FIFTY YEARS AGO…
Fallsburg Wins “Battle of Losers”
by John Conway
FALLSBURG, May 2021—Ask anyone of a certain age from Monticello, and they will tell you that the sportswriters and/or editors at the Middletown Times Herald-Record newspaper always took delight in demeaning the accomplishments and highlighting the shortcomings of the high school’s sports teams.
Perhaps this was never so evident as in a May 11, 1971 headline on a story about the DUSO Village League baseball game played between the visiting Monties and the homestanding Fallsburg Comets the previous afternoon.
The headline read: “Fallsburg Wins Battle of Losers.”
The article, and the accompanying box score, went on to tell the story of Fallsburg’s 3-0 victory in a game that featured just five hits in total. It was the Comets’ first DUSO Village League victory after dropping their first two league contests, while Monticello fell to 0-3 with the loss.
Still, the headline seemed a little harsh.
“The two teams, both with 0-2 league records going into the game, battled for four scoreless innings before Fallsburg took the lead on a combination of errors, stolen bases, and timely hitting,” the article stated.
“Comet pitcher Morris Cohen, meanwhile, was shutting out Monticello on two hits and striking out six in the process.”
Fallsburg first scored in the fifth inning, without the benefit of a base hit, when centerfielder Robert Jancko reached first on an error, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and came home on a sacrifice fly by Franshaw Jackson.
The Comets added two runs in the sixth, when after another Monticello miscue and another Fallsburg stolen base, first baseman Nate Patton drove in a run with a single and then came around to score on a double by Jancko.
Monticello senior southpaw Bob Jahrling was the victim of his teammates’ sloppy play, taking the loss despite surrendering just the three hits.
The Monties’ DUSO Village league losing streak continued the following Friday, by the way, as they once again managed just two hits in a 3-1 road loss to Liberty that dropped them to 0-4 on the season. With the victory, Liberty remained undefeated in league play with a perfect 5-0 mark.
Despite the continued frustration for Monticello, the TH-Record chose to highlight Liberty’s unbeaten streak in composing the headline reporting that game.