At 49 years old, Sam Becker wasn’t planning on playing competitive baseball this summer for Jefferson in the Central League.
Becker, after all, hadn’t suited up for a team in that league since 2004 when he played with Glen Rock.
That doesn’t mean that the former American Legion coach for the Spring Grove organization wasn’t staying active. He was quite satisfied playing occasionally in the York Area Recreation (YAR) League, which plays two games a week on Sundays.
But with the Titans — the same team that his 20 year-old son, Aaron, plays for — Becker answered the call to be available when needed, as the team was struggling to field a complete team for the start of a handful of game this season.
So far things have worked out well for all parties involved. The Titans remain in contention to defend their Central League regular season title, while Becker has been helped the team when it's been short.
“I told (manager Pat Schultz) that I would help if he needed me,” Becker said. “I helped coach the team a little bit last year and Pat said that I might as well sign a contract in case they needed me in an emergency.”
Becker’s availability has helped on at least two occasions so far this season, although he admittedly isn’t hoping to find himself in the lineup when he gets to the field.
“I really don’t want to play,” he said. “I had my time in the Central League so it’s not something that I go looking to play every night. But we have a few players that aren’t able to get there until right around game time so I’ve started two or three games at first base until they could get there and get loose.”
While Becker is no longer the same threat to belt a pitch over the fence nowadays, he’s done well for himself.
In a game last weekend against Stoverstown, Becker roped a double which earned him some playful interactions with his teammates, who kidded around that Becker will have to wait another five years before he can be inducted into the Central League Hall of Fame.
“I don’t think I have to worry about that too much,” Becker said jokingly.
Kopp feeling better after a long week: For most dads, Father’s Day is a day to enjoy time with family and loved ones.
For Northeastern American Legion coach Ken Kopp, his special day turned out to be a whole different ordeal.
A former Army veteran for six years, Kopp spent much of Father’s Day at the Veteran's Affairs Hospital in Lebanon with an unknown respiratory illness.
“I basically drug my butt out of the house around 4 a.m. Sunday morning and drove myself to Lebanon,” said Kopp. “I was up and I told my wife that I wasn’t feeling real well and I couldn’t breathe. So I drove myself to the Lebanon VA, which is our main hospital for emergencies.”
Kopp came back home around 4 p.m. later that day, but he returned the following morning. He spent much of the rest of week in the hospital’s ICU. The doctors attempted to figure out what exactly has been the cause of his reoccurring trouble over the past several years. He’s had two surgeries so far, but no one has diagnosed and treated him properly.
The good news for Kopp, 54, is that he believes they may finally have things figured out this time.
“What they are treating me for is asthma, allergies, a nasal infection and a lung infection,” Kopp said. “So I came home Thursday with a bag of pills and I can say that I probably feel the best that I have in a long time."
Dallastown slugs way to blowout win: At Hanover, Dan Kuklinski led Dallastown at the plate by going 2 for 4, including a two-run homer and a solo homer, helping the visitors knock off Hanover, 15-5. Teammates Joe Munoz went 2 for 3, including a two-run homer and three RBIs, Joe Capobianco and Alex Weakland each connected for a solo homer, Pete Capobianco hit a triple and while Cam Urey hit a double.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com