FENNIMORE — Several former major leaguers turned back the clock to defeat a team of Fennimore-area “celebrities” during a Rob Deer Baseball Camp Pros vs. Joes softball game on Tuesday, July 28.
A memorable three days in “The City on the Move” began Tuesday with morning and afternoon camps, followed that night by the Pros vs. Joes softball game at Derek Lendosky Community Field.
Playing for the Pros were Deer and former Major Leaguers Cecil Cooper, Jim Gantner, Pete Ladd, Jeff D’Amico, Steve Woodard and Jon Lieber.
Five home runs for Derek’s Dream Team (the Pros), including two by Lieber and an in-the-park home run by Lucas Lendosky, were the difference in a 12–9 win.
“I have to credit Lucas with his ball he put in play to get a home run in the sixth inning,” said Fennimore’s Brent Sheckler, a member of the Joes roster. “The couple runs scored on that gave the Pros that little extra cushion.”
Sheckler was 3-for-3 with a home run in the loss.
“It was an absolute blast,” he said. “It was one of the more fun things I have ever been a part of. Win or lose, it was a blast. I think my kids enjoyed it as well. I have not heard from one person who did not have a good time.
“The whole thing was just super-cool. I have hit a lot of home runs in my day hitting softball, but never have I got so much attention from a home run. I had a lot of people the next day tell me they heard it on the radio. That was fun.”
Sheckler put the Joes up 2–1 in the top of the second inning with an RBI single, but Derek’s Dream Team answered and then some, taking a 9–2 lead in the bottom of the fourth on a Deer three-run home run.
“We had a pretty good lineup, but it was kind of like the Harlem Globertotters versus the Senators,” Sheckler said. “I am not sure we were meant to win. That night belonged to the Pros.
“Next year, if we do it again, I will have to suggest we get some batting practice before the game for us old-timers.”
Lancaster’s Jamie McCartney won an auction via Facebook in May for a spot on Derek’s Dream Team.
“Tuesday night was beyond my wildest imagination,” he said. “When I was a kid and playing baseball in the yard, I would pretend I was Cecil, Jim and Rob. These were my idols. Just meeting them was a dream come true. Being able to play ball alongside and on the same field as them made me feel like I had died and gone to heaven.”
Although he pulled his calf during the game, not once did McCartney think about taking a seat on the bench.
“It was a little nerve racking to start with, with all the people there. I have played in a lot of games but never in front of that many people,” he said. “I was praying I wouldn’t screw up.
“Watching the pros interact with everyone was pretty neat. They were very accommodating to everyone.”
The funds raised by McCartney’s winning bid benefitted the Derek Lendosky Memorial Fund. Derek died in a UTV accident two years ago.
“What it comes down to is that it was an honor to honor Derek,” McCartney said. “I will treasure and remember that night for as long as I live.”
Madison’s Tim Satter-thwaite bested several Pros and Joes, including Deer, to win a home run derby following the game.
“In the third or fourth round I realized I am playing home run derby in front of my hometown with Rob Deer and we just went seven rounds,” Satterthwaite said. “I am in tears. That is incredible. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that the rest of my life.
“This is exactly why I do whatever I can to bring whatever I can back home. The sponsorships, the commitments, the helping out the fans, helping out families, helping out people back home. Whatever I can do to make their lives better. It is awesome. It is awesome. Coming and seeing this, it is incredible. I wouldn’t change a thing.”