It wasn’t too many years ago that Lancaster County had some of the best fast-pitch softball teams anywhere. There were the top-notch Armstrong industrial teams of the 1930s and 1940s and some stellar Hamilton Watch squads of the same era. Then there was this 1963 Trojan Boat fast-pitch softball team, which won the “A” division of the Lancaster Industrial League that year.
The squad was led by the pitching of Wilbur Witman. Witman “was up with some of the best pitchers going,” recalls Lancaster County baseball historian Barry Giberson of New Providence. Witman, like a lot of the other top fast-pitch hurlers, could really “bring it,” or throw fast, Giberson notes. And since a softball pitcher throws from 46 feet compared to baseball’s 60 feet, 6 inches, “that makes it a lot harder to hit,” Giberson says.
The Trojan Boat team from 1963 is, front row, left to right: Charlie Baker, Jack Teaman, Tom Weaver, Glenn Morrison and Jim Axe. Back row, left to right, are: Hugh Dishman, J.D. Thompson, John Hoffman, Wilbur Witman, Larry Eshbach and Gary McGaw, manager.
In other softball news from 1963, these local and regional teams won state league championships: South End, Lancaster, Class A; Rising Sun Hotel, Reading, Class AA; and Upland Baptist Church of Chester, Church League. Leagues like the Industrial League “are long gone now,” Giberson notes. He welcomes calls (at 598-7255) from anyone looking for information on Lancaster-area baseball and softball teams and players.