CUMBERLAND - The Rec Baseball League, founded 49 years ago by former Rec Department director Gene Mason, began a new season Monday with Mount Savage playing the Times-News at Bowers Field.

The league opener was suspended by lightning in the fourth inning with Mount Savage leading 7-3. It will be continued at a later date.

Mason started the league hoping to provide a supervised recreational program for area youth, which are drafted from the Hot Stove League. Last year more than 160 youth from the tri-state area played in the league.

With Ridgeley VFW dropping out of the league, this year there are nine teams and each will play two games per week, and will play each team twice per sason.

The regular season for the league, for 16-19 year-olds, will run through July followed by two weeks of playoffs. The top four teams will advance to the postseason, and the final two will play a best-of-three series for the league championship.

Salisbury Casselman Valley won the National Division and Chessie Credit Union won the American Division last year. Salisbury Casselman Valley beat Chessie in the best-of-three finals.

This year's teams are Chessie Credit Union, Cumberland Times-News, Barrelville Outdoor Club, LaVale Personal Best, American Legion Post 13, WEPCO Federal Credit Union, Hite Roofing, Greg's Auto Keyser, and Salisbury Casselman Valley.

League officers for the 2006 season are: Ken Leasure, president; Tom Shaw, vice president; Dale Burgess, secretary; Charlie Hinze, treasurer; Rick Renotas, commissioner; Dick Rank, advisor; Terry Lippold, umpire in chief; and Don Decker, activities coordinator.

The league offers its thanks to Mason for his dedication to the youth of the area and the league.

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