Closer to a real Washington County Pony Series team | Dale Lolley

Washington County’s entry into the Pony World Series last year included players who resided in the Washington, Trinity, Canon-McMillan, McGuffey, Chartiers-Houston and Bentworth school districts.

In 2022, players from the Fort Cherry School District will be added to the mix when they join the Founders League full-time.

The former Vesta League no longer sanctioning Pony Baseball, Washington Youth Baseball, which already included the school districts of Washington, Trinity, and McGuffey, also requested and received all of its former zones.

And, with the addition of the Burgettstown and Avella youth baseball organizations to the Founder’s Pony League this year on an interim basis, nearly every baseball player residing in Washington County will be eligible to try out automatic entry to the region in the Pony World Series. Burgettstown and Avella players will be able to compete in the 2023 Pony World Series.

Full disclosure: I am the president of the Founder’s League in addition to being the president of Washington Youth Baseball’s Pony.

To be eligible, players will still need to participate with one of the teams that participate in the Founders League. Certain rules are also in place to ensure that players compete in these leagues for more than one season. For example. To be eligible, players must play their 12s, 13s and 14s in one of the competing organizations.

But at the end of the day, we now have a World Series team that more properly represents Washington County. This league will feature approximately 15 teams and over 175 players this year.

It’s a much different story than when I took over as president of the Washington Youth Baseball Pony in 2015 and the pool of players from which the Pony World Series team was selected was about 20 kids from 14 years old eligible.

No local recreational baseball league could compete internationally with those kinds of numbers.

It’s made for a much more competitive local entrant in the World Series in recent years. And that, in turn, boosted fan interest in the tournament.

Will there still be talented county baseball players not included? Sure. Peters Township remains an obstacle, while travel baseball programs continue to siphon off some players.

But it should be a team that creates a lot of community pride.

n It’s mock draft season. And that means you’ll see a lot of crazy ones that include almost every Steelers trading their current No. 20 pick for a quarterback.

While the Steelers could move up the draft to acquire a quarterback, which is unlikely to happen, it’s a trade that puts them in the top 10. The price for that would just be too high.

To make it into the top 10, the Steelers would also have to drop next year’s No. 1 pick. And I just don’t see them doing that.

n It seems some are considering new offensive line coach Pat Meyer because the teams he coached before didn’t have good offensive lines.

But those teams also haven’t used a lot of capital — either through the draft or the salary cap — on their lines. In this case, you get what you pay for.

Like all things, it’s the Jimmys and Joes, not the Xs and O’s, that matter. If you don’t have good Jimmys and Joes, no matter how good you coach, you just won’t be as successful as the teams that do.

n No, Mike Munchak was not returning to Pittsburgh to coach the offensive line. Munchak moved from Pittsburgh to Denver to be closer to his daughter and her new family.

That hasn’t changed, even though Munchak was among the coaches fired by the Broncos recently. He is now 62 years old and has earned a lot of money in his career. He is content to spend time with his family.

n Joe Burrow has been sacked 70 times this season, including 19 times in the playoffs. It was the third most sacks a quarterback has won in a single NFL season.

He emerged from the Bengals’ 23-20 Super Bowl loss to the Rams with an MCL sprain suffered in one of seven times he was sacked in that game.

If the Bengals don’t fix that offensive line, chances are they won’t live up to their potential. Everyone is projecting the Bengals to future Super Bowls after Burrow led Cincinnati there in his second NFL season.

But remember, Dan Marino also led the Dolphins to the Super Bowl in his second season. And then never did it again.

Dale Lolley covers the Steelers for and writes a Sunday column for the Observer-Reporter.

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