WNY Softball Hall of Fame adds 3 locals
Mike Tofil, president of the Lake Shore Chapter of the Western New York Softball Hall of Fame, announced recently that three local selections were named to the Class of 2017. Jim Fafinski, Bob Dimmer and Andy Alonge will be inducted Sept. 30 at the Italian-American Club on South Park Drive in Lackawanna.
Andy Alonge made his mark in softball as a shortstop and No. 3 hitter, combining speed and power. He played for 24 years, 11 in fast-pitch with Westfield VFW and Westfield Legion, a 10-year stint in slow pitch followed with the Classy Chassy, Bristol Burgess and Better Baked Foods teams. In addition, Alonge played modified pitch with the Westfield Legion, retiring as a player in 1998.
As a fine fielder and solid hitter he was a regular on the tournament circuit. Fast-pitch stops included the Dunkirk, Erie and Brocton events. Slow pitch and modified play was in Westfield, Dunkirk, Gowanda, Silver Creek, Jamestown, Bemus Point, Randolph, Mayville and Frewsburg.
Alonge was also active in the coaching aspect of the game. He led Little League and Babe Ruth teams for 12 years. He also coached Brocton Central for four years, winning the Section 6 Class D championship in 1989.
Andy has been employed by Bureau Veritas Certification for the past 16 years. He and his wife, Michelle, reside in Westfield. They have two sons, Ryan and Austin, and two grandsons, Miles and Mason.
Bob Dimmer was a fleet center fielder for some 28 years (1981-2002 and 2011-14) in Dunkirk. He played for four years for Al Smith’s Stars before a memorable 17 years with the First Ward Falcons I, finishing with the Dunkirk Lakeside Club.
Dimmer was a part of 10 city championships with the Falcons I, usually leading off or batting second and adding great speed and defense. The championship run included eight straight years, highlighted by a perfect 19-0 record in 1992. Dimmer was a mainstay of the Falcons’ tournament teams in Stratford, Burlington and Cambridge, Ontario as well as Brocton, Meadville and Erie, Pa.
He was a member of the Falcons teams that twice finished second in the prestigious Buffalo Queen City Tournament and finished second twice (1981 and 1983) in the Dunkirk Tournament.
Bob, now semi-retired, lives in Dunkirk with his wife, Betty. They have two sons, Matthew and Christopher.
Jim Fafinski was an “old school” fast-pitch softball player in Dunkirk. The meaning of that is, he started at 16 years old in 1967 as a starting second baseman for the Lakeside Restaurant and never looked back. As a slick fielder who could also show pop with the bat, he was a perfect No. 2 hitter.
His playing days spanned nearly 30 years and were spent with the Kochs, Joey Allen Combo, First Ward Falcons I and II of Dunkirk, along with the Gowanda State Hospital team. He was a nine-time all-star selection in Dunkirk and won city championships with the First Ward Falcons I and II and the Gowanda League Championship in 1970 and 1971 with the Gowanda State team. Jim, universally known as “Tails,” was also an organizer of the First Ward Falcon Club’s Fast-Pitch Tournament in 1975, which now is the longest running event of its kind in Western New York.
Jim and his wife, Carolyn, have one daughter, Kelly, and two grandchildren, Lillianna and Cassandra. He retired in 2015 as supervisor of the city Dunkirk’s water distribution system after 32 years of service.