Rob Potter | Democrat
DENNIS DIETRICH, SECOND from left, joins, from the left, daughter Analey, daughter Shannon, wife Marie and “Sandy” the family dog for a group photo after pitching the Smallwood-Mongaup Valley Fire Department team to the Eastern Sullivan Firefighters Softball League championship last month at Edward M. Collins Memorial Park in Mongaup Valley.
Dennis Dietrich to End Legendary Softball Career
By Rob Potter
SMALLWOOD September 4, 2007 One of the area’s best softball pitchers has decided to hang up his spikes.
Smallwood resident Dennis Dietrich, who has won numerous championships with several area softball teams during the past 30 years, made that decision last month.
“It’s official, I’m done,” Dietrich said on the evening of August 16, just moments after pitching the Smallwood-Mongaup Valley Fire Department team to the Eastern Sullivan Firefighters Softball League title with a 11-7 Game 2 victory over the White Sulphur Springs FD team at Edward M. Collins Memorial Park in Mongaup Valley.
“I want to go out on top,” Dietrich added.
Being at the top was the norm for Dietrich during his outstanding softball career. He was a member of two Men’s Major Modified national championship teams Mullers Auto Body of Port Jervis and Roche’s Garage of Callicoon.
Dietrich also won a New York State Men’s Major Modified title with the DiPeri Limousine team.
In addition, he was a key player for the Roche’s Garage teams that won the Edward M. Collins Memorial Softball Tournament seven times 1988, 1989, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.
Dietrich and his Roche’s Garage teammates also won the Neal B. Turfler Softball Tournament in Middletown on many occasions. He earned the Most Valuable Pitcher award five times at the Turfler Tournament.
In 1989, Dietrich received a special honor at the Turfler Tournament as he was the first inductee into the Turfler Tournament Hall of Fame.
Three of Dietrich’s biggest supporters throughout his years on the softball field have been his wife, Marie, and their two daughters, Analey and Shannon.
Dietrich passed on his talent and passion for the sport of softball to Analey and Shannon, both of whom are excellent players in their own right.
Analey, 24, played for two years on the junior varsity softball team at Monticello Central School and then played two years on the varsity team before graduating in 2001. Shannon, 22, began playing on the Monties JV squad in her freshman year and was called up to the varsity team at the end of that season. She was a member of the varsity team for the next three seasons before graduating in 2003.
The Dietrich sisters who were teammates on the Monticello Lady Panthers varsity softball team during the 2001 season have been teammates the past few summers on Charlie’s Angels, one of the top teams in the Sullivan County Women’s Softball League (SCWSL).
“I got a lot of my passion for softball from my dad,” said Shannon Dietrich, who recently completed a four-year softball career at East Stroudsburg (Pa.) University, an National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II team. “He taught me how to play the game mentally and the importance of teamwork.
“He’s always been my biggest fan,” added Shannon, noting that her father has been watching her play softball since she was a first-grader playing T-Ball.
Dennis Dietrich retired from softball in 2005, but returned to the game to be Shannon’s teammate on the Smallwood-Mongaup Valley FD team for the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
Knowing how much her father loves the game of softball, Analey Dietrich is a bit skeptical that he has played his last game.
“We’ll see what happens,” Analey said. “I don’t know if he will be able to stay away. When next season rolls around, he may want to play again.”
Whether he returns to the diamond or not, there is one thing that the Dietrich sisters are sure of that their father will still be involved with the sport of softball in some capacity.
For example, Dennis Dietrich has served as the tournament director for the Edward M. Collins Memorial Softball Tournament for several years and in 2005 he and fellow coach Pat Shuart guided the Tout Va Bien/Pro Prospects team which included Analey and Shannon to the New York State ASA Women’s 23-and-Under Fast Pitch Tournament championship.
“Even if he doesn’t play next year, he will still be at the games,” Shannon Dietrich said of her dad. “He’ll be at the fire department league games and women’s league games supporting all the players.”