Change is welcome for the Butler County Area Baseball League

July 7, 2018 Cranberry Local Sports

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Change can be good.

It is especially good when it means recognizing who you are.

The Butler County Area Baseball League has done exactly that and is alive and well.

The league was known as Butler County American Legion baseball (BCAL) for years and would send its champion on to the Pennsylvania legion regional tournament.

That champion would rarely do well at those regionals, primarily because the Butler County League had 10 to 12 teams and its talent pool was much more watered down than teams it would run up against at that level.

So, for the past few years, rather than send its champion on to regional legion play, the league decided to disconnect with legion baseball, hold its own double-elimination tournament and end the season right there.

The league was able to generate enough money on its own to present $1,000 scholarships to three deserving players at its all-star game in July.

This year, after deciding not to return to Legion baseball, the league decided to officially change its name to the Butler County Area Baseball League.

League entries include Cranberry Township, Freeport, Karns City, East Butler, Meridian, Center Township, Kiski, West Sunbury and Saxonburg.

It is what it is — a community league for high school-age players to continue playing ball in the summer — proving that a league doesn't need “affiliation” to be successful.

By having the word “Area” as part of its name, the BCABL has left itself room for growth. It enables kids to play ball in their local communities and battle for the title as best in Butler County.

There is certainly competitive balance. Every team in the league has at least two losses. Six of the nine teams had between three and five wins around the season's midway point.

First-place and defending champion Saxonburg comprises most of the Knoch High School team.

The majority of West Sunbury's roster is the Moniteau High School team. Moniteau enjoyed a deep playoff run and those kids are seeking further glory this summer.

Karns City's roster has a number of players from the Gremlins' team that went unbeaten during the high school regular season.

Butler High School players can be found dotting rosters of Center Township, Meridian and East Butler. That sparks new rivalries while giving a lot of Butler kids a chance to get in at-bats and pitching all summer.

Whether the BCABL expands next season remains to be seen. There is no Slippery Rock in the league this year. There is no Zelienople.

Regardless, it's fun, community baseball, that knows what it is and has no problem with it.

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