Play ball.That will be the cry today as 16 baseball teams begin play in the 63rd annual AAABA Tournament with Johnstown representative Delweld opening at 7:30 tonight at Point Stadium against Altoona.

This will be the first AAABA Tournament without well-known statistician and free-lance writer Steve Seman, who passed on Feb. 16 at the age of 91.

Seman, who also was the originator of the mythical “Seventh Heaven Sports Hall of Fame” as well as the 211th member, is probably best known by AAABA participants as the person who wrote the popular sidelights columns for the newspaper.

Even after he no longer wrote the entire sidelights column by himself, he was a major contributor of information for the popular feature.

Seman was a kind and outgoing man who helped this sports writer out many times, supplying a steady stream of AAABA sidelight information when I first started at the Tribune in 1986 up until last summer.

Whenever he found out who Johnstown’s opening night opponent was, he would always be on the phone ready to give you the home team’s overall record against that team.

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Zanesville icon Jim Wright will miss this week’s AAABA for the first time in about 20 years, or maybe a little longer than that according to national committee member Bob Wolfe of Zanesville.

“Unfortunately, Jim will have to have a pacemaker inserted,” Wolfe said. “He has a fast heart beat, is what they diagnosed. I had a heck of a time convincing him that he wasn’t coming to Johnstown with me this week. This is like a family vacation for (Altoona’s) John Austin, Jim and I.

“We get along so well and work so well together. Each one has their duties and John and I find ourselves doing things that were normally Jim’s jobs,” Wolfe said.

Zanesville will face in-state rival Cincinnati at noon today at Franklin Field.

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The familiar AAABA radio broadcast team of Don Stanton and John DeFazio will call the games on WNTJ 850 AM and WNTW 990 AM.

Stanton is working his 21st AAABA Tournament, and DeFazio, his 23rd.

The broadcast team calls all of the Johnstown Delweld games, beginning at 7:15 each night.

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State College defeated Mifflin County 9-7 on Wednesday in Bellefonte to win its 15th Region 7 American Legion baseball crown.

Mifflin County defeated Somerset 12-6 in the quarterfinals.

State College heads to the state tournament which begins Tuesday in Spring City.

Cory Isenberg is a sports writer for TheTribune-Democrat.

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