Central League to host new Fourth of July baseball event, with title game at Revs' park
- The Central League will play host to a Fourth of July baseball tournament.
- Eight teams will participate from Friday through Sunday.
- The title game is set for 11 a.m. Sunday at the York Revolution's PeoplesBank Park.
During a time when the coronavirus has wreaked havoc with sports schedules everywhere, the Central League has looked for ways to play more baseball.
After delaying the start of its regular season — which normally begins in early May — by more than a month, league officials began discussions about an idea that has been brewing for a little while.
The result is a new Fourth of July tournament that will feature eight teams and be played over the Independence Day weekend. The championship game is slated for 11 a.m. Sunday at PeoplesBank Park in York, the home of the Atlantic League's Revolution.
“About a month or a month and a half ago, when we were putting the finishing touches on the way we were going to approach the (2020 regular) season, we started talking about the (Tom) Kerrigan (Memorial) Tournament (which is annually held over Labor Day weekend),” Central League president Mark Skehan said. “The feedback from a lot of our regular participants was to see if there was an opportunity for any additional baseball that they could participate in.”
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Skehan noted that, with most leagues fearing that their seasons may be canceled en masse, there was a high level of interest from all over the mid-Atlantic region. Skehan mentioned that around 20 teams were interested in playing in anything that the CL could run.
Fortunately for many of those out-of-town teams — and perhaps unfortunately for the Central League — restrictions on play were lifted in many areas earlier in June, allowing those teams to begin their own regular seasons, some of which are starting this weekend.
“That was a time in which many of those leagues feared that they wouldn’t open,” Skehan said.
Good opportunity: That somewhat limited the number of teams interested in the Fourth of July event. Even with a smaller field, Skehan feels that putting on the tournament this coming weekend was too good an opportunity to pass up. The four host sites for the pools are Shiloh, Manchester, Mount Wolf and Glen Rock.
“Things lined up because the Fourth falls on a weekend this year, so it was a perfect opportunity,” he said.
While the field will not be as robust as the Kerrigan field, it should still be a treat for local fans of the sport. The teams include three CL squads — newcomer Mechanicsburg, Vikings and the Central Stars (essentially a combination of Glen Rock and Jefferson players). The rest of the field includes Lansdale, DELCO, the New York Hawks, the Brew Crew out of Baltimore and Gamers Baseball.
Teams will be split into two separate pools of four, with each team playing games Friday afternoon and evening in addition to Saturday morning. Those results will create the seeds for an eight-team, single-elimination bracket draw, with the title game slated to be played at the home of the Revolution.
One pool features Vikings, DELCO, Mechanicsburg and the Brew Crew. The other pool includes the Central Stars, Lansdale, the New York Hawks and Gamers Baseball.
No Susquehanna teams: Skehan noted the he did extend an opportunity to play in the tournament to the rival Susquehanna League, but to no avail. The two leagues played interleague games against one another last year — an endeavor which was deemed a success by both sides. Things soured between the two leagues, however, when SL champ East Prospect won a disputed York County Championship Series title over CL champ Stoverstown last August.
“I did invite the Susquehanna League to put teams into this Fourth of July thing,” Skehan said.
One thing that Skehan does know for sure is that the draw should give local fans a chance to get out of the house and watch some competitive baseball.
“The teams that are participating are all competitors,” Skehan said. “There’s no big prize or monetary awards, but everyone will be playing for pride and bragging rights. It should be a lot of fun.”
Notes: Vikings will play all of its pool-play games at Shiloh, while the Central Stars will play each of its contests in pool play at Glen Rock.
Pool play games are as follows:
Pool A at Shiloh
1 p.m.: Vikings vs. DELCO.
4 p.m.: Vikings vs. Mechanicsburg.
10 a.m.: Vikings vs. Brew Crew.
Pool B at Manchester
1 p.m.: Mechanicsburg vs. Brew Crew.
4 p.m.: DELCO vs. Brew Crew.
10 a.m.: DELCO vs. Mechanicsburg.
Pool C at Glen Rock
1 p.m.: Central Stars vs. Lansdale.
4 p.m. Central Stars vs. Gamers Baseball.
10 a.m.: Central Stars vs. New York Hawks.
Pool D at Mount Wolf
1 p.m. New York Hawks vs. Gamers Baseball.
4 p.m.: Lansdale vs. New York Hawks
10 a.m.: Lansdale vs. Gamers Baseball.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.