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A Piece of the Past - March 2007

A Ball in Flight

Curtis Johnson wrote in his account of the 1985 Big League Softball World Series championship game at Indianapolis:
  The voice of the videotape announcer will forever live in the memories of those who heard him: “A triple play. A triple play. A triple play. A triple play – I don’t believe it! A triple play – I don’t believe it!”

The account by Johnson, the team’s assistant coach, and the softball are included among the items in the Little League Softball collection at the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum in South Williamsport, Pa.

The East team from Williamsport, Pa., defeated the Central team from Dayton, Ohio, 6-1.

“That play crushed Central’s hopes and Williamsport went on to win their consecutive World Series Championship,” Johnson detailed. Some of the same players were members of the champion team in 1984.

The softball bears the hand-written words “Triple Play ’85 World Series.” It also has a logo that reads “Dudley SBN-12LND cork center” and “SB12L Leather Official Softball Haiti.”

The ball is displayed proudly next to Johnson’s original typewritten account explaining how the triple play evolved. 

“The Central team was batting and trailing by a score of 6-1 in the sixth inning. The leadoff batter singled off to Linda Polk followed by a bloop single to right leaving runners on first and second,” Johnson wrote.

“With a count of 1 and 1, the third batter hit a sharp two-hopper to Melissa Kennedy at third. She stepped on third for the forced out and fired across to Tami Dickey for out number two. Dickey then threw back to Kennedy at third who tug the runner attempting to advance from first,” the assistant coach continued.

Johnson, in a recent interview, added that the Williamsport team had lost to the Dayton team earlier during the series.

After the Williamsport team won, the girls made good on a pledge to return to a large fountain in downtown Indianapolis and celebrate by jumping into the water. That photograph, taken by Johnson, appeared in several newspapers, including the Williamsport Grit.

“I still see some of the girls today,” Johnson said, adding the World Series game “is still something we talk about.” Some of the players remain involved with softball.

The coach was Charles “Chuck” Shaffer. Infield team members who remain in the Williamsport area are Lisa Polk, the pitcher; Tami Dickey, first base; Melissa Kennedy, third base, and her twin, Maureen “Mo” Kennedy, second base; and Lisa Stopper Gee, shortstop.

The Williamsport Big League Softball team advanced to the World Series in 1987, placing third.

The museum is at 525 Route 15 Highway about two miles south of Williamsport. It is open for its winter hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Friday; noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Summer hours are from Memorial Day through Labor Day and are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday. The facility is accessible to the disabled.

Rates are $5 for adults; $3 for those 62 and older; $1.50 for children between the ages of 5 and 13. There is no fee for children 4 or younger. Group rates, tours, birthday parties and building rentals are available. For more information, call the museum at 570-326-3607, or click here for more information.