The local softball community lost two of its all-time greats last week with the passing of Harold Stofflet and Ernie Rohrbach.
Stofflet, who was 92, was the father of legendary softball pitcher Ty Stofflet.
"Harold was big in getting fastpitch going up in the Orefield area and also pitched a little bit for my dad's Pates teams."
Rohrbach, who was 87, served the game in a number of capacities.
First, he was a tremendous player for a variety of teams in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. "He was the best slap bunter I've ever seen," Hunsicker said. "No one could do it like him. And he'd always be on first base. He was also a very good catcher. He took a beating back there, but he was tough."
Later, Rohrbach became a top-notch manager and guided the Patriots when they hosted the ASA national tournament in 1976.
But beyond that, he was a great ambassador for the sport. He traveled to many national tournaments with fellow softball fans such as Lou Groff, Bob Walsh and Bill "Butter" Long and helped to bring the ISC World tournament to Allentown in 1984.
Basically, Pates Park was his home every spring and summer, and he was always attending games or helping out in some capacity. It's no wonder he was a member of the first induction class of the Lehigh Valley Softball Hall of Fame.
"It's amazing that these two gentlemen, who did so much for the sport and who spent so much time at Pates Park over the years, left us at almost the same time," Hunsicker said. "These two helped to make softball what it was once in this area — a very prominent, popular game. They will be greatly missed."
The Whitehall-Coplay School District will add four new members to its Athletic Hall of Fame in a ceremony on Jan. 27 prior to a home varsity boys basketball game against Central Catholic. The four new inductees are Ed Csencsits, Jerry Lloyd, Val Nordquist and Frank Szoke.
Here's a brief summary of each inductee's career:
Csencsits — A member of the class of 1965, Csencsits made his mark as a football player and coach. The three-sport athlete was a first-team all-league selection as an offensive end at Whitehall and went on to become an all-league receiver and set numerous receiving records during his college career at East Stroudsburg. He went on to spend 30 years coaching football at Catasauqua, 17 seasons as a head coach. His teams won six Colonial League and four District 11 titles. Three of them went undefeated.
Lloyd — A member of the class of 1998, Lloyd was a four-year starter on Zephyr basketball teams that won three East Penn Conference and three District 11 titles. He was a three-time all-EPC selection and The Morning Call player of the year as a senior. He is third all-time in scoring at Whitehall with 1,544 points and went on to have a stellar collegiate career at Mount St. Mary's, where he was a member of a Northeast Conference title game that reached the NCAA tournament. He finished fifth in Mt. St. Mary's history in 3-pointers made.
Nordquist — A member of the class of 1995, Nordquist made her mark as an outstanding swimmer at Whitehall and Northern Michigan University. In high school, Nordquist, a four-year letter winner, earned all-state honors in the 100 backstroke. She still holds Whitehall records in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke. She was also a three-time letter winner and two-time captain of the track and field team at Whitehall. At Northern Michigan, Nordquist was a 16-time NCAA Division II All-American, finishing as high as fifth in the 50 freestyle. She also was a three-time academic All-American.
Szoke — A member of the class of 1968, Szoke was an outstanding basketball and baseball player. He was a member of the 1966 District 11 championship baseball team as well as the 1967 Lehigh Valley League basketball champions. He played baseball at Rider College and also was a standout player on the 1968 Coplay Legion squad that finished second in the state. Szoke won the Louisville Slugger award in the state tournament, batting .524. He was drafted in the 30th round by the New York Mets while a senior at Whitehall.
To nominate someone for the Whitehall Hall of Fame, go to http://www.whitehallcoplay.org, or contact athletic director Bob Hartman.
NEWELL TO FIGHT AGAIN
Former Bethlehem Catholic football standout Eric Newell is part of another boxing card coming up on Feb. 25 at the Rodeway Inn at Routes 309 and 22 in Allentown.
Newell, a heavyweight who is 3-1 with one knockout, will face Randy Easton (who is making his debut) as part of a six-bout card presented by King's Promotions dubbed "Heavyweight Explosion."
The headline attraction is another heavyweight matchup featuring William "Big Stuff" Miranda (4-41) against David Williams (6-5-1) of Philadelphia.
The 33-year-old Miranda, originally from Queens, N.Y., will be making his second straight appearance at the Rodeway Inn, and he has attracted a large local following.
"Part of the reason I connect with my crowd is that, I don't look at them as my fans, but as my friends," said Miranda, who works as a personal trainer at Lehigh Valley Isshin Ryu Karate in Catasauqua, where he teaches mixed martial arts fighting and boxing. "I believe the feeling is mutual and that the crowd genuinely roots for me and wants to see me do well."
For tickets, call King's Boxing at 610-587-5950 or visit http://www.kingsboxing.com.
Softball community loses two pillars
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