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 Thursday, August 1, 1991




Dieruff connection leads Angels to Tri-Co success

Of The Morning Call

In recent years, the Dieruff High School baseball team has been among the best in the East Penn Conference. At the same time, Stahley's Angels have made their presence felt in the Tri-County League.

The Huskies won District 11 titles in 1987 and 1988 and have also wrapped up several East Penn West Division crowns. The Angels won the Tri-Co North Division title last season and finished second in the postseason playoffs and this year forced Limeport into a playoff for the North Division title.

A quick look at the Angels roster shows the Dieruff connection immediately. The Angels have 12 players on the roster that have graduated from Dieruff; seven are starters.

"Moving from Dieruff to the Angels, it's like a minor league system," Herb Hemerly, a 1971 graduate of Dieruff, said.

The Angels' Dieruff movement started four years ago when Limeport's Tri-County team decided to go with younger players. Hemerly was suddenly out of a job. So were Dale Weiss, a 1979 graduate and current Dieruff head coach; Dave Lutte, a 1985 graduate, and Mike Witkowski, a 1969 graduate.

When Ray Ganser, a Central Catholic graduate, found out they were looking for a new team, he asked the four if they would like to join his program, then the Allentown Angels. Mainly because of Weiss, it would become the start of the Angels-Dieruff relationship.

"When we came over here, we were the only Dieruff players," Weiss said. "The team was short players, and with me coaching at Dieruff (an assistant to Rich Sniscak), I asked some of the guys if they wanted to play."

Weiss is not the only Dieruff coach on the squad. Hemerly, Lutte and Greg Wotring, a 1987 graduate, are all current Husky coaches.

"Breaking into the Tri-County League or the Blue Mountain League for a young player is really tough unless you have super talent," Weiss said. "It's good for these guys to know that they have a coach on the team. It really helps out that they know they can come here."

It seemed as though the future of the relationship might be ending because of financial problems. Last season, each player who had a full-time job had to pay $120, while each player who was still in college had to come up with $60. Thanks to Stahley's Cellarette, which just happens to be located in East Allentown, the future of the franchise appears to be secure.

Stahley's became the new sponsor of the Angels this season. Next year, new uniforms and league fees will be paid through the sponsorship.

The rest of the former Husky players include Rick Wittman, a 1975 graduate; Ed Jones (1987); Tim Schwindenhammer (1988); Keith Brader, Tony Galucy and Joe Teresavage, all 1989 graduates, and Bob Schleicher, a 1991 graduate.

Although it is mostly a team of former Dieruff players, the other Allentown schools are represented as well. Ganser and Matt Hlay are both former Central Catholic players. Jeff Snyder, Mookie Smith, Joe Aleszczyk and Tim Brader are all Allen High graduates.

Schwindenhammer said with all of the former Dieruff players on the squad, it makes it easier for him, especially since this is his first year.

"It helps a lot because I know how to play with them," Schwindenhammer, the starting left fielder said. "It's not like I have to get used to how they play since I've played with most of them before."

Although Hemerly is too old to have played with most of them in high school, he enjoys the time now. The first baseman is in his 19th season in the Tri-County League, which makes him the player with the most amount of seasons in the League ever.

"I enjoy playing with the younger guys," Hemerly said. "It keeps me going. I have a great time playing with these guys. I help Dale coach and I see these guys come up through the ranks, and I really enjoy it."


From The Morning Call -- August 1, 1991

Copyright 1991, The Morning Call