After 43 seasons in blue and stripes, Frank D’Angelo says goodbye to diamonds and local refereeing – The Morning Call

The Colonial League Championship game on Thursday was a thriller between Notre Dame Green Pond and South Leahy, which took more than 2 and a half hours before it ended.

Frank D’Angelo did not object to the duration of the game. He worked second base at Weiland Park University in DeSales, and when the Southern Bad’s 10-9 victory was completed, it was one of the most outstanding refereeing careers in the history of local scholastic and collegiate sport.

The game was the last in an astonishing 43-year career that made D’Angelo a fixture on local networks, basketball courts and baseball diamonds since he took office in 1979 at age 17 as a student of Bishop Haifa’s high school Hazelton. .

Why has he been doing this for so long?

“I’ve met some of my best friends in life doing this,” D’Angelo said. “People talk about why they do it and what you achieve, but for me it’s a place where I’ve made lasting friendships. There is no money I could pay, or more games I could play than the opportunity to meet wonderful, wonderful people. More than 43 years of growth in Hazelton to Center Valley, where I live now, to Easton, where I worked in education … friendships are what I will appreciate the most. ”

D’Angelo learned from some of the most respected and legendary officials in the history of the Lehigh Valley and the county 11.

“Under the influence of Kurt Steigerwalt and Charlie McCullough, I was allowed to take the PIAA test at age 17, and I worked in some college games in my senior year of high school,” D’Angelo said. “I also served at a college in Bloomsburg. I had a class in college taught by Steve Bresset, who was Bloomsburg [baseball] coach. In fact I asked him if I could skip classes so I could work in the District 11 playoffs. That’s when he found out I was a referee and immediately asked me if I would be working on the Bloomsburg Fall Baseball Games.

“I am not only not against doing this, but I am grateful for the opportunity,” D’Angelo said. “That fall they played at Lock Haven, and Lock Haven’s coach was Charles” Todd “Eberle, who was also the PSAC commissioner, and because of that I, as a college student, all fell for the PSAC refereeing games.”

D’Angelo also became a well-known football and basketball official. He would have worked at different levels, but admits he may have liked baseball the most.

“It was a joy to do it, a challenge to do it,” he said. “It pushed me. I always wanted to get better and reach the next level, whether it was working in the District 11 championship or collaborating in college, there was always something that motivated me to be as experienced as possible in this matter. ”

While some games at certain venues, such as Martz Hall in Potsville, will always stand out, some of his best memories are left while visiting the gym or field, especially with his father Dominic nearby.

“When I was about 20 years old after graduating from college and still living at home, my father always accompanied me to games because he was a big fan of sports,” D’Angelo said. “We were driving to the Lehigh Valley from Hazelton during many snowstorms, because the games were not canceled as easily then as they are today. My dad asked if we should go in such weather, or asked if it was worth it. But we drove through the storms to get to the games, and some of the best things that came out of that were those drives with him and the negotiations we had. It was a special time we spent together. “

Special memories remain from year to year and sports to sports from D’Angelo.

“One of the most enjoyable moments I had was my first game of the state basketball championship,” he said. “It was Duquesne against the Scotland School in the 1992 Class A final at the old Hersheypark Arena. I remember my dad sitting in the front row the most. ”

D’Angelo had a 37-year career in education and he always felt that the sports field was a continuation of the classroom.

“Although I realized that there was more emotion on the field or field than in the classroom, I always felt that we were still learning and training, and people needed to learn from that experience, both positive and negative,” he said. . “It’s a standard I’ve always followed, like coaches and student-athletes. We were all teachers for the young people involved and had to act so that respect was mutual. It was a landmark. “

As he got older, D’Angelo said during the event he needed more time to look back, enjoy the moment and socialize with more people.

“You always know what’s important and why we’re there,” D’Angelo said. “You see what we went through with the pandemic. We had changed sports seasons, of course, but we were still able to get out, and that underscores the fact that what we do in scholastic athletics has a bigger result than just who wins and loses. ”

D’Angelo has worked in seven state championship games, three in baseball and two in football and basketball. He also worked in 29 eastern finals.

The most controversial event he has ever worked on was not a high school competition. Not surprisingly, it was a congressional baseball game between Republicans and Democrats in 1996 at Prince George’s Park in Maryland.

“It was a very controversial period in the country, like today, and they all went for it,” D’Angelo said. “They weren’t good, but they thought they were good, and it was a controversial, controversial game.”

D’Angelo enjoyed this game and he enjoyed most of his assignments over the years and said it was all about passion. And his hope is for those who want to serve in the future that they will start with passion and support it.

“You have to have passion to stay in sports,” he said. “I took every check I was offered for my services. But I never played check. Along with the game came a check. If you are going to succeed and spend 20, 25 years on it, you should go and look at it as a vocation or a service, not as an extra income. If you change these two components, you will soon be out of class. This is not a recipe for success. “

No one in local baseball enjoys more respect and admiration than former Bangor Slayers coach and longtime high school coach, college and Blue Mountain League referee Bill Pencil.

But, as they say, behind every man is an even better woman, and for Bill Pencil, this woman was his wife Shirley.

Unfortunately. Shirley Pennsyl died Monday morning after a long illness. Bill and Shirley have been married for 65 years.

Former Shirley Hay was also the mother of the District 11 Player and Hall of Fame player and coach of Leahy Valley, who was also a renowned baseball referee.

In addition to Brad, the couple raised three daughters – Jackie, Cheryl and Tracy. Jackie and Cheryl were cheerleading captains, and Tracy played basketball in Bangor and student-level in Immaculata.

The entire baseball community expresses its condolences to the Pennsylvania family.

Rank, team, record, last time

1. Emmaus, 19-4, 3

2. Nazareth, 16-7, 4

3. Liberty, 20-2, 1

4. Parkland, 15-6, 2

5. Thus. Leah, 19-3, 5

6. Notre Dame-GP, 18-5, 7

7. Saucon Valley, 16-3, 7

8. Northampton, 13-7, 8

9. NW Lehigh, 14-8, 9

10. East, 13-8, NR

Released: Palisades (15-6).

Others to view: Central Catholic Allentown (11-9), Bethlehem Catholic (11-9), Polyseids (15-6), Palmerton (13-8), Panther Valley (15-6), Pleasant Valley (14-7).


Quarterfinals. May 25

Stroudsburg (No. 8, 11-9) at Emmaus (No. 1, 19-4), 16.00

Pleasant Valley (No. 7, 14-7) at Liberty (No. 2, 20-2), 4 p.m.

Easton (No. 6, 13-8) at Parkland (No. 3, 15-6), 4:45 p.m.

Northampton (No. 5, 13-8) in Nazareth (No. 4, 16-7), 16.00

Semifinal, May 29

Liberty / Pleasant Valley winner vs. Easton / Parkland winner, 12:05 p.m.

Stroudsburg / Emmaus Winner vs. Pleasant Valley / Liberty Winner, 15:00

Championship, June 1

At the University of Desales, 7 p.m.


Semifinals, May 28

South Leahy (№ 1, 19-3) vs. Potsville (№ 4, 8-11) at 18:00 at the University of DeSales.

Bangor (№ 3, 9-11) against Mount Pocona East (№ 2, 11-10) at 2.30pm at the University of Desales.

Championship, May 31st

19:00, at DeSales.


Quarterfinals, Wednesday

Jim Thorpe (№ 8, 10-10) on Blue Mountain (№ 1, 14-7), 4:30 p.m.

Allentown Central Catholic (No. 5, 11-9) v. Bethlehem Catholic (No. 4, 11-9), 4:00 p.m. in Freemansburg

Northwest Leahy (No. 6, 14-8) in the Pine Grove area (No. 3, 17-5), 7:05 p.m.

North Schuylkill (No. 7, 10-10) in the Saucon Valley (No. 2, 16-3), 4:15 p.m.

Semifinal, May 29

Jim Thorpe / Blue Mountain winner against ACCHS / Becahi winner, 1pm in Tamaqua.

NWL / Pine Grove Winner vs. North Schuylkill / Saucon Valley Winners, 4pm in Tamaqua.

Championship, June 1

15:35 at DeSales.


Quarterfinals, Tuesday

Statute of the MaST Community (No. 5, 13-6) in the Panther Valley (No. 4, 15-6), 4:30 p.m.

Salisbury (No. 6, 9-11) at Palmerton (No. 3, 13-8), 4:05 p.m.

Semifinals, May 28

Notre Dame-Green Pond (№ 1, 18-5) vs. MaST CC / Panther Valley winner, 11 a.m. at DeSales.

Polyseids (№ 2, 15-6) against the winner Palmerton / Salisbury, 13:00 in Saucon Valley.

Championship, May 31st

15:35 at DeSales.


Semifinal, May 29

Shenandoah Valley (No. 1, 13-7) vs. Minersville (No. 4, 10-10), 7pm at Pine Grove.

Schuylkill Haven (№ 2, 12-8) vs. Executive Education (No. 3, 11-7), 4:30 p.m. in Pine Grove.

Championship, June 1

19.00 in the Pine Grove.

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Semifinals, May 24

Three Valley (No. 1, 17-4) vs. Notre Dame East Stroudsburg (No. 4, 7-13), 14:00 Shuylkil Haven.

Catholic Marians (No. 2, 13-7) vs. Nativity (No. 3, 11-9), 4.30pm in Pine Grove.

Championship, May 27th

In Schuylkill Haven, TBA.

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