BY MIKE MASTOVICH
AND CORY ISENBERG
Johnstown Oldtimers President George Arcurio III made an impromptu presentation in the Point Stadium stands on Friday afternoon.
Arcurio learned that super baseball fan Frank Albert of Johnstown was in attendance.
Albert told Arcruio he is 99 years old and has been in attendance at every AAABA Tournament in Johnstown.
“He is 99 and he was sharp,” said Arcurio, who presented Albert an official baseball and a program from the 69th AAABA Tournament. “This guy was as sharp as if he was 20 years old again. He said he’s been to every tournament, he enjoys it and he loves it. That’s what this tournament is all about.
“He said after all of these years he finally got a baseball,” Arcurio added. “It was unbelievable. It was a touching moment.”
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Frankly hitting: Brooklyn’s Frank Torre “socked one of the longest hits seen at Point Stadium in years when he slammed out a hit that landed on the sidewalk in front of the right field wall, 417 feet from home plate,” the 1950 Annual Report of Tournaments noted. Torre was a member of the inagural AAABA Hall of Fame Class of 1994.
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Double honor: Buffalo’s Jim Monin became the first shortstop to earn the AAABA Tournament Most Valuable Player award in 1964. Buffalo finished as runner-up to Detroit, which at the time made Monin only the fourth MVP not to be a member of the championship squad.
Monin also won the tournament batting crown with a .586 average.
The University of Kentucky product had 17 hits, at the time a tourney record. The AAABA Hall of Fame induted Monin in 2007.
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Crowded house: A total of 5,726 people paid 50 cents each to see the closing doubleheader at Point Stadium in the 1953 AAABA Tournament.
At the time, it was the largest crowd to attend the finals in tournament history.
The estimated 15,200 fans who saw the 1953 opening night game surpassed the previous record of 13,500 fans estimated at the 1952 opener.
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Hammer time: Johnstown’s Jack Ham, a four-time Super Bowl winner with the Steelers and a Pro Football Hall of Famer, threw out the ceremonial first pitch in the official opener of the 44th AAABA Tournament in 1988.
Ham recently had been enshrined in Canton when he returned to his hometown to toss out the first pitch in front of a capacity crowd at the Point.
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Pentz MVP: Johnstown Monte Carlo’s Gene Pentz became the first hometown MVP in 1970.
Pentz edged out second baseman Les Littlejohn of the champion Detroit Oakland Tool team.
The future major leaguer tossed 20 2⁄3 innings, the most in the tournament, and had a 2-1 record with a 3.48 ERA. Pentz struck out 14 on a 3-2 Monte Carlo squad.
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Expansion year: The AAABA Tournament had a banner year in 1963.
Fifty years ago, the tournament accepted four new members and incorporated regional play.
It also was the year the tourney had an international presence with the addition of the Toronto, Ontario, franchise.
The Canadian team was the first franchise holder outside the United States.
Other new members that year were: Springfield, Mass.; Fairfield, Iowa; and Northern Virginia (Falls Church).
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Leyritz rocked: Jim Leyritz won the 1983 AAABA Tournament batting title with a .621 average. The Detroit Adray Sound player had 18 hits with four home runs, three doubles and 14 RBIs.
Leyritz played 11 major league seasons, nine with the New York Yankees. He had a career .264 batting average with 90 homers in the majors.
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Great day for two: Maryland State’s Jim “Ironman” Newell pitched his Bradford Boys Club team into the quarterfinals of the sixth annual AAABA Tournament by earning two mound victories on the same day.
Newell struck out 16 batters in a four-hitter in his first win of the day against Pittsburgh, and the left-hander fanned 10 and scattered seven hits in the second win over Zanesville.
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Hard to bring a good man down: New Orleans centerfielder Bubby Riley made hard contact with the brick wall at Point Stadium while chasing down a hit by Baltimore’s Kevin Hockaday in the sixth inning on Saturday. Hockaday ended up with a double.
Despite going down for nearly five minutes, Riley stayed in the game. He was checked between innings by paramedics and deemed OK.
“He got the wind knocked out of him and his visionary thing was OK,” Wineski said. “He’s going to be a little sore (Sunday), but it was a great effort by the kid. He plays the game hard.”
Baltimore won the battle of the perennial powers, 8-4.
BY MIKE MASTOVICH
Arcurio will be AAABA president
George Arcurio III will carry on a family tradition by serving as national president of the All American Amateur Baseball Association (AAABA) this year.
“It’s a great honor,” Arcurio said Tuesday night. “I’m going to do the best I can for the organization.”
AAABA | The bracket
Here's a look at the current AAABA bracket.
Check back each day for updated standings.
Richland's Solarczyk claims Point Stadium Award
Richland High School football player Tanner Solarczyk earned the 2013 Point Stadium Award.
The award was announced Friday night during a banquet at Ace’s Lounge in Cambria City. Former Point Stadium Award winner Jack Buchan was the featured speaker at the event.
Solarczyk was the September monthly nominee based on his Sept. 27 performance in Richland’s 70-21 victory over Bishop McCort. The Rams senior running back gained 111 yards and scored four touchdowns on only 14 carries against the Crushers.
Altoona AAABA player helped Cardinals eliminate Pirates
While much of western Pennsylvania winced at St. Louis Cardinals slugger Matt Adams’ towering two-run homer against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the decisive Game 5 of the NLDS, Mel Curtis jumped up from his couch and cheered loudly.
It’s not that Curtis is an anti-Pirates fan.
NLDS hero remembers AAABA Tournament
Six years ago, Matt Adams smacked a game-winning hit off the Point Stadium screen in left-center field playing in front of an estimated 7,000 fans – the largest crowd he’d played in front at that juncture of his baseball career.
Last week, Adams ripped a towering two-run homer to effectively seal the St. Louis Cardinals’ 6-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the decisive fifth game of the National League Divisional Series in front of 47,231 fans at Busch Stadium.
Campbell, Solarczyk nominated for Point award
Delweld pick-up player Nate Campbell and Richland running back Tanner Solarczyk earned Point Stadium Award monthly nominations for August and September, respectively.
A center fielder, Campbell laced a one-out double to deep right field, driving in a pair of runs that provided the margin of victory in the Johnstown representative’s 12-10 victory over Chicago Metro in the AAABA Tournament.
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Delweld falls in championship opener
Youse’s Maryland Orioles of Baltimore overcame an early deficit and forced a second championship round game in the 69th AAABA Tournament Sunday afternoon at Point Stadium.
Baltimore scored eight runs over the fifth and sixth innings and beat Delweld 12-5 in front of an estimated 3,000 fans.
Triumphant Delweld heads to title game
Josh Staniscia has produced plenty of big hits with the game on the line this AAABA season.
That comes along with being the local league MVP.
The Delweld center fielder didn’t have a tape-measure homer or blistering line drive in the bottom of the 10th inning on Saturday night at Point Stadium.
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