By Rob Potter
JEFFERSONVILLE Bill Engle and Tom Schmidt, were under the impression that the other man was the only one who would be honored at the Sullivan County Seniors Softball dinner held Tuesday evening at Welsh’s Cabin in Jeffersonville.
But as Engle explained to his fellow players and their spouses in attendance, they were both victims of a perfect deke, the baseball or softball term used when a player fools a baserunner into thinking he or she doesn’t have the ball in their glove. But the infielder actually has the ball hidden in their glove and then easily tags out the unsuspecting runner.
Engle noted he and his fellow players were running a deke on Schmidt, who had no idea he would be receiving the team’s William Engle Sportsmanship Award.
But Engle was also included in a deke as his teammates honored and thanked him for coaching the team. A couple of years ago, Engle retired from playing on the team but served as the team’s coach. He has decided to retire from coaching after this season.
“Bill has always been very positive with his teammates and opposing players,” Schmidt said. “He has always been focused on what’s best for our team. On behalf of all of us, Bill, thanks again.”
Ron Moore, who is the new coach of the Sullivan County Seniors Softball team, and Jack Costello presented Engle with a photo collage autographed by all of the team members and a plaque featuring a photo of Engle coaching the team.
“I appreciate this very much,” Engle said. “Thank you all.”
Costello and Engle presented the William Engle Sportsmanship Award to Schmidt. Costello noted that the award was created in 2009 and presented to Engle that year. In 2010, Jack Meade and Lenny Steinberg both earned the award.
“Tom went to the field before games to get it ready to play and he let us all know when the field conditions were bad enough for us to cancel games,” Moore said. “Tom, you did a heck of a job.”
Schmidt had no idea that he would be receiving the award.
“It’s a real honor,” he said while holding the sportsmanship award. “I am totally surprised by this. It certainly is a great thing. Thank you.”
While recognizing Engle and Schmidt, the team members also congratulated Gerald “Jerry” Davitt. On Oct. 1 in Endicott, Davitt was honored by the New York State Baseball Umpires Association. Davitt received the association’s prestigious Tony DeVivo Memorial Award for umpiring high school baseball games for more than 50 years.
At the end of the dinner, which also included reminscing about the team’s history and tackling some baseball trivia, Costello recognized Pat Welsh, who is a member of the Sullivan County Seniors Softball team and proprietor of The Welsh Cabin.
“I want to thank Pat Welsh,” Costello said. “Pat, you are a great ballplayer and you provided a very nice evening for us.”