BY JEFF FALK
If you lack the ability to shake your head and embrace the concept of ‘it is what it is’, then you’re not going to like the Lebanon County American Legion Baseball League. But all joking aside, the story of this year’s Myerstown entry is what the league is really all about.
It is a story of commitment breeding stability and stability breeding consistency. It is also the story of grown-ups setting examples for kids, and kids following leads.
If the story of Myerstown was the black eye of the Lebanon County American Legion Baseball League last summer, then old Post 55 is the feel-good story of this summer.
Last year – for more reasons that simply a lack of commitment – Myerstown was forced to forfeit a number of games and had its season cut short. This season, Myerstown is 10-5, qualified for the Lebanon County American Legion and entertaining a legitimate hope to advance to the eight-team, double-elimination Region Four tournament later this month.
Now, here’s Johnny…
“There’s been a ton of positives,” said Myerstown assistant head coach Johnny Mentzer. “We have a roster of 17 high quality young men who are going to do everything you ask them, every night they show up. They want to win. They want to compete. I think Cedar Crest and Elco both wanted to have better high school seasons than they did, so it’s nice to get back on track and win some baseball games.
“This year has been really good for our players and coaches,” continued Mentzer. “It’s definitely been fun for me, and I know my dad (head coach John Mentzer, Sr.) has really enjoyed it. To go from three wins last year, and go to possibly having 11 or 12 this year, making the playoffs and possibly getting into regionals, that’s our goal every year.”
Last summer may well have been the most disappointing season in Myerstown’s long and proud history of competing in the Lebanon County American Legion Baseball league. With a thin roster and players unable to make games for varying reasons, Myerstown’s season was basically cut in half, and then ultimately scrapped.
The future of the program was brought into question.
“I honestly have no idea what went on,” said Mentzer. “Last year, my dad and I were behind the scenes. I do know that this year, when we got to three wins, some of the kids joked we had equaled the number of wins from last year. But I can’t confirm exactly what happened. I know that ten wins is definitely more than they got last year.
“With the program overall, we’ve been very fortunate to have some people involved for a long time,” Mentzer continued. “We were fortunate with the stability for a very long time. It was a family-run thing. There was consistency. I think the kids didn’t know who the coach was going to be. It hurt the number of kids who wanted to come out.”
Lebanon County American Legion Baseball League
East Division Standings
West Division Standings