1995 was a good year for baseball. I was 11 years old and was on the Upper Dublin travel baseball team. Bill Schmidt was the coach along with Joe Perry. This was our first year of travel baseball and no one had any idea what the expectations should be but this season started a run unlike any other.
Our very first game was against Glenside which was saved by a Dave Krieg triple in the last inning to get us off to a 1-0 record. The next game we played Warminster and managed a paltry 1 run while giving up 10. Mr Schmidt made the comment that we would never be as good as Warminster that year. Or so he thought.
After 14 games the team was 7-6-1. We won the next 4 games getting us into the 4th playoff spot. We squared off directly against Lower South who had beaten us 10-7 and who we tied earlier in the season. Damien on the mound (I can’t remember if he pitched 1 or 2) was a scary fireballer but we managed to win game 1 12-6. In game 2, our ace Bud Schmidt held them scoreless through 4 innings on our way to a 12-2 romp. Southampton was next up for the championship.
Against Southampton, we won game 1 8-4 and were down 14-1 (I’m guessing here) in game 2 before it was called for darkness or rain. We played the next day to finish the 2nd game and scored a few runs in that second game but still lost 14-9. The momentum was there though and we blanked them in game 3 13-0 for our first championship. Bud finished the season with an 11-2 record and a 2.02 ERA. Year 1 batting stats.
This was the start of a team that would not know how to lose from here on out. The ’96 season brought a 20-0 record and a 2nd straight championship against the same competition as the previous year. The ’97 season started with 9 more wins and then the Chestnut Hill rivalry started . The first time we played them ended with our first loss in 29 games losing narrowly 4-3. We won 2 more games before having to play Chestnut Hill again and got beat convincingly 16-8. We had met our match. We won the next 5 games and played, you guessed it, Chestnut Hill in the first round of a single elimination tournament game at their home field. This is where the title of this post begins and my fondest childhood baseball memory.
My memory is not that pristine and I don’t have the actual stat book so maybe Bill Schmidt can comment more clearly, but I believe it was the 2nd inning and I was batting 7th. Not known as a power hitter, I crushed a ball over the left fielder’s head for a double. Ashlock hit a triple behind me which got the momentum for the team churning. In my next at bat, knowing that there was about a 0% chance I hit another ball to outfield (and knowing that Chestnut Hill might think I had some new found power), Mr Schmidt told me to lay down a bunt down the 3rd base line. Bunting was probably the only skill that I was actually very good at. I plopped down a perfect bunt down the 3rd base line and beat it out for a single. We ended up winning the game 10-9 and then winning the championship against Warminster 17-4. Another hilarious tidbit from that game was the final out. I was playing 2nd and Dave Krieg was playing shortstop. I remember praying to god that they wouldn’t hit it to me because I wasn’t the surest glove (or the surest arm). As luck had it, they hit a ball to Dave and he threw them out for the final out. Year 3 batting stats.
We played a final season the next year in a league with older kids and didn’t fare to well going 7-13. I made 12 errors total to lead the team. 10 of them came in the final 7 games. I specifically remember making my 3rd error against Wissahickon on a slow hit ball, I’m talking barely moving towards me, and it went through my legs. You could say my confidence was shot and pitchers were getting bigger and I still hadn’t hit puberty.
I look back at these times and chuckle at these stats because we were a really good baseball team for that age group. We practiced a lot. Bud went on to pitch for Susquehanna and we had another player who played college but it’s funny to think that at the time, we were the best team in Montgomery County which seems like the world when you are 11. I hope Bill Schmidt comments on my accuracy.