For his years of contributions not just to the sport, but to the community, the softball fields at Doc Reilly Park will be named in memory of the late Fred Boreali.
“You walk in and, it’s ‘Borealis’ fields’,” said Ross Pacatte, one of those who lobbied the Town of Cobleskill for the honors Monday.
“That’s just the way it’s always been.
Mr. Boreali died in January; the park itself was named in memory of the late Frank Reilly, longtime Cobleskill surgeon and supervisor.
Tom Lyon, who for 30 years managed Boreali’s men’s softball team, traced a little bit of the fields’ history.
Originally built by the Penn-Dixie Cement Plant in the 1950s, the fields were all but abandoned after that team was disbanded about 1960.
By 1963, Mr. Lyon said, the Schoharie County men’s softball league was looking for a place to play and got permission from Penn-Dixie to use their fields; with Claude Ray, John Tallman, and the late Ray Edwards he helped restore the fields—a job they’d never have completed without Mr. Boreali’s help, both in terms of equipment and food, drinks, and ice.
“Fred Boreali was always the common denominator,” he said. “We could never have done it without him.”
Richmondville mayor and softball “old-timer” Kevin Neary said the fields have always been known as Borealis’ fields.
“Fred was always interested in the community,” he said. “If anyone was in need…he opened his door to all causes. This would be a way to represent the things he gave to the community.”
Martin Ewald, who managed the Boreali’s women’s football team for a number of years, called Mr. Boreali an ambassador across the state.
Terry Keller, president of the Cobleskill Exchange Club, where Mr. Boreali was a member for 40 years, and Gary Bywater, president of the Cobleskill Little League, also stood up to support naming the fields in his honor.
Supervisor Tom Murray acknowledged letters in support of the move from Howe Caverns General Manager Bob Holt—who pointed out Mr. Boreali’s father came from Italy to Howes Cave to work at the cement plant—and Bruce Wetsell, current owner of Boreali’s Restaurant.
There were some gentle suggestions from Councilmen Sherwood Veith and Ken Hotopp and former councilman Linda Angell, who now heads efforts at Doc Reilly Park, that it might be better to name just one of the two fields in Mr. Boreali’s honor, leaving the second for someone else.
But in the end, it was unanimous: Both fields at the park will now be called Boreali’s Fields.
Julie Pacattte Rohan, a woman’s softball player, said dedication ceremonies with a tournament and “old-timers’ activities” will be held at the park on July 31, what would have been Mr. Boreali’s 73rd birthday, as a fundraiser for field maintenance.