By Ted Waddell
SWAN LAKE July 22, 2005 In Tuesday evenings Sullivan County Firemans Softball League matchup between the White Lake Volunteer Fire Department squad and the team from the Neversink (a squad comprised of members from three fire departments: Grahamsville, Neversink and Woodridge), White Lake FD came out on top by a final score of 8-6.
Neversink FD (4-3) led off by scoring five runs in the first frame, aided in large part by the bats of a couple of men named Mike who smacked RBI doubles Mike Garigliano and Mike Murphy.
At its turn at the plate in the opening frame, WLFD (4-6) snatched back three runs. In the third inning, WLFD took a 6-5 lead on a three-run homer by Bob Yakin Jr.
Yakins swat was followed by a triple by Jeff Doc Cohen. But the local doc was left stranded on the hot corner.
Mike [Garigliano] let me have a pitch I could handle, Yakin of his three-run blast. I took it the other way and got a piece of it
it felt good coming off the bat and I guess the humidity held it up.
Both teams scored once in the fifth inning and WLFD sent a runner across the plate in the sixth to close the scorebook.
Other notable hits of the game included a double by WLFDs George Misner and a triple for Neversink FD by Lanny Stoutenburg.
Cohen earned the win for White Lake. He was backed up behind the plate by Sean Sullivan. On the mound for Neversink FD was Garigliano, anchored by Stoutenburg.
As the volunteer firefighters battled on the Swan Lake Fire Departments field, 14-year-old Nicole Keesler, who will be a freshman this September at Monticello High School, sat in a folding lawn chair cheering on her dads WLFD team to victory while wearing an improvised hat reading Go Team!
WLFDs Frankie DiCostanzo stepped up to the plate wearing a T-shirt in remembrance of the New York City firefighters and police officers who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. To the Other Twin Towers of New York read the back of DiCostanzos shirt.
Russ Turner, who coaches the Neversink FD team, plays first base and is the departments second assistant chief.
White Lake played a hell of a game, and they came to play, Turner said.
After a promising 4-0 record at the start of the season, Neversink FD has lost its last three games.
Our bats were quiet today, Turner commented. We need to win our next three games to make it into the playoffs.
Russ Keesler, coach of the lads from WLFD team, noted that Tuesdays game was a cleaner one than the last time the two teams met a contest that generated a protest when the scorebooks differed on a crucial bases-loaded play in the final inning.
Neversink got off to a good start in the first inning, but our guys wanted it because we needed a big game to make it to the playoffs, Russ Keesler said.
One of my young guys, Jeremy Cunningham, hit an RBI triple in the sixth inning to give us an extra run, added Keesler, who is currently a WLFD fire commissioner and is also a past chief of the department.
Nelson Durland, who is one of the most well-known people in local firematics, served as first president of the countys firefighters softball league back when it was founded in 1975.
We started off with six teams, then it was eight and then 10, and now its back to six, he said of the pressures to make a living working two jobs and trying to find time to play ball.
In the beginning, we had good crowds and it was very competitive, said Durland, who added that while things are a bit quieter around the local firemens softball circuit, the players spirit and sense of brotherhood burns as brightly as ever.