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 Thursday, June 10, 1999




Tri-City rolls to 12th win

The young Fleetwings rumble past Cetronia.

Of The Morning Call


Bob Fatzinger was an assistant coach at Northwestern High through 1998, the year his son, Teague, graduated. Dan Waelchli was the head man at Parkland. They pondered the senior talent at their -- and other -- schools and fretted among themselves at how much trouble those kids would have finding adult league teams to break in with this summer.

"So we decided to form a new team for them," the elder Fatzinger said Wednesday night following his fledgling Tri-City Fleetwings' 10-5 victory over host Cetronia at Cedarbrook.

If they're not careful, all those youngsters who might not have been able to crack a roster, much less a lineup, will have a championship on their hands.

Three 1998 Northwestern grads -- Teague Fatzinger, Casey Paras and Jeremy Rex -- accounted for exactly half of 12-2 Tri-City's 16-hit assault on Longhorn starter Steve Graff and two relievers. Paras smacked two singles and two doubles and drove in two runs. Young Fatzinger smacked a triple and two singles, driving in one. And Rex tripled in a second-inning tally.

Ryan George, a protege of Waelchli's at Parkland, went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Scott Garger (Emmaus, '98) slugged a two-run home run in the middle of a seven-run fourth-inning rally. And left-hander Matt Marcks (Dieruff, '98) worked 4-2/3 innings to pick up the win. He then turned the task of finishing up over to veteran DH Dave Toth.

Chris Gordon was 2-for-3 with a three-run homer for the Longhorns (8-3).

"We first got the idea for this team last fall, when I was helping out Danny (Waelchli) with the Lehigh Valley Prospects," Bob Fatzinger said. "The four dads (Fatzinger, Waelchli, Mike Witkowski and Tom George) started kicking it around. I said, `Let's see what happens. We can field a team, and I can foot the bill.'"

Fatzinger's steel erection company, Tri-City Erectors Inc., is the actual sponsor -- not Fatzinger himself.

"Know what the toughest thing was? Finding a place to play. Fields are scarce. There was talk about having a fifth team use Sherersville. But, fortunately, when I put in a call to Lehigh University, they were agreeable to us playing there."

All four "dads" are on the roster, which boasts a distinct something old, something new flavor. But, Bob Fatzinger said, "I haven't played yet. Don't want to, really. This is for the kids."

Tom George has had a "couple" at-bats -- but Waelchli and Witkowski are integral parts of a decidedly long-in-the-tooth pitching staff that also includes fortysomethings Ray Ganser, Dennis Kinney, Toth and Matt Hlay.

Witkowski's son, Brendan (Allen, '98) is the club's center fielder and leadoff hitter. Waelchli's son, Chad, is also on the roster, but the Parkland senior-to-be's first commitment is to the South Parkland Legion team.

Marcks, a wideout at the University of New Haven (he doesn't play baseball there), just joined the team recently. Jim Messick (Emmaus, '98) and Myron Trunick (Whitehall, '98) are the other youthful members of the pitching staff. Three others from Emmaus' Class of 1998 --catcher Jeremy Arner, shortstop Garger and first baseman Justin Godusky -- are all starters and comprise the heart of the batting order. Mike and Paul Santay (the latter a Legion eligible player), also from Emmaus, round out the squad.

Oh ... did we mention that Wednesday's win lifted the Fleetwings to 12-2? And that it enabled them to maintain a two-game lead over the ICC Pirates (8-2) in Tri-Co's East-Central Division?

"No," Bob Fatzinger said, "we didn't think we'd do this well. I was hoping to go .500 for May -- but we went 9-2. It's amazing. The kids hang together so well. And they've come together as teammates so quickly.

"For them all to have found a team to play for would have been one thing. Breaking into a lineup would've been another thing entirely."


From The Morning Call -- June 10, 1999

Copyright 1999, The Morning Call