By Steve Svetovich
Dunmore’s Charlie Ehnot is a baseball lifer as a leader and coach.
The Dunmore native coached in the Dunmore Little and Teener Leagues for 20 years.
He went on to coach 10 years in the Collegiate Summer Baseball League (CSBL), which for the past two years is known as the Dunmore Freedom Baseball League.
Ehnot is the commissioner of the Dunmore Freedom League. The games are played in the summer, mostly at Dunmore’s Sherwood Park.
Teams play a 20-25 game schedule followed by playoffs. It is highly competitive, hard ball.
You can play in the Dunmore Freedom League from age 17 on up. There is no maximum age limit as long as the player can compete at a high level. There are no boundaries. A player, if competitive enough, can come from anywhere to play.
Most of the players are in the 18-29 age range, but there are exceptions. You can be in your 30s and 40s and play if you can still compete at a high level.
Ehnot, always enthusiastic about the game of baseball, coached his three sons Jerry, Chas, and Marc in the Dunmore Little and Teener Leagues over a 20-year period.
“After they all graduated high school,” Ehnot said, “there were no summer leagues for them to play in and keep in shape. There was nothing for them to do afterwards. I wanted them to stay in shape and play. And I wanted the same for other kids.”
And so Ehnot was instrumental in forming the Collegiate Summer Baseball League (CSBL) which initially thrived with at least 10 teams.
“Kids and young adults got the chance to play competitive baseball in the summer.”
And all three of his sons played in the league. He coached them once again. Chas Ehnot still plays in the league.
Ehnot coached the Dunmore entry in the CSBL for 10 years before staying on as commissioner of the league. Mark Simko, a former player who still sometimes suits up for a game, is the current manager of the team.
Simko was strictly a player for eight years in the league. His brother Brian “Dirt” Simko played 10 years.
Dunmore, North Scranton, Honesdale and Hazleton are among the teams who have participated in the past couple seasons.
And it is solid, hard-nosed, competitive summer collegiate baseball. Some of the very best players in the area perform in the league.
Some of the prominent players who played in the past include former University of Scranton third baseman-shortstop Anthony Duchnowski, former Fordham outfielder-catcher Jackie Loftus, and former local stars such as shortstop Alex Terrery and catcher Chris Rinaldi.
“We are hoping to expand to more than four teams,” said Ehnot. “We would love to expand to six to eight teams. Old Forge might field a team in the league this season. If there are any teams or players out there, we would love to get them here to play. It is competitive, summer collegiate style baseball. Most of the games are played at Dunmore’s Sherwood Park.”
Originally, there were teams from Jessup, Old Forge, Carbondale, Keystone College and Penn State Worthington in the league. Ehnot would like to see the Dunmore Freedom League get back to that level again.
“My goal is to keep the league alive and well and to have more teams. It keeps the kids fresh for fall college baseball. It keeps all the college kids active.
“And you can keep playing in the Dunmore Freedom League beyond the college years. But you have to be good.”
The Dunmore Freedom League will begin in late May. Games, including playoffs, will be played till mid August for a low cost fee of about $100 which is used basically to pay umpires.
The CSBL initially had a lot of publicity with box scores appearing in the Scranton Times-Tribune. Ehnot is hoping to regain similar publicity from local newspapers, including the Scranton Times-Tribune, for the league and its players.
If you are 17 or older and love fast-pitch, competitive summer collegiate style baseball, then the Dunmore Freedom League is the place to play. There is no maximum age limit and no boundaries.
Any player or team interested in playing in the Dunmore Freedom League, may contact Charlie Ehnot at 570-479-2289 or firstname.lastname@example.org.