The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

April 25, 2014

Scott Dudinskie on high school baseball: 100 hits is an overlooked milestone

By Scott Dudinskie
The Daily Item

CATAWISSA — Congratulations, Mason Peters, on a truly remarkable career milestone: 100 varsity hits.

For the life of me I can’t understand why that isn’t as celebrated as 1,000 points in basketball or 100 wrestling wins.

Truth is, it deserves the same kind of fanfare — and more.

Don’t take my word for it. Do the math.

Our high school baseball teams play 20 regular-season games (if Mother Nature allows), plus as many more as they can earn in the postseason. Basketball teams play 22 times before playoffs begin, while area wrestlers are on the mat a couple dozen times prior to sectionals.

So a four-year ballplayer gets anywhere from 8 to 20 fewer opportunities than the hoopers and grapplers.

Then there’s the challenge of hitting a round ball with a round bat, squarely, as Ted Williams put it.

Show me a player who averages 25 hits a year over four seasons and I’ll show you one of the best players in his school’s history.

Peters cemented his place among Southern Columbia’s greats with his 100th hit in the fourth game of his senior year.

“He’s one of the better ones,” said Tigers coach Randy Young. “I don’t really stack one (player) against another.”

The achievement was shamefully buried in our April 11 edition among the other garden-variety high school scores of the day, a bit of side note to the Tigers’ win over Muncy.

So consider this more proper recognition for the crowning achievement of a .452 career hitter. In 70 varsity games, Peters has amassed 103 hits and scored 90 runs.

THE FIRE STILL BURNS: Midd-West was the first District 4 team to qualify for the playoffs as Wednesday’s 8-1 win over Milton moved the Mustangs’ area-best record to 10-1.

They don’t figure to play a must-win game for a month, but coach Ron Flood isn’t worried about complacency.

The Mustangs will spend their final nine regular-season games playing to improve their district seed and chasing the HAC-I title.

Plus, he said, they realize they have the opportunity to become something even more special. Their pitchers, particularly Hunter Shuff and Aaron Sharp, have been lights out, and a batting order led by recent Middle Tennessee State signee Shane Connahan and Luke Zimmerman can hang a crooked number in any inning.

“I really don’t think they’ll get down or lose their interest,” said Flood. “They want to do better than they did last year, and it’s not hard to get their energy up. They want to win.”

Midd-West plays at Jersey Shore on Monday. The HAC-I leaders gave the Mustangs their lone loss, 10-3, on April 3.

SEALS MAKING IT THROUGH ROUGH WEEK: The terrible early spring weather forced many teams to bunch games (poor Montoursville played just three times prior to this week), with make-ups slotted amid typical three-game weeks.

Selinsgrove was 3-5 after last Thursday’s loss to Hughesville and staring at a string of four games in five days this week, including three against HAC-I foes and the other against HAC-III power Southern Columbia.

“After last (Thursday), I said one week from now we can really control our own destiny,” Seals coach Brent Beiler recalled. “I said, ‘We’ll see if we’re smiling or not.’”

They’ve won two of three ahead of today’s game with Milton, getting strong starts from Isaiah Rapp, Colton Brouse and Justin Geedey to move within a game of .500.

“If we can get out of here with three wins this week, I’d say that’s a good week,” said Beiler.

The Shikellamy tournament consolation game between the Seals and host Braves (postponed April 12) was rescheduled for May 14.

GROWING PAINS: Chace Phillips was disappointed with Wednesday’s loss, which dropped Milton a game below .500.

He was encouraged, however, that the Black Panthers (who are loaded with first-year starters) have more than half the season to earn the playoff berth that eluded them by two wins last season.

“We’ve still got a lot of time,” he said. “We’re in every game, and we’re improving.”

Unfortunately for them, part of the Black Panthers’ growing pains has been losing late leads.

They led defending HAC-I champion Jersey Shore by two runs in the sixth inning in an eventual 8-4 loss, and also gave away a five-run lead in the sixth at Warrior Run.

“We could very easily have two more wins, (but) we could very easily have two more losses,” Phillips said.

n Scott Dudinskie covers high school baseball for The Daily Item. Email questions or comments to