This article dated 8/18/1953 recaps a YMCA League championship game between the Croatian team and the St. Thomas club, 40 years before the Callahan Softball Field would be built on Parkhurst Field.
Croation Softballers Capture Playoff Title in YM Loop, Beating St. Thomases 3-2
Regular Seasons Champs Come Through With Second Straight Triumph in Finals; Willert, Ropan Lead Attack
Willert, who pitched the victory, collected three hits while Ropan knocked out a couple of singles.
This was the second straight victory for the Croatians who had nosed out the Carmens in the semifinals, two games to one. The team has previously won the league’s championship for the regular season for the third straight time, going undefeated in the 1953 campaign.
The toughest time for the winners came in the semifinals when the Carmens held the Croatians to a tie after the two clubs were all even in the series. In the fourth game the Croatians triumphed.
The Croatians, batting first, scored once in the first when Ropan singled. Marv Spaeth singled and Willert followed with a similar blow to fill the bases. Bob LeFever hit into a double play, pitcher to third baseman. George Meyer singled home Spaeth.
Coming back in the same inning, Everett Palmateer of the St. Thomas club singled, stole second, went to third on an error, and came home on Clayt Longfritz’s fly to left.
The St. Thomas club went ahead in the fourth inning when they scored a run as Junior Ward singled, Ray Sanges walked, Lou DeTraglia sacrificed, and Jim Meehan hit a high ground ball to the shortstop who threw high to first, allowing Ward to cross the plate.
The Croatians went ahead in the top of the fifth with two counters, Ropan, Spaeth and Willert singled, the latter’s hit bringing in Ropan. LeFever walked to load the sacks. Meyer flied to center and Spaeth scored after the catch.
Ten hits were knocked out by the Croatians while the losers had five. Two double plays were turned in by the St. Thomas club.
A couple of outstanding fielding plays were turned in by Tony Zambri subbing as first for the winner. In the fourth inning he knocked down a high throw and threw the ball home in time to trap Ray Sanges who was headed for the plate.
Willert tossed to John Montoney for the Croatians while Moe Hanna, Dick Bowman and Buckley worked for the losers. Bowman was the losing pitcher.
Tonight the Croatians play again in the Dolgeville tournament.