The Rat advanced to the final by defeating the Red Men that morning, 13-3. Leftfielder Mark Alderfer was the Rat's offensive leader, collecting 9 hits in 13 at-bats over four games.
Huttie, who manages and pitches for the Rat, said the team has suffered
from the loss of four starters from last year's squad, including all-star first baseman John O'Donnell, who left the team because of a work conflict; pitcher Lou Argentine, who has retired from baseball; and shortstop Steve Silicato and leftfielder/
cleanup hitter Nelson Johnson, both of whom were sidelined for the season after undergoing surgery.
The Rat's biggest problems, according to Huttie, have been a lack of timely hitting and a thin pitching staff.
But things are not all bad for the third-place Rat (13-10), which has a firm grip on a top-four finish and a berth in the playoffs. Pitcher Tom Quinn, who was used mostly in relief last year, has emerged as a reliable starter. Chuck McAnally has recovered from a bout with mononucleosis to become a consistent defensive shortstop. And catcher Bob Warren - one of the most underrated players in the league - has become the Rat's offensive stalwart, hitting .500 with 9 home runs and 30 runs batted in.
"When the season started, everyone was gunning for us, and that was to be expected," Huttie said. "We lost the (Fourth of July) tournament, but we're trying now to regroup for the postseason tournament. We're all really pointing toward trying to win the playoff championship again."
The Charlies (18-5) are holding fast to first place in the WCABL, one game ahead of Englund's (17-6).
One big reason for the Charlies' success this year is the emergence of outfielder Jim White, who is putting together one of the best individual offensive seasons in the league's history.
Through Wednesday, White was leading the league in batting average (.577), home runs (14), RBIs (43), hits (45) and runs (33). With seven games remaining, he is tied with Hal Ziegler for the home run mark (set in 1979), and has already surpassed Ziegler's 41 RBIs.
In the annual Chester County American Legion All-Star Game at Unionville High School on Monday, the North defeated the South, 18-8.
The South's Corey Anderson and the North's Pete Adams were named the game's most valuable players.
Anderson provided one of the South's few offensive highlights with a towering 3-run home run. Adams, who also belted a 3-run homer, went 3-for-4 with 4 RBIs and 4 runs scored.