Stivers 1960 Baseball Team

Stivers record of 4 wins and 5 losses in the city spring baseball campaign did not bode well for the summer season, but two facts were cause for hope. First, Joe Sullivan, a former minor league catcher, was going to manage the team and second, the summer season was for the first time going to be divided into two divisions.

Sullivan had managed the team in the spring and had a plan to work with individual players. One of his first projects was to work with pitcher Jim Walton on his delivery. Shortly thereafter, Walton struck out 21 in a nine inning 11-4 rout of Roth. The next week Walton struck out 17 in a 7-0 shutout of the Greene County Sheriffs (Beavercreek).

Stivers, sponsored by Hyland Machine Co., won the American Division in the summer league and was scheduled to meet National Division winner, H&H Machine (Fairmont), in a best of three series with the winner going to the NABF tournament in Altoona, Pa. The series was changed to a one game championship, won by Fairmont. However, both teams were invited to the National Amateur Baseball Federation tournament and could pick up players from the summer league.

The spring league players for Stivers were Frank Carter, Jerry Linehan, Terry Darby, Eddie Sams, Jim Walton, George Sams, John Carter, Ken Steinke, Jim Gracey, Bob Berger, Chet Lewis, Gary Vance, Jim Moore, and Mike Burton. Vance, Moore, and Burton did not play in the summer league or in Altoona. The players, picked up by manager Joe Sullivan, were Jack Thompson from Fairview; Dennis O’Reilly, Steve Johnson, and Jim Lewis from Belmont.

Due to age restrictions, the two Dayton teams were handicapped from the start. The NABF tourney permitted 18-year-old players, but Dayton drew the line at high school seniors. Some of the other teams had college players on their rosters.

In Altoona, Hyland Machine won their first game, defeating Chicago 6-5. Down 5-0 in the sixth inning, Hyland climaxed its comeback on George Sam’s bases loaded triple in the sixth inning. Later that day in a game pitched by Denny O’Reilly (Belmont), Hyland lost to Baltimore, Md.

Since the tourney was a double elimination event, Hyland was scheduled to play Pittsburgh the next morning. Against Pittsburgh, Hyland scored 5 runs in the first inning and went on to win by the final score of 9-2.

The drawing of Hyland’s next opponent was delayed to the following day due to a game being suspended because of darkness. Hyland’s next opponent turned out to be Youngstown, Ohio. Walton pitched into the ninth inning, holding a 3-2 advantage. With two on and no outs, Jack Thompson (Fairview) came on in relief. He quickly got two outs. Walton, who had moved to right field, made a difficult catch to end the game at 3-2.

There were now only three teams left, Detroit, Cincinnati, and Dayton Hyland Machine (Stivers). Hyland was scheduled to play Detroit the next morning. As manager Joe Sullivan said, ”We just ran out of gas.” Detroit, led by future major league catcher and tourney MVP Bill Freehan, got off to an early lead and coasted to a 14-2 victory. Detroit then went on to defeat Cincinnati in the tourney championship game, with Stivers finishing third.

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