By Martin Kane, special to the Picatinny VoiceOctober 14, 2008
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- It was not that long ago the Picatinny Softball League was down to eight teams and its future looked dubious. Now, with the help of a much younger work force, the league is back to a robust 16 teams and is as healthy as ever.
In early September, the league concluded with the Stealers sweeping the Ball Busters in the best two-out-of-three final series.
To advance to the finals, the Stealers barely got past the 11 Charlies by scoring in the bottom of the seventh inning, and then, came from three runs behind in the seventh to defeat the Alpha Betas.
The Stealers got off to a strong start in the finals with a first-inning grand slam homerun by Darrell Hill and were led by strong hitting in the finals by Joe Stanilious and Mike Brown.
Veterans Phil Gorman, Fran Figueroa, Mike Doyle and young veteran Mike DeMaria paced the Stealers throughout, and strong contributions were received from Stealer "rookies" Dom Nicolicchia, Drew Lunoff and John Stack.
Al Aprea and Tommy Skokos provided strong pitching for the Stealers, while Chris Turel and Ray Coiro were consistent and steady contributors all season long. (Even an old veteran like me got to have some fun.)
The Stealers are believed to be longest participating team in the league, having started at Picatinny in the mid-1980s. There are still three "original" Stealers on the team - Phil Gorman, Dave Hansen and Marty Kane.
In almost 25 seasons, there have been some six or seven championships, but more importantly there has been great camaraderie, enjoyment and long-lasting friendships. So, recognition must go to the Picatinny Family and MWR for organizing the league and for another great season.