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Promising future beckons on local baseball fields

“Baseball is in the DNA of our community.”

Credit City Council President Randall J. Allison for boiling down this community’s passion and historical relationship with the national pastime to its simplest form.

Indeed, many a Williamsporter is proud of the city’s status as the birthplace of Little League Baseball. And before Little League, there was Bowman Field.

The first game at Historic Bowman Field was played 95 years ago, on April 22, 1926, between the Williamsport Grays and the Bucknell University baseball team. At the time, the ballpark was referred to as Memorial Field due to its location at Memorial Park.

In the 95 years since, the local ballpark has been host to many teams, as well as a number of periods in which the facility fell into disrepair.

Always the phoenix, though, baseball failed to perish at this site. The love of this community for this sport ensured that it would always return.

Always. Even after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down our normal way of life a year ago, including baseball games last summer.

Baseball at Bowman is about to return in two short months, with the first home game of the season on May 25.

Sports enthusiasts may credit City Council for approving a five-year lease agreement with the Williamsport Crosscutters and returning players to the local field.

There is a twist this year, due to a change from Major League Baseball.

Instead of local affiliates to MLB teams, games at ballparks such as Bowman will be among players in the new Major League Draft League.

The Draft League will serve as a pipeline for amateur players as they make their way into just about any MLB team.

Also to be anticipated will be a return this summer of Little League, which again will partner with the MLB for the MLB Little League Classic on Aug. 22, featuring the Cleveland Indians and the Los Angeles Angels.

Earlier that day, Major Leaguers from both teams will attend Little League World Series games, showing a commitment to growing the sport from the youth level.

Yes, baseball excitement is brewing here. Who knows what talent may cross through Williamsport in the months ahead, what chapters we may be able to add to local sports books — so get the peanuts and Cracker Jacks ready!

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