LAUREL, MARYLAND - Today most senior players know where Valley View Park is located just outside of Manassas in a rural community called Bristow. Few people probably know that just a couple miles away lies another little ball field on the grounds of the Linton Hall Military Academy. It was there in 1952 that young Harry Detwiler began swinging the bat. Today Dutch as he is known to everyone is one of the most prolific long ball hitters in the 60+ division of senior softball.
Dutch attended the Catholic boarding school for grades 1 to 8 and then high school in Hyattsville, Maryland where he loved the game of baseball. He began playing fast pitch softball in 1968 while in the Coast Guard stationed at Curtis Bay, MD where his team won the first of many softball championships to follow. Shortly after being honorably discharged for the Coast guard, Dutch went to work for the White House Police and then the US Secret Service Uniformed Division where he protected Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush before retiring in 1989. After retirement he went to work at The Baseball Store in Laurel, MD which just happens to have a 12 cage batting range.
Dutch played and coached numerous slowpitch softball teams in the Northern Virginia Police League and other local leagues and tournaments. Then in 1996 he began his senior softball career when he turned 50 years old.. He began playing on senior league teams such as Sypinski Insurance, Joe B's AC, Ted's and Conlons and came over to the ISSA World Championships with Taylors. After playing for the Maryland Express, Maryland Masters and REKCO he joined the Thomas Engineering 55 team in 2002 where he won his first National Championship, NSA in Gadsden, AL. When Thomas Engineering moved up to the 60s he played with Damons Grill/Angle Inn until he turned 60 in 2006 when he rejoined Thomas and the team won the NSA, ISSA, ASA and SSWS National/World Championships. Last year he was named to the ASA All-American Team in the 60 Major Plus Division at Burlington. Dutch now plays for the High Street Bucs 60+ team and continues to add to his championship ring collection.
Today Dutch is most proud of having played on over a dozen National Championship teams and been inducted in the Anne Arundel Softball Hall of Fame, the Washington Metro Slow Pitch Hall of Fame and most recently was inducted in the National Senior Softball Hall of Fame at the 2010 ISF Senior World Cup.. If you are ever passing through Laurel, MD stop by and see Dutch and Carol at The Baseball Store, one of the friendliest couples in senior softball and bat experts as well. And if you had not read it here, you would have never guessed that he spent most of his life in military schools and police uniforms. So stop by and take a few swings with Dutch and talk some softball.