Butler Eagle County Baseball League: History

Eagle County - History
A detailed history of the Butler Eagle County League has been completed and will be placed on the page as time permits. Please check back to see the progress.

A brief history of the Butler Eagle County Baseball League.
Created by: Dan Cunningham
Dedicated to: Ryan Fitzgerald Chandler
August 7, 1973 – June 13, 1999
        
Acknowledgements:
The Butler Eagle
The Cranberry Eagle
The Cranberry Journal
The Valley News Dispatch
Present and Former Players
Present and Former Officials



Teams represented in the Butler Eagle County Baseball League

Butler Pioneers                                         
Butler Yankees                                        
Butler Prep Grads
Butler City (Entered 2006)                                
Butler Pullman Stars                                        
Butler Tigers                                                
Butler West End
Bronks                                
Callery                                
Chicora                                
Coylesville (1964)                
Connoquenessing                                                
Cranberry
Evans City                                                        
Fairview
Freeport River Pirates  

Freeport II ( 2012)           
Gibsonia Diamond Dogs                
Harmony
Herman (1964)
Highfield

Ingomar (2008)

Legacy Lions (2011)
Mars
Mars II (Entered in 2004)
Meridian
Middle Lancaster
Natrona Heights (Entered in 2004)
Pine-Richland
Petersville
Portersville
Prospect
Renfrew
Saxonburg
Saxonburg II (Entered 2006)
Slippery Rock
Unionville
Valencia
Warrendale
West Sunbury
Wexford
Zelienople



The Early 1900's
Eagle County vs. Negro Leagues
Eagle Co vs. Nego Leagues 1930's
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In the early 1900's baseball was the main item covered on a daily basis by the Butler Eagle sports department during the spring, summer and early fall. Since then many baseball leagues have come and gone in Butler County. Two organizations which seem to have held up are the Butler County American Legion and the Butler Eagle County Baseball League. Prior to the beginning of the Butler Eagle County League, the Butler County League was the dominant semi-pro baseball organization. Jack (Spitball) Ripper and Earl Zinn were two dominating pitchers of that era. Prior to 1929 the Butler County league was known as the Industrial League. The dominating teams were the Valvoline Oil Company and Parker. Valvoline won the league championship in 1925,27,28 and 29 in the Industrial League and then went on to dominate the Butler County League. Parker and Valvoline both played numerous games outside their league, taking on the Homestead Grays, on a regular basis and other amateur teams from around Western Pennsylvania.


Doggie Cavalero at Pullman Park
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1932 - The Beginning
In 1932 new leagues came to Butler County including the new Cleveland Indians minor league franchise playing at the Standard Field, and one league started that is still in existence today. The Butler Eagle County Baseball league as we know it started in 1932 in the southern part of Butler County. The first year they started it was called the Tri-Boro League. But on June 29th, 1932 the league changed it's name to the Butler Eagle County Baseball league. In an article written by William C. Faust, Sports Editor for the Butler Eagle newspaper, the following statement was written is his As We See It sports column.

The Tri-Boro league has changed it's name. Hereafter it will be known as the Butler Eagle County baseball league. This decision was reached at a meeting of the league the other night. The league in making the change renamed the league in appreciation of the Butler Eagle for its interest and co-operation in baseball in the southern part of the county. The Butler Eagle expresses its appreciation and pledge its continued interest in the league. There were eight teams in the league at that time. They were Callery, Evans City, Harmony, Mars, Meridian, Renfrew, Valencia, and Warrendale. At this time there were five adult baseball leagues in Butler County.

1933 had an All Star game between the North Butler County league and Eagle County league. John Sitosky (Petrolia) and Bill List (Meridian) battled to a 1-1 tie. They played a second game the next night. Don Gaiser hit a three run homer in the seventh inning giving the Butler County All Stars the bragging rights.

William Faust - Eagle Sports Editor said game one was one of the best games he had ever witnessed.



The Inagural Season - Overview

Mars won the first half and Evans City won the second season. The championship series was set up as a best of five playoff between the first and second half winners. In game one they ended up in a 1-1 tie. The game was called due to darkness. It is noted that this game drew the largest crowd of the season in County baseball.

In game two Mars won 7-2. Game three went to Evans City 8-2. Veteran pitcher Eddie Van Dyke held the Mars team to only two runs. In game four Mars came back and won it 7-0 with outstanding pitching from Dwight Cashdollar. In game five Mars won 6-5 in a close game. Dwight Cashdollar pitched in relief for the win. The attendance was over 2000 for this event.

In the Butler County League Petersville won their league title, which set up a best of three series between the two leagues to see if this would be the start of a new baseball era in competition. In game one Jack (Spitball) Ripper for Petersville out dueled Dwight Cashdollar for Mars in a close 6-4 win. Game two was a 2-2 tie, and the same occurred in game three with another 2-2 tie. There was much chatter in the county about how even the teams matched up. Since there was no winner after the best of three series, a fourth game was scheduled. This time Jack Ripper pitched an 8-0 no hitter for Petersville to end the season on September 29th 1932. Jack Ripper only faces 19 batters in the five inning game (due to darkness) and had two hits himself driving in two runs, His spitball was working perfectly, keeping the Mars batters off balance. Petersville joined the Butler Eagle County League in 1933. Dwight Cashdollar pitched a great game for Mars through four innings before giving up the loss to Ripper.

Some notable players in the league we E. Ripper, D. Cashdollar, Vacharella, Wassum, Milt Ellis, Morrison, McCandless, and Denbow.

The broadcasting system used at the Mars field during the Eagle County playoffs was donated by Leonard Besnecker of the Besnecker Skating Rink. The system was highly successful, and marked the first time in the history of Butler County baseball that any such method has been used to impart information regarding the game to the public. Mars wanted the local Butler County Umpires to officiate the Mars vs Petersville series under manager Slim Ellis, and Petersville under manager Dr. R.C. Christie held out for the Pittsburgh Umpires.

This inagural season started a new league that has remained here since the great baseball of the 1930's.

In 1934 one of the prominent baseball organizers in the county, Mr. J.J. Dunlevey declared that all umpires were to commence with making all calls and decisions on base hits and errors in order to eliminate disputes between managers and score keepers for baseball games. The officials were part of the baseball associations at this time. It is not certain as to which leagues adhered to this ruling. Mars won the 1934 league championship that year and then dropped out in 1935 leaving just seven teams.

The 1936 season opened with a new format for the league. There would be a first and second half winner. This assured the first half winner a spot in the championship playoffs, and would play the second half winner for the league title. This years teams were Callery, Evans City, Harmony, Highfield, Mars, Meridian, Petersville, and Valencia. Mars won the first half of the season.

Mars, Highfield, and Valencia tied the second half of the season. Mars conceded to Highfield and Valencia since they were assured a playoff spot. Highfield and Valencia a best of three series to see who would face Mars for the championship. Valencia won the series and went on to face Mars for the championship.

William C. Faust - Sports Editor was very critical in his daily column dated 7/9/36 of all teams in the county for not calling in their game results to the Butler Eagle, and predicted that the leagues would go in the dumper if they didn't change their ways.

Again on 8/29/36 he wrote that there was a great playoff race in the county with Highfield, Mars, Harmony, and Valencia all going after the league in the county. The Eagle league has weathered the storm, which has shaken and finally wrecked other leagues. This season will be the longest in many years and certainly the most interesting.

As predicted the league championship came down to Mars and Valencia playing the best of seven series. All games were close. The scores were 5-4, 2-0, 1-0 etc. Mars finally won game seven for the league title. Standouts in the league at this time were Bill Snyder, Dale Ripper, Aiken, DeMatt, Bauman, Huntley, Kaufman, and Govan.

Note: In the final game played the second week in September which began at 5PM, at the Valencia field ended after five innings. The score was 1-0. It was written as follows in the Butler Eagle: The series drew to a close in confusion when with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning and one runner on base, umpires hastily conferred, called the contest with the Valencia club at bat. The score reverted back to the fifth inning giving Mars the victory.

Time of the game was one hour and twenty minutes. There was no further explanation. Umpires were Stetzer (Plate) Ellis (First) Shakley (Second) and Nicklas (Third).



In this era many Eagle County teams would play exhibition games besides their regular schedule with teams from Allegheny, Beaver, and Clarion counties, along with other teams such as the Homestead Grays, the Pittsburgh Crawfords, the Cuban All-Stars, and the Detroit Tigers (Butler Affiliate) minor league team in the late 1930's.









The 1940's
The Eagle County teams of the early 1940's were sidelined somewhat with World War II. The 1940 league was made up of eight teams. They were Callery, Evans City, Harmony, Highfield, Mars, Valencia, Warrendale, and Zelienople. There was major confusion at the end of the 1940 season when Warrendale forfeited a game and was forced to immediately post a $ 5.00 fee, or lose all remaining games. The league season was extended because of the confusion, but Evans City the dominant team of the 1930's went on and won the 1940 title.
In 1941 Harmony won what was called the Little World Series by the local press. The final game had over 500 spectators watching Harmony defeat Evans City in game seven. The gate receipts were usually split 50/50 in all playoff games. The final score was 6-5. even though Evans City lost the series Earl Ripper was outstanding on the mound for Evans City through the entire season.
1942 had Evans City winning the league title. That same year George Sutch from Zelienople became the first Butler County player to play for the Butler Yankees of the New York Yankees farm system. A huge contingent from Zelienople turned out at the Yankee Stadium (Pullman Park) to see George perform for the Yanks. George hit .385 in his previous year in the Eagle league, and then hit .299 for the Yankees for the 1942 season.
In 1943 the Eagle County league had an organizational meeting and elected officers for the season. Bill Bauder, the Portersville manager for the past nine years took the helm Harmony. The Athletic Club of Callery agreed to sponsor the local Callery team again, and the Mars Volunteer Fire Department also agreed to sponsor the Mars entrant, and change their name from the Planets to the Fireman's team. The only other entrant for the 1943 season would be the Evans City team. The schedule was set and the teams were to start on May 25th. The schedule was set back one week because of muddy fields. On May 29th the league announced that they were going to disband for the 1943 season. Lester Kennedy the Secretary of the league along with president Ted Richardson made the announcement. Both men said they had met with the gasoline ration board, and that they were told "that if any baseball games were played by the four teams, officers of the local gasoline ration board would investigate each and every player and spectator who attended the games". Kennedy further explained that any players or persons attending the games would have to prove that the gasoline they were using to get to the games had to be secured from the "A" ration book. Since it would be impossible for the league to monitor the players and fans, the league disbanded for the season. The league stayed that way in the 1944 season also. Butler had a Junior Victory league run by J.J. Dunlevey that played at Pullman Park which gave local Butler fans a chance to see some additional baseball games. The league age was much younger than the Eagle County players.
From 1945 through 1948 Evans City dominated the league, winning the league championship all those years. This domination ended in 1949 when Callery won its first league championship. Outstanding players from the era were Capella, Marburger, Ben, Painter, Moyer,and of the two dominating pitchers Earl and George Ripper.
The 1949 revitalized Callery won the league title. There was a furious battle for first place that year between Callery, Mars, Warrendale, and Zelienople.
New Sports Writer for the Butler Eagle - Mike Surkalo called the Warrendale pitching staff as air tight as the Allied Blockade of World War II. In the past seven games Warrendale took a 2 1/2 game lead. Credit goes to the hurling trio of "Skeets" Kirchler, Norman Emmett, and Bob Baker. With their fine catcher Red Buffington, Warrendale won the regular season championship in 1949. Callery faced Evans City in a best of three series and won the series to eliminate Evans City for the first time in many years. Callery then faced Zelienople who had eliminated Warrendale for the championship series. Callery won three straight win the 49 crown. A young 17 year old pitcher named Ronald Kline (Pittsburgh Pirates) won game two for Callery, following up on game one winner "Jiggs" Friel, another well known pitcher of the 40's era. Jiggs came back and pitched game three on only two days rest for an 11-6 win.
Other notable players of the late 40's were Baldy Kline, Artie Bricehouse, DeWitt "Junior" Cress, Mike and George Sutch.
Teams in the 1949 season were Callery, Evans City, Harmony, Highfield, Petersville, Portersville, Valencia, Warrendale, and Zelienople.
The Northern Butler County league had also started up after World War II and several times the leagues attempted to play a best of three series for a county championship in the 1940's, but extended seasons and playoffs needed to satisfy their own leagues usually caused scheduling problems. Most of the players of the 1940's were not college players, they were simply very good semi-pro players.


The 1950's Era
The 1950's opened with the same ten teams in the Eagle County league from last year. The defending regular season champs Warrendale and playoffs champs Callery were favorites to contend again for first place. Jiggs Fiel last years MVP was expected to lead the Callery team again in the 1950 season. Jiggs was one of two players left in the league that was still allowed to throw a spitball. We believe the other was George Ripper from the Evans City team. Bill Painter was described by Mike Surkalo (Butler Eagle Sports) as one of the best hitters to play in this era of county baseball.
Other leagues opening in the 1950's were the Butler Tigers of the Mid Atlantic league, the Butler County League (formerly the Northern Butler County league) and the Butler County American Legion as it is still structured today. The Butler County league consisted of the Butler Cubs, Cooperstown, Hillards, Petrolia, Unionville, and the West End team. Their playoffs cam to an abrupt halt after the second game with no explanation in 1950.
Zelienople won the regular season title in the Eagle league and then went on to win the playoffs over Highfield. The season had some interesting moments, outstanding players and managers. George Sutch left the Zelienople team of 1949 and went on to coach the New Castle entry in the Mid Atlantic league. Bob and Ralph Groves were outstanding pitchers for Zelienople and Jiggs Friel continued to be a dominant force on the mound for Callery,who lost their young pitcher Ronald Kline (the Callery hummer) to the Pittsburgh Pirates Farm System.
In 1951 Mars was the big winner in the Eagle league. The outstanding pitching of Bill Thompson and Glen Hart gave Mars a great duo. Thompson threw a four hitter to get Mars into the finals against Harmony. Then Glen Hart threw a 7-0 no hitter for a sweep of the finals.
In 1952 Callery and Zelienople had to complete a protested game from early in the season because the game had playoff ramifications. The protest by Callery was upheld by the league when a Callery player was caught between second and third by Zelienople on the hidden ball trick. The game resumed at the time of the protest in the bottom of the fifth inning with Zelienople ahead 4-1. Callery came back and won the game 5-4 to win both the protest and the game.
Callery played Highfield in a single game to see who would face Zelienople in the championship series. The game was stopped after six innings in a 1-1 tie. Jiggs Fiel and John Prokopchak (Cinn. Reds prospect) battled it out. The game was replayed the next night and again stopped after a 2-2 tie. The third game was finished the next night with Highfield winning over Callery 4-0. John Prokopchak was outstanding in pitching a two hitter for Highfield. He pitched a complete game on one days rest. Highfield then faced and lost to Zelienople for the title. Ralph Groves pitched both of the last two games of the championship series for Zelienople to earn the wins. No MVP was announced for the 52 season.


Early Eagle Pics
1962 Warendale Team
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The Mid 1950's
By 1955 the Eagle County league saw the North Butler County league disappear. In 1954 a new league came to Butler County called the Tri-County league. The team was managed by Ed Gaisford from Chicora. The Butler entrant into the league focused on college players competing against teams mainly from Allegheny County. Peaches Fester, Chuck Ekas, Frank Cromer, Loyal Park, Hubie Voltz, and Jim McKinney were some outstanding players on the Butler team. Most of the same players also played in the Eagle County league.
A new church league also formed in the mid 1950's for baseball. The league was called the County Church league that had teams from Fairview, St. Michaels, Herman, Slippery Rock, West Sunbury, Cabot, North Oakland, St. Wendelin, WASCO, Marwood, and Chicora. Also in 1955 the Eagle County league had nine teams again. Mars had won the title the two previous years. They won the 1955 crown over Highfield at the Callery field. One of the playoff games was pitched by Dick Minto while on leave from the Marine Corps.
In 1956 and 1957 Highfield went on to win the league championship title.
By 1958 the Eagle County league grew to eleven teams, and the Church league down to seven. The Eagle league had a forty game schedule. Connoquenessing won the regular season title and lost to Highfield in the playoffs. Highfield then faced the Butler Prep Grads in the championship best of five series. Jack Ordy, Dick Gillespie, Ray Natalli, and Dale Willison lead the Prep Grads into the battle against Highfield. Rich Minto was considered one of the best pitchers in the league representing Highfied in the playoffs. After Highfield won game one 4-3, Bob Marsch, director of the Butler Pony, Prep, and Grads said that the Prep Grads would not continue the playoffs since Pullman Park needed to get ready for football season and some of the Grads were going back to college. This was all contrary to the original understanding set up at the spring meetings. George Marburger president of the Eagle County league stated later that week in the Butler Eagle that the league was going to finish the playoffs at another field. No more games were played in 1958, and the Prep Grads did not have another Eagle County team.
1958 also saw an All Star game played between the Church league and the Eagle County league. The players were the who's who in baseball in Butler County at the time. For the Eagle league there was Mike Zevada, Ed Dollar, Bob Darr, Larry Abbott, Bob Marburger, Jack Ordy, Rich Minto, Ray Bhame, Ham Monks, Guff Weigand, John Kristophel, Sam Moore, Jack Rearick, Dick Neal,and Jim McKinney. For the Church league there was Barney Barnes, Chuck Cypher, Ron Lumley, Nick Calderone, Syd Synder, Mickey Deahl, Denny Gaiser, Bill Young, Chuck Ekas, Biz Day, Jack Baccanti, Don Wigton, Mart Sasse, Baline Lang, Don Nowicki, Don Sasse, Pete Zarnick, Zip Smith, and Chuck Stewart.
Jim Holot managed the Eagle team and Blaine Lang managed he Church loop. This was set up to be an annual event, but scheduling problems prevented that from continuing.
The 1950's ended with Mars winning the regular season and playoffs title. Connoquenessing was the runner up for the 1959 season. Moe McCandless, Guff Weigand, and Peaches Fester were outstanding on the mound for Mars. The Eagle league had only eight entrants and the Church league had seven with a Butler entrant in each league. What is noticed most about the 1950's Eagle league era was the lack of home runs. Since wood bats were still the standard scores were still low and few home runs were hit.


The 1960's
The 1960's started with ten teams in the league. This was an increase of two teams with Cranberry, Middle Lancaster, and Unionville joining the league for the first time. The rest of the 1960 teams were Evans City, Callery, Connoquenessing, Mars, Highfield, Harmony,and Warrendale.
Highfield took the regular season title in 1960 with some pretty well know players such as Rich Minto, Larry Abbott, Dick, and Jack Ordy. Middle Lancaster and Warrendale made up the other teams in the playoffs for 1960.
Going into the playoffs Warrendale had won 16 of their last 17 games, and were not to be stopped. They took the 1960 crown. Bob Marburger from the Evans City team was named the league MVP.
By 1962 the semi-pro baseball in the county had another change as the Butler County league started up. They had six teams which were Bronks, Coylesville, Fairview, East Butler, Harrisville, and West Sunbury.
Fairview and Coylesville were the dominant teams while Highfield, Middle Lancaster,and Warrendale were the best teams in the Eagle County league. Peaches Fester, Jim Skillen, and Larry Abbott were all playing for Warrendale in 1962,making them a very difficult team to beat.
Highfield the 1961 champs dropped out in 1962, after forfeiting games to Harmony and Middle Lancaster. Mars also dropped out for the 1962 season. Chuck Beers from Callery was named the MVP for 1962. Warrendale won the title in 62 by defeating Connoquenessing. Peaches Fester threw and 11-0 shutout in the playoffs against Harmony, leading Warrendale into the finals.
In 1963 the Eagle County league had only five teams. They were Callery, Connoquenessing, Mars, Middle Lancaster, and Warrendale. The Butler County league had only four teams which were Bronks, Coylesville, Fairview, and West Sunbury. Jim Skillen, Peaches Fester,and Lefty Barnett were the outstanding pitchers for 63. Callery and Warrendale dueled it out for the league title with Warrendale coming out on top. The 1963 season had a rather controversial game that required a league ruling. In game one of the championship playoffs Phil Rezzatano (Warrendale Manager) protested the game in the sixth inning, and Callery went on to win the game 6-5. But the victory was short lived when league officials ruled the game must be re-started in the sixth inning with two outs.
The protest started when Pony Dunbar hit an infield single to Garland the Callery second baseman. When Garland determined that he could not field the ball he threw his glove at the ball. The umpires permitted Dunbar a free ticket to third base from where he scored on a base hit by Dick Zinkhann. This gave Callery a 6-5 lead. Rezzatano protested that Garlands glove did not touch the ball,thus the tow extra bases allowed Dunbar was a misrepresentation of the rules. The league ruled that Dunbar was to be on first with two out and the game was to be re-played from that point on. As it turned out Warrendale won the game and the 1963 crown. Mickey and Bud Boyle out on a great exhibition for Warrendale along with their fine pitching staff.
Fairview won the Butler County league again dominating that league.
Middle Lancaster and Fairview played a best of three series in 1963 with Fairview winning game one 2-1. Game two went to Middle Lancaster 13-4,and Fairview came back and won the rubber game 5-3. The was great exposure for the talent in both county leagues.
In 1964 the name Eagle County league disappeared. There was just the Butler County league with seven teams. They were Callery, Colyesville, Mars, Fairview, Herman, Middle Lancaster and West Sunbury. West Sunbury won the regular season title with Middle Lancaster right on their heels is second place. Coylesville and Mars made up the other two teams in the championship series. Middle Lancaster and West Sunbury ended up in the finals. The final game was won by West Sunbury 1-0. Jerry Bowman pitched in all three games for Middle Lancaster. The final out was Dan Smith being thrown out at home plate trying to score the tying run. This was playoff baseball at it's best for Butler County.
In 1965 the Butler Eagle County league name was back after a one year absence. The teams back were Callery, Middle Lancaster, Mars, and Warrendale. The Butler County league had Coylesville, Fairview, Herman, and West Sunbury. Mars had Peaches Fester back after plating at Warrendale for several years. Other new star players in the mid 60's were Ron Fester, Tom Purvis, and Lefty Barnett. Middle Lancaster ended up winning the Eagle championship in 1965 over Mars 9-1. The strong twosome of Jerry Bowman, and Tom George sparkled in the final game. Midway through the 1960's the Eagle league had fewer teams. The same held true for the Butler County league. The merger of the two leagues in 1964 did not work well for either organization with each league actually losing teams. Wooden bats were still being used and thus keeping the home runs down in the leagues, plus the fact that most fields being used had no fences.
In 1966 there were six teams in the league. They were Callery, Coylesville, Fairview, Mars, Middle Lancaster, and West Sunbury.
William (Bill) Bauder was President, Lloyd McCaslin was Vice President, George Marburger was Secretary / Treasurer, and Charles Barrett was Chairman of the Board.
Fairview won the regular season title and then battled West Sunbury for the Shaughenessy playoff crown. It came down to game three and Fairview prevailed in a 6-3 victory. Outstanding players for Fairview were Rich Byers, Biz Day, Mike Whann, Jim Senopole, Denny and Tom Gaiser. For West Sunbury there was Ron Campbell (Baltimore Orioles), Carl, Gib,and Joe Reeder.
1967 saw another new entrant in the Eagle league with Chicora joining. West Sunbury won the regular season crown. Mars,Middle Lancaster,Fairview , and West Sunbury ended up in the final four playoffs. After game one it looked liked West Sunbury and / or Fairview may not get to the finals this year with Mars and Middle Lancaster both winning. Lynn Leight threw a four hitter for Mars and Ken Lockey went the distance for Middle Lancaster in identical 9-1 wins. As it turned out both Mars and Middle Lancaster were eliminated and a Fairview vs West Sunbury finals were on again for 1967. Tom Gaiser pitched a 1-0 no hitter to Fairview into the finals. West Sunbury went on to win the crown in 67 on a four hitter thrown by Ron Zawroutuk thus giving West Sunbury both the regular season and Schaughnessy playoff title.
1968 had only four teams in the league. They had a twenty game schedule that ended in July. Middle Lancaster won the regular season title. They eliminated Callery and Mars beat Harmony to advance to the league championship. The best of three series ended with Mars winning game three 7-6 in the bottom of the seventh inning. Mars parlayed a father and son combination to win game three. Harold (Peaches) Fester pitched five innings and son Ron Fester hit a three run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning to win the title in dramatic fashion.
1969 had five teams in the league. Mike Surkalo Sports Editor for the Butler Eagle began awarding a championship plaque each year. He stated this tradition was to continue every year going ahead.
Mars beat out Middle Lancaster to win the title two straight years. The 1960's saw a great era for Eagle County baseball. The powerhouse teams from Fairview, Mars, West Sunbury and Middle Lancaster created great baseball rivalries that would be hard to duplicate.


The 1970's
In 1970 the Eagle County league had six teams. Connoquenessing and Warrendale came back in the league to join Callery, Mars, Harmony, and Middle Lancaster. The 70's had no other semi-pro leagues in the county. Many players left to play in many of the counties softball leagues. Mars and Middle Lancaster ended up in the finals again after Middle Lancaster won the regular season title. a tough left handed pitcher named Rich Bartolomero was the anchor of the Middle Lancaster staff. And team captain Jerry Bowman remained a standout for them on both offense and defense. Bartolomero shut out Harmony to advance to the finals. In game one he struck out 14 Mars batters and then on two days rest he came back and struck out 7 in game three for the win and the championship for 1970.
1971 saw the league increase again to eight teams with Evans City re-joining and Prospect joined for the first time. Middle Lancaster,Mars,Harmony,and Warrendale made the final four. Both Middle Lancaster and Warrendale ended up with identical 18-2 records. In a one game playoff Middle Lancaster beat Warrendale 8-6 to win the regular season title. Jerry Bowman was named MVP for the 71 season, Middle Lancaster added Clair Altemus and Bill Haines to their pitching staff to help shore up the teams staff. They eliminated Mars and Warrendale defeated Harmony to move to the finals. Manager Bill Bauders Middle Lancaster team defeated Warrendale to give them two finals titles in a row.
In 1972 Highfield came back in the league under Steve Kalina. They were competitive from the start. Warendale won the regular season title. The finals in the playoffs were Connoquenessing, Highfield, Middle Lancaster, and Warrendale. Some outstanding players were Buffy Jack, Dave Lynn, Ron Fester, Dick Powell, Tom Morton, Tom Mazullo, Gary Franchuk, John Grystar, Dave Zinkham, Jerry Bowman, and Chuck Hannan. Warrendale went to the finals against Middle Lancaster. Warrendale won the tile on a two hit shutout pitched by Ken Sewald (Villanova University). Warrendale won 22 straight games after losing the first game of the season.
Peaches Fester (age 48) pitched an average of two games per week for Mars in 1972. He wanted to start a new Eagle team in 1973 consisting of players over 35 years of age. The team never was started, but by this time Peaches had played 24 years. Dean Pritts was still catching at the age of 44 and Chester Marburger the Mars Eagle County had close to 50 years in Butler County baseball programs.
In 1973 Highfield and Middle Lancaster were the powerhouse teams. With three games left in the regular season, both had identical 18-3 records. The final meeting of the regular season was a great baseball exhibition. The game went ten innings with Highfield winning on a error. Larry Twyford and loser Dan Fullerton both pitched outstanding games until the unearned run was scored in the tenth inning. In the finals for 73 were Highfield,, Middle Lancaster, Warrendale, and Connoquenessing. Warrendale and Connoquenessing ended up in the finals with Warrendale winning the league title with two straight wins over Connoquenessing.
By 1975 the Eagle league grew to two divisions. The North Division had Connoquenessing, Evans City, Highfield, Meridian, Saxonburg, and Slippery Rock. The South Division had Callery, Cranberry, Harmony, Mars, Middle Lancaster, and Warrendale. This was the first time Saxonburg, and Slippery Rock had fielded teams in the league. The league received a lot of press coverage and attracted a lot of talented players. Old timers like Peaches Fester, hung up their spikes and began umpiring with others who retired like Junior Cress, and Elmer Massey who also were former players. New teams became involved in the playoffs in 1975. Jim Simmons fired a five hitter to defeat Saxonburg 5-1 and force a game three to see who would face Highfield in the North Division finals. Saxonburg went on to defeat Slippery Rock and faced Highfield. The winner would play the winner of the Mars - Warrendale South Division playoff winner. Highfield had a trio of outstanding pitchers with Dale Web, Ron Steighner, and Terry McGarrah and Ches Marburgers Mars team defeated Middle Lancaster with outstanding performance by Bob Rezzatano driving in six with two home runs to put Mars in the second round of the souther division playoffs.
Terry McGarrah bested Saxonburg in game one as he threw a perfect no hitter for Highfield for an easy 14-0 win. Warrendale defeated Mars 11-2 so Highfield and Warrendale (1974 winner) won their divisions. Dale Webb won two games for Highfield. His second win was in game four was a great one hit performance. In game five Ken Sewald won for Warrendale 3-1 after taking his first loss of the year in game one of the championship series. George Pakutz pitched well for Highfield in the final game but Warrendale won the very well played series. It should be noted that Terry McGarrah (New York Penn League) also threw two other no hitters during the 1975 season.
In 1976 Warrendale again won the finals title.


The Late 1970's
1977's final four were Callery,and Warrendale, from the South Division with Middle Lancaster and Highfield representing the North Division. Middle Lancaster and Warrendale ended up in the finals. With scores of 3-1, 7-4, 2-1, 2-0, and 5-1 the talent was pretty even. Warrendale won the series over Middle Lancaster. This gave Warrendale a six year winning streak. Clair Altemus took veteran Bill Bauder's place at the helm for Middle Lancaster. Also in 1977 the North All Stars defeated the South All Stars 14-3. Outstanding players participating in the game were as follows.
For Mars - Ernie Ramella (Clarion College)and Matt Goglin, Harmony - Gary Miller, Cranberry - Ron McCormick and Mike Miller, Callery - Wayne Roccia, and Van Walker, Warrendale - John Aiken, Buffy Jack, Jim Boyd, George Bauer, and Ken Sewald, Highfield - Mickey Uram, John Grystar, Bill Maier, and Dale Webb, Meridian - Rich Bollinger, and Mike Schmidt, Middle Lancaster - Clair Altemus, Jerry Bowman, and Ron Sciarro, Slippery Rock - Bill McGarvey, and Arnie Trufley, and Connoquenessing had Jeff Sadlak, Steven Zanicky, and Jim Montonak.
1978 saw some regulars back in the final four with Highfield (regular season champs) Middle Lancaster, Connoquenessing, and Warrendale fighting it out for the league title. Jim Montonak and Terry McGarrah each pitched shutouts of 8-0 and 3-0 for Highfield to advance to face rival Warrendale in the finals. Highfield added the playoff title for 1978 on a 6-0 shutout by Jim Montonak for the final win. Eagle County teams also participated in the Tito Franconia Tournament in Beaver County and the Westminster College Tournament. West Mifflin defeated Warrendale in that tournament, but they still won $ 300.00.
In 1979 Highfield and Middle Lancaster battled it out for the league championship. With the exception of the 13-12 Highfield victory in game one, all other games were close encounters. Game four was and outstanding duo between Terry McGarrah for Highfield and Don "Tex" Sample for Middle Lancaster. The 1-0 victory for Sample yielded only one hit, and McGarrah only gave up four. Middle Lancaster won game five 4-3. Clair Altemus was the hitting star for Middle Lancaster going 9-12 in the series. Some 1979 highlights were: 1979 was the first time Callery did not have a team in the league. They merged with Middle Lancaster. They did return in 1980 under a new manager's Mike Sutch and Red Cartwright. Mike Schmidt hit three home runs in one game and Doug Wolf (Warrendale) signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates.


The1980's - A New Era of Champions
The 1980's saw some of the best competitive baseball teams in the Eagle County league compete.
Championships were not easy to earn. The outstanding teams were:
The Butler Pioneers
The Butler Yankees
Highfield
Slippery Rock
Warrendale

The 1980 season opened with seven teams. The teams starting the decade were Butler, Cranberry, Harmony, Middle Lancaster, Mars, Slippery Rock, and Warrendale.
This was the first year for the new entrant the Butler Yankees. Bill Bauder was elected President, Clair Altemus was Vice President, George Marburger Secretary Treasurer,and DeWitt (Junior) Cress was the Umpire Representative. The Commissioners were Charlie Barrett, John Jancse, Ron Kline, Gary Malloy, Mike Surkalo,and Dean Zinkham. Missing from the group for the first time in many years was Ches Marburger who retired from managing the Mars Fireman team to become the General Manager for the Mars entrant. Ken Sewald got Warrendale off on the right foot in the 80's with a no hitter against rival Highfield on opening day. This year the teams started playing a round robin tournament for the playoffs. The final five teams were Cranberry,Harmony, Highfield, Slippery Rock, Warrendale. Slippery Rock eliminated Harmony to win the 1980 crown. Slippery Rock got outstanding pitching from Doug Bohrer and Keith Hortert. Both pitched fourty-eight consecutive innings for manager Arnie Trufley, yielding only three hits. Again in 1981 there were seven teams and Wayne Roccia replaced Clair Altemus as Vice President.
The round robin playoff format remained in place. Highfield eliminated Mars in very good eight inning affair 6-5. The brother act of Randy and Ron Cygan accounted for a to of the offense for Steve Kalina's Highfield winners. This put Highfield in against unbeaten powerhouse Slippery Rock. Slippery Rock won the showdown 4-1. Mike Schmidt again shined for Slippery Rock going 3 for 3.
Slippery won the regular season and the championship series behind the great pitching of Doug Bohrer and the productive hitting of Jeff McClymonds and John Cross who went 6 for 7 at the plate.
In 1982 Slippery Rock repeated as the champs by defeating the Butler Yankees in a 13-5 comeback win. Doug Bohrer again was the pitching ace for Slippery Rock. with that win Slippery Rock had won eleven straight playoff games. Nine of those wins were by Doug Bohrer. Bohrer was a perfect 13-0 for 1982.
1983 saw another new team in the league. The Butler Tigers joined the league and Saxonburg re-joined. The likes of Paul Lumley, Eric Werner, Rob Fester, Shawn Kuhn and Rob O'Leath made the Butler Yankees a formidable for this year. This year Slippery Rock, Highfield,and Warrendale would all have their hands full with the Yankees. When all the dust settled the Butler Yankees won the league regular season and the league championship series.
In 1984 there was a heated race for the playoff title, with Butler, Callery, Highfield, Saxonburg, Slippery Rock, and Warrendale pushing for the playoff crown. The Butler Yankees won the regular season title by one game in a special playoff game against Slippery Rock 16-2. Eric Werner Tommy Thompson, and Randy Jackson were outstanding for the Yankees in the victory. Butler went on to defeat Highfield for the post season title with a 5-2 win. The Yankees now duplicated Slippery Rock's two-year in a row championships. At the end of the season the Yankees played the North Pgh Fed team and lost 17-8.

The early 80's highlights:
1980 - Bill Altenus (Middle Lancaster) was named the League MVP
1981 - Jerry Brumbaugh from Warrendale was the league MVP with a .471 batting average.
1982 - Doug Boher from Slippery Rock was the league MVP. Doug was an outstanding pitcher in the 80's era.
1983 - Eric Werner from the Butler Yankees was named the league MVP by one vote over his outstanding teammate Paul Lumley.
1984 - Rob O'Leath from the Butler Yankees was the league MVP/
1985 - Tim Swadron from Mars was the league MVP.

In 1982 and 83 the Eagle County League sent an all star team to play the Indiana County league All Stars. Each team won one game.
The 1983 team managed by Arnie Trufley from Slippery Rock was:
1B - Paul Lumley, Butler - Carl Pietrusinski, Warrendale.
2B - Jim Malson, Slippery Rock - Mark Minich, Highfield.
3B - Paul Wilson, Harmony - Ken McKrea, Highfield.
SS - Ed Bodner, Warrendale - Bill Fesh, Harmony - Mike Hand,Mars.
C - Mike Schmidt, Slippery Rock - Eric Werner, Butler Yankees, Randy Cygan, Highfield - Randy Hollen, Harmony.
OF - Jerry Raake,Butler Tigers - Wayne Davidson, Callery - Rob O'Leath,Butler Yankees - Tom Merchant, Warrendale - Gary McClymonds, Slippery Rock - Dave Wolfe, Warrendale.
P - Doug Bishop, Mars - Jeff Johnson, Saxonburg - Mike Wise, Slippery Rock - Jeff Tritch, Butler Tigers.

In 1985 George Phillips fired a no hitter against Callery. George was in his late 40's at that time. Also on the same night Warrendales Russ Eisel threw a 12-0 shutout over Harmony. Russ also went 4 for 5 in the game.

1985 put Warrendale back in victory lane. They defeated Highfield in game three to win the championship. Highfield had won game two 22-11, and then Warrendale won by the same score in game three. Veteran pitcher Ken Sewald got the victory in front of a packed house at Pullman Park. Whitey Sorgels outstanding shortstop Greg Mancini along with Tom Merhaut,a and Dave Wolf shined on both offense and defense for Warrendale. Highfield also fielded a great team in 85 with the Cygan brothers, Tim Seezox, Dennis Culbertson, and Dave Kaufman. Elmer Massey and Jim McKinney both former players helped officiate the championship game.
The 1986 season saw the two divisions back in the league. The North Division was made up of Butler, Highfield, Prospect, Saxonburg, and Slippery Rock. The South Division had Callery, Harmony, Mars, Warrendale, and Zelienople. Highfield won the North Division,but Mars and Warrendale battled most of the season for the South Division crown. At the end of the season the two teams were tied, so they had a one game playoff. Warrendale defeated Mars 5-4 on a three RBI night for Rich Boeh. A double elimination tournament was set up to determine the league champions. Homes runs seemed to be the name of the game. Three out of the first four games were won by home runs. The sluggers were Tim Seezox, Paul Lumley, Brian Stack, Gus Deal, and Tom Boozel. Wooden bats were no longer the bats of choice in this era. The number one seed Highfield and the number six seed Slippery Rock made it to the finals. Slippery Rock playing it's fifth straight game coming out of the losers bracket defeated Highfield thus forcing a second game. Jeff Tritch came through again for Slippery Rock defeating Highfield 6-5. Tritch pitched seventeen innings from Tuesday through Sunday. The win by Slippery Rock was a huge upset in the Eagle County league.
In 1987 more talented players were coming into the league. Players such as Rob Fester (Point Park) Mike Sheehy (Penn State/California Angels) Shawn Kuhn (Philadelphia Phillies), George Miller, and Mark Bauman were outstanding for their respective teams. Nine teams entered the 87 season with Prospect re-entering along with the Butler Yankees, Callery, Mars, Harmony,Highfield, Saxonburg, Slippery Rock, and Warrendale. The playoffs came down to Butler,Harmony, Highfield, and Warrendale. Highfield and Warrendale were eliminated and the finals had Butler and Harmony battling it out. Harmony took the first two games in the best of five series to put them one win away from the title. The Yankees battled back with the fine pitching of Rob Fester and Shawn Kuhn. then Tony Slomers pitched a complete game five to win the championship in a great comeback victory. Mike Knox (Marietta College) pitched well for Harmony in the loss. Fester won games 3 & 4 for the Yankees and ended up 7-0 for the season while the Yankees went 30-5-1 for the year.
1988 saw the Yankees repeat as Eagle County champs. Dave Kaufman and Bo Campbell played very well for Highfield in the playoffs. Rob Fester, Shawn Kuhn, Rick Galante, and Tony Slomers all contributed to the second Championship for the Yanks. But there was one special player for the Butler team in 88. George Phillips and 18 year veteran of the Eagle County league went the distance with great support from his teammates. Yankee manager Gary Shingleton was very proud of Phillips performance since he was such a long time player.
1989 brought a new team to the league. The Butler Pioneers under manager John Stuper (St. Louis Cardinals) was currently the coach of the Butler County Community College team. Surprisingly the Pioneers won the regular season title and the ended up in the finals against Highfield. Highfield was considered the best hitting team in the league and the Pioneers boasted the best pitching staff. Jim Tinkey was outstanding for the Pioneers with a 7-1 record. The series went four games with the Pioneers winning the crown.
The 1980's overall was a very strong and talented league for baseball in Western Pennsylvania.

   


The Early - 1990's

1990 started a new decade with ten strong teams. They were the Butler Yankees, Butler Pioneers, Callery, Evans City, Highfield, Harmony, Mars, Pine-Richland, Saxonburg, and Warendale. This was the first year for Pine-Richland in the Eagle County league. Harmony won the regular season title. The final four were the Butler Pioneers, Callery, Harmony, and Highfield. Game one of the semi-finals saw some excellent baseball with Harmony defeating Callery, and Highfield beating the Butler Pioneers. Brad Miller pitched a 6-0 shutout for Harmony. He faced only 22 batters and didn't give up a hit until the 5th inning single by Ryan Salazar. This was to be the only hit Callery would get off Miller. In the Butler - Highfield game Des Schnur (University of Pittsburgh) pitched a four hitter and went 3 for 3 at the plate, including the game winning home run. His other two hits were doubles. Jim Kradel's Highfield team went on to defeat the Pioneers the next night and Harmony defeated Callery to set up the final opponents. Kradel felt his Highfield team was going to end the long streak of bad luck in the finals.
In the best of five series Harmony won game one 3-2. Highfield finally got to Brad Miller in game two defeating Harmony 10-2. Miller and Schnur were both 10-1 on the season going into game two. Game three went to Highfield 5-1.
Then game ended up in a 7-7 tie at the Zelienople Homer Dome as it was called. The entire game had to replayed. Harmony won the rematch 4-3 with an outstanding pitching performance by Tony Clark. Then came game five with Highfield losing to Harmony in the bottom of the seventh inning breaking a 3-3 tie. Alan Swanson was the winning pitcher for Harmony and Des Schnur took the loss for Highfield. This was the last year the Highfield had a team in the Eagle County league.
In 1991 the league grew to eleven teams. Slippery Rock and Cranberry were back along with all the other 1990 teams except for Highfield. Some familiar names were back in the championship series again. The Butler Yankees won the regular season title on the last scheduled game of the season, putting Harmony in second. Harmony defeated Callery and the Yankees defeated Warrendale. The Butler Yankees went on to defeat Harmony for the league championship. The irony of game five at Harmony was that Des Schnur the losing pitcher in game five last year turned the tables and won game five by defeating Brad Miller who this year had to pitch on two days rest. The Yankees had twenty three hits and seven home runs in the game.
1992 had Harmony the regular season champs in the playoffs again. This time they faced Callery, who had not won the title since 1949. The series saw a talented Callery team push Harmony for the title. Gary Banner, and Mike Sheehy lead the Callery attack. Callery won the best of five series three games to one. Mike Sheehy was named the MVP for 1992. The victory brought the title back to the Marburger farm field, which was one of the original Eagle County fields.
1993 hd Prospect in the playoffs for the first time. Six out of the nine teams made the playoffs in 1993. The first round was single elimination,then there was a bes of five finals. The Butler Yankees, Callery, Harmony, Pine Richland, Prospect,and Warrendale made the playoffs. Pine Richland suprised Prospect by beating them 7-2 in round one. Prospect had won all three regular season games over Pine Richland. The Butler Yankess battled Callery to a 9-9 tie. This meant the game had to be replayed the next night. Callery won the second game 5-3 to advance. Butler manager Gary Shingleton was very dissappointed and Callery manger Jeff Hartung was on cloud nine. Harmony and Warrendale eventually ended up in the bst of five
Bryan Repko from the Warendale team was the MVP for 1991. Art Shuker at age 52 was the oldest player still pitching. Art had an outstanding career in several semi-pro leagues around Western Pennsylvania. Arnie Trufley the manager of the great championship Slippery Rock teams of the early 1990's was still playing for the Slippery Rock entrant, and George Phillips was still pithing for the Butler Yankees.

1994 Warrendale repeated as the league champions. This time they defeated Callery for the Championship in four games. Warrendale boasted a 22-5-1 record for 1994. Todd Curtain and Bret Poppleton were new young college players that were added to the veteran Warrendale roster which made made them look like a team to be reckoned with for many years to come.

The 1995 season started out with a quote from league president Mike Knox: "There are a lot of new faces in the league this year. There are a lot of different managers and we're getting new blood in the league. It seems like a there is a new era coming in".

There was a large influx if new talented present and former college palyers joining the leagues teams. The league's intention was to make make a concerted efort to recruit more young talent into the league from Western Pa. A revamped Mars team opened the season with a ten game winning streak. Gibsonia under manger Tom Saginaw was welcomed as a new team and Saxonburg returned manged by Dan Cunningham and Jimmy Jones to the league after a three year absence. There was also a new Butler entrant playing at Pullman Park called the Pullman Stars under manager Tom Creely. Other 1995 teams were Callery, Harmony, Prospect, and Warrendale. For 1995 the top six teams would make the playoffs. They were Mars, Warrendale, Saxonburg, Gibsonia, Harmomny, and Butler. Warrendale defeated Butler, and Saxonburg eliminated Gibsonia in round one. This was the first time Saxonburg advanced in the playoffs since they joined the league in 1975. In round two Warrendale defeated Harmony, and Mars defeated Saxonburg to move tothe bst of five championship series. Mike Sheehy and Rob Fester combined to pitch a no hitter in game one 14-0. The next night Rich Schnur pitched a 2-0 shutout over Mars to force a game three which Mars won. A lot of emotion was let out with Mars getting back to the championship series after a long drought. Mars won the best of five series over Warrendale in with three straight wins thus ending Warrendales hold onthe championship for the past two years. The championship series was dedicated to Chester Marburger the father of baseball on the Mars area. Ches was instrumental in the progress of American Legion and Eagle County baseball in the Mars area. Rob Fester was the league MVP for 1995 with Mike SHeehy running a close second.

In 1996 Saxonburg won the regular season title with Warrendale as the runner up. The six teams going to the playoffs were Saxonburg, Warrendale, Callery, Mars, Harmony, and Gibsonia. Saxonburg and Warrendale received first round bye's. Callery and Mars won round one. Mars faced Saxonburg and Callery face Warrendale. Callery defeatd Warrendale in three games and Saxonburg swept Mars two straight. Curt Schnur ( Delaware/Atlanta Braves) pitched a compete game one win over MArs pitcher Mike Hensel, and Jeff Woller (Wooster College) pitched a 4-0 shutout over Doug Cappel (W&J College) in game two. Woller struck out ten batters in game two.
The best of five series went all five games. Callery won game ome at Pullman Park 5-2. Jason Greiner (Clenson) bested Curt Schnur. In game two Saxonbur came back for a 12-7 win. Des Schnur (Univ of Pittsburgh) pitched a complete game for Saxonburg for the win. Scott Stipe took the loss for Callery. Game three was a great pitching dual between Jeff Woller (Butler Eagle quoted as the best pitcher in the league for 1996) beat crafy Rick Desano from Callery. Ryan MCclellan ( Liberty Univerity) and Steve Hall ( Grove City) broke the game open with timely hits in the fourth inning palte three tuns. Jeff Woller struck out tenbatters and walked just one. This put Saxonburg up two gamnes to one. Eick Tartagleone pitched game four (Duquense Univ) for Callery and Brendan Steiner (IUP) sufered the loss for Saxonburg. Callery went on to win the series. Jason Greiner winner of game one earned the third win in the series .Paul Westwood ( Univ of Pittsburgh) was the hitting star for Callery ion the series.
Some outstanding performances in 1996 were Greg Scheutz ( Mars) hit three home runs against Saxonburg in ome game. Justin Kingerski ( Allegheny College) pitched a one hitter for Harmony over Prospect. Jeff Woller and Rob Fester stuck out twenty one batters betwennthem in a 5-3 Saxonburg win over Mars. Greg Schwutz hit a grand slam and another home run to pace wining pitdher Doug Cappel as he struck out thirteen batters for Mars over Prospect. And finally Jef Woller struck out fifteen batters in a 2-0 shutout over Butler.
Pitching seemed to be very dominant in the 1996 season.

1997 had a new entrant in the league with Freeport fielding a team. This put ten teams backin the league again. Callery won the regular season title by one game over Mars. the other four playoff teams were Cranberry, Harmony, Gibsonia, and Saxonburg. Callery and Mars received a first round bye. Cranbery faced off against Saxonburg, with Gibsonia and Harmony meeting in the other first round best of three pairing. Saxonburg defeated Cranberry and Harmony defeated Gibsonia. Todd Raithel ( University of Louisville) won game three against Gibsonia for Harmony with an outstanding 9-2 pitching gem. Todd struck out fourteen batters in the game.
Mars faced Saxonburg in round two and came out on top, while Callery battled and lost to Harmony in the other semi-final contest. Mars went on to defeat Harmony in the best of five finals that went all five games.
Highlighs for 1997: Todd Raithel struck out fifteen in an 8-2 win over Butler. Darin Cuningham ( Penn State) pitched a one hitter for Saxonburg over Gibsonia. Jeff Woller struck out sixteen Gibsonia batters in a 6-0 shutout. Curt Schnur pitched a one hitter for Saxonburg over Prospect. Jeff Woller struck out seventeen batters in a 20-2 win over the new Butler Yankees team. The Mars team hit eleven home runs in a 20-11 win over Harmony. Mike Sheehy and Greg Reinhart each had three, and Rob Fester hit two home runs in that win.

For 1998 the returned with nine teams with Mars ready to defend their title. Warrendale and Prospect both dropped out of the league, and Wexford entered the league for the first time. Mars defeated Butler, and Harmony defeated Gibsonia to move on against Saxonburg and Callery in the semi-finals. Callery defeated Harmnony and saxonburg eliminated Mars toset up another saxonburg vs. Callery championship series. The wild game of the semi-finals was game three in the Saxonburg vs. Mars series. the final score was 18-16 in favor of Saxonburg. There were eleven (11) home runs hit at the "Mars Homer Dome". The winning home run was hit by Ryan Chandler (Auburn University) in the top of the seventh inning. Teh championship series was set up between Callery and Saxonburg with a best of five series. Saxonburg won the series, and Curt Schbur was named the MVP for the playoffs. Game three at Butler Co Community College had Curt Schnur being hit by a bad hop at third by hit by Mark Schmidt for Callery. Curt suffered a broken orbital bone and was out for game four. Game three was suspended due to darkness and was finished at Callery the next night prior to game four. Saxonburg won the game on a great catch of a line drive in the bottom of the 7th inning hit by Don Dell (IUP) down the third base line. Ron Jones (Grove City Collge) made a great timely leap to catch the ball that would have easliy plated two runs and given Callery the win instead. After sitting out game four Curt Schnur came back and hit a three run home run inthe top of the 8th inning togivwe Saxonburg the go ahead runs to win the league championship series. Jeff Woller (Wooster College) got he win for Saxonburg against Rick Desano (Clarion College).  The Butler Eagle Newspaper wrote: How Close Was The Series - Saxonburgg outscored Callery 28-27, and out hit Callery 45-43. The series was an outstanding semi-pro series in a respects. Highlights for the 1998 seasons saw Rick Schnur (IUP) pitch two complete games allowing only two runs total for those games. Mike Sikorski (Montreal Expos/SRU) hit for the cycle against harmony. Mars pitcher Rob Fester (Point Park) and Saxonburg's Darin Cunningham (Penn State) each pitched a complete game as saxonburg won the game 2-1at Mars. Each team had five hits and two errors. Gibsonia pitcher Jim Sadowsky threw a 3-0 shutoutover Freeport. Callery opened the season with 17 straight wins before losing a game.

For 1999 the Warrendale team re-entered the league under their old manager from the early 1990's - Dave Rettig. There were now a total of 11 teams in the league. Mars won the regular season championship, with saxonburg taking second place. Those two teams earned a bye in the first round of the champiohnship playoffs. The other four teams in the playoffs were Callery, Harmony, Warrendale, and Wexford. In round two Callery defeated Saxonburg and Mars defeated Harmony to set up a Callery vs. Mars championship series. Mars swept Callery in three straight games. The Mars bats were to much for Callery pitching. Mars scored over 30 runs in three games. Some highlights for the 1999 season were Don Dell going 5 for 5 for Callery against Harmony. Mars and warrendale combined for 10 home runs in one game.  Gibsonia and Callery combined for 29 runs inone game. It was very evident that aluminum bats were dominating the league. Rob Ronk (Alma State) and Greg Schuetz (Pitt-Johnstown) were named Co-MVP's for the 1999 season.



Thursday, September 13
2000's Eagle Co League

2000 started with Zelienople re-joining the league after being absent for over 25 years. The Warrendale team changed it's name to Evans City and played their home games at Pullman Park. The new president of the league was Bob Steiner replacing Ernie Hubstenberger who resigned after the 1998 season. There was no V.President. Dan Cunningham was elected Secretary/Treasurer replacing Ron Morgan who served in that position for over ten years. The elected commissioners were Ralph Westerman, Bill Barnett, and George Duncan. Ernie 'Greg" Ramella represented the Butler Co Sports Officials for the league.

Mars won the regular season title hitting over 75 home runs the past three years at Marburger Field, which was known as the "Home Dome". Plans and funds were approved to change the Marburger Field after the 2000 season to extend the depth ofthe field.

The top six teams in the playoffs for 2000 were Callery, Evans City, Mars, Gibsonia, Harmony, and Saxonburg. Mars and Harmony had a bye in the first round. Callery eliminated Gibsonia the three games and Saxonburg took Harmony in tow straight games. In round two Callery faced Harmony and Mars went against Saxonburg. Rob Fester won game one 11-5 striking out 12 in route to the win. Both series went three games. Callery defeated Harmny and Saxonburg defeatd Mars. As in the 1998 series Saxonburg won game three in a slug fest 14-9.

The finals were set again with Callery and Saxonburg going at it for the championship. This would be the third time in the past five years. Callery won game one 11-10, with a total of 27 hits in the game. Game two was a great game going nine innings with saxonburg getting the victory to tie the series. Game three went to Callery. The game was called due to darkness and was finished at Saxonburg's home field (Summit Academy) the next night. Callery won the game in extra innings on a walkoff home run by Jim Alborn. Game four startd immediated after the finish of game three. Rick Schnur who finished game three started game four for Saxonburg, and Bill Showalter (Point Park College) did the same for Callery. Both pitched complete games with Callery wining the game 2-1. It was an outstanding game by both teams. Bill Showalter was named MVP for the series.

Former Eagle Co League President Mike Knox was very accurate when he stated back in the beginning of the 1995 season that a new era has come to the Eagle County league. From 1995 through 2000 Calley appeared four time in the championship series under player managers Bill Devine (Point Park College) and Rick Tartagleone (Duquense University) whaile Mars uder manager Ron Morgan and Saxonburg manager Dan Cunningham made three appearences each. Numerous former college players now participate in the league each summer making up the bulk of the player rosters. No team seems to have the complete upper hand on the league which makes the league much more competitive.

The Butler Eagle County League lost three very competitive teams in the 1990's. They were Slippery Rock, Highfield, and the Butler Yankees. All these teams had three or more league championships during hteir tenure in the league. When we look back in 2010, we may see bright new teams that have mever participated in the league become new contenders for the championship.

The 2001 season began with a new initiative by the league to have more competitive teams throughout the league. Callery, Harmony, Mars I, and Saxonburg now called the 'Fab Four" by the Butler Eagle Sports Department started again with their winning fashion. By the time the season was 1/3 complete Harmony had only suffered one loss as the top team in the league. A quote from a seaasoned long time umpire called the game between Harmony and Saxonburg on June 21st was the best Eagle County game he had ever seen. Todd Raithel, Harmony's starter and Rick Schnur for Saxonburg battled each other in a game for the ages. In 57 minutes they had seven innings completed. There were no base hits, until the 5th inning. The game went ten innings with Harmony winning the game 1-0. Both Raithel and Schnur had 8 strikeouts each. Raithel gave up 5 hits and no walks. Schnur yielded 4 hits and 1 walk. The plate umpire of 5 years said he would have paid money to see this game. It was to bad there were not more fans in attendance to see this game.  The competition in the league for 2001 overall has become much more competitive this year. The number of current and former collegiate and professional players had definetly increased.

The 2001 season ended with Harmony winning the regular season championship. Their final record was 24-6.  The top six teams for 2001 were:

1- Harmony 24-6

2- Mars 22-7-1

3- Evans City 22-7

4- Saxonburg - 20-10

5- Zelienople 19-9-2

6- Callery 13-17

The first round best of three match ups had Callery vs. Evans City, and Zelienople vs. Saxonburg. Both Evans City and Saxonburg took two straight wo win round one series. The round games were Saxonburg vs. Harmony and Evans City vs.Mars. Both Mars and Saxonburg won their best of five series and advamced to face each other for the first time in the history of the league. Mars won the championship series. The big upset for 2001 was Saxonburg defeating a very good Harmony team in the second round. They were the heavy favorite to win the league championship this year. Rob Fester pitched two games in the playoffs against Evans City amd won both games, and then wne ton to pitch five innings against Saxonburg in game two of the finals. The next night Rob came in as a relife pitcher toclose out game three to clinch the series. He also hit two home runs in the final game. All runs scored in the 8-7 win came on home runs.  For Mars Rob Fester had two home runs, Brendan Steiner, and Greg Schuetz each had one. For saxonburg Clint Eury had one home run and Darin Cunninghm hit two for Saxonburg. The season was very emotional for the Mars team with the loss of two of their family members. Ron Morgan's (former manager) wife passed away, and Rob Fester's faather Ron (longtime former player) passed away this past year. The team dedicated the season to those two.

In 2001 we saw a new Prospect re-enter the league, Cranberry, Wexford, and Zelienople all showed much improvemnt on their rosters. Callery had numerous injuries this year. The same can be said for Freeport this year. Harmony was the reggular season champs with a great pitching staff. The entire league looks forward to the 2002 season, when they celebrate their 70th season as a league. Also celebrated was the new and improved Mars (Marburger Field).

2002 started their 70th season with ten teams in the league:

Team                                Coach                               Team                                 Coach 

Callery                           Jim Alhborn                        Mars                                Mike Sheehy

Cranberry                      Bill Clinefelter                    Prospect                          Dom Geraci

Evans City                      Jeff Kern                           Saxonburg                       Dan Cunningham

Freeport                        Wayne Greiser                   Wexford                          Dante Calderone

Harmony                         Mark Bauman                     Zelienople                        Clayton Pegher

Gibsonia did not field a team - they had been part of the league since 1995.

Commissioners: Mike Knox, Denny Desantis, and Ralph Westerman

Officers:   President - Bob Steiner and Sec/Treas: Dan Cunningham

The league had a 27 game schedule starting on May 22nd. The top six teams will makethe playoffs.

2002 Updates:

1- The Chester Marburger Field was re-dedicaed with numerous improvements.

2- Ronnie Kline ( The Callery Hummer) passed away June 21st 2002. Ron played on the 1949 Callery Championship team prior to be signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates.                      

3- Zelienople second baseman Greg Weimer passed away on August 9th due to a terrible accident that his lungs were severly burned from an aerosol can explosin on July 4th.

Saxonburg was the regular season champs for 2002 with a record of 21-6. The final standings were:

Saxonburg 21-6                                  Callery 12-14-1

Mars 18-8-1                                        Cranberry 11-1

Harmony  16-11                                   Wexford 10-15

Zelienople 15-12                                  Freeport 9-17

Evans City  12-14-1                              Prospect 8-19

The top six teams moved on to the post season playoffs.

Saxonburg and Mars received a bye in the first round fo the playoffs.

Harmony defeated Evans City two straight and Zelienople defeated Callery two games to one.

In round two Saxonburg defeated Zelienople two games to one and Mars defeated Harmony two straight.

The championship was themn set with Mars and Saxonburg playing for the second year in a row for the playoff championship.

Mars won game one at Highfield

Saxonburg won game two at Marburger Field

Mars won game three at Highfield

Saxonburg won game four at Marburger Field

Mars won game five to take the series at Highfield. The visiting team won all the games this year. Mars and saxonbur played each other eight times this year. They each won four games.

2002 Highlights: All teams played all their scheduled games with no forfeits. All ten teams were in the playoff hunt up to the last week of the season.

Paul Westwood hit three home runs and had seven RBI's on July 6th as Callery defeated Mars 12-8.

Mike Sheehy pitched a one hitter and had eight RBI's as Mars defeated Cranberry 16-0 on June 26th.

Bob Sanky pitched a one hitter for Prospect as they defeated Harmony 10-0 on June 26th.

Darin Cunningham struck out ten batters and gave up one hit as Saxonburg defeated Evans City 5-1 on June 29th.

Mike Sikorski had five RBI's as Saxonburg defeated Freeport 7-1 on June 18th. Jason Dolmeyer gave up only two hits.

Curt Schnur pitched a two hitter to beat Callery 8-1 on MAy 24th.

Brendan Malone drove in 5 runs as saxonburg defeated Prospect 15-4. Curt Schnur pitched six innings yielding only one hit.

Justin Papania tossed a one hitter for Cranberry defeating Mars.

eric Fassinger tossed a complete game and went 3 for 3 as Zelienople beat Harmony 4-3 which was the first time Zelienople defeated Harmony since Zelienople re-entered the league three years ago.

Brad Adamski struck out ten batters in a completed game win for Prospect over Wexford July 23rd.

Rob Fester pitched a complete game striking out ten in a win over Freeport 9-1 on May 23rd.

Curt Schnur pitched a complete game win over Mars 12-1 on June 25th.

Justin Papania tossed a complete game win over Prospect with eleven strikeouts on June 25th.

Eric Semega pitched a 7-0 shutout over Freeport on June 23rd.

Chase Rowe hit for the cycle and drove in five runs as Saxonburg defeated Freeport 12-3 on May 27th.

Steve Cunningham pitched a complete game adm struck out eight as Cranberry defeated Callery 8-2 on June 4th.

As decsribed above the league had numerous complete games pitched in 2002.

2003: The 2003 season saw some changes again. the Callery team dropped out of the league. This team has had a team in the every year since 1932 except for one other time.  The teams this year were Cranberry, Evans City (Changed their name to Butler), Freeport, harmony, Mars, Prospect, Saxonburg, Wexford, and Zelienople. There was a 24 game schedule. The playoff format chanaged to the top six teams getting in the plyoffs, with round one being a best of three and rounds two and three would be best of five series.

A Desiggnated Hitter rule was added in for this year also. The rule was similiar to the American League setup.

The officers for this year were: Bob Steiner - President, Dan Cunningham Sec/Treas.

Commissioners were: Denny DeSantis, Mike Knox, Jim Lokhaiser, and RAlph Westerman.

Teams and Managers were:               Cranberry                    Bill Clinefelter

                                                          Evans City (Butler)      Jeff Kern

                                                          Freeport                     Wayne Greiser

                                                          Harmony                      Mark Bauman

                                                          Mars                            Mike Sheehy

                                                          Prospect                      Dom Geraci

                                                         Saxonburg                    Dan Cunningham

                                                         Wexford                      Dante Calderone

                                                         Zelienople                    Clayton Pegher

A rule change for 2003 meant players only needed to be in five games to be eligible for post season playoff games. Also approved was the re-entry rule similiar to the PIAA High School rule.

The final standings for 2003 were:

1- Mars

2- Saxonburg

3- Wexford

4- Butler

5- Freeport

6- Cranberry

7- Harmony

8- Zelienople

9- Prospect

Wexford reached the playoffs for the first time since 1995 when they were under the Gibsonia name. Also Freeport made it into the finals for hte time in their seven year stint in the league. Mars and saxonburg received first round byes. in round one Butler was eliminated by Freeport and Wexford was dispatched by Cranberry. In round two Mars eliminated Cranberry while Freeport was out of the playoffs by Saxonburg. The finals were set again with Mars and Saxonburg going at it again in the championship series. Mars won the series in three straight games.

The 2004 Season:

This  year there were two new teams voted into the Butler Eagle County Baseball League. At the same time one team dropped out of  the league.

The new entrants were:

Mars II -  A second team out of the Mars area joined for the 2004 season. They will play their home games at the old Callery Fireman’s Field. The team manager will be Scott McCandless.

Natrona Heights -  They will play their home games at Highlands High School. The team is managed by Kevin Gourley.

The Prospect team dropped out for the 2004 season

           2004 Team Roster

Team     Home Field Manager

Butler Pullman Park Jeff Kern

Cranberry Cranberry Community Park Bill Clinefelter

Freeport James Swartz Memorial Field Wayne Greiser

Harmony Zelienople Community Park Mark Bauman

Mars Mars Boro Field Mike Sheehy

Mars II Callery Field Scott McCandless

Natrona Heights Highlands High School Kevin Gourley

Saxonburg Highfield Baseball Complex Dan Cunningham

Wexford Pine Richland HS/ Pie Traynor Dante Calderone

Zelienople Zelienople Community Park ClaytonPegher

2004 Officers:

President Bob Steiner

Secretary/Treasurer Dan Cunningham

Commissioners: Ralph “Sonny” Westerman, Jim Lokhaiser, Walter Fitzpatrick

The 2004 season had a twenty-seven game schedule.

The 2004 teams held an All Star game at Pullman Park on July 3rd. The  ten teams were split into  the American  and National teams..

The teams were managed by the first and second place teams at at the All Star break.

Wayne Greiser  the Freeport ran the American team, while Dan Cunningham the Saxonburg manager had the National team.

The rosters for the 2004 teams were:

American Team                                                 National Team

Bill Daugherty - Freeport                                                       Brendan Malone - Saxonburg

Keith Kubit  - Freeport                                                         Mike Sikorski  - Saxonburg

Don Dell  - Freeport                                                             Steve Hall  - Saxonburg

Josh Harbison  - Freeport                                                   Chase Rowe  - Saxonburg

Greg Fryman  - Freeport                                                     Matt DeSantis  - Saxonburg

Tim Buzzard  - Freeport                                                    Jason Dohlmeyer  - Saxonburg

Ken Bissel  - Freeport                                                       Curt Schnur - Saxonburg

Greg Samson  - Freeport                                                  Jason Curry  - Saxonburg

Dave Wald  - Wexford                                                    Chad Gourley  - Natrona Heights

Regis Burris  - Butler                                                       Bill York  - Natrona Heights

Dan DeMarco  - Butler                                                   Kris Kemp  - Natrona Heights

Brendan Steiner  - Cranberry                                        Chris Kelly  - Natrona Heights

Garrett Steiner  Cranberry                                          Kyle Blinka  - Natrona Heights

Mark Mabie  - Cranberry                                              Josh Rape  - Mars II

Justin Wychoff  - Cranberry                                        Brain Hart  - Mars II

Bill Clinefelter  - Cranberry                                        Marty  Pegher  - Zelienople

Adam Martin  - Cranberry                                          Travis Gross  - Zelienople

Wayner Greiser -  Freeport                                       Dom Duggan  - Zelienople

                                                                                  Jason Kneidinger  - Harmony

2004 Season:

The 2004 season opened with two new teams ( Natrona Heights and Mars II). The league also lost the Prospect entrant. The league did not have a no hitter thrown this year. This was the first time in several years that this did not occur. Defending champs Mars got off to a rocky start losing their first five games. The teams top pitcher Rob Fester injured his knee in the opening game, and was lost for the entire season.

Highlights from the season:

The new Mars II team opened the season with a 1-0 win over Wexford—there was a total of three hits in the game. Saxonburg hit four home runs and scored eleven runs in the first inning of their first meeting with Zelienople. Curt Schnur surrendered only three hits for Saxonburg. Greg Fryman struck out eight batters as Freeport shut out Wexford 7-0. Justin Papania fanned ten Mars batters as Cranberry defeated 3-1 in their first meeting of the season. Dan Pschirir scattered seven hits and struck out seven as Butler shut out Harmony 3-0 on June 23rd. Jason Shaffer threw a 5-0 shutout for Freeport over Cranberry on July 1st. The League held an All Star game at Pullman Park on Saturday July 3rd -  this year the league split up into two squads. The National Team was managed by Dan Cunningham ( Saxonburg)  and he American Team was managed by Wayne Greiser. 2004 –Continued:

Juastin Kingereski hit for the cycle on July 6th against Cranberry in a 13-1 victory for Harmony.

Steve Hall had six RBI’s,Chase Rowe had five ,and Steve Graff had four along with  four home runs to rout Harmony 20-4. Tim Nebel homered and drove in four as Saxonburg shut out Butler 12-0 on July 17th. The regular season ended with Freeport taking the number one spot. The final standings for 2004 were:

Freeport

Saxonburg

Zelienople

Butler

Mars

Natrona Heights

Cranberry

Wexford

Harmony

Mars II

Freeport and Saxonburg gained a bye in round one of the playoffs

Zelienople beat Natrona Heights to move on against Saxonburg

Mars over Butler with Butler forfeiting their fourth game if season.

The semi finals had Mars vs. Freeport and Saxonburg vs. Zelienople in best of five series.

Saxonburg swept Zelienople three straight. In the other second round series Mars jumped out to 2-0 lead in the series only to lose three straight to Freeport.

The finals were set with the one and two seeds playing for the league championship. Game one was won by Saxonburg 4-3—Curt Schnur won game one.

Game two was won by Saxonburg 1-0 on a great pitching performance by Neal Hoagland ( Grove City College) over Tim Buzzard for Freeport. Curt Schnur closed the seventh inning for Saxonburg.

Game three was won by Saxonburg  3-2 on a dramatic comeback in the top of the seventh inning to sweep Freeport. Jason Dohlmeyer was the winning pitcher for Saxonburg over a Grey Fryman. Curt Schnur again closed the seventh inning for Saxonburg.

By most reports this series was one of the best played series in many years for the Eagle County League. In a league that is often called a hitters league the finals were good defense, timely hitting , and great pitching by all  the pitchers who participated.

Curt Schnur was named the MVP for the 2004 season. Curt pitched a 7-0 shutout in game one of round two of the playoffs against Zelienople, and then appeared in game two to close a close 10-9 win for Saxonburg over Zelienople.

Curt opened and pitched a complete game one victory over Freeport, the closed game two and drove in the only ruin scored in the game. In the third and final game of the championship series Curt closed the 7th inning to preserve to the win for Saxonburg.

The win gave Saxonburg a record of 26-5-2 for the 2004 campaign. Overall in the ten years under coach Dan Cunningham, Saxonburg’s overall record is 236-84-5, with  seven appearances in the Championship Series.  Between Mars and Saxonburg, one of the teams had been in the finals the past five years. 

2005 Season

This year a new team re-joined the Eagle County League. Slippery Rock was voted back into the league after a being out since the late 80’s. The new team will play at Slippery Rock High School and at Jack Critchfield Park on the campus of Slippery Rock University. The Butler team did not return for 2005.

2005 Teams:                           Manager                                    Home Field Location

Cranberry                                Bill Clinefelter                        Cranberry Community Park Cranberry

Freeport                                 Wayne Greiser                         James Swartz Memorial Field Freeport

Harmony                                 Mark Bauman                            Zelienople Comm.Park Zelienople

Mars I                                    EJ Wheeler                             Marburger Field Mars

Mars II                                 Scott Shankel                           Marburger Field Mars

Natrona Heights                  Chad Goiurley                             Highlands HS Natrona Hts

Saxonburg                             Dan Cunningham                        Highfield Lyndora

Slippery Rock                       Adam Rose                                S, Rock HS S., Rock

Wexford                              Dante Calderone                        Pine Richland HS Gibsonia

Zelienople                            Clayton Pegher                           Zelienople Comm Park Zelienople

A 27 game schedule was played this season. The league also played an All Star game against the Federation League from Clarion/ Clearfiedl/Jefferson counties. The Eagle league lost the game 4-3. The game was played at Jack Critchfield Park on June 26th. Both teams agreed to play again in 2006 at Brookville ,Pa.

Eagle All Stars:

Name Team

Brendan Malone Saxonburg

Steve Hall Saxonburg

Chase Rowe Saxonburg

Matt DeSantis Saxonburg

Justin Woodrow Saxonburg

Jason Curry Saxonburg

Paul Henry Freeport

Chad Gourley Natrona Heights

Chris Turka Natrona Heights

Kris Kemp Natrona Heights

Justin Waychoff Cranberry

Mike Goglin Cranberry

Brain Slavicek Wexford

Rege Burris Mars I

Aaron Wood Zeleinople

Adam Rose Slippery Rock

Manager: Dan Cunningham   Coach: Wayne Greiser   Coach: BillClinefelter

Saxonburg won the regular season championship with a record of 21-6. The final standings were:

1-Saxonburg         

2-Mars I

3-Zelienople

4-Freeport

5-Cranberry

6-Natrona Heights

7-Mars II

8-Wexford

9-Harmony

10-Slippery Rock

The top eight teams made the playoffs for 2005.

 Round one was a best of three series with Saxonburg, Natrona Heights, Cranberry and Mars II were winners in the first round.

Round two had Saxonburg, and Natrona Heights coming out with series wins over Mars II and Cranberry.

The Natrona—Cranberry series went five games with Cranberry winning the first two , then dropping the next three to Natrona Heights.

Saxonburg had swept Wexford and Mars II to reach the championship series.

In the best of five finals Saxonburg swept Natrona Heights in three straight games to win the 2005 championship series.

With the win Saxonburg set a new Butler Eagle County league record by winning two years in a row without a loss in the playoffs. Saxonburg dominated the playoffs with wins of 15-3, 12-3, and 16-6. This compared to 2004 series in which Saxonburg won each game by only one run in the finals. The offense for Saxonburg was lead by a group of outstanding players including several team members who had signed professional baseball contracts. The offensive leaders  were as follows:

1– Brendan Malone  -Indiana Univ of PA/Pine Rich HS Avg. 485

2– Justin Woodrow  - St. Louis Cardinals/Knoch HS Avg. 463

3– Chase Row  - Slippery Rock University/Knoch HS Avg. 408

4– Matt DeSantis - University of Pittsburgh/Knoch HS Avg. 352

5– Curt Schnur  - Atlanta Braves/Deleware/Butler HS Avg. 306

6– Sandy Sanderson  - Penn State Club Team/Shaler HS Avg. 385

7– Steve Hall  - Grove City College/Knoch HS Avg. 302

8– Tim Nebel - Penn State Behrand/Butler HS Avg. 372

9– Jason Curry - Slippery Rock University/ S Rock HS Avg. 271

Saxonburg had by far one of the best pitching staffs to ever participate in the Butler Eagle County Baseball League. Their 29-6 record with a combined ERA of 1.89 is only second the 1998 Saxonburg staff that had a .86 ERA. The 1998 staff had more losses.  Saxonburg’s starting left handed pitcher Jason Dolmayer suffered a season ending elbow injury in June.

Pitcher Pro/College/HS W-L ERA

1– Nate Buttenfield  - Seattle Mariners/Indiana University of PA/ North Hills HS    5-3    1.43

2– Jason Dolmayer  - Indiana University of PA/Knoch HS   4-0   3.50

3– Kevin Orga -  Chicago Cubs/University of Louisiana/Shaler HS    6-1   1.67

4– Curt Schnur  - Atlanta Braves/University of Delaware/Butler HS   10-0   1.38

The 2005 was a much more competitive season. The league hopes to continue to attract more and more college players that want to refine their skills in the summer and remain in the Western PA., area.  

2006 Season:

2006 saw two new teams join  team joint the Butler Eagle County baseball league.. Saxonburg II, and Evans City joined the league. Saxonburg II  and will play their home games at Butler Co Community College while Evans City plays at the Rainbow Park near Evans City.

For the  first time since the league started back in 1932, Harmony did not field a team.

Teams for 2006 were:

Team                                         Manager                                            Filed Location

Butler City                              Tom Cooksy                                              BCCC

Cranberry                                Bill Clienfelter                                  Cranberry Park

Evans City                               Mark Cukovich                                        Evans City

Mars I                                    Rob Fester                                        Marburger Field

Mars II                                 Scott Shankel                                    Marburger Filed

Natrona Heights                   Chad Gorley                                        Highlands High School

Saxonburg                            Dan Cunningham                                   Highfield Baseball Complex

Saxonburg II                       Chad Lowe                                             BCCC

Wexford                               

Tuesday, September 18
2006 Forward

2006 Season:

2006 saw two new teams join  team joint the Butler Eagle County baseball league.. Saxonburg II, and Evans City joined the league. Saxonburg II  and will play their home games at Butler Co Community College while Evans City plays at the Rainbow Park near Evans City.

For the  first time since the league started back in 1932, Harmony did not field a team.

Teams for 2006 were:

Team                                         Manager                                            Filed Location

Butler City                              Tom Cooksy BCCC

Cranberry Bill Clienfelter Cranberry Park

Evans City Mark Cukovich Evans City

Mars I Rob Fester Marburger Field

Mars II Scott Shankel Marburger Filed

Natrona Heights Chad Gorley Highlands High School

Saxonburg Dan Cunningham Highfield Baseball Complex

Saxonburg II Chad Lowe BCCC

Wexford Dante Caldersone Pie Traynor Park

Zelienople Clayton Pegher Zelienople Community Park

 Officers for 2006 were:

President Bob Steiner

Sec/Treas Dan Cunningham

 Commissioners:

Denny DeSantis

Walter Fitzpatrick

Jim Lokhaiser

Ralph “Sonny” Westerman

 The league had a twenty-seven game schedule. The top six teams made the playoffs. The first and second place teams would get a bye in the round one best of three series. After the best of three was completed the reaming four teams would play two best of five rounds to determine a league champion for the season.

The top six teams were:

Cranberry, Mars I, Mars II, Natrona Heights, Saxonburg, and Zelienople.

Mars won the regular season championship and Saxonburg won the playoff championship title for the third straight season.

Saxonburg won the playoff Championship series by sweeping Mars I three straight in the final best of five series.

Outstanding events for the  season:

7/2/06 Cranberry pitchers Dave Knechtell  and Justin Papania combines to pitch a no hitter against Zelienopole.

7-11-07 Curt Schnur ( Saxonburg) and Rob Fester (Mars I) each surrendering five hits as  Saxonburg won 2-1.

8-7-06 Nate Buttenfield (Saxonburg) pitched a two hitter as they defeated Mars I in game one of the Championship series 2-0 . Jason Curry hit a home run in the first inning off Rob Fester.

8-18-07 Eagle League champs, Saxonburg defeated Allegheny Valley from the Pittsburgh Federation league 8-2. Numerous pro scouts turned out to see Nate Buttenfield pitch for Saxonburg. This was the first time Saxonburg used wood bats in a game.

2007 Season:

The 2007 season saw another new team enter the league and  one of the original teams returned to the league after being out for a year.

Ingomar joined the league for the first time. They will play their home games at Butler Co Community College. The second new team for 2007 was Harmony. There home field was at the Zelienople Community Park.

The 2007 teams we as follows:

Butler City             Tom Cooksy                                  BCCC

Cranberry               Bill Clinefelter                            Cranberry Community Park

Evans City              Mark Cukovich                            Rainbow Park, Evans City

Harmony                Gary Habsburg                           Zelienople Community Park

Ingormar               Mark Barish                               BCCC

Mars I                  Rob Fester                                 Marburger Field

Mars II               Scott Shankel                             Marburger Field

Natrona Heights Chad Gorley                               Highlands High School

Saxonburg          Dan Cunningham                         Highfield Baseball Complex

Wexford            Dante Calderone                        Pie Traynor Field –North Park

President: Bob Steiner, Sec/Treas: Dan Cunningham

Commissioners: Walter Fitzpatrick, Jim Lokhaiser, Ralph “ Sonny” Westerman, 

The schedule again for 2007 was 27 games with a three round playoff series at the end of the season.

The first and second place teams earn a bye in round one.

Finals Regular Season Standings for the top six teams:

1– Mars I

2-Saxonburg

3- Natrona Heights

4 –Mars II

5– Cranberry

6– Wexford

Highlights for 2007:

Biggest upset for 2007: Wexford takes 2 out of 3 from Natrona Heights in round one of the playoffs.

Mars I and Saxonburg both pitched seven shutouts during the 2007 season.

Zach Toth (Saxonburg) tossed a no hitter against Ingomar 5-22-07

Brian Bosljivac and Dan Pickard (Saxonburg) combined for a no hitter against Harmony 5-24-07

Josh Rape (Mars II) strikes out 12 batters  on a two hitter against Ingomar. Josh doubled and homered also

Nate Buttenfield (Saxonburg) tossed a no hitter against Butler striking out 14 batters on 5-27-07

Curt Schnur (Saxonburg) pitched a no hitter against Butler on 6-14-07

Justin Papania fanned 17 batters in a 13-4 win over Harmony on 7-30-07

Shaun Butler (Saxonburg) pitched a no hitter against Wexford 7-6-07

Matt Colella (Mars I) tossed a no hitter against Wexford striking out five and walking none in the win.

2007 Highlight:

TEMPE, Ariz. — When Dom Duggan ended his athletic career at Seneca Valley High School four years ago, he was undersized, underrated and under the radar.
"Nobody knew much about him then,"said former professional baseball scout Scott Grinder of Zelienople.
They know plenty about him now.
Duggan, a senior center fielder at Coastal Carolina of the Big South Conference, was the 32nd-round selection of the San Francisco Giants in baseball's amateur draft last month. He is currently hitting .310 while batting leadoff for the Arizona Giants in the Arizona Rookie League.
During his senior year in high school, Duggan led the Raiders football team with 19 receptions for 467 yards and seven touchdowns. He led the basketball team in assists and steals. He led the baseball team in hits and stolen bases and was named the squad's MVP.
The best college offer Duggan could get was a chance to play baseball at Division IIIJohn Carroll University near Cleveland.
"I weighed some Division IIand III offers in football, but my size was against me,"Duggan said. "I was only 5-foot-7, 155 pounds coming out of high school.
"My size was best suited for baseball, so that's what I went with."
An all-Ohio Athletic Conference performer his freshman year at John Carroll, Duggan returned to play Eagle County League baseball for Zelienople that summer — and envisioned a transfer to a bigger school.

2008 Season:

The 2008 season again saw changes in the leagues teams. Freeport returned to the league after being out for two years.

2008 Teams:                          Manager                                           Home Field

Butler City                              Scott Lumley                                  Butler Co Community College

Cranberry                                Bill Clinefelter                               Cranberry Community Park

Evans City                               Mark Cukovich                                 Wonderland Park—Evans City

Freeport                                Wayne Greiser                               South Buffalo Elementary School

Harmony                               Gary Habsburg                                Zelienople Community Park

Ingomar                               Mark Barash                                   Butler Co Community College

Mars I                                 Rob Fester                                     Marburger Field / Callery Field

Mars II                              Josh Rape                                       Marburger Field / Callery Field

Natrona Heights               Chad Gorley                                      Highlands High School

Saxonburg                          Dan Cunningham                             Highfield Baseball Complex

Wexford                           Dante Calderone                            Pie Traynor Park / Warrendale Comm. Park

2008 Officers:   President Dan Cunningham

Commissioners: Mark Bauman., Walter Fitzpatrick, Jim Lokhaiser,  Ralph “Sonny” Westerman

The league will play a 30 game schedule with six teams making the playoffs at the end of the season.

The playoff format will be have the first and second place teams get a bye in round one.

Round two will be a best of five series and round three the championship round will be again a best of five series.

The season ended up with the following standings:

1– Mars I

2– Saxonburg

3– Natrona Heights

4-Mars II

5– Cranberry

6—Wexford

7-Harmony

8-Freeport

9-Butler City

10-Evans City

11-Ingomar

Mars I wound up with twenty-five wins on the season.

Butler City and Saxonburg played the longest game in Eagle County history with a fourteen inning affair at the newly renovated Pullman Park. Saxonburg won the game 11-6.

For 2008 there were thirty-five shutouts recorded. It appears the league has turned from a hitters league to a pitchers league.

For 2008 six teams earned playoff honors, with Mars I winning the regular season championship.

Saxonburg was the runner up.

Playoff teams were:

Mars I, Saxonburg, Cranberry, Natrona Heights, Mars II, and Wexford.

Mar I also won the playoff series by defeating Saxonburg in three straight games.

2009 Season:

The league went to eleven teams for 2009.

Team                                         Manager                                            Home Field

Butler City                              Scott Lumley                     Butler Co Community College

Cranberry                                Bill Clinefelter                             Cranberry Community Park

Freeport                                 Wayne Greiser                     James Swartz Memorial Field

Harmony                                 Greg Slack                             Zelienople Comm. Park

Mars I                                  Rob Fester                             Chester Marburger Field

Mars II                               Josh Rape                              Cheaster Marburger Field

Natrona Heights                 Christian Nescheff                   Highlands High School

Saxonburg                           Steve Hall                                Highfield & Pullman Park

Wexford                            Dante Calderone                  Pie Traynor Field & Warrendale Comm Park

Zelienople                          Stew Weimer                            Zelienople Community Park

 President: Dan Cunningham, V. President Bill Clinefelter, Sec/Treas Wayne Greiser

The top six teams went to the playoffs:

1– Mars I

2– Saxonburg

3– Freeport

4– Cranberry

5– Mars II

6– Harmony

Freeport eliminated Harmony in round one ( best of three)

Mars II eliminated Cranberry in round one also.

Freeport moved on to play Saxonburg in a best of five series, while Mars II advanced to play Mars I also in a best of five series.

Freeport defeated Saxonburg in five games to advance to the championship series.

At the same time Marts II defeated Mars I to advance to the championship for the first time.

Mars II defeated Freeport to win the 2009 playoff championship. THis was the first championship for the Mars II team.

2010 Season: The Eagle County League had eleven teams for the 2010 season. Callery returned to the league along with Pine Richland. Butler City and Evans City did not return a team for 2010.

Team                        Manager                                   Home Field

Callery                     Dan Peirre                                  Callery

Cranberry               Bill Clinefelter                                  Cranberry Community Park

Freeport                   Wayne Greiser                                  James Swartz Memorial Field—Freeport

Harmony                Greg Slack                                  Zelienople Community Park

Mars I                   Rob Fester                                       Marburger Field– Mars

Mars II                 Josh Rape                                        Marburger Field-Mars

Natrona Heights Christian Nescheff                            Highland HS Field

Pine Richland      Chuck Kobert                                     Pine Richland HS Field

Saxonburg          Dan Cunningham                                Pullman Park

Wexford            Dante Calderone                              Pie Traynor Field

Zelienople           Stew Weimer                                  Zelienople Community Park

Officers: Dan Cunningham President/Treasurer, Bill Clinefleter V. President, Wayne Greiser Secretary

Brian Gillespie Director of Officials

Commissioners: Walter Fitzpatrick, Jim Lokhaiser, Ralph “Sonny: Westerman

The league had a thirty game schedule beginning  May 17th. With six teams making the playoffs. The first and second place teams will receive a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

The top six teams for 2010 that qualified for the playoffs were:

1– Mars I

2– Saxonburg

3– Cranberry

4– Mars II

5– Harmony

6– Freeport

Cranberry defeated Freeport in round one best of three. Mars II defeated Harmony also in the first round.

In round two Mars I defeated Mars II with a three game sweep of Mars II to move to the finals.

Cranberry defeated Saxonburg in round two. That series went the full five games with Cranberry winning the game five in the 7th inning of the final game.

The finals teams were Cranberry and Mars I for the best of five championship series.

Mars I defeated Cranberry in four games to win the season title.

 

History Book Dedication:

Ryan F. Chandler was the kind of young man that would make any parent proud to have as a son.  He was so full of life that he made you feel like you were missing out on a lot in life.

Ryan played for the Saxonburg Eagle County team for less than two seasons. He was enrolled in Physical Therapy Graduate program at Slippery Rock University. His first question in the interview process to gain entrance into the program was  - what kind of Intramural baseball program do you have here. He was scheduled to receive his Doctorate Degree in 2000. He played his college ball at Auburn University. Ryan was far from the most skilled player on the Auburn team, but he had more drive to win than most of us ever feel.  He told me that one of  the biggest thrills as a college student  was going to Omaha for the College World Series as a fan and not a player for Auburn. One of his biggest disappointments was sitting with his head hung down totally rain soaked seeing his Tigers lose to Penn State in 1997. And never mention the words Crimson Tide.

 He always had time for anyone with a problem, and was more than willing to help out.

Ryan passed away on Sunday June 13th, 1999 at his home in Grove City at the age of 26.

For information on the Ryan Chandler Scholarship Fund at Slippery Rock University—please go  to  the Slippery Rock University home web page www.sru.edu, and go to the Physical Therapy Department Home Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      

 

 

 

 

 

 



Wednesday, June 26
Ron Kline Passed Away
This past week(June 2002) Butler County lost a hero. Ronnie Kline (The Callery Hummer) passed away. Ron had a long career as pitcher in the major leagues.
In 1949 at age 17 Ron was a member of the Callery team in the Butler Eagle County Baseball League. Ron and Jiggs Fiel led Callery on the mound with outstanding pitching performances. This was the first year Callery won the Eagle County championship.


Friday, July 26
Playoffs Start Monday July 29th
With the completion of the regular season schedule on Friday evening, the playoff teams and final standings are set.
Saxonburg won the regular season league championship with a 21-6 record. Congratulations to both Saxonburg and Mars for earning the the first round bye for finishing one and two in the standings.
Beginning Monday July 29th third seed Harmony will host Evans City the sixth place team, and Zelienople the fourth place team will face Callery the fifth place team. Callery and Evans City had identical win / loss records, but Callery won the regular season head to head competition two games to one.
The two winners of the best of three series will take on Saxonburg and Mars in round two which begins Friday August 2nd, and runs through Monday August 5th.
Since Harmony and Zelienople both use the Zelienople Community Park as their home field the site is not yet determined for the one of those opening day games.


Monday, July 29
2002 Round One Games -Best of 3 Series
Monday July 29th   - Evans City vs Harmony
6PM at Zelienople Community Park

Monday July 29th    - Callery vs Zelienople
6PM at Seneca Valley High School

Tuesday July 30th   - Harmony vs Evans City
6PM at Pullman Park

Tuesday July 30th   - Zelienople vs Callery
6PM at Callery Field

Wednesday July 31st - both games if necessary will be played at the game one locations.


Tuesday, July 30
Round One - Games One - Different Endings
In the opening of round one of the 2002 playoffs, there were two totally different endings.
Harmony defeated Evans City 4-3 in a very well pitched playoff opener. Trailing 4-1 in the top of the 7th inning, Evans City rallied to score 2 runs and leave the tying run on third base as Harmony recorded the third out to win game one.
In the other opening game Callery defeated Zelienople 17 -2 in a run away win. Callery scored early and often to take game one.
Tonight Harmony will visit Evans City at Pullman Park, and Zelienople will travel to Callery for their second encounter.


Wednesday, July 31
One Game Three Needed
Last nights results are in the book. Harmony defeated Evans City and Zelienople bounced back to defeat Callery and force a game three tonight at Zelienople Community Park.
Round two will begin Friday night with Harmony visiting Mars and either Callery or Zelienople will visit Saxonburg at the Highfield Baseball Complex.


Thursday, August 1
Round Two Pairings Are Set
Zelienople defeated Callery last night to win round one of the 2002 playoffs.
Round two will start Friday night with Harmony visiting Mars and Zelienople traveling to Saxonburg. Saxonburg will play at the Higfield baseball complex.


Mars Moves On
Mars defeated Harmony 10-9 Saturday evening, and now waits the winner of game three of the Saxonburg / Zelienople best of three series. Zelienople defeated Saxonburg 5-4 to tie the series at one game each.
The rubber game will be played Monday night at Highfield. Game time is set for 6PM.



Round Two Games One Are Complete
The second round pairings played their respective games one Friday night.
Saxonburg defeated Zelienople at Highfield 6-0. Curt Schnur defeated the Zelie team with an outstanding pitching effort. There were only two walks in the game given up by losing pitcher Travis Gross who pitched very well for Zelienople.
In the other game one round two affair Mars defeated Harmony 9-6. Wining pitcher Rob Fester defeated Jake Cuffman for Harmony.
Games two will be tonight with Harmony hosting Mars at the Zelienople Community Park,and Zelienople will host Saxonburg at the Seneca Valley High School. Game times are set for 6PM.


Winning Pitcher Curt Schnur
Winning Pitcher - Curt Schnur
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Round Two Is Complete
Saxonburg defeated Zelienople last night 4-3 to earn the right to move on in the Butler Eagle County baseball playoffs.
For baseball purist this game had it all. Timely hitting, great pitching, great defense, and plenty of opportunity for both teams.
Both teams stranded several runners in scoring position with less than two outs, but great defense and pitching kept both teams in the game.
After the win Saxonburg moves on to challenge Mars again for the second straight year for the playoff championship. Saxonburg won the regular season trophy, with Mars taking second place.
Game one will be played at Highfield on Wednesday night at 6PM.
Good luck to both teams.


Wednesday, August 7
Mars Takes Game One
Game one of the best of five series opened at Highfield with Mars winning 10-3 over Saxonburg. With a 3-3 tie going into the sixth inning Mars scored 7 unanswered runs over the final two frames.
Rob Fester pitched a complete game for Mars.
Game two is sent for Thursday night the Chester Marburger Memorial Field in Mars.


Thursday, August 8
Game Two Goes to Saxonburg
Saxonburg scored early and often as they tied the playoff series at one game apiece with a 12-6 win over Mars.
Ryan Noward hit two home runs for Saxonburg.
Curt Schnur went the distance for Saxonburg to earn the win.


Friday, August 9
Mars Captures Game 3
Mars won game three at Highfiled Friday evening with a 9-7 victory. Mars took advantage of 4 errors and two walks in the fifth inning to gain the win. Saxonburg tired to mount a comeback in the sixth and sevetn innings, but good pitching and defense secured the win for Mars. Game four will be at Mars on Saturday evening at 6PM.


Tuesday, August 13
Game Five Re-scheduled
Due to heavy rain, game five of the Eagle County playoff series has been changed to Tuesday night at 6PM. The game will be played at Highfield.

Monday, August 12
Saxonburg Forces A Game Five
Saxonburg tied the best of five series at two games each with a 10-5 victory Saturday evening at Mars.
Jason Dolmeyer pitched 5 1/3 inings for Saxonburg to secure the win.
The table is now set for game five set for 6PM at Highfield Monday evening to determine the playoff champs for 2002.
A moment of silence was held prior to the beginning of the game in memory of the Zelienople second baseman Greg Weimer who passed away Friday evening from severe burns he sustained on the 4th of July.


2005 Season
2005 Champs - Saxonburg
Saxonburg Wins Game Three to Sweep
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The 2005 season had ten teams in the league. Butler was dropped and Slippery Rock took their place. Slippery Rock had not had a team in the league since the early 90's. They hd won the Eagle County championship three times in the 1980's under the mangement of Arnie Trufley.
The playoff rules changed for the 2005 season, allowing eight teams to participate in the playoffs. Saxonburg won the regular season championship.
PLAYOFF TEAMS:
1- Saxonburg
2- Mars I
3- Zelienople
4- Cranberry
5- Natrona Heights
6- Freeport
7- Mars II
8- Wexford

In round one best of three series - Saxonburg, Cranberry, Mars II and Natrona Heights advanced to round two.

Round Two:
Mars II vs. Saxonburg
Natrona Heights vs. Cranberry

Saxonburg and Natrona Heights advanced to the championship series.

Round Three:
Saxonburg defeated Natrona Heights in finals.

Saxonburg has won the league title two years in a row without losing a playoff game. This is a reonrd for the league.