By Lori Brown
GRAHAMSVILLE Five local softball teams and a few rookie umpires enjoyed some early season competition Saturday at the third annual Ben Chesnick Memorial Softball Tournament.
Dedicated to Chesnick, an umpire for 50 years, the tournament is a one-of-a-kind “clinic” for new umpires to gain experience.
“We have two brand new first time umpires and a few umpires with just fewer than five years [of experience] here today,” longtime umpire Scott Mickelson said. “This clinic is sponsored by the Sullivan County Softball Officials. The umpires learn proper calls and good mechanics.
“When Ben passed away, we dedicated this tournament to his name. The new umpires work with veteran umpires. This is the only time the new umpires will see a varsity level game as they will start in the modified level first and work up to the varsity level.”
Two of the original organizers of the tournament are Mary Feusner and Dan Baldo. Feusner, who helps make the event possible every spring, said, “We have been doing this tournament for over 20 years. We try to have the tournament pre-season, but unfortunately a couple of schools couldn’t attend because they are on vacation. Today is kind of like two mini tournaments as it is not double elimination because it is only a one-day allows tournament.”
Livingston Manor, Monticello and Tri-Valley played at the Grahamsville Fairgrounds field. The Family School and Sullivan West played at the Liberty High School field.
Manor and Sullivan West each won both their games in the tourney. Monticello went 1-1 and T-V and the Family School were 0-2.
The final game of the day featured the Manor Lady Wildcats squaring off against the T-V Lady Bears. Each team only started the game with 10 players as some of their players were on vacation.
With score tied 3-3, Manor broke the game open with seven runs in the second inning and eight more in the fourth. Manor batters worked their full counts into walks and took advantage of stolen bases and timely singles.
The game ended in the fifth due to the 15-run rule.
“Pitcher Kaitlin Rau is only in eighth grade, this is her first varsity level game and her first win on the varsity level,” Manor Co-Coach Charlie Hicks said. “In game one today against Monticello, Samantha Scott did a great job of pitching and in this game she hit the ball well. Maggi Calo also hit the ball real well.”