Local Sports

Drama on the diamond

Dick Cook hails from Springfield, Ohio, the former softball capital of the world.

A lifelong Ohio State Buckeyes and Cincinatti Reds fan, he retired from International Harvester before moving to Lake Placid in 2005.

Despite managing the Lake Placid Senior Softball League's Central Security Team, he still finds time to work as a handyman. The best defensive player in the league, he patterns his aggressive style of play after his boyhood idol, Pete Rose. And similar to Doran Quigg, he played many times in his younger days against The King and His Court.

"Coming to Florida and playing softball is second only to my daughter in my life," Cook said recently at a postgame BBQ grill put on by his brother, Alan.

Monday out on the diamond, Cook and his Securitymen took on Yates Insurance in a meeting of unbeaten teams. However, it was Cook and his crew that walked the plank 11-8. Cook had three hits for Central (two doubles) while Joe Hedges homered.

For a victorious Yates, Phil Lucas had three hits (one double) on his 67th birthday. Bill Gallagher made the play of the game with a tumbling shoestring catch in left to rob Larry Oser of extra bases.

Schooni's Restaurant beat Seminole Tire by a score of 22-8. Winning pitcher Victor Rodriguez paced The Restauranteurs with five hits (double, triple), while Norm Grubbs (double), Paul Brand (double), Kyle Saunders, and Ron Wickman (two triples) formed the Four Hit Club.

For The 'Noles, Skip Raller (two doubles) had four hits. Frank Hedges made a superlative stop at second base for the play of the game.

On Wednesday, Yates (4-0) remained undefeated in the second half of play with a 19-6 win over Seminole Tire (0-4). The 'Noles took a 6-5 lead into the last two innings, only to have Yates rally for 14 unanswered runs. Gallagher had four hits (three hits), while Cliff Bluml, Darrel Richards, winning pitcher Don Ward (double), and Mike Wiltgen chipped in with three apiece.

For Seminole Tire, Ray Wilson had a triple and a diving catch in left field.

In the most exciting game of the year, Central Security (3-1) almost blew a 14 run lead before toppling Schooni's (1-3) by a score of 29-28. Cheering on The Securitymen was a contingent of 20 members spanning four generations of the Harlan Newby clan, who were visiting from Wisconsin.

With Central clinging to a one-run lead and two Schooni's runners on base in the bottom of the last inning, Elston Hedges ripped a drive to plate the winning runs. Right fielder Dave Londo made a running backhanded catch, then threw to first to double up a wayward runner to end the game.

For Central, the deadly tandem of Dick Cook and Joe Hedges combined for six doubles and a home run. Mo Pier added four hits.

The Schooni's attack saw home runs from Norm Grubbs and Rookie Of The Year candidate Elston Hedges. Grubbs and Kyle Saunders had five hits each, while Bill DeStefano tallied four (two doubles).

For further league information, visit www.lpsoftball.com.