Daily Times, In The Community: Classic/Finley headed to ASA of PA Hall of Fame
By HARRY CHAYKUN, Special to the Times
Dave Price got involved in softball in Delaware County in 1976.
"I always thought there was enough local talent to compete at the national level," Price said. "The trouble was that not enough of that talent was interested or willing to make the necessary sacrifices to get it done. I played and coached teams that were not the most talented, but we became good teams."
"All the while I held on to my dream. Then in 1985 the Classic team won the state championship in Drifton and traveled to the nationals in Atlanta. Tom Trainor was the manager of that team and realized he had a good team on his hands and that perhaps it needed a manager that could give it the attention that was required."
One thing led to another, and before long Price was asked to manage the team. For the next 10 years, the Classic/Finley teams put up numbers that were unheard of in local modified softball. Next month, Classic/Finley will gain the ultimate in state softball honors when the team will be inducted into the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of Pennsylvania's Hall of Fame. One of the members of those teams, pitcher Mike Walsh, was among the individuals who joined the Hall in 2012.
"My primary contribution was keeping the team on course," Price said. "They and their growing families made many sacrifices, both time spent and from a financial standpoint, but in the end I think they all will agree that those years were irreplaceable and dear to their hearts."
In Classic/Finley's 10-year run, the team earned nine league championships, won 21 tournaments, took first place in one national qualifier, won five ASA major modified titles and appeared in eight ASA major modified national championship tournaments.
From 1990-94, Classic/Finley was Daily Times Tournament of Champions winner four times.
Among the team's top players during those 10 years, Walsh was named to five all-state and three all-national teams, had a 10-year winning percentage of .810 and threw 71 shutouts.
Pat Murphy, who batted cleanup and played second base or was a designated hitter, picked up three all-state and one all-national team honors, hitting .417 with 35 home runs and more than 150 extra-base hits.
Third baseman Paul Agostini was named to two all-state teams. He hit over .400 and made key contributions defensively.
Shortstop Jeff Watkins batted .356 with some power and teamed with Agostini to give Classic/Finley outstanding left side defense.
First baseman Brian Meagher led the team in home runs (57) and was a key hitter in the clutch.
Outfielder Paul Shepherd had a .376 batting average with 44 home runs. He also exhibited a strong throwing arm.
Catcher Mike Sundo was selected to a pair of all-national teams. He hit .385, was an excellent defensive player and had a great ability to call the game from behind the plate.
The team's 10-year record was 423 wins 97 losses and three ties.
"The Hall of Fame … I can't put into words how I feel," Price said. "Back then I didn't know the Hall of Fame existed. It's a great honor, and in some ways an affirmation of how good we did.
"They were the best years of my life, and to be able to share them with teammates … priceless."