JOHNSTOWN — •••
Batting around: Martella’s Pharmacy manager Chris Pfeil’s two young, energetic sons serve as bat boys for the AAABA team.
If a baseball cycle continues, one day brothers Mason and Grady Pfeil might be playing in the tournament while other eager youngsters are picking up bats.
“Hopefully one day one of my players will be managing them in the AAABA Tournament,” Pfeil said. “One of the neat things is that when I played in the AAABA League, our (Martella’s) first baseman Jimmy Stenger was the bat boy on that team. The first AAABA Tournament that we made it to in 2002 as the Johnstown Grays, our (Martella’s) catcher, Pat Gully, was the bat boy on that team because he’s the nephew of (assistant coach) Paul Knupp. Sometimes it’s neat to grow up at the ballpark with the AAABA.”
Pfeil said the impact AAABA Tournament players have on the lives of young baseball players is another important intangible tied to the August tradition.
“There are times when Mason and Grady will argue over which one gets to be Jesse Cooper or Matt McMillen when they’re playing in the yard. They have great role models to look up to,” Pfeil said. “You see these kids down there during tournament week, the little guys running around looking for autographs or a bat or a ball, a hat. The tournament gives the kids hope that maybe one day it will be their chance.”
Trading places: Former Youse’s Maryland Orioles of Baltimore standout L.J. Hoes was part of major league baseball’s trade deadline agenda on Wednesday.
The Houston Astros traded right-handed pitcher Bud Norris to the Baltimore Orioles for outfielder Hoes, left-hander Josh Hader and a 2014 competitive balance round A draft pick.
Hoes was part of Youse’s 2007 AAABA Tournament championship team.
The right fielder made a great catch in a win over Johnstown’s Delweld team in the fifth round at Point Stadium. Hoes had six hits, four runs, five RBIs, five doubles and a triple during the tournament.
The next summer, he was on the Youse’s team but signed a $500,000 pro contract with the AL Orioles in 2008.
Mike Mastovich is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat.