Bob Balgemann


MACHESNEY PARK – It doesn’t matter what age group you’re watching. Excitement has been a key word so far this summer when it comes to baseball and softball games in the Harlem Community Center program.

There are four teams at or near the top in Pee-Wee Boys baseball with two of them, James and Nehmzow, named for head coaches Jake James and Eric Nehmzow, respectively, engaged in an entertaining battle on June 21.

The game was called by darkness with the score tied at 12-12. It will be continued at some point in the future.

It was a distressing time to begin with for Team James. The father of one of its players had just died, while another player broke his collar bone a short time before the game.

Playing with heavy hearts, Team James still came back from deficits of five runs and four runs to stay in contention. Their rallies were led by Justin Luebke, who hit two home runs, and by Miles Liljeberg and Landon Razim, with one homer each.

Coach James remembered those two teams played for the Pee-Wee championship last year with Team Nehmzow winning, in extra innings. Regulation play of the title game also was called by darkness.

They split their two regular season games in 2015, with his team winning by two runs and Team Nehmzow winning by one.

And so they resumed June 21, 2016, where they left off last summer. Only in this case the winner has yet to be decided.

In Galaxy Girls softball play defending champion Brassfield, named for head coach Dave Brassfield, was 1-1 after being surprised by Rodriguez, 14-10, in the second game of the season.

But they’ve been on a roll recently and handily defeated Lauer, 16-3, in a battle for first place on June 16. Those teams played again June 23 with Brassfield winning again, 11-8, to take a full one-game lead in the standings.

Grace Peterson, who pitched in the championship game last summer, is one of a handful of those with experience on this year’s team. She pitched both games against the Lauer (4-2) squad that included some of her former teammates.

Coach Brassfield said both wins over Lauer were team efforts and described Grace as being “very resilient.”

More girls softball

The two-team logjam at the top of the Coach Pitch Girls division has been broken by Team Hawkinson, which defeated previously unbeaten Jensen, 7-1, on June 16. They won again, to go 4-0, with a nail-biter, 11-10, over Smith, on June 21. Jensen (3-1) rebounded by edging Heatherman, 5-3.

On June 23 Hawkinson improved to 5-0 with a 7-2 win;Smith upset Jensen, 13-2, for its second win of the summer.

Myers and Hissong each was undefeated when they met June 20 and Myers took a 14-0 victory, to improve to 5-0, Triplett evened their record at 2-2 by defeating McKnight, 17-10, on June 21.

Team Bri McKnight remains atop the Midget Girls division with a 5-0 record. Wilhelmi is close behind, at 3-1, while Miles is now 3-3 after a high-scoring 24-18 win over Weingartner on June 23.

Also June 23, Myers remained undefeated in Pee-Wee Girls action with an 18-8 victory.

Boys baseball

Yeoman (7-0) remains undefeated in the Midget Boys Division, but Anderson is still close behind with just one loss. Watkins, Jensen and Larsen all have won at three games.

Shields is another unbeaten team, with a 7-0 record in the Coach Pitch division. They won, 30-6, on June 20, scoring the most runs so far this season.

On June 22, with most games cancelled by lightning, Shields won its seventh game, 8-1. Cross took a 7-5 decision from Broughton in a battle of contenders.

In other Coach Pitch action Cross rebounded from the June 15 loss to Shields by winning, 22-10, on June 20; Larys won a high-scoring affair, 22-15, to go 4-3 for the season.

Cross is still in second place, at 6-1, while Broughton (4-3) is now in a tie with Larys for third, after being upset by Sterbenz on June 20.

Tanner picked up its first Pee-Wee win of the season, 12-10, on June 20 while Juno scored a 17-9 victory, also on June 20. On June 21 Yalden stayed in the race for the top with a 14-10 victory.

Myers secured a one-sided 25-2 win on June 20, to remain unbeaten and in first place in the Bantam baseball division.

In more recent games Anderson edged Hermansen, 2-1, in a Midget Boys pitcher’s duel on that stormy June 22 evening.

On June 23, Yeoman continued its winning ways in Midget Boys play with a 16-1 victory while Larsen edged Watkins, 15-9, in a battle of teams competing for third place.

McWilliams continued unbeaten in the Pee-Wee division June 23 by handing contender Yalden just its second loss of the summer, 11-0. James remained in the championship hunt by winning, 18-4.

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