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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

BOB YAKIN JR. of the White Lake Fire Department receives high fives from his teammates after he hit a three-run homer in Tuesday night’s game versus Neversink FD.

White Lake
Wins the Game

By Ted Waddell
SWAN LAKE — July 22, 2005 – In Tuesday evening’s Sullivan County Fireman’s 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.
Yakin’s 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 WLFD’s 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 Department’s 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 dad’s WLFD team to victory while wearing an improvised hat reading “Go Team!”
WLFD’s 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 DiCostanzo’s shirt.
Russ Turner, who coaches the Neversink FD team, plays first base and is the department’s 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 Tuesday’s 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 county’s 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 it’s 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 firemen’s softball circuit, the players’ spirit and sense of brotherhood burns as brightly as ever.

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