Mullaly's Devotion to Local Sports Burns Brightly with Scoreboard Donations

By Doug Donnelly
Special for

April 11, 2023

HILLSDALE – Sports have always been a big part of Bill Mullaly’s life.  

Southeast & BorderIn high school, he played on the 1975 Hudson football team that set a national record with a 72-game winning streak.  

He coached an Arizona high school team to back-to-back state softball championships in the 1990s.  

And the 63-year-old Hillsdale resident has spent nearly three decades as an MHSAA-registered official in basketball, volleyball, baseball, and softball. 

Now, he’s giving back to multiple communities and school districts in southeast Michigan by purchasing and donating scoreboards for use at recreation and high school fields. 

"Bill is a great example of everything that is right with sports,” said Pittsford athletic director Mike Burger. “He has so much enthusiasm and love for the game. I have known him a long time and can honestly say he is one of the good ones that I have had the good fortune of meeting along my journey.” 

Mullaly decided to start his scoreboard campaign a couple of years ago and, so far, has donated a total of 15 scoreboards to seven communities in south-central Michigan, including four in his hometown of Hudson.  

“It’s to make the games more fun and more enjoyable,” he said. “I’ve been to two places this spring where they have scoreboards, but they aren’t working. It’s frustrating. It improves the whole game. It’s for everybody, the coaches, the players, the fans. It helps everybody. 

“I’ve got a lot of positive feedback. People are grateful.” 

Mullaly said he is fortunate to be in a position to help out the communities. His donations have all been to either recreation fields or high schools to which he has a connection, whether it be where he’s from ( Hudson), where he is a substitute teacher (Litchfield) or where he hosts baseball youth tournaments (Concord).   

One of the scoreboards in Pittsford is in memory of his mother, Beverly, a 1948 Pittsford graduate.  

“Someone said to me a couple of years ago, ‘What’s your legacy going to be?’” Mullally said. “I started thinking about what I can do to make a difference.  

“I saw a lot of recreation fields that do not have scoreboards. Most of them don’t. A lot of schools don’t have a scoreboard, in fact. I looked into the price and what it would take to get them and came up with this thing that I’m going to donate scoreboards to parks. I saw a couple of schools that needed them.” 

Mullaly, middle, stands last July with Jo Ann and Watson Clark in front of a scoreboard he donated to Will Carleton Park; the photo was taken during the 22nd David Clark Memorial Baseball Tournament. Mullaly purchases the scoreboards, then leaves it up to the school district or community to install them, which sometimes has been a hangup. In Hudson, he enlisted the help of a friend, Bruce Isenhower, and his son, Ryan, a former Hudson quarterback who now owns a construction company. They’ve put up all four scoreboards Mullaly has donated to Hudson. 

“It’s more than just buying it, it’s getting it put up,” Mullaly said. “They have installed them, completed the wiring and it’s great. It’s great to have a working scoreboard there. I’m just trying to give back and make a positive difference.” 

His first donation was to Concord, which went to the town’s recreation organization.  

“They have five fields and three scoreboards,” he said. “It just adds to the game, the experience. Everyone wants to know the score at these games.” 

In Hudson, two went to Memorial Park and two to Will Carleton Park, which is home to Hudson’s middle school and junior varsity softball teams.   

Last winter his donation went to North Adams-Jerome for a varsity softball field.  

“I’ve been there before,” he said. “The thing barely worked, and you couldn’t see the numbers. I wanted to help them out.” 

Pittsford has installed one of two scoreboards Mullaly has purchased for the district for its baseball and softball fields. Quincy and Litchfield are using scoreboards donated by Mullaly. He has also donated a scoreboard to Union City.  

“A guy was building a new complex two years ago. I said, ‘If you build it, I’ll donate the scoreboard.’ He said, ‘You will?’ I thought it was great what he was doing, and I wanted to be part of it,” Mullaly said.

Most of the signs include the moniker, “Donated by Bill Mullaly – For the Love of the Game,” which is something he and a friend thought up.  

“My main focus was to do it for parks that the rec teams play on,” Mullaly said. “They don’t have a booster club or a budget. That’s how it began, but then I started going around to high schools and noticing they need scoreboards too. 

“I get some satisfaction looking out there,” he said. “I feel blessed that I am able to do it. It’s neat when you are umpiring a game and you look out there.” 

The first scoreboard Mullaly purchased in 2021 cost less than $3,000. They are now running a little more than $4,000 each.  

“It’s useful and practical and can last for years if they take care of them,” Mullaly said.  

After college, Mullaly lived for 15 years in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., where he taught and coached softball. He makes a return visit annually to that area and manages to get on the high school softball umpiring schedule while in town.  

He retired as a teacher at Homer Community Schools in 2010. In addition to being a substitute teacher at Litchfield, umpiring and working as an official in other sports, he writes about sports for the Hudson Post-Gazette and Homer Index, two weekly newspapers. He’s done that since 1996. He also is a historian for the Hudson football team and area athletics.  

He’s never far from some aspect of sports. 

“I’m just trying to give back to the communities, to the sport,” Mullaly said. “I wanted to do something positive.” 

Doug DonnellyDoug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.

PHOTOS (Top) A scoreboard donated by Bill Mullaly stands tall at Pittsford High School. (Middle) Mullaly, middle, stands last July with Jo Ann and Watson Clark in front of a scoreboard he donated to Will Carleton Park; the photo was taken during the 22nd David Clark Memorial Baseball Tournament. (Top photo courtesy of Pittsford High School; middle photo courtesy of Bill Mullaly.)

No Runs, No Hits: East Jordan Aces Toss 4 Straight Shutouts, 3 Straight No-Hitters

By Tom Spencer
Special for

May 17, 2024

Playing shortstop this year for East Jordan High School admittedly has become rather boring at times.

Northern Lower PeninsulaThere hasn’t been a whole lot of action at what’s usually the busiest spot in the infield — no matter who is playing it.

Junior Eli Burns knows that better than anyone. He is the Red Devils’ regular shortstop. He also pitches.

Ryder Malpass knows what it’s like to play short this season as well – he’s normally in the spot when Burns is on the mound.

But he also has a feel for how little the shortstop does regularly for the Division 4 No. 16 Red Devils from his usual spot at catcher – receiving behind the plate for a pitching staff averaging almost two strikeouts per inning. 

Just recently, East Jordan put together three straight no-hitters and four straight shutouts.

“It’s good,” Burns said of playing short. “When you have confidence with your pitchers you don’t have to worry about the ball being hit to you that much.”

Ryder Malpass keeps an eye on a runner before making his move toward the plate. Malpass, a junior, started the shoutout string himself with a 4-0 win over Bellaire last week, when he earned the win throwing 5 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts while going 2 for 3 at the plate with a double and RBI. Junior Korbyn Russell closed out the game.

Then Burns started the no-hitter run in the second game that night with Bellaire, a 6-0 Red Devils win. Burns had 10 strikeouts and just a single walk allowed. He also tripled in the game.

This week the no-hitter string continued with 1-0 and 2-0 wins over Boyne City. Russell and senior Lucas Stone threw the Red Devils’ third and fourth no-hitters of the season.

Stone threw a perfect game across six innings. He struck out 12 batters on just 70 pitches and also went 2 for 3 with an RBI against the Ramblers. Russell earned the 1-0 win over Boyne City with 5 1/3 no-hit innings behind 11 strikeouts and with just a lone walk allowed. Stone followed Russell to pick up the save for the Red Devils, now 13-9-1 overall on the season and 6-4 in Lake Michigan Conference play.  

Russell is 6-2 on the season with two saves. Going into Thursday’s game with Charlevoix, he had struck out 92 batters over 42 innings while compiling a 0.86 ERA. Stone is 5-2. Before suffering his second loss of the season to the Rayders, his ERA was 1.17 and he had fanned 38 in 36 innings of work. Burns has racked up 17 strikeouts so far in just over 14 innings.

“It’s pretty special to be a part of something not many teams can do,” Russell said. “We have a special group of pitchers to get the job done.”

Stone credits the Red Devils’ defensive play for the pitching staff’s success.

“Our defense has helped the pitching a lot because they don’t make a lot of errors,” Stone said.  “It makes it a lot easier when you know they are going to make plays behind you.”

Korbyn Russell prepares to unload a pitch.East Jordan came into this week beginning to approach the state records for consecutive shutout innings and games. That ended yesterday in twin bill losses to Division 3 No. 11 Charlevoix. But the Red Devils still can chase the national record of nine no-hit games in a season. (No official record is kept for no-hitters by a Michigan high school team in a season.)

There is also no known record of any East Jordan team racking up three no-hitter wins in a row.

“I don’t think there’s been any stretch with three no-hitters in a row, so that is pretty special,” noted East Jordan coach Adam Grybauskas. “We’re kind of picking up where things were last year and trying to build on last year’s success and make it even better this year.”

The Red Devils captured a Division 4 District championship in 2023 and then a 9-6 Regional Semifinal win over Gaylord St. Mary. The season came to an end in the Regional Final with a 2-0 loss to Painsdale Jeffers.

Russel, Stones and Burns were on the pitching staff last year as East Jordan made that run. The Red Devils will host the District tournament this year as familiar opponents Bellaire, Central Lake and Ellsworth will vie to stop East Jordan’s attempt at repeating as champion. The doubleheader loss to undefeated Charlevoix ended the Red Devils’ hopes of sharing the LMC title with the Rayders.

“I think we’ve played a little bit better competition this year,’ Grybauskas said.  “Our focus this year is taking each doubleheader at a time, and try to get better each week.

“It’s really been game by game and week to week,” he continued. “You’re always looking to do better than last year so obviously that will be something we’ll talk about in the future.”

Tom SpencerTom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS (Top) East Jordan’s Lucas Stone winds up during a game. (Middle) Ryder Malpass keeps an eye on a runner before making his move toward the plate. (Below) Korbyn Russell prepares to unload a pitch. (Photos courtesy of the East Jordan athletic department.)