Doin’ Dunmore: Rinaldi Sets Dunmore Freedom League Record

corey rinaldiBy Steve Svetovich

Dunmore High School graduate Corey Rinaldi, 22, has played baseball his whole life from t-ball through Little League, Teener League, Legion, high school and college.

But he never hit a home run. Until last month.

Son of Mike and Michele Rinaldi, Corey hit three homers in one game playing for the Dunmore entry in the summer Dunmore Freedom League at Sherwood Park last month.

He hit the homers in three consecutive at bats. All were hard blasts, one over the right field fence and two to deep center over the fence.

The three homer game set a Dunmore Freedom League record.

Playing with and against mostly collegiate players, Corey performs at a highly competitive level in the league.

Congratulated after his three homer performance, he remained humble. “Oh, you are way too kind,” he said. “But thank you, sir.”

Corey, who added some muscle to his frame this season, graduated from Dunmore in 2015. He is a biology major at Penn State University. He played on the baseball team at Penn State Scranton last season.

Corey played four years of baseball at Dunmore and was a first team all-star first baseman in his senior year. He also played in the Dream Game at PNC Field in Moosic in his senior year.

He earned distinguished honors throughout high school and was a member of the Dunmore golf team.

He was the captain of his Dunmore High School baseball team and member of the Senior League championship team in 2013.

Corey not only hit three homers for Dunmore in its win over Honesdale, but he was the winning pitcher striking out eight in the Dunmore Freedom League contest at Sherwood Park.

Corey’s brother Chris Rinaldi is a power hitting catcher and was his teammate on the Dunmore entry team in the Dunmore Freedom League. Corey since his three homer game has switched to the McGinty’s team in the Dunmore Freedom League.

“I just love playing baseball,” he said.

Not one to shine a light or talk about himself, he let his mom, who attends all of his games, do the talking.

“Corey is one of the most genuine people you would ever want to meet,” she said. “He is a true friend and someone you can count on for anything.

“Watching him play is a pleasure. He never gives up, fights hard and just when you think he can’t throw another pitch he actually gets stronger.

“Watching him hit those three home runs was one of the greatest moments of our lives. He had never hit one before.

“He loves the game and works hard at it. But most of all he is a team player always full of praise for the rest of the team.”

Corey made the Dean’s List at Penn State. He was the winning pitcher and gave up only two hits in the only game Penn State Scranton won last season.

He played three years of American Legion baseball under his favorite coach, the legendary Gino Tempesta.

Corey was also very close to Dunmore coaches Mark Finan and Vito Ruggerio.

“They gave me many opportunities to play and learn,” he said.

Corey said he plans on becoming a paramedic or physical therapist after graduating from Penn State. He will continue his education.

“His compassion and caring for other people put me in awe sometimes,” his mom said.

“Every parent thinks their child is the greatest, but I know Corey will do great things with his life. Our love and admiration for him are beyond words.”

And it’s not often you will see three homers in three consecutive at bats at Dunmore’s very spacious Sherwood Park. An out of park home run there is a well earned one. Three shots.

From a Toddler to a Young Man in the Blink of an Eye

doin dunmore picBy Steve Svetovich

After 22 hours of labor, a baby was born in the spring of 1996.

It didn’t take too long for the baby to start talking and walking.

“Hold em!” he would shout to his mom, dad, or grandparents when he wanted to be held.

His first words were mommy and daddy, but as he gazed in great interest at a gigantic baseball player on the TV set hitting a mammoth home run, a third word came out, “McGwire.”

And that began a passion for the game of baseball. By the time the toddler was two, he had his first glove.

He would run out to the back yard of his West Scranton home and grab his dad. “Pitch to me, dad. Pitch to me.”

And the line drives came screaming off the whiffle ball bat.

He hit and played catch for hours. He would have his dad throw the ball far away from him, so he could dive and make spectacular catches. Soon that translated onto the baseball field with a hard ball and bat.

He started a 17-year summer run (and still counting) when he joined the t-ball league with his dad coaching in Green Ridge.

Then came Pony League and Farm League with his dad still coaching in Green Ridge.

With his dad coaching, his Farm League team went undefeated winning the first Light Tournament in Green Ridge. The team came back from an 8-1 deficit and scored 8 runs to the bottom of the final inning to win the game, 9-8. He started the rally.

Then he took his talents to West Scranton where he played one more year of Farm League at Sloan and made the Little League all-star team at age nine. It was the first of eight consecutive all-star appearances right through Teener League.

He became a shortstop and lead off hitter during his three years of Sloan Little League. His favorite team was the New York Yankees and favorite player Derek Jeter. He always wore No. 2 and still does to this day.

After two years at Robert Morris Elementary School in Green Ridge, he transferred to Frances Willard in West Scranton through the fifth grade.

The little boy had another passion, Subway hoagies. It’s a good bet every Subway shop in the valley knew him. He became known as “the Ranch Boy ” due to his penchant for always requesting “lots of ranch sauce” on his hoagies.

He loved going with his mom to visit his pop pop and nana in the country in Harding.

And he developed a strong bond with his pop and late Yiayia (Greek word for grandmother) in Green Ridge. He visited with them almost daily and remains close to his grandfather (pop) to this day.

Basketball also became a passion. He played in several biddy basketball leagues in Green Ridge, North Scranton and West Scranton. His favorite was Holy Rosary in North Scranton where he played for 8 years leading his team to a championship in his last game.

He also helped lead his Saint Anne’s biddy basketball team to a title.

He later played four years of high school basketball under Jack Lyons at West Scranton. The discipline, character, team work and responsibility he learned through that experience is evident in the manner he carries himself today.

He attended West Scranton Intermediate School for three years where he played basketball and baseball. He was the starting third baseman on Leo Ciullo’s first place baseball team, a very talented group who he developed life long friendships.

He played Teener League baseball, American Legion Baseball and Babe Ruth baseball. Playing primarily shortstop and pitcher, he was a leader on those teams.

He was athletic with great speed and had a penchant for hitting line drives in the gap, stealing bases and making the diving stop or catch in the field. And he could pitch with the best of them.

He played fall baseball for 13 years and especially enjoyed playing under Tom Lynch in North Scranton. His final two years of fall ball were under his dad at West Scranton’s Battaglia Field.

His West Scranton Babe Ruth team coached by Tony Cimino went all the way to the state championship in Mansfield. Great memories were created that will last a lifetime.

During his growing up years and even now, bus trips to Yankee Stadium with Cookie’s Travelers or JZ Tours with his dad and little brother Ryan were common throughout the summer. And every single year from the time he was five through this date he looks forward to attending the induction ceremony at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

He went on to graduate from West Scranton High School where he was Vice President of his junior and senior class, president of SADD, the Prince of the Homecoming and voted by his class as “Mr. Congeniality.”

But something happened along the way with his true passion. After leading the Junior Varsity baseball team with a .446 batting average and finishing with a 13-game hitting streak as a starting pitcher and shortstop, he was not selected to the varsity baseball team as a junior or senior.

He transferred to Holy Cross in Dunmore In his third quarter as a junior. He made the varsity baseball team there, but was ruled ineligible by the PIAA when West Scranton would not sign the papers to allow him to play. He did practice with the team though.

Missing his friends at West Scranton, he transferred back to West as a senior and graduated in 2014 resuming his title as class Vice President.

But that one set back did not stop him from playing baseball and chasing his dream. He continued attending baseball camps, playing in summer leagues, coaching and eventually hooked up with the Dunmore Freedom League at Sherwood Park where he converted to center field. He is now in his fifth year playing for the Dunmore entry in the league.

Following graduation, he attended Marywood University as a Health Care Administration major. He worked hard and did make that baseball team where he played three years. He took a year off as a sophomore to coach baseball at Riverside High School under Sid Hallinan. He also worked as a baseball instructor at The Sandlot under Chris Davis.

While at Marywood, his passion for hoagies transferred from Subway to Hank’s Hoagies in Green Ridge. Tommy Owens, the owner/proprieter, had a hoagie ready for him every day.

And if you shop at Gerrity’s Supermarket in Keyser Oak you will see his friendly smile and personable character as he diligently works in the deli.

He is completing his internship in health care administration at Life Geisinger this summer. At the conclusion of the internship early next month, he will officially have his bachelor of science degree. in health care administration.

He is still playing in pickup basketball leagues and still plays baseball in the Dunmore Freedom League. He will never give up on his dream. And that is to continue playing the game he grew to love with great passion.

But more importantly, this baby born in the spring of 1996 has grown into a responsible, polite young man of great character and integrity at 22.

I can honestly say he has never given his mom or dad one single problem.

This one’s for you, my son. “Hold em!”

Congratulations, my son Dylan, on your well deserved college graduation.

Dunmore Freedom League Seeking New Players, Teams

baseballBy Steve Svetovich

Charlie Ehnot has been involved in summer baseball at Sherwood Park for the past two decades.

Ehnot, Dunmore, a Scranton Prep graduate, is founder of the Collegiate Summer Baseball League (CSBL). The named changed in recent years and this summer will mark the fourth consecutive season of the Dunmore Freedom League.

Ehnot has been the league’s commissioner for the past 14 years.

Most of the games are played at Dunmore’s Sherwood Park. The season starts Memorial Day weekend and goes into the first week of August when playoff games are held.

It’s a competitive hardball league and players range from age 17 to as old as 58. Although most of the players are 19 to 30.

Dunmore’s Charlie Terrery, playing in his third consecutive year, is the league’s oldest player at 58. His son, Alex Terrery, plays in the league.

Former Holy Cross and University of Scranton baseball standout Anthony Duchnowski, Dunmore, plays in the league every summer. “Every year, I can’t wait for this to start,” he said.

Marywood University senior outfielder Dylan Svetovich plays centerfield on one of the Dunmore teams and will be in his fifth consecutive year in the league.

Harry Wildrick, a Kings College senior who played two years of baseball at Penn State Worthington, will be playing in his fifth consecutive year on one of the Dunmore teams.

West Scranton graduate Brett Lesh, 21, is looking forward to his fourth consecutive year in the league. “I can’t wait for it to start,” he said.

It is a highly competitive hardball league. In order to play, you need to be at least 17 and be able to play competitive baseball. There are many college and post college players in the league.

Ehnot pic

Charlie Ehnot, left, commissioner of the Dunmore Freedom League, is shown with his son, Chaz Ehnot, a coach in the league.

Ehnot is looking for new players and new teams to play in the expanding Dunmore Freedom League. Any player or team interested in joining the league can call Charlie (570-479-2289) or his son, Chaz Ehnot (1-301-503-0131) who is a player-manager in the league.

“We would like to have from six to eight teams in the league,” Charlie Ehnot said. “Right now we have about five committed. We want to expand the league with more teams.

“We’ve completed some renovations at the field. The backstop was fixed up. New dirt was added to the field. We would like to add a couple new teams if possible.”

Ehnot has baseball in his blood. He managed various Little League, junior and senior leagues and youth baseball in Dunmore for a couple decades. He managed his three sons, Jerry, Marc and Chaz, from t-ball to Little League to Teener League and up.

His son, Chaz, is enthusiastic about the coming season.

“Right now we have five teams who are committed to play next year. We have three Dunmore teams, Honesdale and a team of Scranton Prep graduates. We also have a possible team from Old Forge. We want to add two more teams. We want to have eight competitive teams if possible.”

Chaz said each team will play a 14-15 game schedule followed by playoffs. The final two rounds will most likely be best of three.

He talked about other plans for the league.

“We would like to move the back stop back about four feet. We would like to put up a nice retaining wall in the area behind the back stop. We want to make the bleacher area really nice for our fans. We want to turn this into a really nice field for us and other leagues who want to play here at Sherwood Park.

sherwood

Sherwood Youth Association will host their annual Dunmore Summer Festival this month. (Photo Credit: Sherwood Youth)

“We want this to be a first class field. The dugouts were put in by an Eagle Scout for his scouting project. They are nicely built and will sustain us for a long time. We want to work on the backstop even more. We are getting another tri-axle  of dirt. We will place 25 tons of dirt. There were 25 tons of dirt placed on the field last year.

“With manpower, we will get everything done. Every year we have something else going on. Every year we are doing something to improve the field.

“We would like to start the season a little earlier, but we like to get all of our college kids involved without missing any games. That’s why we usually begin play Memorial Day weekend.

“We shoot for a 14 to 15 game schedule for each team followed by playoffs. We play a good brand of competitive baseball and these teams only look to win. There is an instructional and teaching component for our younger players.”

Managers in the league include Chaz Ehnot, Mark Simko, Tyler Chulvick, Bobby Best, John Grandquist and Kevin Sompel. Most of the managers serve as player-coaches to some degree. Some more than others.

“I get into some of the games if I need to,” said Chaz Ehnot. “But I don’t like to take at bats away from my players at this point. So I stand back and coach and manage. And I love doing that.

“This league has come a long way. We went from three teams to six and are hopeful of having eight this season. We’ve made real good strides. I’m proud of how we’ve done things here. We play competitive baseball. These guys want to win.

“The Dunmore Freedom League is here for good and I’m proud to be a part of it. There is an instructional element and the younger guys learn from the older guys. We would like to add more competitive players. Feel free to call us. We can’t wait to start the season.”