The winner in this softball game is a 6-year-old boy
Dalton Fredericks, 6, of Bowmanstown fist bumps members of the Franklin Township Little League coaches team before the Russell “Bups” Ahner Memorial Old-Timers Softball Game at the Phifer’s Ice Dam in Franklin Township on Saturday. See a photo gallery at tnonline.com. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Dalton Fredericks, 6, of Bowmanstown gives a thumbs-up after getting a ride in a Franklin Township Fire Department truck to the Russell “Bup” Ahner Memorial Old-Timers Softball game on Saturday. The game raised funds to help the Fredericks family. Holding Dalton is his mother, Megan.
It was a very competitive softball game between Franklin Township’s Little League Baseball coaches and local firefighters on Saturday.
The contest was held at Phifer’s Ice Dam in Franklin. The players making up the firefighters’ team were from Franklin and Lehighton fire departments.
The winner was 6-year-old Dalton Fredericks of Bowmanstown, who was honored during the game.
Every year the participants in the old-timers game select a child with a chronic ailment to not only honor but whose family receives the proceeds from the game. A bake sale and basket raffle also were held to increase the funds given to the boy.
Fredericks, son of Megan Fredericks, was brought to the field on a firetruck. The apparatus from the Franklin Township Fire Department did a tour of the township first, with sirens blaring.
He was given a Franklin Township baseball T-shirt with his name on it and a baseball hat.
He stood next to Mike Birnbaum, Franklin Township Little League president, and tossed the first pitch to start the game. He received game balls from each team.
Members of the Franklin team surrounded him and had him participate in a pregame fist bump.
He was accompanied by his mother and his grandfather, James Kindrew of Bowmanstown.
Ronald Steigerwalt of the Franklin Township Little League was the master of ceremonies.
Both his mother and grandfather expressed thanks to those who participated in the event and those who attended.
Steigerwalt said the amount of money raised won’t be known until a later date.
Steigerwalt said, “Every year this event helps raise money for a child, to help with medical costs. This year we are helping Dalton.”
He praised the youngster for his “courage and fight.”
Diagnosed at 3 months old with two chromosome disorders, Dalton was considered “failure to thrive” for the first four years of his life, meaning he did not meet the recognized standards of growth.
He had a nasal gastric feeding tube in his nose for over 10 months at 1 year old. Dalton’s stomach issues, including acid reflux and a diagnosis of gastroparesis at age 3, led to numerous years of medicines and other interventions. In a less than two-year stint at Hershey, he was put under general anesthesia at least 10 times for varying procedures and surgeries.
This fall, he will begin first grade at Towamensing Elementary School, where he is in a full-time emotional support classroom.
The coaches and firefighters played a nine-inning game, with the fire departments winning 13-12.
Five home runs were hit in the game, three by the coaches’ team and two by the firefighters. For the fire company, Justin Smith and Jimmy Young both had three-run homers. Bob Dwojewski hit two over the fence, and Logan Wentz hit one.
Franklin coaches jumped out to a 2-0 lead and were in front numerous times. Each time, though, the firefighters caught up. In the ninth, Young’s home run made the score 13-10. Franklin added two runs in the bottom of the frame.
The team of coaches consisted of:
Derek Ulshafer, Logan Wentz, Dave Yeakel, Josh Wentz, Mickey Gelatko, Travis Hunsicker, David Berger Jr., Brandon Cummins, Mark Cummins Jr., Trevor Lawrence, Ed Rarick, Kein O’Donnell, J.C. Dietz, Kris Nalesnik, Bob Dwojewski, Mike Birnbaum, Tony Fristick and Will White.
The fire department players were:
Donald Rehrig, Jimmy Young, Justin Markell, Amber Curran, Brad May, Zach Haberman, Shawn Sheckler, David “Cooster” Keiser, Chris Hardy, Justin Smith, Larry Diehl and Pat Mriss.