vs. Local All-Stars
1 p.m. Saturday, April 18
Sovereign Bank Stadium
The York Revolution delivered what many local baseball fans asked for since the Atlantic League club arrived in 2007. The Revolution scheduled a preseason exhibition game against an All-Star squad of local amateurs from the Central and Susquehanna leagues. The dream game for many in York County will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 18 at Sovereign Bank Stadium.
Baseball fans may finally have a chance to see how York Township’s Casey Markey (pictured above left) fares against Revolution MVP Jason Aspito (pictured above right).
“The way I look at it,” Revolution pitcher Corey Thurman said, “I’m getting ready for the season and I need to compete. I never know if I’m going to be pitching on a given day, but I’m always going to be ready to compete.
“Whether I’m pitching in spring training or the seventh game of the World Series, I’m going to be trying to get you out.”
The All-Star squad will be managed by former York White Roses standout Curly Holtzapple, who formed a double-play combination with future Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson in the Piedmont League in 1955. Red Lion’s Clint Workinger and Glen Rock’s Kim McCullough helped select the team and they will join Holtzapple in the dugout. League representatives said they have contacted players who they hope will fill the 30-man roster.
Susquehanna League president Dave Woltman and vice president Greg Rebert noted that the Revolution might actually see some players who could earn a contract. A number of players would never be available to sign an Atlantic League contract. Some are past their prime, some are still working through college and others have family and/or work commitments.
But Markey (York Township) and pitcher Drew Kelley (York Township) are young enough and talented enough that they could help a pro team. Catcher Nate Kopp (Jacobus) also could attract attention.
“Just like when we host the open tryout, this is going to be another opportunity to look at Susquehanna and Central league players,” Revolution Director of Baseball Operations Adam Gladstone said. “Early in the season, if a couple of our players are signed (by major league organizations) or we have a couple injuries, you could be scrambling to find players. At least now we have an opportunity to see more players.”
Local leagues have helped develop professional players. Mark Hendrickson kept playing baseball for York Township even when he was playing in the NBA. And he eventually earned a contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. The part-time York resident signed with the Orioles in the offseason.
“It helped shape my skills, and I learned how to play the game,” Hendrickson said. “I’m excited for the local teams, and hopefully the local players will have a chance to showcase their talent.”
Red Lion’s Travis Hake earned a contract with the Lancaster Barnstormers in 2005 after dominating in the Susquehanna League. And first-round draft choice Mark Phillips pitched for Stoverstown before being signed by Atlantic League champion Newark in 2007.
The local amateur leagues will be at an obvious disadvantage. All the college-aged players will miss the game. And an April contest comes about a month before the teams usually take the field.
“I don’t want to say the names of any players,” Holtzapple said, “but I think we have two or three guys who are young enough and one or two pitchers who can throw hard enough. It’s just a matter of how good they look and what Chris Hoiles or Tippy Martinez might be looking to find.”
But the real test will be whether the local team can keep the game close.
“No doubt about it,” Central League president Mark Skehan said. “We want to compete.”
“This is a wonderful opportunity,” Rebert said. “And I think it will be entertaining.”
Tickets for the game cost $4, half of which will be donated to the leagues’ scholarship fund. Susquehanna League representatives seemed optimistic about the added revenue, and wondered if the league could support another scholarship if the preseason game draws a large number of people.
The biggest news of the day, however, may be the number of games the Central and Susquehanna leagues will play at Sovereign Bank Stadium. The All-Star game has been moved to the Vault for July 19. And the best-of-three county championship series will begin Aug. 29 at the Vault. Times and possible ticket prices have not been determined for games.