The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

August 5, 2013

AAABA brings ‘em back

Johnstowners return to root for home teams

JOHNSTOWN — The annual All American Amateur Baseball Association Tournament is a homecoming of sorts for the Brisko family of Richland Township.

Relatives who reside out of town take a vacation to spend the week with their Johnstown area kin.

“We do this every year,” said Mike Brisko.

“It’s a family affair,” he said. “We make it a week and go to the games.”

Brisko said the family will root for both Johnstown teams in the tournament.

Brady Shriver, 17, who was at the opening game at Point Stadium on Monday night with his friends, said he has been attending the tournament since he was

8 years old.

“I love baseball,” the Westmont resident said. “It would be really nice to see a Johns­town team win it.”

Mike Lohr of Johnstown said he has been watching the tournament for 30 years.

“It’s like a ritual,” the 40-year-old said. “I always have a good time watching the games down here.

“It would be nice to see a Johnstown team win,” he added.

Kerry Rovan of Westmont, who was at the game with his wife, Jennifer, and other family members, said they attended the game to support the Johnstown team and the city and to meet the many great spectators around them.

Bob Swaner of Johnstown started attending the tournament two years ago upon moving here from Somerset.

“I figured it was a good time to see some good, quality baseball,” Swaner said.

“Delweld looks like a good, quality team. I would like to see them go all the way because they had a great regular season. With the talent that they have, they should go a long way in this tournament.”

Ted and Carol Carpenter of East Taylor Township have been attending the tournament for many years.

“It’s the best baseball around,” Ted Carpenter said.

Their son, Joel, owner of Carpenter’s Auto Repair and Sales in East Taylor Township, is sponsoring one of the young women chosen to be AAABA Ambassadors.

Joe Smolen of Lower Yoder Township was at the game with his granddaughter, Katie Smolen.

“I’ve been coming here since I was a boy with my late father, Joe,” he said. “I try not to miss the opening game, and I try to come to as many games as I can.”

Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Johnstown, said the tournament is one of the great jewels for the city, and it reminds people how much good there is in Johnstown.

“It gives everybody a chance to see each other, and that connects the community,” he said.

Ron Repak of Richland Township, who was at the game with his wife, Linda, said the tournament is a major event.

“It’s one of the few that aggregates young and old, whether they like baseball or not, from Johnstown and the surrounding area,” Repak said.

Len Lichvar of Boswell said he has been attending the tournament since he was 3 years old, when his late father, Michael, started taking him to the games.

“This is a great showcase for the Cambria-Somerset region,” the Somerset County man said.

Lichvar, whose father was a standout ballplayer in the 1920s and 1930s, said that seven of the Delweld players are from Somerset County and he knows each of them personally.


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