Published DateBy Kevin Drew
Over 120 baseball games have been played in the MWV Cal Ripken Baseball League since May 1. Four Major League teams, seven Minor League teams, and four Rookie League teams have been on fields battling for a position in their respective playoffs. By the end of the school year, we may see some new champions.
In the minor leagues, Coach Mike DiGregorio has returned to the league after taking some years off to act as the District Commissioner. His passion for the game has translated into an undefeated season for the Conway Red Sox and their sights are being set on the two time champion Bartlett Mariners.
Before that, however, there are a number of hungry teams who stand in the way and in a single elimination the finals are reached, it only takes one team to get hot at the right time. The Conway Braves have been improving each week as well as a surging Bartlett Orioles team.
Waiting in the weeds is the Pine Tree Dodgers team who has been working on its skills and is ready to make some noise in the playoffs. Dark horses Pine Tree Pirates and the North Conway Diamondbacks have played the higher seeded teams tough and can shake up things before the series is over.
At the Major League level, it is anyone's year. An extremely competitive season has been played at the senior circuit with the upstart Pine tree Black Bears, the Conway Crushers, the Bartlett White Sox, and the returning champion North Conway Royals.
The four teams competed with the five Fryeburg teams in a weekend series and three of the final four teams entering the final two games were from the MWV league which included a thrilling 2-1 pitchers duel between the Crushers and the Fryeburg Red Sox.
At the local level, the Crushers, after having several near breakout seasons, are sitting atop the regular season rankings closely followed by the Royals. After a slow start, the Royals have found their bats and can rack up some runs in a hurry. The Bartlett White Sox have been a steady force who plays everyone close. Waiting to create some upsets, the youngest major league team Black Bears have been steadily improving and may be ready to make some surprises in the playoffs.
As well as the local games, the travel teams have been active and getting ready for the NH District 8 championship series. A recent invitational in Farmington series had both the 10 and under and the 12 and under teams experimenting with their rosters.
Though they did not reach the finals, they gained a lot of experience playing together for the first time in the tournament arena and are poised to make a showing in late June. The 10's will be hosted by MWV from June 23-29 at the Whitaker Field and John Fuller Field.
For more information, visit the league at mwv.baberuthonline.com of Facebook at MWV Cal Ripken Baseball.