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One final game at 'The Ned' before demolition

On Sunday, Toledo Orthopedic competed against the Harry Young Builders for the Roy Hobbs Adult Baseball League Championship.

MAUMEE, Ohio — All good things must come to an end, right?

Well, it appears that the time has come for one iconic baseball stadium in Maumee.

"If this is the way we have to end it, couldn't ask for a better day, that's for sure," local Roy Hobbs baseball commissioner Joe Beham said. 

For nearly 60 years, baseball has had a home in Maumee. Yet this past weekend may have been the last game ever played at Ned Skeldon Stadium.

"Unclear what's going to happen, we know all the structures are coming down," Beham said. "There's still hope that we can save the field and be able to play on the field in some capacity. I know the county commissioners and everybody are looking at a grand plan."

Umpire Ken Widdel added "We're not involved in the politics, we're here to play. It is bittersweet, we enjoy the field and enjoy the facility. Hopefully, things will work out so that we can play here in the future."

Since the Mud Hens departed from "The Ned" in 2002, the Roy Hobbs Adult Baseball League has kept the field busy. While the ballplayers, ages 45 and up, aren't swinging for the majors...they are still competing in the ambiance of a minor league stadium which still provides quite the catch. 

"The whole aura of playing here, it just draws guys here and they want to play here," Beham said. "It's as big a part of the league as anything to play here. It's been a blessing for almost 20 years."

Sunday's Championship Game between Beham's Toledo Orthopedic team and the Harry Young Builders didn't quite come close to filling all 10,000 seats. Yet, those in attendance did benefit with time to reflect.

"My sons, in particular, five of them, have played ball here since Pewees and Colt," Toledo native Gary Durham said. "Then, at Whitmer High School they played District and Regional games here as well. Besides watching the Mud Hens play, I'm now on the warning track watching my sons play."

Of course, the man behind the plate calling the game had a great seat to the action as well.

"I played in this Roy Hobbs League for 26 years and the last four years, I've been umpiring in this league. To me, it's a pleasure to be involved in the last game of the season and possibly the last game at The Ned," Widdel said. "I've played with most of these guys and so there's a lot of joking that goes on outside the lines. Once you get inside the lines, these guys are as serious as anybody else."

The final score, to likely the final game, ran 18-4 in favor of Harry Young. Fittingly, the scoreboard is what most pointed to when it came to their favorite Ned memory.

"In a Regional game, my son hit a home run over the double billboards when a guy had a no-hitter going," Durham said. "I'll always remember that."

Beham added "I miss the big black scoreboard. A few years back, it got taken down. It was always a great symbol of this field."

While uncertainty surrounds the diamond, it possesses everlasting memories.

As for what's next, demolition is expected to begin soon of the grandstands, press box and clubhouse. The diamond and dugouts will remain for now as Lucas County commissioners continue to discuss the future of the space, which spans more than 70 acres. County officials have said Maumee residents will have a say in that decision.


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