Local teener league team receives bequest from an old friend
The 2018 Wayne County Teener League season has picked up right where it left off last summer.
On Sunday afternoon, Honesdale and Re-Max traveled to Cooperstown (NY) for an Opening Day battle at historic Doubleday Field, which is located in the shadow of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Eagles and Renegades met in last year's championship series, with Re-Max rolling to a 16-5 win in the final game.
This capped an excellent season for the Renegades, who closed out the summer with a sparkling record of 17-1.
However, a new season means a clean slate and it appears the gap between these two teams has narrowed considerably
In fact, Honesdale rallied for an epic win in this year's season opener. The Eagles and Renegades battled to a 1-1 tie through seven innings before Coach Pete Goyette's lads rallied for a wild 3-1 win.
“We have a really nice mix of veteran players and youngsters,” said Coach Goyette, who had to miss the game and turned things over to his dedicated assistants.
“I have high hopes for this year's team. This win was a great way to start off the season and I hope we can build on it.”
Weather permitting, Honesdale will be back in action Tuesday on the road at West Scranton.
First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. at Battaglia Park.
Coach Goyette played for Honesdale when his father, Phil, and the legendary Freddie Reisch were in the dugout.
He's been the skipper himself for many years now and stresses a continuity between teams of the past and the present.
“Once an Eagle, always an Eagle,” is a mantra he repeats often to his players.
It's a phrase that holds special meaning this year in particular since one of the program's legendary figures died during the off-season.
David Sherwood was a power-hitting corner infielder who played for the Eagles in the mid 1970s.
“Duck,” as he was affectionately known to his friends, went on to star for Honesdale High School before graduating in 1979.
He then turned his focus to the softball diamond. He played and managed for the Wagon Wheel in Wayne County League competition and Ronnie's Ringers in Delaware Valley action.
Duck was an avid baseball fan who rooted passionately for his beloved Boston Red Sox. And, while he loved sparring with national sportswriters (particularly those at the New York Post), he never forgot his roots.
“Once an Eagle, always an Eagle” applies perfectly to Duck. And, even though he's gone now, he's still having a positive impact on Wayne County Teener League Baseball.
In fact, as one last heartfelt gesture to his old team, the executor of Duck's estate made a donation to the Eagles.
“Duck possessed a love of our community and especially for all things baseball,” Jeff Fimstone said. “For many years, he served as president of the team's sponsoring organization, the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 1858.
“It was happy memories of his time on the Eagles baseball team that spurred him to become involved with the administration of this organization.”
And so, in Duck's memory, more than $500 was collected from his friends and donated to the team in his honor. That money helped the Eagles make their annual journey to Cooperstown possible.
“We're very grateful to Duck,” Coach Goyette said. “I talked to the kids and to the parents about Duck at practice and they were very moved by his generosity.
“He was a good guy and we're proud to remember him as an Eagle.”
On the Field
The 2018 edition of the Honesdale squad appears poised to make a serious run at the Wayne County Teener League title.
Led by a talented group of 15-year-olds, the Eagles are looking to supplant the Renegades and re-claim the crown they last wore two seasons ago.
San Jones, Jake Panza, Jimmy Rodda, Cole Bannan and Robbie Campen are all battle-tested veterans who've played roles in past championship teams.
“They're already showing great leadership on and off the field,” Coach Goyette said. “We expect a lot from our 15-year-olds and they're already delivering.”
On Sunday, four of these veterans took a turn on the mound: Rodda (49 pitches), Campen (47), Bannan (40) and Panza (9).
Offensively, Honesdale staged its game-winning rally in the top of the eighth.
Drew Howell lashed a one-out single and was joined on the basepaths by Campen, who also singled. Moments later, both runners moved up on a passed ball, setting the stage for Rodda.
The Eagle slugger didn't disappoint. Jimmy roped a basehit that plated two runs and gave the Eagles a 3-1 lead.
Panza then came on in relief in the bottom of the frame to earn a save with three straight outs.
For Re-Max, Paul Meagher did the majority of the mound work. The hard-throwing righty notched 81 pitches before handing the ball off to Garrett Tonkin, who recorded 42.