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Truck driver in a league of his own

April 05, 2006|by JANET HEIM

Editor's note: There are a lot of people you see around town that you recognize, but don't know anything about. People like ...

Name: Steve Danfelt

Age:57

Occupation: Truck driver for Lightning Transportation

Hometown: Williamsport

Where would you see Danfelt?: As president of the Washington County Girls Softball League, Danfelt is looking forward to opening day on Saturday, April 8. He said there will be face painting, a disc jockey and a snowball stand on a day designed to recognize everyone involved with the league.

This year, about 400 elementary and middle school girls will take the field on opening day, Danfelt said. The high school division, with about 200 girls, will start in June after the high school season is over.

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Danfelt said he's been involved with the league since 1992 when his youngest daughter, Crystal, joined the league as a sixth-grader.

When Crystal's coach was late for a practice her first year, Danfelt stepped in, not realizing he'd eventually work his way up the organizational pyramid. He remains committed to the organization, even though it has been years since his daughter played softball for the league.

Danfelt is proud of the Kemps Mill Park complex near Williamsport, which is home to the league. The three ballfields were completed in 2002 and the concession stand was built by a crew of six volunteers, including Danfelt, in 2003.

"In '92, having a place like this was just a dream," said Danfelt, who credits the joint efforts of the County Commissioners, the Washington County Parks and Recreation Department and local businesses. New projects are completed each year to upgrade the facility, as time and money permit.

Dedication is a requirement, and Danfelt said he returns season after season because of the kids. He said he volunteers an average of eight hours a day, six days a week at the ballfield during the season.

Then comes tournament time, including college tournaments in the spring, followed by administrative tasks during the offseason. From maintaining the fields to running the concession stand, he said he couldn't do it without the help of Dwayne Bowlus, who is vice president of the league.

"He's like my right hand man. He's a great guy ... and a good friend, too," Danfelt said. "We also have good, dedicated people on the board and that makes all the difference to me. You can depend on them."

Instead of watching the games, Danfelt said he works the fryer, while Bowlus mans the grill.

"It's one big happy family out here. You meet a lot of good people," Danfelt said. "I know some day it will end. I'll still be here watching games."

Danfelt said the recreational league is structured to give every girl a chance to play softball, with no cuts. The league is run entirely by volunteers.

"That's one thing I will say about this league. We give it all back to the girls," Danfelt said.

Danfelt, a 1967 graduate of Williamsport High School, said he played baseball at Conococheague Little League as a child. He has three grown children, a son and two daughters, as well as two grandsons. He drives a truck at night, so he can volunteer with the league during the day.

"The thank you is watching these kids play ball," Danfelt said.

Hobbies: "This is it. I don't have time for anything else," said Danfelt of his efforts with the girls softball league. "People say 'You should read a book.' I do - the softball rule book," he said with a laugh.

Danfelt is a NASCAR fan and said he used to go to six races a year, but now only finds time to go to two.

What does Danfelt like best about Washington County?: "I have to say the people. Like I say, I grew up here all my life," Danfelt said. "I like the people, the mountains, the surrounding area."

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