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Four honored at Franklin Old-Timers baseball game

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    Three-year-old Jaxon Goss is held by his father, David Goss, when he arrives via Franklin Township firetruck as the honoree of a softball game at Phifer’s Ice Dam in Franklin on Sunday. With him are, from left, Wayne Wentz, emcee for the event; Jess Szoke, Jaxon’s mother; Bruce Wolfe of the Franklin Township Fire Department, and Ron Steigerwalt, president of the Franklin Township Athletic Association. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

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    Noah Sensinger, right, and his grandmother, Audrey Milan, hold a “Shining Star” presented in memory of Noah’s father, Jeff Sensinger, a longtime coach of Franklin Township baseball. Jeff, 48, died in October 2017. Behind them are Kevin O’Donnell of the Franklin Township Athletic Association and Donald Bloom, also a Shining Star recipient. Scan this photo with the Prindeo app to see a photo gallery.

Published August 13. 2018 12:51PM

Franklin Township Athletic Association hosted its annual Russell “Bups” Ahner Memorial Old-Timers Softball Game Sunday.

A highlight of the game was the honoring of Jaxon Goss, a 3-year-old Summit Hill toddler who suffers from GM1 gangliosidosis, a disease that robs children of nearly every skill and bodily function required to live.

Goss was introduced before the game and presented with a game ball signed by all the participants.

His parents received a check for $1,000 from the Franklin Township Athletic Association, an additional check with funds raised from a basket raffle and bake sale, and a check from Jim Thorpe Neighborhood Bank.

A Franklin Township firetruck brought the boy to the game.

He was held for the ceremonies by his parents, David Goss and Jess Szoke.

Wayne Wentz, the emcee for the program, announced, “Today is Jaxon Goss Day in Franklin Township.”

He said Goss was chosen as the recipient of the funds because of the increasing medical bills the family faces.

The Russell “Bups” Ahner Memorial Old-Timers Softball game has an annual tradition of helping someone in the community with the game played at the Phifer’s Ice Dam field.

Ahner was a Franklin Township supervisor who championed youth sports.

Sunday’s game, which accentuates fun over competition, featured Franklin Township Old-Timers, which included coaches of the Little League teams and members of the Franklin Township Athletic Association, playing against members of the Franklin and Lehighton Fire Departments.

Three other people honored Sunday were Donald Bloom and John “Pop” Lynn, both in their 80s, who Wentz said had been involved with the Athletic Association since its founding, and the late Jeff Sensinger, a Little League coach who died unexpectedly at the age of 48 in October 2017. The trio received signs designating them “Shining Stars.” The signs are hung on the outfield fence of Phifer’s Ice Dam field.

Bloom needed assistance with a walker to reach the pitching mound and accept the award.

He was on the official “Old Timers” roster and was even given a time at bat. He was assisted by his walker and another player to home plate and given a bat. He managed to hit the ball, which generated great applause.

Four generations of family members attended to see him get the award.

Lynn was the umpire for the game.

Sensinger was represented by his son, Noah Sensinger, 19.

Noah said, “He was a great dad and a great coach; and I love him to death.”

The baseball game was a six-inning contest won by the old-timers. Although it was a fun game, it consisted of several home runs, slides and even stolen bases.

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