The town of Wilton “No Tax” Titans defeated the Spa City Thoroughbreds Friday night 14-7 in a hard fought softball game under the lights at East Side Recreation Field.
It was the first Community Challenge softball game between officials and employees of the town and the city to benefit the American Cancer Society. More than 250 town and city residents filled the stands. Proceeds from ticket sales, at $5 apiece, and concession stand sales will be donated.
It was also Johnson vs. Johnson — Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson versus Wilton town Supervisor Arthur Johnson.
“We played nice,” said Linda Terricola, the city recreation director. “But we just weren’t hitting the ball.”
Stephen Porto, Wilton’s recreation director, attributed his team’s sterling play to the fact that the town officials and town employees held a couple of practice sessions.
“The team looked like it had some potential,” Porto said. “But it’s still very early.” Wilton was leading 8-2 in the third inning at the time.
State Assemblyman Roy J. McDonald, a former Wilton town supervisor, led off for the Wilton Titans. Facing him down and playing second base for the city was Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco, R-Schenectady.
Mayor Johnson played third base, the hot corner. Lanky city attorney Joe Scala, throwing a mean changeup, was on the pitching mound.
His first time at bat, McDonald hit into the quick glove of a city player and was retired. Wilton Deputy Supervisor Raymond O’Conor was up next and walked, setting up the first score of the game when Wilton Comptroller Jeffrey Reale blasted a triple into left field.
“We need to rotate in some fresh players,” Mayor Johnson said as Wilton drove the score up to 13-3. “We need to do better at bat.”
Mayor Johnson noted that thoroughbreds are known for a strong finish.
No sooner had the first-term mayor called for better hitting, than city police officer Russ Faden hit one of the longest balls of the night, driving in two runs with an inside the park homer.
City baseball coordinator Phonsey Lambert followed Faden with a crisp double.
It looked like the city team was coming around the clubhouse turn. But Wilton’s able infield and outfield ended the inning with some nice plays with the score at 13-5.
Wilton supervisor Johnson was on the mound for the first part of the game, throwing a pitch that often broke off the right side of the plate.
Wilton Town Engineer Keith Manz scored several runs with his bat and made two jaw-dropping catches in left field.
Wilton’s O’Conor said everybody had a good time, including some very vocal fans in the stands.
“There’s a very cordial, friendly relationship between the town and the city,” O’Conor said. “It’s great for everyone to have some fun and raise money for a good cause at the same time.”
“We have to win or I will never live this down,” yelled the city’s Terricola. Terricola, herself, had a clean single in the game as did Wilton’s new town planner, Kate Maynard.
“Pass me the ice pack,” O’Conor said late in the game. He said he pulled a hamstring charging toward third base.
Michael Dobis, chairman of Wilton’s planning board, made a great stop at third base late in the game and got the ball over to first base quickly. But Assemblyman Tedisco was called safe.
“They carried the heavy burden of taxation,” joked McDonald about the city team. He said Wilton has no town-level taxes and, accordingly, is lighter on its feet.
McDonald’s son-in-law, city supervisor Matthew Veitch, made some remarkable catches as shortstop for the Spa City Thoroughbreds.
John Meaney of the Star 101.3 radio station was master of ceremonies and game broadcaster. He said the Community Challenge Softball Game is expected to become an annual event as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.
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