Conrads sent 10 batters to the plate off Stoverstown starter Ryan Kassab.
-- Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdis patch.com or 854-1575, ext. 455. Reach Ryan Van dersloot at sports@york dispatch.com.