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Baseball fans keeping the game alive

LYON MOUNTAIN - Baseball has long flowed through the veins of the people of Lyon Mountain- Just ask Bill Chase.

Chase coaches the Lyon Mountain Miners, one of the few remaining teams which compete in the Champlain Valley Baseball League. Though the league doesn't have nearly the amount of participation that it once did, it's still a point of pride for the community.

"Chazy's got their soccer. Peru's got their football. Lyon Mountain's got their baseball," said Chase.

Baseball has been "part of the Lyon Mountain heritage since the late 1800s," said Chase.

"It used to be that it wasn't unheard of to see a couple thousand people watching a ball game up there," said Chase.

The sport took root in Lyon Mountain when Republic Steel, a major employer in the area at the time, started its own town team. The team originally played across town from the current Lyon Mountain Miners Ballfield off State Route 374. And, back then, faced opposition from across the region, said Bill Durnin Jr.

"If you go back in the history books, all the towns had a team - Churubusco had a team, Chateauguay had a team, Gabriels, Ellenburg, Morrisonville, Rouses Point. Every town had a team," said Durnin Jr.

Durnin Jr. and his father, Bill Durnin Sr., both played ball growing up and both noticed a decline in participation over the years.

"I played when I was 16 years old in high school," recalled Durnin Sr. "Back then, you were just satisfied with getting a uniform, a hat and a jacket. Now, kids have to play seven or eight innings or they don't want to play."

His son agreed.

"It's just the generation. It's society. There's no real dedication or commitment like there was years ago," said Durnin Jr.

Though the Durnin father-son duo have long since thrown in their gloves, as has Chase, they each support the local baseball league and the Lyon Mountain Citizens Youth Group, the nonprofit group which owns the property.

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