Summer officially ends this year on Sept. 21.

For students, the season unofficially closes with the return to school and the opening of the fall sports season.

For sandlot baseball fans in York County, the Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer.

That's when the Tom Kerrigan Memorial Baseball Tournament takes place on diamonds around York County.

The event, which began as the Colonial York Tournament, started before this year's players were born.

It will be played for the 49th time this year.

Twenty-four teams are signed up for the three-day event that will conclude on Labor Day at Mount Wolf.

Among the entries are six York County teams: Hallam, Manchester, East Prospect, Jefferson, Stoverstown and the York Stars.

There are also teams from other parts of Pennsylvania along with clubs from Maryland, New York, New Jersey and Virginia.

The tournament used to draw 40 teams, but travel costs, college players returning to school earlier and teams closing their seasons before Labor Day have cut the field in recent years.

There may be fewer teams than in the tournament's heyday, but the field is still formidable, and the title is a prestigious one for sandlot teams.

The tournament's double-elimination format gives teams a second chance, although a loss early in the tournament will make it extremely difficult to escape the losers' bracket.


Teams are allowed to select players from other teams to fill out their rosters. Watching a player, who competed for one team during the regular season, competing for another team in the Tom Kerrigan Tournament can seem strange.

Managers almost always load up on pitchers. It's the only way your team can survive if faced with the challenge of playing a bunch of games over the weekend.

The York Central team won the first Kerrigan Tournament and repeated four years later.

After Stoverstown prevailed in 1972, a York County team didn't win the title until Mount Wolf triumphed in 1989. The Wolves repeated in 1990 and won again in 1994. In between, Dover (1991) and Pleasureville (1992) secured titles.

The York Yankees triumphed in 1996 and 1998, and Mount Wolf won for the fourth time in 2006. Glen Rock was a back-to-back champion in 2007 and 2008, and Stoverstown shared the title with Susquehanna Assault last year. The Assault is back this year.

The Tom Kerrigan Tournament is still almost two weeks away, but fans have plenty of opportunities before then to view sandlot games.

Manchester and Jefferson are scheduled to play the third game of the best-of-5 Central League Playoff Championship Series at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday on the Manchester diamond. Game 4 is set for 5:45 p.m. Wednesday at Jefferson, with Game 5, if needed, at 5:45 p.m. Thursday at Manchester.

The series is tied at one apiece.

This coming weekend, Manchester, the Central League regular-season champion, will take on Hallam, the Susquehanna League regular-season and playoff winner, for the York County title. The series, a best-of-3 affair, will begin on Saturday in Manchester and finish up on Sunday at East Prospect. (Hallam's field is not available).

The last time that Hallam won the York County Championship Series (in 1978), it was a member of the Central League. Manchester captured the crown in 1982.

-- Dick VanOlinda is a sports reporter for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at dvanolin or 505-5407.