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Rob Potter | Democrat

Umpires Jerry Davitt, left, and Kurt Scheibe, right, congratulate retiring Eldred Coach Frank Kean after he won his final baseball game on Thursday afternoon.

Eldred’s Frank Kean wins his final baseball game

By Rob Potter
ELDRED — May 25, 2010 — Thursday afternoon’s non-league baseball game between the Liberty Indians and host Eldred Yellowjackets was not just the final game of the Yellowjackets’ 2010 season, it was the end of an era.
After a distinguished 38-year career in which he has guided Eldred teams for a total of 110 sports seasons, Coach Frank Kean is retiring next month.
And his players made sure that Kean, who is a math teacher at Eldred Central School, capped his career with a win. Behind a good pitching performance by senior Bobby Warden and some timely hitting, the Yellowjackets defeated Liberty, 4-2.
Eldred (3-11) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Warden was the first batter of the frame and walked to reach base. After stealing second base, Warden scored when Bill McKerrell belted a double to deep center field.
The Yellowjackets scored three more runs in the bottom of the third to extend their lead to 4-0. The team loaded the bases with one out and Warden and McKerrell hit back-to-back RBI singles.
Bryan Henry scored the final run of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Dean Olcott.
Liberty (4-14) got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth. Adam Hendrix led off with a double and scored when the next batter, Anthony Covington, doubled down the left field line.
The Indians made it a 4-2 game in the top of the sixth. Joseph Franke began the inning by hitting a double to deep left field. He scored moments later on an error.
Jordan Fedun then doubled to left field to put runners at second base and third base with two outs. But Warden got the next batter to ground out to end the inning.
Liberty loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the seventh, but Warden again induced a groundout to end the threat.
Warden allowed only four hits and recorded five strikeouts to earn the complete-game victory.
“We made too many errors today,” Liberty Coach John Wilhelm said. “We’re not learning from our mistakes.”
Kean was congratulated by all of his players following the game. Wilhelm and Liberty Assistant Coach Phil Fanning also wished Kean well in his retirement. In addition, the game’s two umpires, Jerry Davitt and Kurt Scheibe, offered Kean their congratulations. Davitt noted that he and Scheibe, who are the only two charter members of the Sullivan County Baseball Umpires Association still umpiring high school games, requested to work this special game.
“It’s a great feeling,” Kean said moments after the game. “To go out with a win is icing on the cake.”
Kean has been coaching Eldred baseball since 1973 and Eldred football since 1975. He coached the Lady Yellowjackets’ varsity basketball team from 1975 to 1979, posting a 66-10 record during those seasons. After coaching the girls’ JV basketball team from 1986 to 1996, he once again guided the girls’ varsity team from the 1997-1998 season through the 2009-2010 season.
Kean noted that when Eldred Central School named its new gymnasium in honor of Coach William Warneke in 1986 for his 30 years of coaching in Eldred, he thought it was incredible that someone would devote that many years to coaching high school athletes. But then Kean coached for nearly four decades.
“I have to thank everyone at the school and in the community for all of their support over the years,” he said. “To be at a small school like Eldred all these years has been like a match made in heaven.
“I have coached a lot of great athletes,” Kean added. “They have had good character and been great leaders.”
One might have thought that Kean would have keep the game ball from Thursday’s contest as a memento. But that was not the case.
Instead, Kean gave the ball to Warden.
“He deserved it, he pitched a very gutsy game,” Kean said. “If I would have kept the ball, it would have been shame on me. For me, it has always been about the kids. I am just part of the supporting cast.”
Kean has received many awards and accolades during this 2009-2010 academic year. In the fall, he as honored as the Football Coach of the Year by the Section Nine Football Coaches Association and an out-of-county daily newspaper. During the winter, he received the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Girls’ Basketball Coach of the Year award.
And on May 13 at Chapel Field, Kean was presented with the OCIAA Umpires Association Baseball Coach of the Year award. He noted that the Chapel Field players and Eldred players lined up along the first base and third base lines for the ceremony and then all of the players came up to him to shake his hand.
Note: In the middle of the fifth inning, the five Eldred seniors – Scott Hallock, Ian Halloran, Henry, McKerrell and Warden – gave flowers to their mothers. The five players also gave flowers to Kean.

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