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2020 League Champions Lake Placid Marine. Back row, from left; Kelly McMillen, Scorekeeper Dick Gunderman, Ken Elston, Jim Nicolet, Craig Ervin, Lee Maule and Tom Ashley. Front row, from left; Team Manager Elston Hedges, Dick Cook, Harvey Jones, Bill Todd and Ron Melia. Not pictured: Ted Griffith and Fred Moore.

Lake Placid Men’s Senior Softball league ended their 2020 season on Monday, March 16, having played 20 games of the 23 game schedule. Highlands County closed the softball sports complex in response to the growing coronavirus outbreak. Players were disappointed at the abrupt end to the season but recognize the County’s need to act.

The Lake Placid Marine “Waterboys” maintained their league-leading record and were awarded the 2020 championship trophy which will reside at their sponsor’s store in downtown Lake Placid.

Before we recap Monday’s play, some end-of-the-year words of appreciation are in order. It takes many people to bring together a successful season — let’s start with the talented staff at the Highlands Sports Complex. Our six teams arrived at the fields every Monday and Wednesday to find the fields impeccably groomed and prepared for play, thanks to Chuck and his whole crew.

Thank you to the newspaper for allowing us this space so our players and sponsors can get a little ink.

The dedicated umpires, Don Thomas, Jim Cissell, Jim Kahn, Steve Engebret and Don Dobbert kept the games running smoothly and fairly in spite of the inevitable cat calls. Without our volunteer scorekeepers, Jean, Gerry, Jodi, Peggy, Peggy and Dick we would have never had time for softball — we’d all be arguing about the score.

The team sponsors are the best, they are there for us every year enthusiastically supporting our endeavor. There is little glory in managing a senior softball team but there can be many challenges. Our six managers deserve a big shout-out for a job well done; Elston Hedges for champion Lake Placid Marine, Gene Welbaum – Miller’s Central Air Inc., Pat Lowe – Central Security, Darrel Richards – Lakeside Dermatology, Doug Jolman – Seminole Tire and Pete Mathews – Conley Insurance.

To the officers of the league Tom, Dana and Cliff — the check’s in the mail. Special recognition to the league’s most loyal fan — Dick Card. Year after year Dick can be found in his lawn chair cheering not only for his brother Bill’s team, but every player that steps up to bat. Thanks for your support Dick.

And finally, there is a surprising amount of organization required to keep the games running smoothly and we all know who keeps that train on the tracks, thank you Jodi. We hope our entire membership have a safe and healthy summer and return to take their position on the field next season.

On Monday, in our final contests of the year, each team played a doubleheader to make up for a game cancelled earlier in the season. The games were six innings apiece (instead of the usual eight) and I’ll recap them as one 12-inning game.

In a down-to-the-wire battle for first place Lake Placid Marine split the bill with Miller’s Central Air to maintain their one-game lead in the standings and capture the trophy. The Waterboys down by six runs coming up in the bottom of the final inning scored seven to win the first match. The Coolers came from behind in extra innings to win game two. For the Mariners four players went 5 for 7 for the day. Dick Cook (double), Jim Nicolet (double), Ken Elston and Craig Ervin (triple, HR), whose sixth-inning grand slam in game one sealed their victory. Tom Ashley added four hits to the effort. Elston Hedges had a triple and two round trippers. For Miller’s, Bill Martin (HR) and Richard Rucker (3 doubles) each went 7 for 7. Marty McKee (six hits) and Bill Gallagher (five hits) both had two doubles.

Central Security capped their season winning both sides of the doubleheader over Lakeside Dermatology. For the Securitymen Cisco Hernandez (triple) and Jim Radcliff (double) had six hits. Logging five hits apiece were Chet Johnson (double) and Dana Hurlbut. The four hit club was Pat Lowe (double), Richard Rivera-Ortiz (two doubles) and Paul Brand. The Skins were led by Don Cunningham with five hits (double) and four apiece by Steve Frye (double, HR) and Jeff Lindskoog (double). Paul Marcellus added a triple and HR.

The third field saw Conley Insurance top Seminole Tire in both games. The Insurancemen got five hits from Tom McNally (two doubles, triple), Ron Kilburn (two doubles) and Mitch Dallen. Mark Milia added four more including a triple. The ‘Noles Dave LeHue had six hits, Dan Rasmussen and Tom Waters each had five while our senior senior, Doran Quigg, added four of his own.

Thank you to all the players, volunteers and fans — see you next year.