Maybe it's just one of those things that happens every now and again, and you just can't quite put your finger on why it's happening.

Maybe it's just dumb luck. I don't know.

But I like it.

Over the years, it's been rare to have the sort of team parity we've seen this season in both the Central and Susquehanna adult baseball leagues.

When was the last time the top and bottom teams in both leagues had double-figure wins at season's end?

In my memory -- and that goes back almost 50 years as a player, a coach, a manager and a writer of sports -- I don't believe it's ever happened.

Not in both leagues, in the same year, for sure.

The Central League is about to conclude its regular season and at this writing Stoverstown leads the league with a 20-12 record. Jefferson continues its resurgence in the league with a 19-13 record, good enough for second place, and has a fighting chance to win the league title if it wins games with Manchester and Pleasureville and beats Stoverstown in the continuation of a suspended game on Saturday morning.

Stoverstown, in addition to knocking off Jefferson, must beat Mount Wolf and Shiloh to win its second consecutive league championship.

And if Manchester and Glen Rock win out, which is entirely possible, they could also challenge for the league title if Stoverstown and/or Jefferson falter.

That means the Central League is going down to the wire.

But what really gets my attention is the two teams at the bottom of the heap. Central League history has always had a couple of teams -- as many as three in one season -- that were lucky to win a half-dozen or fewer games a year. They were referred to as the league's "doormats" in impolite company.

And it was usually the same teams year after year -- during my playing days, Shiloh and Jefferson spent most of their time residing at or near the bottom of the heap. A couple of those seasons, they were fortunate to win three or four games apiece, and usually against each other.

This year is different, however. The two bottom teams -- Shiloh and Pleasureville -- both have double-digit wins. Ten each, so far.

In other words, they have almost half as many wins as the team that's going to win the league championship. That's unheard of.

More interesting is that both of those teams have knocked off teams up and down the league standings. Pleasureville has beaten Stoverstown twice this year. Shiloh has beaten Mount Wolf, Glen Rock and Manchester, all teams near the top of the standings at one time or another this season.

And it's more of the same in the Susquehanna League. Yes, Hallam made a late-season surge to claim the league championship with a little room to spare, but for most of the season there were three or four teams taking turns playing for the top spot.

But you'll notice in the nine-team Susquehanna League, the bottom four teams -- Felton, Jacobus, Stewartstown and Windsor -- each have 10 wins or more. Again, about half the number of wins recorded by the league's best teams. Windsor picked up its 10th win when it beat Stewartstown in a play-in game for the right to take on Hallam in the first-round of the league playoffs.

The teams at the bottom of the Susquehanna standings have also taken turns knocking around the league's top teams throughout the season.

That just doesn't happen in a normal year, when the best teams take turns beating up on each other, but tended to take less seriously their games with the lower-ranked teams because they knew ice cream would melt in January before the lower teams could beat them.

Not so anymore.

Of the 17 adult teams in the two leagues combined, every team has double-digit wins.

Take one of those bottom teams for granted, and you're asking to be knocked off.

And at the end of the season, when you're counting wins and losses to determine a champion or a playoff spot, those losses to the bottom teams hurt most of all.

Not because they weren't good enough to beat you.

But because they were.

This year the teams at the bottom have been plenty good enough to win.

They needed to be taken seriously. No gimme games. No automatic wins just by throwing your glove onto the field.

And that's been fun to watch.

Sports columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Thurs days. E-mail: lhick