By 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.
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 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.”