When I was a teen some of my best days came from playing Tri-County Middle League baseball for Hartford. Bob Chadwick was our coach and I could not wait for each game. It was some of the most fun I have ever had. I also coached in the league, helping head coach Roy Wade mentor the Hartford team. So going out and covering the TCML baseball playoffs this week brought back some great memories. After some lean years it is clear that the league is back and better than ever.
When league president Mike Jones was speaking to the crowd before the awards ceremony Friday evening he mentioned how the league had fallen on some difficlut times during the Covid-19 pandemic. I am sure the lack of kids playing sports also contributed. However, Jones from Granville who doesn't even have a team in the league currently has done an outstanding job of keeping the TCML afloat and bringing it back strong.
This year the TCML had 10 teams total in two five team divisions. Whitehall, Hartford, Argyle, Fort Ann and Salem-Cambridge made up the Eastern Division. Warrensburg, Hudson Falls, Hadley-Luzerne, Corinth and Chestertown competed in the Western Division.
Warrensburg was the dominate team all summer. The Burghers won the championship 4-0 over Hartford behind a 10 strike out no-hitter from Pierce Burn. Hudson Falls, who lost a couple of titght one-run games to Warrensburg was right on the Burghers heels.
Whitehall also had a solid season. After falling to Warrensburg Whitehall won 10 of their next 13 games with a tie thrown in there. They finished as the #1 seed in the Eastern Division and won their first playoff game over Fort Ann before falling to #2 Hartford in the division champinship game. Still, after a rocky start what a tremendous effort by Whitehall to bounce back to have a fine season. Clearly there is no quit in this group.
And then there is Hartford. Soeaking of a team with no quit in them. The Tanagers spent most of the season on the losing side of a .500 record. They finished the regular season 5-6-1. The key moment for Hartford was back to back walk-off wins over Fort Ann and Salem-Cambridge. If they don't pull those two games out they are the Tanagers are not even a playoff team. Hartford then went on to beat Salem-Cambridge handily in their playoff opener and avenged a pair of losses to #1 Whitehall in the Eastern Division title contest.
It certainly was an exciting season for TCML baseball. It's refreshing to see a local league thriving in an era where elite travel teams dominate the summer sports scene. Here' hoping the 10 teams come back for another season and other teams join the circuit next year. The TCML is back and it can only continue to grow from here.