Andy Simek | Democrat
THE D-TECH SOFTBALL team poses with the championship trophy after winning the Ernie Ross Memorial Softball Tournament. Kneeling in the front, from left to right, are Derwin Rivera, Serafin Rodriguez, Edwin Rodriguez, Mike Weiner and Shane Conner. Standing in the back, from left to right, are Wayne Kaiser, Julian Dawson, Dennis Rivera, Aaron Dinkel, Desmond Gonzalez, Steve Rivera, Alex Salazar and Jay Falasca.
Softball Tournament Honors Memory of Ernie Ross
By Andy Simek
FREMONT CENTER August 7, 2007 Ernie Ross was a fine human being.
The father of six was a friend to many and well liked in the community.
A weekend softball tournament was planned to help cover the cost of his hospitalization a tournament that Ernie Ross never got the chance to see.
Ernie Ross passed away last Tuesday and the event that was going to benefit him was instead held as a memorial to him.
The Ernie Ross Memorial Softball Tournament began on Friday at the Fremont Ball Park. The 15-plus teams were whittled down to only two by Sunday evening: Kestler’s and D-Tech.
D-Tech, which was undefeated heading into the title game, rallied in the bottom of the seventh for a dramatic 11-9 win.
The game started with a bang, as Kestler’s leadoff batter Pete Saprona hit a home run.
In an almost constant series of lead changes, D-Tech pulled ahead in the bottom of the next inning.
D-Tech leadoff batter Edwin “Flaco” Rodriguez singled to center field.
He scored when Aaron “Red” Dinkel hit D-Tech’s first homer of the game.
Mike Weiner hit a home run in the next inning to give D-Tech a 3-1 advantage.
In the top of the fourth inning, Kestler’s took back its lead.
After Dennis Sneding and Scott Gross hit consecutive singles, Buddy Vale slammed a home run to give Kestler’s a 4-3 advantage.
In the bottom of the same inning, D-Tech pulled ahead yet again.
After just barely making it to second base after a hit, Kaiser just needed to wait for the right opportunity to make it home.
His opportunity came a few moments later.
Dennis Rivera hit a single, allowing Kaiser to advance to third base.
This, coupled with Desmond Gonzalez’s double, gave Kaiser the opening he was looking for. Rivera also scored on Gonzalez’s double.
With the pressure mounting in the top of the fifth, Kestler’s responded.
Tim Gordsy started the inning off with a double.
It seemed as if Gordsy was going to be stranded at second base, however, as D-Tech quickly registered two outs.
Mike Hanor came to the rescue for Kestler’s by smashing a triple. Hanor crossed home plate when the next batter, Sneding, singled.
Kestler’s added on a few more runs in the top of the sixth.
Gordsy once again got the inning off to a great start for his team. Gordsy hit a home run, which allowed him and Jeff Barnes to trot across home plate and give Kestler’s a 7-5 lead.
D-Tech managed to close the gap slightly in the bottom of the inning.
A triple by Jay Falasca and a single by Kaiser meant two more runs for D-Tech.
Kestler’s scored twice in the top of the seventh to take a 9-7 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, D-Tech overcame the two-run deficit to capture the championship.
With one out, Rodriguez ripped a double to left field. Teammate Shane Conner followed up with a single.
After Kestler’s recorded the second out of the inning, D-Tech’s Julian Dawson had to deal with the pressure of batting with two outs and two teammates on base.
Dawson drew a walk from Kestler’s pitcher Jeff Gombita to load the bases.
Before stepping up to the plate, the next batter, Jay Falasca, remarked that he was going to sail the ball past the fence.
Falasca kept his word as he blasted a walk-off grand slam to give D-Tech a two-run victory and the championship trophy.