The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


April 18, 2014

Scott Dudinskie's high school baseball column: Mustangs have the horses again

It was late in a recent division game when several Midd-West players had a loud exchange outside their dugout. Something angered a number of them and it very suddenly reached a breaking point.

"What was the deal with the whole wheat breadsticks?" one Mustang demanded.

"I know!" replied a teammate. "They better not get rid of the regular ones!"

Several others chimed in before a nearby fan asked the reason for the commotion.

The students, it turned out, had been served whole wheat breadsticks with their pasta at lunch that day and they were none too happy.

"They suck," senior Luke Zimmerman said as he carried a bat to the on-deck circle.

The out-of-the-blue (and borderline hysterical) protest proved just how loose the Mustangs play. There's little between the chalk lines for them to gripe about these days.

They're 7-1, speeding toward a return to the district playoffs and a shot at the title which eluded them after eight scoreless innings of last year's championship game.

"They want to get to where we were last year," Midd-West coach Ron Flood said. "They keep telling me, every night, and they have a countdown. They said (April 9 at Shikellamy), 'Four.' You know, now we have four wins and we're almost halfway there.

"This is them talking, now. So they'll come to me with their countdown, 'Four,' and I'll tell them, 'Yeah, you've still got six to go.'"

District 4 has long rewarded the relative mediocrity of a .500 record with a playoff berth in its sports. But in Heartland-I baseball (and a predecessor, the Susquehanna Valley League), there's no shame in playing .500 ball. Last season, Danville, Selinsgrove and Shikellamy all finished two wins shy of the magic number.

Go ahead and ask any HAC-I coach if he'd sign for 10-10 guaranteed. Be prepared to hand him a pen.

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