By Dave Bryne
New Era Correspondent
Mountville held off Lititz VFW in last year’s Junior-Midget championship game for its first New Era Tournament title.
Look for a rematch this year.
Last year’s finalists are favored to return to the title game again as the J-M tournament kicks off Thursday at Mount Joy’s Kunkle Field.
Mountville opens defense of its title in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader, facing Elizabethtown Blue at 6 p.m. Rheems Gray and the SWS White Sox square off in the nightcap. On Friday, Lititz Black takes on Hempfield Black in the opener and Manheim Township Black and Mount Joy Blue meet in the nightcap. Game times are 6 and 8 p.m., back at Kunkle.
Here’s a brief look at each team:
COACH: Jeff Ream
LEAGUE: Penn Manor Section 1A regular season champion.
NET CHAMPIONSHIPS WON: 1, defending J-M Champion.
KEY PLAYERS: p/1b D.J. Ream (.722, 5 HR, 36 runs scored), c Nate Beck (.453), 3b/p Eric Macik (.490), lf/c Brandon Klein, rf Chris Markel, cf David Perales (.327), ss/p Drew Shanz, lf Justin Fuhrman (.311).
COACH: Jim Miller
LEAGUE: Susquehanna A Division regular season champion.
NET CHAMPIONSHIPS WON: 1, in 1992.
KEY PLAYERS: inf/p Zach Shank (.700), cf/p Mark Stuckey (.500), 3b/p Austin Klinger (10 HR), c Tyler May, 1b Carson Geib.
MANHEIM TWP. BLACK
COACH: Mark Good
LEAGUE: Penn Manor Section 1A runnerup, League playoff champions.
NET CHAMPIONSHIPS WON: 1, in 2003. MT Cubs won in 1970 & 72.
KEY PLAYERS: p/ss Carlos Medina (.414), c Tyler Deshong (.492), 2b/3b Taylor Good (.386), p/of Kyle Karpinski (.338), 1b Quinn Bertel (.351), ut Frank DeFeilppo (.354), p/lf Mark Jones.
COACH: Jon Capelli
LEAGUE: Susquehanna A Division runnerup, League playoff runner-up.
NET CHAMPIONSHIPS WON: 0.
KEY PLAYERS: cf/p Brian Savage (.600 batting average), ss/p Quinn Cozzens, ss/2b Mitchell Capelli, ss/2b Tyler Vuxta, 1b/p Shane Long, of Brian Miller, of Brian Milici. All hit over .300.
SWS WHITE SOX
COACH: Bill DeMora
LEAGUE: Penn Manor Section 1A 3rd place.
NET CHAMPIONSHIPS WON: 1. Only title since Strasburg/Willow Street merger came in 2001. Willow Street White Sox won titles in 1989, 90 & 97. Strasburg Reds won in 1993.
KEY PLAYERS: 1b Joe Good (.432), lf Jon Carlson, 2b Ben DeMora, p/1b/3b Chad Babcock _ all over .300 _ p/3b Randy Hess.
MOUNT JOY BLUE
COACH: Jack Dettinger
LEAGUE: Susquehanna A Division 3rd place.
NET CHAMPIONSHIPS WON: 0. Mount Joy Red won in 1978, 81 and 88.
KEY PLAYERS: ss/p Dean Gorski, 2b Morgan Rupp, p/ss Jared Dettinger, c/p Jeff Heisey, cf/2b Travis Martin.
COACH: Gary Stephanchick
LEAGUE: Penn Manor Section 1A 4th place, League playoff runnerup. Beat Hempfield Red 12-2 in NET play-in game.
NET CHAMPIONSHIPS WON: 2. Last title came in 1999.
KEY PLAYERS: p/1b Brett Houseal (.322, 21 runs scored), p/of Brandon Hinkle, p/of/inf Andrew Kulp (.365, 21 runs scored), of Mark Enoch (.385, 25 runs scored), of Nick Grasso (.424), c Jeff Lenhard (.357), 2b Jordan Stephanchick (.348, 19 RBI)
COACH: John Fosnot
LEAGUE: Susquehanna A Division 4th place, League playoff champion. Defeated CV Blue 13-12 in NET play-in game.
NET CHAMPIONSHIPS WON: 0.
KEY PLAYERS: p/ss Jeremi Jones (.368), c/ut Conrad Heisey (.458), cf Johnny Campbell (.431),, p/ss/2b Mitch Weidman (.420), p/2b Jordan Eberly.