The Williamsport Crosscutters kicked of their tenth season with the Philadelphia Phillies with their annual Hot Stove Banquet on January 18 at the Genetti Hotel in downtown Williamsport.
The event featured Phillies manager Pete Mackanin and catcher Cameron Rupp in addition to Cutters manager and former World Series MVP Pat Borders and Japanese baseball legend Tom O'Malley. The guests entertained attendees with stories, answered audience questions and signed autographs.
In talking about the 2016 Phillies, Mackanin stated, "We experimented last year. This year is the other half of the experiment. I think we're starting to build some depth to where we're going to be pretty good."
The night, presented in part by Woodlands Bank, WRAK Radio and the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, was also highlighted by auctions that featured a wealth of sports memorabilia including a special Phillies VIP Game Experience, an autographed giant Phanatic bobblehead and a full uniform worn by Tom O'Malley as a hitting coach for the Hanshin Tigers in 2014.
Another highlight of the event was the induction of the 2001 Williamsport Crosscutters team into the Bowman Field Hall of Fame. The team, managed by Tony Beasley, had a record of 48-26. After losing game one of the NYPL Championship Series to the Brooklyn Cyclones, the remainder of the series was canceled due to the tragic events of September 11th. Brooklyn and Williamsport were declared co-champions, marking the first championship for a Williamsport professional team since 1960. A total of eight players from that squad went on to play in the major leagues including former Pirates outfielder Chris Duffy who returned to Williamsport for the event.
A portion of the proceeds from the evening were donated to the James V. Brown Library whose mission is, "To enable people to be the best they can be, to grow, to learn and to enjoy their lives while learning". At the conclusion of the festivities, the library was presented with a check for $5,025.
The Crosscutters open the 2016 season on June 17 against the State College Spikes at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field. Season tickets, Bonus Books and group packages are currently available and can be purchased online at www.crosscutters.com or by calling the Cutters at (570) 326-3389.