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Middletown Amateur Baseball Association alumni sought for 60th anniversary celebration

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 4/17/19

Oak Hill Park better have a big outfield. They might need every inch of it.

Anyone who has ever played in the Middletown Amateur Baseball Association is invited to opening day ceremonies at Oak …

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Middletown Amateur Baseball Association alumni sought for 60th anniversary celebration

Middletown Amateur Baseball Association teams gather around the flag during opening day ceremonies in 2017.
Middletown Amateur Baseball Association teams gather around the flag during opening day ceremonies in 2017.
donald graham
Posted

Oak Hill Park better have a big outfield. They might need every inch of it.

Anyone who has ever played in the Middletown Amateur Baseball Association is invited to opening day ceremonies at Oak Hill on Saturday, April 27, marking the 60th anniversary of MABA’s founding.

People who have played in MABA are asked to be at the Oak Hill field by 11:45 a.m.

After this year’s teams are announced, all past MABA players will be asked to move out to the outfield where, with help from Middletown Volunteer Fire Department and its ladder truck, a photo will be taken to commemorate the occasion.

Middletown borough is also expected to present a proclamation to be read as part of the opening day festivities, MABA President Todd Webb said.

Before the official opening day ceremonies at noon, scrimmages between the teams will start at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Oak Hill field.

MABA was formed in the fall of 1959, according to articles in the Middletown Journal provided by the Middletown Area Historical Society.

The society is working on putting together an exhibit of photos and other items to commemorate the anniversary for display in the society museum at 29 E. Main St., said Jenny Miller, a member of the society’s board of trustees.

The 60th anniversary kind of snuck up on MABA, Webb said.

“We actually just discovered it last year or the year before,” he said. “We were going through some old documents and found some documentation from the original charter from 1959. I realized, holy smokes we are coming up on 60 years. I don’t know if there was much of anything done for the 50th anniversary.”

Nationally, Little League baseball is having a tough time — Webb uses the word “dying” — because kids today are more focused on sports they can play the whole year ’round.

But MABA seems to be holding its own. This year, 160 boys and girls signed up to play baseball and softball. That’s a slight increase over 2018, Webb said.

“We have a good board of directors. We had a couple meetings on strategic planning and what we want the future to look like, and we submitted for some grants,” said Webb, now in his fourth year as association president.

Webb played for the MABA from 5 years old to age 18. Both his children play in the MABA.

Today, MABA offers both youth baseball and softball for children ages 5 to 18. The association has 12 teams, including seven baseball teams and five softball teams.

It is part of the Central Penn Midget Baseball Association, until recently known as the Lower Paxton West Hanover Baseball League. Central Penn consists of teams from Middletown, Lower Swatara, Paxtonia, Pleasant Hills-Ridgeview, Hummelstown, Harrisburg and Penn Gardens.

Baseball players after age 12 move up to the teener teams. Middletown and Lower Swatara combine to form five teener teams. These are in addition to the 12 MABA teams.

MABA in 2018 started a tee-ball softball program intended for girls, Webb said. MABA offers recreational softball for girls through age 14. After age 14, girls can move up to high school softball.

MABA has seven home field locations, including two Frey Field locations for softball on Hoffer Street just past the end of Frey Avenue.

The home baseball fields include Kiwanis Field in Royalton on Canal Street (off 441), the Met Ed Field on Susquehanna Street, and two other fields for Rookie and tee-ball, also on Susquehanna Street.

Royalton maintains the Kiwanis Field for MABA. MABA maintains the other fields, Webb said. He said the association is grateful to the assistance Middletown borough has provided in recent years regarding the fields.

Oak Hill is also an MABA field, and the one field Webb said everybody wants to play at, because you can play under the lights at Oak Hill.

This season, two of the MABA softball teams will be playing at Oak Hill, and several of the teener teams will be playing there as well.

In all, more games are being played at Oak Hill this season than in years past, Webb said.

The MABA season runs from mid-April through the playoffs in June.

Close to 90 home MABA games are scheduled for this season, with 25 to 30 of those games taking place at Oak Hill, Webb said.

To learn more about MABA, including schedules, check out its Facebook page and its website, www.mababaseball.com.