By Rob Potter
MONGAUP VALLEY August 3, 2007 There were thunderstorms at the beginning of the weekend and there were thunderstorms at the conclusion of the weekend.
But the first annual John Spear Memorial Modified Pitch Softball Tournament presented by the Smallwood-Mongaup Valley Fire Department (SMVFD) and Sullivan Sports went on as scheduled at Kenneth H. Somerville Field in Monticello and Edward M. Collins Memorial Park in Mongaup Valley.
All of the tournament proceeds will benefit Elaine Spear and her family. Elaine’s husband John, a popular teacher and varsity baseball coach at Monticello High School, died in a motor vehicle accident back in January.
The rainstorms forced some changes in the schedule for the 16-team tournament. Friday night games at both Somerville Field and Collins Park were postponed by the heavy rain. In an effort to get back on schedule, games began at 8 a.m. Saturday and continued until late that night.
On Sunday evening, a strong thunderstorm caused the loser’s bracket final between Ratner Paving and the SMVFD team to be suspended in the fifth inning with SMVFD holding an 11-9 lead.
As the rain continued, tournament directors Mike Greco and Rob Keesler decided to conclude the tournament at that point.
Fitness Factory/D-Tech, which was undefeated and had been waiting to play either Ratner Paving or SMVFD in the title game, was declared the tournament champion. SMVFD was awarded the second place trophy and Ratner Paving received the third place trophy.
During the awards ceremony, Fitness Factory/D-Tech team captain Des Gonzalez accepted the first place trophy; SMVFD coaches Joe Bonnaci, Patrick Bonnaci and Gerry Donohue accepted the second place trophy and Ratner Paving captain Steve Rogg accepted the third place trophy.
In addition, Fitness Factory/D-Tech’s Aaron Dinkel received the tournament MVP trophy.
Dinkel blasted five home runs during the weekend to help Fitness Factory/D-Tech remain undefeated.
During the weekend, several 50/50 drawings were held.
Autographed baseball memorabilia from current New York Mets and New York Yankees including Phil Hughes, Derek Jeter, Jose Reyes and David Wright was raffled off during the awards ceremony.
Elaine Spear thanked all of those associated with the event which honored her late husband. She especially noted the efforts of Mike Greco, Rob Keesler, the Bonnaci family, the Bunce family, all of the participating teams, the umpires and volunteers.
“It’s just wonderful what everybody has done to help our family,” Elaine Spear said. “I can’t thank everyone enough.”