Twenty-five years ago, the Ghostbusters, sponsored by the Donut King Restaurant and the Bachelor’s III Lounge put together a free-wheeling 6-0 run through the New York ASA Class B Fastpitch Tournament in Oswego.
The team was composed mainly of players who had played together since their Kiwanis Youth Baseball days and spent countless evenings growing up watching Maple City Softball games at Monnet Park on Jefferson Avenue. The team took its name from the timeless movie “The Ghostbusters” which is as popular today as it was in 1989.
The team was further galvanized by a desire to win a state title in honor Bobby Klein, the owner of the BIII Lounge and a fine softball player in his own right, who had passed away unexpected earlier in the week during the states.
Stan Piercey and Dave Farrell provided the pitching highlighted by Farrell’s 1-0 no-hitter in a quarter-final win over Hiawatha’s. Farrell pitched two shutouts in the tournament and Piercey hurled three complete games and then saved a 5-3 championship game win over Gilley’s.
Larry Mehaffy (12-23 HR, 3 triples), Mike Farrell (8-19 1 Hr), Pete Amo (7-20 1 triple, Mark Lemieux (6-19 1 double, 2 triples), Charlie Spriggs (5-13, triple, 3 doubles) and Al Piercey (5-18 1 double) led the hitting.
The team earned a berth in the ASA Nationals in Sacramento, CA. and through the generosity of the Ogdensburg area they made the trip to California after raising $8000.
Like so many offensive achievements, it also didn’t happen.
“We were almost knocked out the state tournament early. We were down to our last out and a groundball was hit to third,” recalls Sam LaMacchia who served a player-coach for The Ghostbusters.
“It could have been an easy out but the ball took a bad hop and went for a single. From there the team just went on a tear.”
At the nationals the team went 2-2 to place 30th in a field of 60 at the nationals.
Recalling the story of the Ghostbusters is a great opportunity to look back on what was an extended “Golden Era” of Ogdensburg Softball.
An era which began in the 1950s with the building of an outstanding venue at Jefferson Avenue Park to become the home of the Maple City Fastball league. The park later named after Doodle Monnet who as instrumental in construction of the outstanding facility with volunteer labor.
A facility which featured a lighted field, clubhouse complete with showers and a second-to-one concession stand operated by Louie Montana and family. Chuck Kelly, the retired editor-publisher of “The Journal” and “Advance News”, referred to the park as “The Miracle of Sweat”.
Slow pitch softball began in Ogdensburg in the 1960s and starting in 1970s continuing through to early years of new millennium softball was synonymous with summer in the city.
The Ghostbusters were one of many teams which successfully competed in state tournaments in fastpitch, slow pitch, 35 and over modified fastpitch, women’s softball and co-ed softball.
The Maple City Fastball League, the See-Way Slo-Pitch Association, the Oldtimers League and the Ogdensburg Women’s Softball League produced outstanding games and drew nice crowds every night of the week. Local teams also competed every weekend for honors in area fast pitch, slow pitch and co-ed softball tournaments on both sides of the border.
For many years the Maple City Fastball Tournament and the See-Way Slo-Pitch Labor Tournament drew teams from all over New York State and Southern Ontario.
NOTE: Thank you to Sheila Mehaffy for providing pictures and articles from “The Journal” on the exploits of The Ghostbusters.