Bucky gave it a good run
Todd Ruth Ephrata Review Sports Editor Got some rough news this week regarding Ephrata High School graduate Ross Buckwalter. Just two weeks after appearing (and doing well I might add) in his first Major League Spring Training game, Buckwalter got the news Friday that no professional baseball player wants to hear. Buckwalter, a 26th round selection by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2007 who was beginning his fourth season with the organization, was given his outright release. According to his blog, he was told by the Jays’ pitching coordinator and farm director that he needed to be at the Double-A level according to my age and the numbers I posted in High-A last year, but there simply wasn’t enough room.
Just like that, the Jays said good-bye to someone who has performed quite well over the three-plus seasons he spent there. Unfortunately, that s the nature of the beast in professional baseball. With the teams drafting players every year, you need to continue to progress or you get lost in the shuffle. Buckwalter, who went 2-4 with an ERA of 2.64 out of the bullpen last year at high-A Dunedin, did well but apparently, did not progress fast enough for the Toronto decision makers. So now what s in store for the 26-year old right-hander? He indicated that he would jump at the chance if another organization calls. Buckwalter also said he is open to the idea of at least playing out this year in the Independent League. He would certainly look good in a Barnstormers’ uniform, that s for sure. Here’s hoping he gets another chance to fulfill his dream… Juicy Matchup: Friday s Section Two baseball contest between Ephrata and Cocalico is shaping up to be a doozy. After winning the L-L League title a year ago and returning almost the entire team, it is no surprise Ephrata has gotten out of the gates fast. What may be surprising to some is what s happening back in Denver. Cocalico has won its first three games, and with virtually the same roster back from a year ago, the Eagles appear to have turned the corner. The Eagles actually made a strong surge last year, winning their final six games of the season, and they have carried that momentum into the new season. Looks to me like these two teams could be battling for the top spot all year. Should be fun to see how it all plays out. A Sad Week: This past week was a rough one for my family as my 16-year-old daughter had to endure the loss of a friend. For the last three years, Mackenzie has been a member of a local club field hockey team that is made up of high school players from throughout the county. That is how she met her friend Danielle DeLarso, who signed up for the team at the same time as Mackenzie. From the moment they met, Danielle, who played at Pequea Valley, Mackenzie and Danielle’s best friend Heather (also from PV) were inseparable in the off times at team tournaments. Anyone who has ever had a child involved on a club team, you know there is a lot of downtime in between games at these events. This time was spent taking silly photos, checking out boys, eating junk food, and just having fun doing what teenagers do. The last two seasons, a fourth, Marissa (who plays at Hempfield), joined the clique. They always had a blast. Then this past summer, I ran into Danielle’s father who told me she hadn’t been feeling well. Then about two weeks later, we got the terrible news that she was diagnosed with cancer. She put up a very courageous fight, enduring surgeries, chemo and other treatments. And things seemed to be looking up in late January when Danielle was able to come out to one of our games, much to the girls’ delight. However, things took a turn for the worse a few weeks ago and she lost her battle on March 28. In talking with her mother, Danielle never asked, why me? She was always concerned with how everyone else was doing and how they were dealing with her illness. That s just the type of person she was. She was a super-friendly nice young girl with her whole future ahead of her… I m just so glad my daughter was able to get to know such a beautiful and amazing person. My sincere sympathies go out to Danielle’s family and friends. More RUTH, page B-3