York City tradition continues with 66th annual Mason-Dixon Youth Baseball Tournament
The 2015 Mason-Dixon Youth Baseball Tournament may have set a record — for heat.
While tournament officials haven't logged temperature readings over the event's 66 years, it's hard to believe there were two more oppressive days in a row than last Saturday and Sunday.
"It was 100 degrees on Sunday," said longtime tournament director Bill Fink. "It was a real bruiser out there. That little ice cream place they have there (at York's Memorial Park complex) had lines all day long."
Fink said that while the extreme heat caused a run ice cream and cold drinks, it didn't impact the quality of play.
"There were many one- and two-run games (in pool play), a testament to good pitching and defense," Fink said. "Last year, we had blowout after blowout. This year, the games were much more competitive."
The tournament, which began in 1950 at York's Allen Field and was founded by former York Dispatch reporter and columnist Harry McLaughlin, appeared to be in danger of disappearing not that long ago when it drew just four teams.
This year's tournament pulled in 11 teams.
There were four teams from Red Lion's Backyard University, four teams from the Harrisburg area (Central Penn Sharks, Red Land Rebels, Keystone Nationals and Line Drive Academy), along with the Mason-Dixon Ruffnecks from southern York Country, the Elizabethtown Stars and the Howard County (Maryland) Raiders.
Howard County defeated Backyard University Blue, 7-1, to win the 11-and-under championship. In the 12-and-under division, Mason-Dixon Ruffnecks defended their 2014 title with an 8-4 victory over Backyard University Blue.
For the second year in a row, Backyard University co-sponsored the tournament, along with the York City Recreation and Parks Department.
Fink, the tournament director since 1985 (he was an assistant to the director and a coach in the tournament before becoming the director), is already looking forward to next year's Mason-Dixon Tournament.
"I was really happy with it this year. The competition and umpiring were very good, and the guys did a great job getting the city fields ready," he said.
Fink said this year's tournament didn't end until nearly 9 Sunday evening.
"We almost had to turn the lights on," Fink said.
— Reach Dick VanO'Linda at email@example.com.