July 19, 2012
Veterans rally, Snyder wins Good Guy Award
Joe Mcintyre/staff photographer
Old Timers catcher Yale Hughes, left, blocks home plate after a home run by the All Stars’ Ben Albright, in the second inning.
It was one of the larger turnouts as 25 former, and a couple current, old-timers graced Meldrim Field on the 50th anniversary of the first Cortland Fastpitch Old-Timers Game, now know as the Dick “Fingers” Finn Old-Timers Fastpitch Softball Classic.
The Old-Timers won that first meeting in 1962 by a 5-4 count over the Smith Corona Comets in the days when it really was a very competitive game between the former stars and then previous year’s league champions.
It took until the fourth inning before the Old-Timers began hitting the ball to overcome a 6-0 deficit and post the 10-7 triumph of the Cortland Fastpitch Softball All-Stars, the team of current fastpitch players.
While the game is the highlight of the evening festivities, it was also time to hand out some special awards as well as announcing the members of the 2011 Cortland Men’s Fastpitch All-League team voted on by the team managers.
Players from co-regular season and playoff champions Dark Horse grabbed both the Roy Teeter MVP and Ray Spada Most Valuable Pitching Award.
The Horsemen’s second baseman-pitcher Jeff Carr claimed his third Teeter MVP Award. During the 2011 season, Carr hit .591 with a 1.114 slugging percentage. He recorded 26 hits, 21 RBIs, six doubles, four triples and three home runs.
“It’s just great to be playing fast-pitch in Cortland,” Carr said. “Mike Dexter and I talked last year that the Old-Timers roster was a little thin so it is nice to see so many guys here this year. I won’t mention any name, but there are a few of us on the All-Stars that should be playing with the Old-Timers, but I won’t mention any names. I encourage on the young players to stay involved in baseball now and become part of the great fast-pitch softball history in Cortland one day.”
For the eight-time in the history, Ray Spada Pitching Award went to a first-time winner. Dark Horse hurler Billy Morse was the recipient. Morse posted a 12-2 overall record as he tossed 56 innings with just 13 earned runs allowed for a 1.63 ERA to go with 76 strikeouts and just eight walks. He surrendered 37 hits and 19 total runs.
“It’s really nice that Cortland can still put something like this together,” Morse said. “I’m blessed and honor to be part of it. It is fun to show the guys I play with now what all the guys will go through at some point. This old-timers are really called legends, because they are legends from the past and it’s nice they are all here as well.”
The Dick Aylesworth Good Guy Award went to a woman for the first time as Sharyn Snyder received the honor for her contributions to Cortland fastpitch softball. Snyder has been a loyal fan of fastpitch softball for many years.
“It’s nice to be honor,”Snyder said. “I’ve been a fan for 40 years. I started out a Red Dragon fan, but one of the guys I followed switched teams so I then became a fan of The Tavern team. My husband (Ray) and I first saw a game at Dexter Park and have been fans since that first time.
“I just enjoy being with the guys,” she added. “I worked at the high school district for 29 years, so the kids that went there are now the players I watch. I know a lot of them because of my time there. Yale Hughes is one that I have followed for a long time and now I do watch his son Brian play for the Cortland High team.”
“I never knew Sharyn followed Jim Aloi, Yale Hughes and guys like that all those years,” Carr said. “It’s nice that she is the first female recipient of the Good Guy Award. She may be the only woman to be honored, but we’ll wait and see.”
The Snyders remember the days when the field was closer to Randall Elementary School and attended games in Cortland every Monday and Wednesday. They also spent many Tuesdays and Thursdays following the old Pioneer League teams in Truxton and the surrounding communities.
Joining Carr and Morse on the All-Stars were Dark Horse teammates Paul Sweger, Dennis Hopkins, Bill Weddle and Adam Koehler.
Rounding out the All-Stars were Sean Caughey, Cale Giroux, Ben Albright and Roger Karn from regular season co-champs Brix; Central City’s Greg Newkirk, Mike Lowie, Brian Ballard and Morgan DuBois; Tom Avery, Mike Holl and Tom Casterline from Mister B’s plus Jeff Lowe and Chris Amoia from Auburn/Syracuse.
As for the game, the All-Stars were retired 1-2-3 in the first inning, a first for the Old-Timers, but Ben Albright’s three run homer in the top of the third led to a four-run inning. Two more runs in the fourth helped the All-Stars grabbed the big early advantage.
The All-Star bats were quiet in the fourth and fifth innings as Morse showed his MVP form fanning four batters, including a MVP match-up with Carr to end the fourth inning.
With four runs in the bottom of the fourth off relief pitcher Carr, the Old-Timers were back in the game. RBI singles by Morse and Tink Root tied the game at 6-6 in the bottom of the fifth.
Yale Hughes took the mound for the Old-Timers in the top of the sixth inning and surrendered a lead-off homer to Mike Lowie followed by a single by Abe Johnson. Hughes settled down to strike out Tom Casterline and Ed Southworth before getting Albright to ground into an inning-ending fielder’s choice.
The Old-Timers scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead. Wayne Watkins led off with a walk and Russ Teeter capped his 4-for-4 night with a second bunt single. Darrell Bush reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases. Mick Lowie hit a sacrifice fly to scored Watkins and tie the game. Hughes delivered a two-run triple to put the Old-Timers in front for good. Duane Robillard followed with a single to score Hughes for the 10-7 cushion. The All-Stars turned a 4-6-3 double play to retire the Old-Timers. All-Star pitcher Mike Holl returned to pitch the sixth inning after pitching the first three innings and was saddled with the loss.
For the second year in a row, Mick Lowie took the mound for the seventh inning and got the save for winning pitcher Hughes and the rest of the Old-Timers. Lowie struck out Greg Newkirk to start things off. Next he retired his son via strikeout after sailing one pitch over the youngster’s head. The elder Lowie ended the game by getting Robillard’s son, Jake, to ground out .
“It was unintentional,” Lowie smiled afterwards of the pitch over his son’s head.
“He set me up well for the last two pitches outside,” son Mike replied.
After the long game, which few remember ever going seven innings, all the players departed for the Red Dragon for food, beverages and more recollections of the history of Cortland fastpitch softball.
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