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Bradford Little League, McKean Little League merge

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Posted: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 12:00 am

Don't expect to see the words "Bradford Little League" or "McKean Little League" in The Era this spring.

Instead look for "Bradford Regional Little League" in some of the local writeups as a result of a charter merger between the leagues.

The old McKean Little League consisted of Lincoln, Custer City/Rew, Lewis Run, West Branch, Otto and Eldred, while the old Bradford Little League was the city of Bradford only.

"After last year we decided to combine our leagues," said Barry Bacha, president of the new league. "It will give us more flexibility to move kids around the league in order to even up the number of kids on each team.

"Another option is during the all-star tournament. Instead of McKean and Bradford having a team we can combine our forces and have a more competitive Bradford Regional team.

"These kids play together in basketball, midget football and wrestling. Why not let them play together in baseball?"

The process to combine the leagues moved rapidly.

"The Bradford Little League board members and the McKean Little League board members talked about combining," Bacha said. "We formed a transition committee.

"We started meeting in December. We had a couple people from each board who discussed what we wanted to do.

"We took it back to our individual boards and it was approved by each board. As a result, we now have a Bradford Regional Little League board of directors."

Bacha said he had to get approval through the Little League International in Williamsport by way of the Eastern Region headquarters.

The merger became official at the beginning of January.

Bacha said over the last several years, the number of youths registered to play softball and baseball has dwindled.

"Our numbers have been down in Bradford and McKean," Bacha declared. "Last year we had a combined 600 players between both leagues for softball and baseball (ages 5-16)."

Bacha said the new league has elected a board of directors and drafted a new constitution. Additionally, the group is in the process of submitting a new boundary map.

"A lot of people think the merger is a good thing. It's in the best interest of the kids. Everybody seems to be on board with it."

Bacha said the group is dedicated to improving baseball in the area. Among the volunteers cited by Bacha is Phil La Bella.

"Phil hasn't had a kid in the Little League program in 10-plus years," Bacha concluded. "But he is still a director in Eldred. It shows the dedication of our group."

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