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South Jersey Baseball:
BTAA Honors Buchanan With Wooden Bat Baseball Tournament

Sunday, July 27, 2003

By Jim Law
SJSports Staff Writer

The Berlin Township Athletic Association recently honored Mr. Frank Buchanan by naming its first wooden bat baseball tournament after him. Mr. Buchanan has served in one capacity or another for the local associations baseball program for the past thirty years. In addition he has been Mr. Baseball in South Jersey for the same time period as an official of Little League and umpires association. Naming the tournament after him is a well-deserved honor. Mr. Buchanan was in attendance for the first pitch of the tournament as well as presentation of the championship awards. Congratulations Frank.

This tournament was restricted to 11-year-old players and the use of wooden bats. Yes, you can still hear the crack of the bat with the bats of by gone days. Another oddity of this gathering was the limitation of pitchers only being allowed two innings of pitching a game. Teams from Berlin, Waterford, Magnolia, Delaware Valley (South Philadelphia), Glendora, Bellmawr, Blackwood, Gibbsboro-Voorhees and Berlin Township were invited to this double elimination tournament.

Glendora won the championship. They cruised through the elimination rounds without a loss. They met a determined Delaware Valley team this past Saturday evening at the Luke Avenue Sports Complex. Delaware Valley played its best game of the round robin in their efforts to win the big one. Glendora waited until the last inning to forge ahead for the championship. The game was exciting from start to finish. Congratulations to Glendora.

Host Berlin Township, can be proud of it efforts in hosting a "class" tournament. As smooth as things looked one did not see the real efforts put forth by our locals. Rain did not halt any games but did create extra work for the host getting the fields in playing condition. How about four hours extra work on three separate occasions due to rain? How about coordinating the snack bar staff, the field workers after the games, the managing and staffing of four umpires a game in addition to the many extra unseen things? Berlin Township can be proud to the efforts of its dedicated leadership of the Berlin Township Athletic Association.

Just a couple of side notes:

  • During the playing of our National Anthem it is expected everyone rise and place their hand over their heart. During the games I observed, I was impressed by the patriotism shown by the kids playing pick up baseball on an adjacent field. They stopped and paid proper respects to the National Anthem. They did it on their own.
  • The coach from Delaware Valley commented on the young lady selling 50-50 tickets. As she approached people she excused herself and asked if they would like to buy a ticket. Laughingly the coach told me how it was in his area. Some one would walk up to a customer and state, "Yoh, how many you want." Manners are in, in our town.
  • At least six wooden bats were cracked during the tournament. One was split in half-imagine an 11 year old breaking a bat. Why so many? Someone once told me the good wood is now used for hockey sticks and the second grade wood goes to bats. Makes sense to me.
  • Mr. Frank Buchanan spent all those years helping Berlin Township and its baseball program. Did you know he does not even live in Berlin Township? Quite a contribution for someone from another town.

If you missed the tournament you missed a good one.

©2003 South Jersey Sports Online Inc.