Series twice as nice for local family
No official records exist, but Williamsport native Don Cohick and daughter, Paige, are believed to be one of the very few, if not only, father-daughter combinations to play in a Little League World Series.
Don Cohick played for the 1969 Pennsylvania champion Newberry team that was the last local team here until Keystone in 2011. Paige Cohick played for Ramstein Air Force Base in the Senior League Softball World Series in 1999 as the Cohick family moved around for Don’s Air Force career.
They returned this past week to family at the house where Don grew up, taking in some games in person of an event Don said he never misses from his residence in San Antonio, Texas.
“All the Little League World Series stories, those were our bedtime stories,” said Paige, who lives in Houston. “When I see my grandparents, his bedroom is still all decked out in Little League gear and he gets to relive it again. It’s part of our family and then to repeat it and live everything he told us about was neat.”
What happened for Newberry then was Don Cohick threw the first game in what then was a single-elimination eight-team tournament. Newberry lost, 2-0, and was no-hit by the team from Santa Clara, Calif. Cohick said he wouldn’t have pitched but manager Fred Heaps gave him the start after the game was postponed to the next morning by rain. That also took away some of what would have been a homefield advantage crowd, Cohick said.
But there were highlights, such as Cohick striking out future American League batting champion Carney Lansford twice.
“I was kind of like this Michael Mancini kid from New York. I could throw breaking pitches,” Don Cohick said. “I threw a solid game, and 20 years later I spoke with Carney Lansford and said ‘I struck you out two times.’ and he said ‘So did a lot of other people.'”
Newberry went on to defeat Weisbaden, Germany, 4-1, and Mayaquez, Puerto Rico, 2-1, in consolation games.
Paige said she didn’t remember every pitch of her games the way her father did, but off-field memories stuck out.
“All of my family was there. Everyone came, like 35 people,” Paige Cohick said. “Dad was so excited, he’s going through all this again. He’s giving us tips, giving out T-shirts, everyone was recognizable.
“It was neat, too, to represent Europe. And we were a military team and that was like its own little family. We had the parade, and you don’t have dorms like here, but host families. They had taken an American team every year and they said this year they wanted to change, they want a European team, and then they got us instead.”
Don Cohick said he rooted for Keystone when it came, and that the 40,000-plus crowds made it more special for him because he knew what it meant to be a local player playing at Lamade Stadium.
“What I remember most is that we grew up here in Williamsport. Little League was a big deal and the Little League World Series was the epitome of Williamsport,” Don Cohick said. “But to make it here and play was incredible. As a young kid, my dreams came true.”