By Dave Bryne
The 63rd LNP Midget baseball tournament begins Thursday and continues Friday with Midget-Midget Division quarterfinal doubleheaders beginning at 6 p.m.
The M-M semifinals will be held next Monday at 6 with the championship game set for 7 p.m. Tuesday.
All of the games will be played at Mount Joy’s Kunkle Field.
In a change more cosmetic than anything else, what we have known for years as the Penn Manor League is now the Lancaster County Youth Baseball League.
Below is a look at the eight teams in the Midget-Midget tournament.
SWS Cardinals (24-7) vs. Hempfield Black (10-15)
HOW THEY GOT HERE — The Cardinals are the Lancaster County Youth League champions and top seed. They also won the Manor Ridge tournament and went 2-1 at the Cal Ripken Mid-Summer Classic. Hempfield, the LCYL fifth seed, defeated Susquehanna League fourth-seed Maytown Black 3-1 in a play-in game on Monday.
NET HONORS — The Cardinals have won six LNP Tournament titles, but just one since Willow Street merged with Strasburg. Hempfield Black is the defending champion after winning its first-ever crown last year.
RETURNING PLAYERS — Regan Hershey (.513 B.A. 44 stolen bases) and Matt Wright return for the Cardinals. Matthew Dombeck is the lone returnee for Hempfield.
Rheems Blue (17-10) vs. Ephrata Dragons (14-10)
HOW THEY GOT HERE — Rheems, the Susquehanna League No.2 seed, also won the Mt. Joy tournament. Ephrata is the No.3 seed from the LCYL.
NET HONORS — As the Norlanco Redbirds, Ephrata won the 2006 M-M title. Rheems has never won an NET title.
RETURNING PLAYERS — Ephrata: Colin Albright (.390, 15 RBI), Josh Gehman (.30, 27 RBI), Steve Long (.357, 29 runs), Brandon Miller (.368, 22 RBI), Logan Rutt (.314), Trevor Seibel (7 RBI, 10 runs). Rheems: Kirby Breault (.554), Tyler Cottle (.333), Lucas Jewell (.367), Bobby Lesnick (.318), Luke Longenecker (.407), Gavin Horning, Aidan Maghan, Ryan Mascia, Tyler Shumate.
Manheim VFW Maroon (30-3) vs. Warwick Phillies (13-14)
HOW THEY GOT HERE — Manheim is the top seed from the Susquehanna League and won the Mountville and Travitz Memorial tournaments. Warwick, the LCYL 4th seed defeated No.5 seeded Marietta, 12-1 in a play-in game on Tuesday.
NET HONORS — Manheim has won three NET titles, the last in 2000. Warwick has two titles, the latest in 1992.
RETURNING PLAYERS — Manheim: Ben Bomberger, Damon Crouse, Colin Fry, J.J. Sanchez, Hunter Pearson, Kyle Winters. Warwick: Travis Reapsome, A.J. Sanderson.
Mountville Indians 28-13 vs. Mount Joy Blue (14-14)
HOW THEY GOT HERE — The Indians are the LCYL No.2 seed. Mount Joy is the Susquehanna No.3 seed.
NET HONORS — The NY Yankees of the NET’s M-M division, Mountville has won seven titles, the last in 2004. Mt. Joy won its only Midget-Midget crown in 2005, and was the runner-up last year.
RETURNING PLAYERS — Both teams have been rebuilt from the ground up. Auston Mellinger is the only returning player for Mt. Joy; Nelson Paredes the only returning Indian.