Eastern Pennsylvania Horseshoe Pitchers Association:

Club Challenge Tournament (10/02/2010)

October in Pennsylvania is usually a beautiful time of year. The trees put on a color display that takes ones breath away. Nights are crisp and days compensate by valiantly trying to warm up. October in Pennsylvania can also be cold, rainy and dreary. This year October arrived with a rain; lots of rain. Many communities in Eastern Pennsylvania recorded 4 to 8 inches of rain in the first 24 hours of the month.

Sunday, October 3rd was the date chosen for the first Eastern Pennsylvania Horseshoe Pitchers Association “Club Challenge Match”. Four club teams showed up in Selinsgrove for this first ever competition.

October 3rd started out crisply, with early morning temperatures in the mid 40’s. As we drove south towards Selinsgrove the temperature struggled upwards. By the time we arrived the temperature was around 60 degrees, with blue skies and cumulous clouds.

Selinsgrove Tournament Director Rick Hawk welcomed everyone and explained the day’s format.
  1. Competition would be in doubles format, 30 point games, round robin, twice around.
  2. Each team consists of 6 competitors, with substitutions allowed at the start of each round.
  3. EPHPA membership was not required (6 of the days competitors were not EPHPA members).
  4. Each team would play each of the other teams twice.
  5. Each game would start with a coin flip between team captains.
      The winner of the flip could either name his team’s first two competitors, or defer to the other team to declare their two pitchers first.
  6. The team losing the initial coin flip then declared their second team, followed by the other team doing the same.
      The third teams from each club made up the final game.
   7. A coin flip decides who goes first in each game. The best pitcher on each team competes against the best pitcher on the other team.
   8. A point will be awarded to the club who wins at least two games of the three played in each round.
   9. “Winner takes all”. A beautiful traveling trophy is the object of the day,bragging rights accompany the trophy!

What an absolutely glorious event, with beautiful weather to match! Teams from Huntingdon, Mackeyville, Benton/Dallas, and Selinsgrove made up the competition. The tension level was less than one sometimes feels in sanctioned singles play. One of the competitors explained that the tension level was lowered by the fact he could always blame his partner if things didn’t go well!

The Selinsgrove team proved to be unbeatable, with a six win, zero loss record at the end of the day. The Benton/Dallas team took second (or “first loser” as it was explained to us!) with 4 wins and two losses.

At the trophy presentation we spoke reverently of Ken Battram, the gentleman who was instrumental in building the beautiful Selinsgrove facility, and the person who had come up with the idea of a club championship to end the season. Unfortunately, we had lost Ken before he could see his concept come to fruition, but our hope is that he was watching from above, and smiling at the day’s success.

Not only was the day’s event a success but it triggered some ideas for next year. We will recommend to the EPHPA board that next years club championship be expanded to include any club in Eastern Pa. that wishes to send a team. This will give those that are not currently affiliated with the NHPA an opportunity to compete with NHPA members, and hopefully, draw new NHPA membership from folks who pitch regularly, but not in NHPA competition.

The day ended with one final surprise. Ray Haskins of the Selinsgrove club took us to a building a short way from the Selinsgrove courts and announced that we are close to having our own indoor pitching facility in Eastern Pa. capable of hosting sanctioned tournaments. Details are still being worked out but we are excited at the probability that we will soon be able to host winter tournaments in a facility of which we can be proud!

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