By Rob Potter
LIVINGSTON MANOR Even though a few days had passed since the championship games, the excitement and pride felt by the entire community was evident on Friday evening in Livingston Manor.
Despite a heavy rain shower moments before the Parade of Champions began, hundreds of people stood on sidewalks and in parking lots to help the Livingston Manor baseball and softball teams celebrate their New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Class D championships. The Manor Lady Wildcats won their second straight Class D state softball title on Saturday, June 11 by defeating Batavia Notre Dame, 8-0, in Queensbury. On Sunday, June 12, the Manor Wildcats won the Class D baseball title by topping Loudonville Christian, 13-0, at NYSEG Stadium in Binghamton. The game began the day before at Johnson City High School but had to be concluded on Sunday due to lightning and rain delays.
As the members of the two championship teams rode on floats, they smiled, waved to their family members, friends and neighbors, held up their index fingers to indicate they were No. 1 and tossed candy to many of the young children who were standing along the parade route.
The parade also included fire trucks from Livingston Manor and Roscoe, Little League players and coaches and the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department DARE Corvette.
Livingston Manor Central School Athletic Director Shirlee Davis and Roscoe Central School Athletic Director Fred Ahart acknowledged the crowd as they rode in a convertible car.
Also riding in convertibles were Manor baseball Coach Jeff Loeffler and Assistant Coaches Ryan Edwards and Adam Larson and Manor softball Co-Coaches Kevin Clifford and Charlie Hicks.
When the parade concluded, the celebration continued in the Livingston Manor Central School old gymnasium. Master of ceremonies Barry Foster welcomed everyone and introduced several speakers. Those speakers included Allison Epstein, who is the District Director for Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, Sullivan County District 3 Legislator Elwin “Woody” Wood, Town of Rockland Supervisor Ed Weitmann, Town of Rockland Councilman Glen Carlson, Town of Rockland Councilwoman Eileen Mershon, LMCS Superintendent Deborah Fox and RCS Superintendent John Evans.
Many of the speakers presented the teams with special proclamations and congratulated the two teams and their coaches for their hard work and dedication throughout the season. Evans also read a special proclamation from New York State Senator John Bonacic.
The RCS acappela choir sang the national anthem and the LMCS band played a song.
“Thank you to the community for coming out tonight to help us celebrate,” Davis said. “Congratulations to both of our teams.”
Ahart congratulated the softball team for its “two-peat” as state champions.
“That is a great honor,” he said.
He also congratulated his granddaughter Paige Clancy, the team’s third baseman, for being the first state champion in the family.
“The baseball team is a special team to me,” Ahart commented. “I am so proud of their accomplishments.”
When all of the coaches stepped up to the podium to speak, they all thanked everyone in the two school districts and communities for supporting both teams throughout the season.
Larson, who graduated from LMCS, noted that the school had a rich baseball tradition and the 2011 Wildcats added to that tradition.
“When talent and hard work meet, these two championship teams right in front of you is what you get,” Larson said to the hundreds of people sitting in the bleachers and standing in the gym.
Near the conclusion of the program, Foster and Clifford made a special presentation.
“We are very, very proud of all of you girls for winning two state championships,” Foster said of the Lady Wildcats. “There is a special award for one of you. And that is the ESPN/RISE Gatorade Softball Player of the Year in New York State, Marissa Diescher.”
Clifford then presented the Player of the Year Trophy to Diescher as he held the ESPN/RISE Gatorade Softball Player of the Year Banner and the two of them posed for photos.
“I thank Mr. Clifford and Mr. Hicks and my parents, my brother, grandparents and teammates,” Diescher said. “I thank everyone and thank you all for coming here tonight.”
Before everyone made their way to the cafeteria to enjoy a picnic of hamburgers, hot dogs, cookies and other refreshments, senior Christine Babich spoke on behalf of her softball teammates.
“We all thank our families and the communities for supporting us,” she said. “Without you, we wouldn’t be here tonight. Thank you.”