July 19, 2007


Teeter special Old-Timers guest


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
After greeting fellow fast pitch Old-Timers teammate Denny Zach, while Dick Aylesworth and 87-year-old Ken Henry, center, look on, Roy Teeter retreated to the bleachers to take a break with wife Tracey Wednesday night at Cortland’s Meldrim Field.  The 77-year-old former pitcher watched his side hang on for a 13-12 victory over the Cortland All-Stars in the Annual Old-Timers Game.

Sports Editor

The last of the 28 Old-Timers introduced at the start of Wednesday evening’s special softball gathering, relaxing on the front row of bleachers at Meldrim Field in Cortland, scoffed at the adoration he had just received.
“If I were as good as they said I was, I would have known better. The longer you’ve been away the more they make you seem to be better than you were,“ was the much too modest assessment offered by venerable Roy Teeter.
The 77-year-old Teeter was the special guest for the Cortland Fast Pitch Old-Timers Game that has become a ritual of summertime in these parts, as the Old Timers continued a recent winning streak by defeating a current collection of Cortland All-Stars 13-12 over six innings. He was vastly underestimating the role he played as a pitcher and feared batsman when the sport was in its heyday in Central New York towns and cities, including the old diamond once located at the east end of Randall Park before Meldrim Field was created.
Teeter was a tireless and highly regarded performer at places like Cortland, Ithaca and Auburn once he took up the sport in 1958 after being an athlete of note at Ithaca College. He would often take the mound at the old Randall Field for an early outing and then pitch the late game in Auburn, wife Tracey behind the wheel while Teeter changed his uniform in transit.
He was a leader, too. Or as Old-Timers Game organizer Mike Dexter, before presenting the Roy Teeter Award for the Most Valuable Player from the 2006 Cortland Fast Pitch season between innings, said of the brief time he spent playing with Teeter: “Roy taught a lot of players on my team how to play the game, both winning and losing.”
Pitching is what makes the game what it is, which is the biggest difference between softball generations. Having fewer capable hurlers these days leads to having fewer teams, with just a handful of clubs battling for bragging rights in the Cortland league this season. By comparison, there were an impressive number of memorable pitchers on the Old Timers roster: ageless wonder and Teeter cohort Denny Zach (who has pitched in league play three times this summer), Harold Foster, Kent Finkelstein, Jim Bonawitz, and recent Cortland Fast Pitch League hurlers Mick Lowie and Yale Hughes. They gave the older guys a deep staff of capable arms.
Teeter used to pitch at least 10 times in an average week during the summer, with not much wear and tear on his sturdy right arm.
“It was easy. You throw the ball the same way your muscles go. Throwing a baseball is much more difficult,” said Teeter. “You have to do a lot of serious work to be a good pitcher, work at it a couple of hours a day all through the week.”
THE ROY TEETER MVP Award would be presented to Tom Avery of The Tavern, a past recipient of the honor. The former Cortland High and SUNY Cortland performer batted .603 with four home runs for the 2006 regular season and playoff champions.
The Ray Spada MVP Pitching Award went to The Tavern’s Mike Holl, who started last night’s game for the All-Stars and humbly gave up a base hit to his father — starting Old-Timers second sacker Dick Holl. Bob Spada, who was displaying a wedding picture from 1938 of his deceased father earlier, was on hand to present the award for his dad.
And the Dick Aylesworth Good Guy Award went to Bill Griffen, the energetic and athletic SUNY Cortland professor who was a past Old-Timers shortstop before passing away earlier this year. Wife Judy and daughter Amy — wearing Griffen’s orange New York Mets away jersey from the team’s fantasy camp he attended with the No. 1 beneath is name on the back — were on hand to receive the honor from Mike Dexter.
Those awards were presented during breaks in the action, where the Old-Timers distinguished themselves once more — from Sam Sonnacchio dropping down a perfect bunt to bring a teammate home from third to hurler-turned-outfielder Foster making a remarkable catch in deep right to rob a younger foe of extra bases.
The Old-Timers squad of coach Dick ‘Fingers’ Finn would never trail after scoring six times in the bottom of the second, holding on in the top of the sixth when not so old Old-Timers pitcher Hughes picked up a shaky save. All-Star Dennis Hopkins was finally tagged out in a rundown between home plate and third base as the potential tying run.
OF COURSE, THE game is more than just keeping score.
Keeping alive the memories of fast pitch locally is a big part of this event. The pre-game talk of former Cortland Standard sports editor Jere Dexter focused on the highlights of the 1957 campaign 50 years ago when Randall Field was going under repairs and softball suffered a bit, when teams like Cox’s Corner from the Dasher Cox Restaurant in Homer were in action, when a Cortland High senior Gary Myers began playing before becoming the favorite catcher of an icon like Teeter. A former pitcher himself, Jere Dexter pointed out fast pitch is now 70 years old in Cortland, starting when Randall Flats turned into Randall Field.
Getting a chance to get reacquainted with past teammates is also priceless.
That is why Teeter moved a scheduled trip to New York State up a week at the last moment after learning when the Old-Timers Game was going to be held. He had missed the event in the past few seasons, having recovered from a stroke suffered three years ago.
Now residing in the Florida town of Naples, he has a son in the Moravia town where he was a high school teacher and administrator. He has siblings in Newfield, where he was born. So he makes the occasion visit home and drove up to Cortland arriving on Tuesday.
“Just seeing the guys I play with,” is special to Teeter, who noted Cortland players seemed to take the game more seriously than some other teammates who were more interested in post-game refreshments than winning and losing.
“And the spectators were wonderful,” recalled Teeter, noting fans in other towns were not as congenial. “We’d get 1,000 people watching us, lining up all along the field. That’s what you don’t have these days, and I guess it’s because of television. But they were kind, kind people. No one ever booed anybody.”



All-star squad from ‘06 named

King Sub had the most players, four, named to the Cortland Fast Pitch Softball League’s all-star first team for the 2006 season.
Representing that squad on the elite list are Roger Karn (.530 batting average), Jeff Carr (.480), Dennis Hopkins (.420) and Brian Taylor (.420). Amelia’s Ristorante placed three players — Sean Caughey (.685), Abe Johnson (.500) and Ben Albright (.450) — on the first team.
The Tavern, the regular-season and playoff champion, had two players — Tom Avery (.603) and Mike Holl (.426) — named. Also making the first team were Lenny Hubbard (.421) from Cindy’s and Tom Casterline (.436) from Bestway Lumber.
The second team consists of Yale Hughes (.536), Eric Young (.426) and Mike Smith (.406) from The Tavern, Red Dragon’s Geoff Sorenson (.413), Seth McMahon (.375) and Don McEvoy (.305), Bestway’s Ron Taylor (.370) and Bill Francis (.368) and, from Cindy’s, Jon Burk (.310).
FAST PITCH MAKE-UPS: The league schedule for the remainder of the regular season (all games at Meldrim Field unless noted):
July 23- Central City Bar & Grill vs. The Tavern, 6:30 p.m.; Central City vs. Mr. B’s, 8:15; King Sub vs. Amelia’s Ristorante, 6:30, Cortlandville.
July 25- The Tavern vs. Amelia’s, 6 p.m.; Mr. B’s vs. Central City (5-inning continued game), 7:30; Mr. B’s vs. Kings Sub, 9.
July 30- Mr. B’s vs. Amelia’s, 6:30; The Tavern vs. Amelia’s, 8:15; King Sub vs. Central City at Cortlandville, 6:30.
Aug. 1- Mr. B’s vs. King Sub (6-inning game), 6; Amelia’s vs. Central City (6-inning game), 7:30; Amelia’s vs. Central City (6-inning game), 9.



Seamans powers Anecelle’s romp

Beth Seamans led an offensive barrage by going 3-for-4 with a double, triple and home run as Anecelle’s improved to 9-1 in Cortland Women’s Slow Pitch Softball League D Division play with a resounding 14-3 win over Lucky’s Wednesday.
In C Division doubleheader action, Gator’s/Franklin Rock swept Bob’s Riverside 13-1 and 9-7.
In E Division play, Ivan’s edged Easy Street 10-9 and King Sub/Groton Fitness downed Palm Gardens 13-3.
Anecelle’s  14, Lucky’s 3: Anecelle’s scored five runs in the top of the first inning and five more in the third to build a comfortable 10-0 lead before Lucky’s got on the board with one run in the bottom of the third. Tori Wells was a perfect 4-for-4 with one double as the first-place team pounded out 23 hits. Erin Moore was also 4-for-4 with a triple and home run while Brianna Head added a 3-for-4 bat with two doubles. Tibby Salisbury was another 3-for-4 swinger for Anecelle’s.
Patty Zosh paced Lucky’s as she went 4-for-4 with a double and triple.
Gator’s/Franklin Rock 13, Bob’s Riverside 1: Gator’s/FR jumped to a 5-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back in game one of the twinbill. Becky Reynolds led the offense with her 3-for-3 effort that included a grand-slam home run.
Kelly Pittsley was 2-for-2 for Bob’s Riverside in the five-inning opener.
Gator’s/Franklin Rock 9, Bob’s Riverside 7: Trailing 2-0, Gator’s/FR scored eight runs in the top of the third inning to take the lead. Heather Weber hit a grand-slam homer during the big rally. Bob’s hung tough with three runs in the bottom of the third and two more in the fourth to close to within 8-7. Gator’s plated an insurance run in the top of the fifth.
Mary Laudermilk went 3-for-3 to lead the Gator’s/Franklin Rock attack while Wendy Lockwood and Becky Cornell each paced Bob’s Riverside with 3-for-3 efforts.
Ivan’s 10, Easy Street 9: Ivan’s built a 9-3 lead over the first five innings, but needed that insurance run in the sixth to hold on to victory. Haley Fredenburg and Nicki Calale each hit home runs for Ivan’s while Tiffany Lamborn, Kayla Stockton and Michelle Dalton added doubles. Beth Penoyer made the game-ending catch in deep right-center field.
King Sub/Groton Fitness 13, Palm Gardens 3: Becky DeForest was 5-for-5 and Sarah Cobb went 4-for-4 as King Sub/Groton Fitness broke a 2-2 tie with six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning and pulled away. Alexis Young and Donna Cruz (double) each added 4-for-5 efforts.
Chrissy Griffen and Rose Adessa were each 4-for-4 for Palm Gardens.





Marathon gets best of Homer in eighth

MARATHON — David Bleck hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly that allowed Derek Root to score the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning as Marathon Post 617 edged Homer Post 465 by an 11-10 count in Cortland County American Legion baseball action Wednesday.
Both teams will face each other again Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Cortland County playoffs to be hosted by Tompkins Cortland Community College in Dryden. The winner of that game will meet Cortland Post 489, 30 minutes after the completion of their game, for the right to represent the county in the District 6 Tournament in Binghamton.
Homer rallied from an 8-6 deficit in the top of the seventh inning. Andy Pagan drew a walk that was followed by a two-run homer off the bat of Paul Bartleson.
Marathon could not score in the bottom of the inning and the game moved into extra innings.
Post 465 took a 10-8 lead in the top of the eighth. Paul Delles (4-for-5) and Nick Biondi (3-for-5) each hit singles to get runners on base. Both would eventually score on a single by Dan Miller.
The winning rally for Post 617 began with a walk to Adam Wiley. Tony Ortiz hit a double to score Wiley. Root (2-for-4) followed with a double, but Ortiz was unable to score so Marathon had runners at second and third.  An intentionally walk to Brett McGowan (3-for-4) loaded the bases and set up the potential for a game-ending double play. Cody Bellefluer laid down a perfect suicide-squeeze bunt that scored Ortiz with the tying run and kept the bases loaded, Bellefluer being safe at first. Bleck (2-for-4) then hit his sacrifice fly to score Root with the winning run.
The momentum swung back-and-forth throughout the game as Marathon took a 5-0 lead thanks to four runs in the bottom of the second inning. Homer answered with four run in the third.
The game remained close until Homer scored the tying runs in the seventh.




Playoffs set to continue

The playoffs in both Cortland County Babe Ruth League divisions are coming down to the stretch run.
In the Senior Division, Dryden TTC and Cortland Alliance Bank will meet at 5:45 p.m. today at Beaudry. The winner will go against the regular-season champion Homer Yankees for the title on Saturday at Beaudry in a 5:45 p.m. start. If the Yankees, currently undefeated in the double-elimination event, lose that game, a second contest for the crown will take place at 8 p.m. at Beaudry.
Today’s Junior Division semifinal contests, both at 5:45 p.m., have Cortland Exchange and Cortland Eagles meeting at Barry School’s Dave Guido Field while Dryden APM Testing visits Groton. The semifinals will take place Saturday (starting times to be determined), with the first-place Homer White Sox and second-place Homer Rangers hosting tonight’s winners, the match-ups based on seedings.
The Junior Division championship game is slated for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Beaudry.