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Mr. 900! And Wanted: Men in Blue and West End Boys

Mr. 900! And Wanted: Men in Blue and West End Boys

Congratulations to Loyalsock head basketball coach Ron Insinger on recording his 900th victory! C.I., as he is affectionately known, already holds the record for wins as a high school basketball coach in the state of Pennsylvania. He is sitting at 902 as I pen this article. I look forward to the day he cracks 1,000 in the left-hand column. There’s no doubt in my mind he can achieve this; C.I. seems to have found the Fountain of Youth, or at least ages like a fine wine.

The same can be said for his wife Carol, who has been the official scorer for the Lancers during C.I.’s tenure. It is always great to see her sitting at the scorer’s table with that special bag of hard candy shared by players, coaches, and officials. This has become a Lancer tradition.

Basketball is truly the Insinger family business in the Township. Son-in-law Ron Emery has coached in the program for years, and it’s wonderful to see him side by side with C.I. at the varsity and JV levels this season.

You can also find C.I.’s grandsons, little Ronnie and Grant, sharing the Lancer sidelines as ball boys, and are quick with the water bottles during timeouts. Daughters Laurie and Lisa support the program in whatever way needed, as does Marc, Lisa’s husband.

In the world of sports today, the most amazing aspect of C.I.’s record is it being accomplished at one school, in one tenure. It’s hard coaching for five years without ruffling feathers in the high-pressure sports world of today let alone coaching for over four decades. This says a lot about Coach Insinger’s ability to work with people and understand what is truly important.

Well, I could go on and on, but I’ll let that for Brett Crossley on page 8 and Scott Lowery on page 46. I must also congratulate Gerald Ross on notching his 1,000th point the same night C.I. won his 900th. I guarantee you that’s the first time that’s ever happened in the history of basketball.

Jimmy, Hunter, and I have all played for C.I. and have nothing but good things to say about the man. We hope he continues to follow his passion, is blessed with great health, and one year hangs a State Championship Banner.

Switching from the hardwood to the diamond there has been a growing problem locally concerning the need for umpires. For the past several seasons I have tried to help Mr. Barry Rake recruit folks to umpire District 12 Little League baseball and softball. Each year we seem to add some new recruits, but many more are needed.

Mr. Rake has a program available for the education and training of those interested. It’s a great way to get started, learn the trade, and have fun while helping your community. If interested, District 12 Umpire-in-Chief Mr. Rake can be reached at 570-244-5184 or at BKR@KABAINC.BIZ.

If your interest is in softball, District 12 Softball Umpire-in-Chief is Mr. Robert Cellini. I’ve known Bob for years; he has been a pillar of John Bower Basketball and a great supporter of Little League softball in our area. Truly one of the good guys. Mr. Cellini can be reached at 570-971-3403 or CELLINI6@MSN.COM.

Unfortunately, our need for folks to oversee America’s pastime doesn’t stop there. I ran into Mr. Frank Gardiner who heads up the District 4 high school baseball umpires. I have also known Frank for years he’s another one of those good guys that gives his time in many different ways including officiating basketball, umpiring baseball and I believe he also does some football. Frank has been umpiring for 33 years, which makes me feel old. He loves the game and enjoys working with the young ballplayers of today.

Frank has a legitimate concern over the lack of new blood coming into the umpire ranks. Many gentlemen have retired from the game and the current average age of an umpire locally is 55.

Like Mr. Rake, Frank believes umpiring is a great way to give back to the community and work with talented ballplayers, some of which you will watch advance on to play college and in a couple of cases — pro baseball. “It’s a great way to be involved in the game and stay young at heart,” Frank noted. One other thing Mr. Gardiner mentioned is District 4 high school umpires earn $80 per game. So it is also a good way to supplement your income. Frank can be reached at 570-772-5928.

A tip of the cap to Mr. Barry Rake, Mr. Bob Cellini, and Mr. Frank Gardiner. Umpiring and officiating are no easy job. You get a lot of unwanted help whether you’re the guy behind the plate or the one with the whistle in your mouth. To do it as long as these gentlemen have shows me a true commitment to sports in our area and the young people that play. Please if you are able to help, reach out to one of these gentlemen and don’t just sit on the sidelines. It is definitely a growing problem each and every year.

Thank you to all those who provide order and guidance no matter the sporting event. They are often over criticized and underappreciated.

Staying in the world of baseball, Mr. & Mrs. Jim and Bonnie Winder are approaching four decades of overseeing West End Babe Ruth baseball. They have accomplished truly great things in the world of teenage baseball. They provide a solid program when young players move from Little League up to the big league sized field. It continues right on through until they graduate from high school. Divisions are Age 13 prep, 14-15 combined and 16-18 senior division. West End All-Star teams have won 18 Pennsylvania State Titles and appeared in seven World Series. The most important aspect of the League in my eyes is that young folks get to come together and play baseball with folks from all over the county. It is truly a growing experience.

Jim wanted me to remind everybody the last registrations will be held on Saturday, February 24th 4 p.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday, February 25th from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. at the Old Lycoming Township Building. Any questions call Jim at 570-220-2570. For more info

God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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