WAYNESBORO – There are probably two dates in particular that those associated with Waynesboro Youth League mark on their calendars – Opening Day and Memorial Day.
On Monday, the league held what could almost be considered as a marathon, with games starting at noon following the Memorial Day parade and memorial commemoration at Memorial Park in Waynesboro and concluding with the nightcap at 6 p.m.
“Those are the two biggest days,” said WYL President and manager of American Legion Justin Biser. “All the fields are being used and games are played all day. It has the most turnout; people are always looking for a good game to watch. We always see a lot of alumni, those who have kids on teams.”
All four divisions were included in the festivities – Instructional (T-ball), Rookie, Minor and Major. Waynesboro Youth League is affiliated with Cal Ripken Baseball.
The Memorial Day slate of games also signals the home stretch for the Major Division season.
“We start in April and we’ll go to the second week of June,” Biser said. “I think we’re playing 16 to 18 games this year.”
Biser has been involved in the league for nearly a decade and a half. He said he couldn’t do his duties as president of the league without the help of volunteers.
“We have a group of people who have been together for three or four years who I could not have done what I do without,” he said. “We always have good volunteers who come out and step up. I don’t think we could ask for a better community. We have a lot of great sponsors who keep this place going.”
Action at the Clayton Avenue fields started at noon with a Rookie League matchup between the Rockies and A’s as well as a T-ball game between the Marlins and Astros.
Major Division games kicked off at 1 p.m. with a contest between Biser’s American Legion against Eagles Club. Legion took a commanding 8-1 lead but saw themselves having to rally in the top of the sixth to capture a 12-11 victory.
Waynesboro Construction faced off against VFW a little after 3 p.m. Wacco held on for a 9-8 win.
Biser said his time as a coach in the league is coming to a close.
“I think this is honestly my last year coaching here,” he said. “I’m moving on to let someone younger come in here. I still think I’ll be president down here and mow.
“What I like the most – I’ve been here 13 or 14 years – is kids I had in T-ball are now playing for me in Post 15. It’s just watching them grow and develop, but most of all get kids out of the house and playing sports. I also run into a lot of people I haven’t seen in years.”
VFW had a chance to come back from a one-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning. WYL games are six innings, and the two teams couldn’t settle it in six innings.
In the bottom of the fifth, VFW’s Cam Cummings hit a towering home run into the evergreen trees in left field to give VFW an 8-7 lead.
Waynesboro Construction tied the game in the top of the sixth when Mason Nickel hit a leadoff triple and scored on an infield hit by Landon Crable.
VFW loaded the bases in the home sixth but couldn’t get anyone to home plate.
Inn the top of the seventh Nick Carbaugh hit a one-out single. Nickel reached first base on an error. Carbaugh came around to score with two outs.
In the bottom of the seventh VFW got the leadoff batter on base as Cummings reached second on an error and stole third. Nickel, Wacco’s relief pitcher, battened down the hatches and struck out the side to prevent another inning or a VFW come-back win.
Waynesboro Construction was back in action in a 5 p.m. game against Owls Club.
The final game of the 16-game schedule was a Rookie League game between the Nationals and Cardinals.
VFW plays American Legion on Tuesday at the Clayton South field in Major Division action at 6 p.m.
Here are the rosters for the WYL Major Division teams:
Levi Barr, Caleb Dean, Chase Devlin, Luke Geesaman, Aiden Henderson, Dalton Hoffman Jr., Jace Kopco, Kaiden Lowans, Rylan Nichols, Noah Snively, Ethan Terry, Landry Vincent.
Manager: Ronda Nichols
Zach Bachtell, Brody Bittinger, Palmer Davis, Parker Flook, Luke Halstead, Brayden Heimbuch, Alex Jamison, Conlan Kuhar, Graeme Murray, Kason Shorb, Tommy Skehan, Sam Young.
Manager: Erich Halstead
Weston Eaton, Luke Gorzelsky, Noah Hartman, Jack Knepper, Ethan Lambert, Kaden Lewis, Bryson Miller, Kadyn Myers, Camryn Reed, Lucas Shank, Brooks Snyder, Gavin Stine
Emory Ausherman, Nicholas Carbaugh, Oliver Collier, Landon Crable, Owen Dennison, Liam Earley, Grady Fortney, Haden Hicks, Izaac Miller, Mason Nickel, Kamden Stover, Jeremiah Vaughn
Manager: Travis Carbaugh
Lincoln Bowie, Cam Cummings, Jacob Fazenbaker, Jordan Geesaman, Brennan Hollar, Kaden Ladezma, Brady Myers, Grahm Pratt, Joey Reddy, Mason Stem, Briggs Woodring, Dylan Young
Manager: Jeremy Geesaman