Mickey Mantle and Sandy Koufax leagues set to play ball

  • Mohawk's Reuben Bassett grabs a fly ball for an out in the top of the second inning against Northampton during their Mickey Mantle game last year in Buckland. The league is returning to action this week. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 7/6/2020 4:48:47 PM
Modified: 7/6/2020 4:48:44 PM

At least four local teams will compete in the Pioneer Valley Youth Baseball League this summer, as the league, which features separate divisions for Mickey Mantle (15-16 year olds) and Sandy Koufax (13-14 year olds), was scheduled to begin this week.

Monday night’s Mickey Mantle opener between Mohawk Hilltown Hardwood Flooring and Brattleboro was set to kick off what will be a seven-plus week abbreviated summer campaign. Each division is slated for five teams, and in addition to Mohawk, the Mantle Division will also include Frontier. The Koufax Division has local entrants from Greenfield and Frontier.

Mohawk has had limited practice time leading up to the season, though coach John Finck said any time on the diamond is welcomed for his eager group of players.

“The baseball itself may be a little rough for everyone because of the limited time out there but the kids are pretty excited to get going,” he said.

Finck said he had to send a proposal with guidelines and safety measures to the Buckland Board of Health for approval. Mohawk will play home games on the varsity diamond at Mohawk Trail Regional High School.

“We have 17 players on the roster and it’s a good blend of veteran and younger kids,” he said.

Frontier’s Mickey Mantle team is expected to play home games at Herlihy Park in Whately, pending approval from the Whately Board of Health. The club is scheduled for its opener on the road at Hatfield Tuesday, and a home opener is slated for Saturday against Northampton.

Mohawk, Frontier, Brattleboro, Hatfield and Northampton make up the five-team Mantle Division.

Greenfield has put a team together for the Sandy Koufax Division, and head coach Aaron Campbell said his 15-person roster features 10 players from Greenfield, four from Northfield and one from Turners Falls.

“A good chunk of these kids played on our travel team the last three years,” said Campbell. “And then we added some older kids, a few incoming freshmen.”

Greenfield, which hopes to play home games at Beacon Field pending Board of Health approval, is tentatively scheduled to host Frontier on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. for the season opener. The club has been practicing at Pioneer Valley Regional School in Northfield, and Campbell said his players have become familiar with a new kind of routine.

“The kids are excited,” he said. “They want to do something. They’re bored, they want to get some type of season in. We will be very competitive. This group has been together for awhile.”

In addition to Greenfield and Frontier, the Koufax Division is expected to include teams from Brattleboro, Amherst and Northampton. Frontier has a home opener set for Friday at Herlihy Park against Amherst.

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