When last year's Babe Ruth 13-15 World Series was complete, George Lally took the opportunity to grade Jamestown's performance.
Let's just say that, from Lally's perspective, the local committee aced the final exam.
''Jamestown has put on the finest and the top World Series that we have had over the past 60 years,'' said Lally, the tournament director, Babe Ruth League Inc. senior international board member and historian. '' ... It's just an awesome community.''
Pat Ohl, left, and Kathy McMaster greet host parents during orientation for the 2011 Babe Ruth 13-15 World Series.
P-J photo by Rob Tucker
Patricia ''Pat'' Ohl was part of the reason Lally returned to his native New England with plenty of warm fuzzies.
For it was through Ohl's efforts and that of tag-team partner Kathy McMaster who took on the daunting task of securing host families not only for the 2011 World Series, but also for tournaments dating back more than three decades.
Without fail, the Jamestown women always found a way to hit the ball out of the park.
''Once she started,'' McMaster said, ''she'd work on it 24/7.''
But McMaster's heart and the hearts of the rest of the Jamestown Babe Ruth World Series Committee are heavy today after they learned of Ohl's death early Thursday morning. She was 66.
''She was a sweet lady,'' said Finance Division director John Bauer. ''She was low key, she got the job done and she made everybody feel good when she did it. When everything was going crazy, she was one of the voices of reason.''
Take, for instance, the 2008 World Series.
That was the year that Ohl and McMaster were scrambling for host families for one final team from Queens, N.Y. At the 11th hour, Steve and Nancy Wickmark of Cassadaga generously opened an unoccoupied 15-room French colonial home they owned on the shores of Cassadga Lakes to accommodate the youngsters.
But someone had to be sure that the kids from the New York City borough would have all the necessities upon their arrival, so, as Kim Ecklund recalled, there was Ohl making road trips up and down Route 60, coordinating the delivery of beds, sheets and food.
''It didn't matter,'' said Ecklund, the Public Relations Division director, ''because when you're a division chairman and in charge of something you do everything in your power to make it successful, even if it's midnight.''
Apparently, Ohl thrived on sleep deprivation. In the run-up to a World Series, she greeted each player and their host parents, no matter the hour, only to be back at it early the next morning, making sure that every detail was tended to.
''That was the way she was,'' Ecklund said. ''It was not a 9-to-5 job for her. She would spend all day making phone calls, doing whatever it took ... to make it successful.''
And, for good measure, Ohl would often regale the visiting teams with a personal story about the host family experience she, her husband Ron and son Andy had in Jamestown's first World Series in 1980.
''There are thousands of kids who know that name and that person,'' said host president Russell E. Diethrick Jr., ''and there are thousands of parents who know that name and that person, and I'm sure there's a positive feeling. If they remember a World Series in Jamestown, the first thing they'll remember is the host family program and then they'll remember the runs, hits and errors.''
McMaster recalled the time that her family and the Ohls housed players from Kansas in 1980.
''Pat told the kids that if they ever made it to a World Series again to let us know,'' she said. ''The next year we got a phone call from the boys and they said they'd be in New Hampshire (for another World Series). We put our kids in the car and went to New Hampshire.''
Noted Bauer: ''I don't think there was any player who came through (Jamestown) that Pat didn't love.''
The feeling apparently was mutual.
A week or two before the team arrivals for the 2011 World Series, Ohl received a phone call. On the line was a man in his 40s.
''It was a player that she hosted in the first World Series (in 1980),'' Ecklund said. ''He had called her because he had seen some of the publicity we had done and (he wanted her to know) that his (trip to Jamestown) was one of the best times he'd had.''
When informed of that vignette, Diethrick was touched.
''That, in itself, tells the whole story,'' he said.
Make that the ''Ohl'' story.