The year 1944 was a busy one for John Ladensack.
First, the Michigan native and devout Detroit Tigers and Red Wings fan graduated from high school. Then he got drafted - twice.
Ladensack was first drafted by the Chicago White Sox.
The slick fielding, hard hitting second baseman had patterned his game after Tigers great Charlie Gehringer. The Sox envisioned Ladensack as a player for their future.
However, the second drafting came from Uncle Sam and trumped the first.
With World War II waging on two fronts, Ladensack bypassed his chance at baseball stardom and enlisted in the Navy. He took part in the invasions of Leyte Gulf and Okinawa and received battle citations for his valor.
Returning to the States in 1946, John decided to forego his baseball dreams and go to work in the auto supply business near Detroit. He was a UAW local president for 28 years. After retiring in 1986, he began spending his winters in Lake Placid and playing senior softball.
Ladensack is a legend at the Lake Placid Moose Lodge. Known as "Two and Out John," the barmaid puts up a shot and a beer for him as soon as he walks through the door.
"Doctor's orders," Ladensack says. "Drink plenty of liquids for longevity."
On Monday, "Two and Out John" ripped four hits for Schooni's Restaruant, as his team defeated Seminole Tire by a score of 31-24. Norm Grubbs (three doubles) had six hits, Kyle Saunders hit for the cycle, and Elston Hedges hammered two long home runs. Mike Kratt and Ron Wickman each flashed leather with two outstanding catches apiece.
For The 'Noles, Bill Stanley homered twice and drove in eight runs. Bob Roth (home run) and Ray Wilson (double) had four hits each.
Yates Insurance won its ninth straight game and clinched the second half championship by upending Central Security 24-13. Leading the Yates hit parade with four each were Cliff Bluml (double, triple), Bill Gallagher (double), Brian Heaphy (triple), Howard Carney (double), and Phil Lucas.
For Central Security, a quintet of batters had three hits each.
On Wednesday, Central Security (5-5) topped Schooni's (3-7) by a score of 31-21. Leading the barrage for The Securitymen was Dick Cook with five hits (two doubles). Ross Anderson (triple), owner Dana Hurlbut, Woody Hoffman (triple), Joe Hedges, Larry Oser (double), and Dave Londo (triple) had four hits each.
For Schooni's, Paul Brand (two doubles) had five hits. Norm Grubbs (triple, double), Elston Hedges (double), Harvey Jones, and Dave Steigerwalt had four hits apiece.
Seminole Tire (3-7) ended Yates' (9-1) win streak with a convincing 29-12 drubbing. Jim Hensley, JR Garver (two doubles), and Ray Wilson logged five hits each, while winning pitcher "Wahoo" Stanley hit for the cycle. Bob Roth, Chet Johnson, and Tom Ashley chipped in with four hits apiece.
Second baseman Frank Hedges turned in many fine stops, and first baseman Ed Engler threw out two runners at the plate before exiting the game after being hit between the eyes during a rundown. Like teammate Chet Johnson the week before, Engler vowed through the blood and ice to return to the lineup next week.
For Yates, Bill Gallagher homered twice and Howard Carney added a solo shot.
For more league information, visit www.lpsoftball.com.