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Fast-pitch ace entertains in Hagerstown

July 31, 2000

Fast-pitch ace entertains in Hagerstown



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer


You knew something was up the minute the four-member, fast-pitch softball team took to Hagerstown's Municipal field Sunday afternoon for a pre-Hagerstown Suns game show.

First off, the team known as The King and His Court, only had four players and one of them, a man in his 70s, walked with a heavy limp and pitched blindfolded.

Secondly, the self-proclaimed "King" Eddie Feigner and the Court, his wife Ann Marie Feigner, Eddie Aucoin and Rich Hoppe made a habit of stopping the game to tell jokes and give advice to the opposing local team, the Pen Mar Diplomats.

Feigner got things started by informing the crowd of about 1,500 that this game wasn't about winning or losing.

"This is a fun game so don't ruin the whole thing by worrying about the score," he advised.

After 45 minutes of play, the King and his Court continued its reign with a 3-2 win over the Washington County team which had about 20 players - including Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II and Washington County Commissioner John Schnebly.

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In the first inning, the Diplomats took to the field with female pitchers from Waynesboro (Pa.) High School but minus Bruchey and Schnebly.

In between several innings of three- up, three-down play, Hoppe clowned around, running the bases in reverse order, skipping bases and throwing the pitcher off by shouting as she released the ball.

Feigner, who appeared frail but spirited, received resounding applause after coming on to the field. He played only a few innings and batted but didn't run the bases. He chatted with his teammates from his seat on bench near the first base line.

In his heyday, Feigner's pitches were clocked at more than 110 mph.

The fast-pitch softball icon has recorded 141,000 strikeouts in his career - including more than 14,000 blindfolded and more than 1,000 from center field. He will be throwing out the first pitch for softball games at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

In Hagerstown, Feigner's blindfolded pitches were mostly strikes. The Diplomats were able to get a base hit.

"I'll pitch from memory - about the way the umpires calling it," he said before throwing his first sightless pitch.

Baseball fan Brittany Hatfield said she and her family enjoyed watching the Court play on the field and off.

"It was very funny," said Hatfield of Waynesboro, Pa.

George Moore brought his wife LuAnn, from their home in Falling Waters, W.Va. to see his teenage idol, the King.

"He's fabulous - a living legend," said Moore.

Moore said he saw Feigner play 30 years ago. Seeing him in Hagerstown brought it all back.

"Nobody could hit off him. He could throw 100 mph," he said.

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