Week #3: Holliston Senior Softball Wrap-Up (thru 4/29/23)
RAINED OUT, AGAIN! – With no scores to post and no hard-hitting investigative reporting for me to do, I decided (with the help from a certain player/manager from the ’22 HSS championship squad) to change it up this week and provide a “Where are they Now?’ feature on a former HSS alum. So, long-time main stay for Casey’s/Anthony’s and 12x former all-star IF/OF John Shanahan is the focus of this first-of-its-kind feature column. John was humbled (rightfully so) by my email and responded quickly to my list of questions. Appreciate you taking the time, John and let’s hope Mother Nature cooperates the rest of the year. Enjoy Shanny’s responses in BLUE and my ‘edits’ in Bold Italics:
* What are you doing to fill the softball void on Sundays?
We spend a fair amount of time in Connecticut on the weekends. My wife and I were coming home down South Street on Sunday evening two weeks ago and I saw a group of guys on the third base side of Kampersal Field and my first reaction was “Who are those guys” before snapping to and realizing it was our league, let alone a game my former team had participated in. Prior to then it had been entirely off my radar screen.
* I know it’s been a few yrs since you retired, but any changes in the league over the last few yrs that were good or bad?
See below question regarding 20 yrs ago
* Why do you think the league has been so successful /popular all these yrs?
The league bylaws are quite clear that this is intended to be a recreational league and that those who want to play in a super competitive league should go elsewhere. Most guys get and accept those conditions. With that in mind, playing softball is fun and the league is a great way to meet likeminded town citizens.
*Do you think the league is better now than 20 yrs ago. Why or why not?
My first-year playing was 1989 and there is no doubt that the level of play now is better than when I started. The use of wood bats was a good rule change as it made games safer and placed teams on a level playing field. The adoption of the orange Homeplate mat and the batter assuming a one strike count was huge in speeding up the games. Prior to then a batter would often just wait and wait for their perfect pitch. The league is also better because most teams socialize after the games which is a great way to wrap up the weekend.
* Any good stories/anecdotes around your championship seasons?
We won two championships in the years I was on the team. The first was I believe in 2011 and I had long departed our celebration when several teammates headed to the home of a missing teammate, where they ran midnight sprints in his driveway, one teammate hurting himself (this is sooo Old Man, it hurts) The second championship was about 6 years ago (actually 2015) and it rained on the night of the finals, and we won based on a tiebreaker rule. We were named winners over Downtown,
who accepted the difficult decision with grace and class. who bitched and moaned to the board for hours that night at the banquet then stormed out in protest. There, fixed it for you, Shanny….
* Was Fall Ball your idea? Who else helped grow that?
It was my idea, but it couldn’t happen without the guys who coached the teams. I might forget a few but I remember Keith Buday, Brian Sweeney, Wayne Peterson and Kevin Conley.
* If you couldn’t play for Anthony’s, what team would you have played for and why?
I have been a member of the Holliston Lions Club since 1997 so that would be my guess.
* Toughest P you faced. The guy that gave u the most trouble.
(Mine is Ken Engstrom from Lions) Chuckie Kurzontkowski, Braggville
* The guy you didn’t want up with Anthony’s up by 2 w bases loaded in bottom of 7th.
Ken Sawyers Steve Cotto
* Teammate you’d want up w bases loaded and your team down 2 in bottom of 7th?
* Favorite teammate
This is impossible to answer. I played for more than 30 years, many guys being teammates for more than 20 years. I was fortunate to play with great guys who understood that what we had was pretty special.
Thank you again, Shanny for doing this. Don’t be a stranger on Sunday nights. I’m sure Mrs. Shanny would welcome the alone time.
Now, on to week #4…!!!
It will be interesting to see how this 2-wk layoff effects teams, offensively. Some matchups to watch this week:
- In ‘A’: Upstart Mudville vs Kampersal AND Anthony’s vs Johnson
- In ’B’: DYR vs Downtown (key early season match up)
GAME OF THE WEEK for WK #3 (5/7/23)
Braggville (0-1) vs Dalton Rd (1-0) at Damagella 7:30pm
- Can Braggville stop their 3-gm skid?
- Can Dalton P Dave Birmingham keep the Braggville hitters off balance?
- The former champs have their backs against the wall so, I expect Dalton will get their best effort.
*Prediction: Braggville 16 Dalton Rd 10
Prediction Record (1-0)
You never cease to entertain, Ken!