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Rob Potter | Democrat

EACH MEMBER OF the Hughes Guys team received a medal (inset) noting that they earned first place in the 2007 Whiffle Ball Tournament in memory of John Spear. Kneeling in front, from left to right, are Jesse Levine, Josh Cohen and Christopher Vaquedano. Standing, from left to right, are Erik Mayberg, Mike Hughes, John Lacey and Jesse Campanaro.

Whiffle Ball Tourney A Hit at MHS

By Rob Potter
MONTICELLO — June 8, 2007 — Anyone who happened to visit Monticello High School last Friday afternoon quickly gained a sense of just how much Coach John Spear was loved and respected by his family members, players, students, fellow Monticello Central School teachers and staff members and members of the community.
For approximately six hours, adults and students competed in a whiffle ball tournament to honor Spear, who died in an motor vehicle accident back in January.
Organizers of the event included Steve Pinto and Jed Carrier of Pro Prospects Baseball Training Center in Monticello, Sheryl Manz, advisor of the Monticello High School Interact Club – which is affiliated with the Monticello Rotary Club – and Kathy Bunce.
Pinto noted that they were originally expecting eight to 10 teams for the first-time event. But everyone was happily surprised when 19 teams of adults and teenagers from around Sullivan County signed up to compete.
Among those watching the games were several members of the Spear family, including Elaine Spear.
“I just can’t believe it,” she said of the event honoring her late husband.
Elaine Spear noted that the support she and her entire family have received from the Monticello community since her husband’s untimely passing “has been wonderful.”
“It has restored my faith in people,” she said.
Among those individuals and/or businesses who helped with the tournament were Bryce Flynn of Kodiak Sports, who provided medals for the first place team; managers Mike Hahn, Ron Newhard and Jerry Novobilski of the Monticello Shop Rite, who donated 20 cases of bottled water and Karen Lang, who baked a cake which was raffled off.
At the end of the evening, Pinto noted that the tournament raised in excess of $2,600 for the Spear family.
Some of the standard baseball/softball rules were modified slightly for the whiffle ball competition, which was held on three “fields” in the high school gymnasium. For example, each team was limited to seven players, there were only two outs per half inning and no walks were allowed.
In addition, a 50-minute time limit for each contest kept the tournament moving along at a quick pace.
In the championship game, the Hughes Guys defeated the Blue Sox, 3-1.
Members of the Hughes Guys team included Jesse Campanaro, Josh Cohen, Mike Hughes, John Lacey, Jesse Levine, Erik Mayberg and Christopher Vaquedano.
Members of the Blue Sox team included Mike Demestrio, Ryan Kowalyk, Andrew Moss, Dan Siegel, Greg Siegel, Zack Siegel and Logan White.

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