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Class of 2016

Xtreme Promotional has been a Hall of Fame sponsor and a Softall Tournament and Team sponsor for the past three decades. They were originally named and known as, Performance Sports. They have sponsored many successfull softball teams throughout the 80’s. Performance Sports was known as a shoes and apparel store. The owner of Performance sports was Gary Dupuis, he branched his company into another company called, Superior Silkscrean. (Which were known for uniforms and sport clothing and again a team sponsor). Dupuis then merged with another company and calling it Xtreme Promotional Products with Rig Lyle. Xtreme Promotional Productsspecializes in promotional products and awards, this is their most current company.

 

Xtreme Promotional Sports

Sponsor

Bradley, Illinois

Inducted December 3, 2016

 

Michael Kleuver

Manager/Sponsor

 German Town Hills, Illinois

Inducted December 3, 2016

Tim Dively is married to Brenda, and they currently reside in Pesotum, Illinois. Between them they have one son, four daughters, and seven grandchildren. He graduated from Champaign Central High School in 1965, where he participated in Track, Cross Country, and basketball.
Tim began coaching Junior Pony League in Sadorus, Illinois, in 1973, which led to a 15 year coaching career. The following year he started umpiring fastpitch softball for IHSA, and a couple years after that got into umpiring in summer leagues. During this time he also served as the Commissioner of the area summer leagues.
    Tim started umpiring NSA fastpitch softball in the late 1990’s at the Central Illinois Diamonds Fastpitch Classic. It’s a large NSA Qualifier held in the Urbana/Rantoul area that turned into a huge tournament over the years. As time went on, Tim started branching out and working NSA tournaments all around the state.
He worked most, if not all, of the Illinois NSA State tournaments during this time, in addition to numerous Qualifiers in Mattoon, East Peoria, Kankakee, Quad Cities, and other sites. Tim also worked many NSA Girls Fastpitch World Series in places such as East Peoria, IL; Birmingham, Alabama; Columbus, Ohio; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Rock Hill, South Carolina, where he was chosen numerous times for the finals and/or championship games. He was also active as an umpire with boys baseball, and was a longtime Junior College and NCAA D3 fastpitch softball umpire.
    Tim says “I feel I have had a very successful and enjoyable career as an umpire for fastpitch softball and and baseball for 40 plus years. I would like to thank all those who I have been involved with during my time as a volunteer coach and umpire. I appreciate all the opportunities I have been given to lead and teach young people about these great sports.

The Central Illinois Diamonds Fastpitch Softball Organization was started in 1995 as the brainchild of Roger Obrecht, Steve Malloch, Pat Gray and Bob Biehl.
They saw the need for a more competitive softball program and began with one 18U team. Individual girls were invited to on the team based on the positions they played. The organization has grown to include as many as eight teams of various age groups over the years based on interest and abilities of the players.
    The Diamonds played in their first NSA World Series in 1996 and in 1997 began playing exclusively in NSA tournaments. The teams have enjoyed much success over the years. Their best finishes in the World Series have been: 18U-fifth in 1998; 16U-fourth in 1999 and third in 2002 (and they placed third in the Super World Series in Las Vegas, Nevada) and in 2005, the 10U team won first in the World Series held in East Peoria, Illinois.
    Terry King, George Hendricks and Steve Malloch each had daughters on that first team. As their daughters aged out of the program, George and Terry went from being supporting parents to assistant coaches and then to head coaches. Steve was head coach for many years and currently serves on the Board of Directors. In 2001, Terry became head coach of the 14U team and George the head coach of the 16U team. Terry has coached many age groups in his career and became a board member in 2003. He has served as the organization’s treasurer since 2008. Terry, George and Steve continue to be involved in the management of the Diamonds organization, but the efforts of many other coaches have helped sustain the Diamonds program and continue to keep it as a challenger in the NSA program.

 

Darrick Owens

Slow Pitch Umpire

Florissant, Illinois

 Inducted December 3, 2016


Darrick “D.O.” Owens is a St. Louis, MO native, who graduated in 1988 from Normandy Senior High School where he played baseball and basketball. In 1990, he earned an Associate Degree in Business Management from Sanford Brown Business College. Darrick played for various teams in the St. Louis area throughout the years; however his completive softball was played with teams Class Act and the St. Louis Stars.
In 2004, Darrick turned his athletic ability, baseball skills and softball expertise to umpiring. He began umpiring under the tutelage of John Bell at Bridgeton Municipal Athletic Complex “BMAC” in Bridgeton, MO. John was gracious in contributing umpiring skills, professionalism and interiority game to Darrick. It was here that Darrick cultivated his umpiring acumen combined with his passion and work ethic that he dedicated his focus to be among the best.
    While at BMAC he met tournament director, Tim ‘Demo’ Demetrulias their friendly acquaintance provided a gateway to numerous opportunities. Darrick has continued to strengthen his umpiring resume and has worked countless tournaments in Troy, Chatam, O’Fallon, and Decatur, Illinois. Darrick has also umpired multiple State, Regional, N.I.T Qualifiers and Worlds. Additionally, he has umpired 2 50+ World Series, 3 Gold, 3 Silver and 2 Co-Ed World Tournaments. In 2012, as a result of his leadership, commitment and dedication Darrick was voted and awarded the ‘John Lawson Umpire of the Year’ Award at BMAC by his peers. Darrick remains grateful for his mentors: Vollie Alexander, John Bell, Tim “Demo” Demetrulias, and Derrick Rolfingsmeier for their support and professional influence relating to the game of softball and umpiring.
    Darrick is sincerely humbled and appreciative for the honor in selecting him to the NSA 2016 Hall of Fame. He shares this special moment with his wife of 16 years, Stacie and their four children: Arion, Dylan, Dallas and Devin (late).

Michael Kluever was an accomplished sponsor and manager in the sport of men’s slow- pitch playing in numerous associations for over 30 years.Mike said his favorite association was NSA. It was a hitter’s game. He loved to play in the Midwest; especially Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky. He said Gerry Gund and Jim Kammel were class acts. He stated how there were so many different places to play and they were always well organized.
    Michael said: “We called several weeks before ‘The Thoroughbred” tournament to see if we could play and the director said that they were full. I asked them to put us on the waiting list and to give us a call if any spots open up. The Thursday before tournament play my phone rang and it was the director saying they had a spot open in the Thoroughbred“ tomorrow Friday at 9:30pm. Of course I said yes to his suprise and we got the boy’s together and we packed up the motorhome. We ended up beating Wannabe tout of Ohio twice to win the championship.”
    Through the early 2000’s he has walked away with 1st place in the Spring Classic in
Kentucky, 2nd place in NSA A Nationals in Indiana, 2nd place in NSA AA Nationals in Texas, 5th Place in NSA AAA (Major) in North Carolina, 1st place in Thoroughbred Classic in Kentucky and NSA AA World Series in Indiana. Through 2005 he received 2nd place in NSA NIT in Washington, 3rd place in NSA Major World Series in Indiana, and 5th place in NSA AA World Series in Indiana. We loved to play ball!

    Jeff Ott said, “I can’t think of no one who is more deserving of this recognition than Mike. The sacrifice and personal commitment that he has given for people like myself and countless others who just wanted to play is an accomplishment in itself. I am very proud to be able to say I played for Mike, but it pales in comparison to say that I can call Mike a friend. He is a friend to all, and everyone is a better person if they have taken the time to get to know him. I am sorry that I will not be able to attend the celebration of Mike's induction.”

 

Dennis Grah

Dennis Grah attended Sparta High School, played four years of football and baseball, graduating in 1976 . He married his wife Tammy in 1978, had a son and daughter with four grand childrens. Dennis and Tammy have a farm and in 1988 he started working for Sparta School District. Dennis then started working as a Correctional Officer for Illinois Department of Corrections at Menard Maximum Security Penitentiary where he still works as a Sergeant today. Dennis started umpiring in 1990 for Pony leagues, started officiating IHSA in 1999. While there the UIC asked him to umpire weekend tournaments at Cape Girardeau, MO. After working for Garner at Cape in 2004, Dennis registered NSA in Illinois in 2005, and worked many qualifiers and every every Illinois State Tournament since registering.
    He has worked every World Series since 2005, and every Border Braggin’ Tournament since it’s birth. He also has worked the NSA Super World and Women’s World Series. In 2016 he worked both the A and B NSA World Series. In many of these tournaments he was chosen for the Championship game, working the plate in some.
    Dennis says “I am very humbled and honored to be inducted into the IL NSA/BPA Hall of Fame. I want to thank my family for their support, Bob Biehl, Leonard Winchester and all the new friends/umpires I have had the privilege of meeting and working with. If my family or I go anywhere in Illinois there is always someone I can call on if I am in need”.

Fast Pitch Umpire

 Ellis, Illinois

Inducted December 3, 2016

Hector J. Espinosa

Fast Pitch Umpire

Hammond, Indiana

Inducted December 3, 2016











Hector’s life included playing baseball, boxing, basketball, and billiards. He went onto college and became a Special Education Teacher, where he learned a lot about the psychology of children. This aided him on how to understand and interact with people. He found humor and trust to be the key elements!
    He coached three years of T-ball and six years of girls travel ball. His daughter’s team won the NSA Indiana state tournament and he also coached three teams in the NSA World Series. His 16u team came in fifth place in North Carolina where we were invited to the Super World Series and we accepted. The team came in third place. Hector says, “Coaching encouraged me to learn the rules of the game hence becoming an umpire years down the road.”
Hector has been umpiring for seven years, in which includes, numerous Illinois and Indiana State tournaments. He was invited and accepted four World Series invitations from Leonard Winchester. Hector foresees growth and continuous learning of the great game of Softball.

 

Tim Dively

Fast Pitch Umpire

Pesotum, Illinois

Inducted December 3, 2016

 

 

Diamond Softball Team

Sponsor

Champaign, Illinois

Inducted December 3, 2016

Bob Biehl

Fast Pitch Director

Urbana, Illinois

Inducted December 3, 2016


Rob was born into the softball world. He got his start at the age of four, serving as bat-boy for the Champaign-Urbana Merchants men’s fast pitch team. He began playing baseball after moving to Nebraska, which led to playing softball. At approximately fifteen years of age, Rob started playing softball with his father, filling in when the team was short players or serving as an extra base runner. After moving back to Illinois in 1986, Rob continued to play softball on both fast-pitch and slow-pitch teams.
    He has played in many state tournaments for both leagues and is still laying in slow-pitch leagues today. After graduating college in 1995, Rob served as a volunteer assistant coach for Champaign Centennial High School. In 1999, he began assisting at St. Joseph-Ogden High School as a volunteer with his father. In 1998, Rob got his start as a director byserving as a site director for the Central Illinois Diamonds’ annual tournament. He served in this role until 2010, when the last Diamonds’ tournament was held. In 2003, he began helping direct the Illinois NSA State tournaments and continues in that role today. Softball has allowed Rob to meet many people, make many friends and travel to many places. The most important thing to Rob is that softball has allowed him to spend quality time with the man he admires most, his father.

              

Class of 2015
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Jim Crawford

Umpire

Bradley, Illinois

Inducted December 5, 2015

   

Illinois Stars

Girl's Fast-Pitch Organization

Kankakee, Illinois

Inducted December 5, 2015

           Jim recently completed his 34th year as a softball, baseball and basketball official. Jim is the proud father of two sons: Cameron, a graduate of Eastern Illinois University, and Flynn, a junior at University of Chicago.
           Jim has worked many NSA Fast-Pitch, NSA Slow-Pitch, and BPA Baseball for States, NITs, Regionals, World Series and Super World Series. NSA Fast-Pitch is his true passion. However, he loves the pace, speed and power of the slow-pitch game. In both, he has worked with a great group of umpires. One of the highlights of his career was working with the late Jerry Nihiser in the 2014 NSA Slow-Pitch Super World Series in Columbus, Ohio.
           Jim has an extensive career in high school and collegiate athletics. He has refereed many Regionals, Sectionals, Super Sectionals and State Finals for the IHSA, and private associations.
Currently working JUCO and small college women’s softball, Jim has had the privilege of working three straight National Junior College (NJCAA) World Championship games in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
           Jim adds, “Of the many organizations and entities I have officiated for over the years, NSA is the top of the list. A classy organization, NSA feels like family to me. They are determined to give players, coaches, umpires, parents and fans the ultimate in providing great settings and experiences for all involved. I am humbled and honored as a small part of it all, and I thank the committee for my induction into the Illinois NSA Hall of Fame!”

            Six years ago Illinois Stars (known then as Team Oak Stars 10u), coached by Tom Outsen and Mike Cann, began competing in local NSA tournaments in the Kankakee area. That team, Tom’s first with the organization, competed in the Howling, the Homestead and other NSA tournaments in Kankakee. Through these tournaments, the Stars qualified for the NSA World Series in Peoria, Illinois. 
            One would think a 3rd place finish in the World Series that year would be the most memorable NSA tournament along with an exciting 1-0 victory over the reigning state champion East Peoria Express, but a rain shortened NSA North State in Tinley Park proved to be the best shot at knocking off the powerhouse 10U Downers Grove Outlaws. The winner’s bracket was decided by a coin flip and the Outlaws couldn’t even lose a coin flip that year. 
            Rivalries were established in the girl’s 10u season. The Downers Grove Outlaws, East Peoria Express, Crown Point Bulldogs and the Edge Chaos 99’s were rivalries that would last the next few years. The following year, Tom and Mike took a talented 10u Stars team and competed in as many NSA tournaments as possible.  The watershed moment was the NSA State Tournament Championship. The Stars rode the momentum of that victory to an NSA World Series Championship in Indianapolis, IN. 
            New rivalries were formed with New Lenox Lightning and Northwest Indiana White Sox.  These rivalries helped create a very strong team by the time Team Oak Stars became the Illinois Stars. These rivalries showed the young ladies, that despite the rivalry, sportsmanship was the most important lesson.
            One year later, Tom and Mike took these young ladies and competed in an “A” schedule.  These tournaments always included the local “A” tournaments hosted by NSA in Kankakee. That season the 12u Stars team competed in the NSA “A” World Series Tournament in Spartanburg, SC. The girls were steam rolled in the second round and found themselves in the loser’s side of a very large bracket. Within a 24 hour span, the 12u Stars won 6 games in a row to earn a spot in the top 3, before losing in the “play in game” and earning 3rd place finish in the NSA “A” World Series.

            More recently, the Stars competed and earned a spot in the NSA “A” 16u World Series tournament in Chattanooga, TN.  Although the team did not finish the way they had hoped, or grown accustom to, the young ladies still showed the grit and determination developed under Tom Outsen’s leadership. His coaching style, and the opportunities for our local group of girls to compete in NSA tournaments, helped create an extraordinary stable of softball talent that is shown throughout the high school softball teams in the area. Many of the young ladies, who have had success all the way to high school state championships, passed through the NSA tournaments and our Stars organization.

   

Mike McCormick

Umpire

Rantoul, Illinois

Inducted December 5, 2015

   

Jerry Nihiser

Umpire / Player / Director

Decatur, Illinois

Inducted December 5, 2015

            Mike McCormick attended Norris City-Omaha high school in Southern Illinois and graduated in 1984, where he played baseball, basketball and ran track. He later received an AS degree from Southeastern Illinois College, and then attended Greenville College, where he played baseball for one year. His baseball career was ended by surgery to remove a benign tumor on his femur, but Mike went on to graduate with a BS in Marketing. He now lives in Rantoul, IL, and has been married to his wife, Kim, for 26 years, and has two daughters, Hannah, 21 and Haley, 17.
                Mike started his officiating career in 1999 officiating volleyball, basketball and softball for recreation leagues and high school level. A few years later, while working through the Rantoul Recreation Department, he met and worked with Hans Flessner, who introduced him to Leonard Winchester and Bob Biehl. Mike started his NSA career by working the local Central Illinois Diamonds tournament for a few years, and then decided to become more committed to NSA umpiring in 2009. Since that time, he has worked numerous NSA Qualifiers and State Championships here in Illinois, as well as a NSA World Series, where he was selected to work the Championship game. Mike would have worked many more World Series, but, as is the case with a lot of us, his real job (which supports him and his family) always seemed to interfere with his fun.
                In addition to his NSA and high school officiating schedule, Mike continues to officiate recreational ball, giving those youth the same professionalism that he gives to higher level ball players. He also volunteers his time to coach; he coached Junior High basketball at St. John’s in Buckley for seven years, winning two regional championships. He has coached Varsity Boys’ Basketball the past eight years at Buckley Christ Lutheran School, and the past two years has also coached Varsity Girls’ Basketball there while also coaching the boys!
                Mike says, “My philosophy as an umpire is that the game is about the players, and not about me. I always strive to give my very best, no matter what level I’m working, so the players and coaches can have their best experience on the field. Through NSA, I have been blessed to meet some wonderful people, and work with some of the very best umpires in the state. Those learning opportunities and interactions have helped me grow personally and professionally.” 

            Jerry Nihiser was a most valuable player for Illinois NSA. We had the opportunity to have Jerry play NSA, umpire NSA, and direct the game of NSA! Jerry played NSA softball with competitive teams such as All Star Diner/Easton, Throop Softball, Easton/Central All Stars, Illinois Easton/Throop/Sammy's and Precision Recovery.
            Jerry umpired NSA slow-pitch softball including States, World Series and Super World Series. He enjoyed working the higher division teams and was very good at communicating with them. Jerry worked as a site director/UIC for central and southern Illinois and directed tournaments for Gerry Gund. He always used to say, “Just tell me where to be at and what to do and I will be there!”
            Jerry played ball for as long as his family can remember. He started with t-ball, like a lot of boys did. He played through every summer he was in school and kept on playing after college. He loved softball more than anyone they have ever known. For him, him it was like his meditation. He was joyful and at peace when he played. His sister, Angie, adds, “He was amazing as a human being, father, and pawpa – always fun, joyous, giving, he always spoke with heartfelt sincerity, honesty, he was hardworking and he played hard. Jerry enjoyed his sport every time he had the opportunity to the fullest extent. To him, it wasn’t just a sport. It was more. It was his tradition and his way of connecting with others, and himself. He is greatly missed, every day!”
            Today we reach out to Jerry, still playing softball up there in heaven as we induct him into the Illinois NSA Hall of Fame!

Don Nolin

Umpire

Kankakee, Illinois

Inducted December 5, 2015

Jack Wagner

Player / Coach

Springfield, Illinois

Inducted December 5, 2015

            Don "Donnie" Nolin was a veteran slow-pitch Umpire and Umpire-in-Chief for Kankakee and the Illinois area for over 20 years. He served in the Army in Korea with the 304th Signal Company. Don worked at Quaker Oats for 20 years and after being laid off he took up umpiring full-time and scheduling umpires.
            Don
partnered with Dick "Polock" Kanoski in organizing and training umpires to accommodate large tournaments. Then, the area was awarded the Class B State, a 100 team tournament from a national governing body in 1984. Don met with tournament organizers and helped draw up a bracket which would be played at River Road Park. Don and Dick contacted and scheduled the needed umpires to work over 200 games in 5 days. They did so well that Kankakee ended up hosting that tournament for eight years!
            Don married his wife, Chun, in 1975 and they had a son named Tom who umpired with his father from 1991 to 1993. Chun (Lee) passed away in February 1999. Tom is now married to his wife, Annie, and they reside with their family in Bloomington, IL.
            Don was considered by many to be the finest softball umpire in the state. He umpired 33 State tournaments and 2 Regional tournaments. On August 13, 1993, during the Class B State tournament, the Kankakee Valley Park District officially named Diamond 2 at River Road Park "Donald G. Nolin Field". Don's family was there to throw the first ball and participate in the National Anthem. His son, Tom, umpired the first game of the tournament.
            Don passed away on October 10, 1992. He was also honored with the Don Plarski Award which is presented annually to the umpire who has shown exemplary umpiring skills. The recipient is one of the best umpires, on and off of the field and represents his/her organization with pride, courtesy, confidence, and professionalism.

 

            Jack has had a passion for baseball and softball the majority of his life. Coming from Ohio, and being raised an avid Cincinnati Reds fan, he has been entrenched into the baseball/softball coaching lifestyle for over 42 years.
            His coaching/playing career began while he was at Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio, playing catcher at the Division III School. He then continued coaching for many years, specifically in High School summer baseball. Furthermore, he played baseball and softball but a spiking injury in the late 70’s required that he focus his attention on coaching rather than playing.
            In 2007, he attempted to “retire” from coaching baseball and was approached by his son (Chip) to coach and manage their men’s slow-pitch softball team; thus evolved “Captain Jack” and the Capital City Snipers.

            The Snipers affiliation was with Illinois NSA softball and State Director Gerry Gund who was extremely crucial in decisions of tournament qualifiers, of which the team qualified for all four years of his tenure. The Snipers qualified for State, World Series, and the Super World Series all four years. Due to family commitments, they were only able to actually play in the 2009 Super World Series in Indianapolis, where they took 6th place. In 2010, the team was ranked amongst the top ten in the Midwest Region. They played in the D-Division in 2008-2009 and in the C-Division in 2010-2011.
            Jack is a devoted husband of over 37 years to his wife Karen. They have two children (Jennifer & Chip – who holds the same passion for baseball and softball as his father), and three grandchildren (Michael, Callie, and Ian). With the tournament schedule typically running from March-October, he is grateful for the support he received from the family in order to live out this passion and commitment.
            Now that he is retired from coaching, he enjoys golf, hunting and his grandchildrens’ activities. It is his extreme honor to be recognized for something that he holds so dear.

Class of 2014
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Joe Blunt

Sponsor

Sandoval, Illinois

Inducted December 6, 2014

   

Lisa Ferry

Meritorious Service

Kankakee, Illinois

Inducted December 6, 2014

           Parks and tournaments directors' teams knew that the name “B & J Logging” well, and that Joe Blunt was the driving force behind the powerful team. Joe is respected throughout the softball community. His passion for sports started when he was a kid and it has never stopped.
           In 1980 Joe embarked on a new adventure when he became a coach/sponsor of a men’s softball team. 30 years later and spending over a million dollars he has never looked back and still is going today. Joe Blunt’s teams have won over 300 tournaments including 14 Major tournament titles and 5 World titles.
           Joe said, “B & J Logging played teams from all over the country! The opposition always knew that when they played us they were going to have a battle on their hands!” Joe Blunt’s/ B & J Logging most cherished title was winning the 2004 NSA AA World Series beating the powerhouse team of the time, Dan Smith/Resmondo. Softball players that have played for B & J Logging speak of Joe Blunt’s drive to win but most of all they praise him for the respect that he gave to the players. Joe made B & J Logging a family team that wanted to win and also to have fun! Softball is what he likes, but Joe's family comes first and his love for his daughter Britney!


          

            Lisa Ferry started playing summer slow pitch at the age of 8 in Greenville, IL. As her skills of the game progressed she was asked in 1976 to join a traveling competitive team called Country Spot from Old Ripley, IL at the age of 14. She played for Country Spot for 3 years. She started her career as a 1st baseman but quickly moved to the hot corner of 3rd base.
            Greenville High School did not offer High School softball so Lisa was limited to playing slow pitch in the summer. This forced her to take up track & field. Lisa was an IHSA 3 time state shot put champion and 1 time discus champion, holding the IHSA State shot put record for 29 years, with it falling in 2008. Lisa became a NCAA Division I All-American Shot Putter at the University of Houston.
            As Lisa traveled around the state playing in softball tournaments she developed a reputation as a solid 3rd baseman and a power hitter. She caught the eye of a team from Belleville, IL called the Whiz Kids. She played for the Whiz Kids from 1977 through 1982 becoming one of the premier ASA softball players in the state. She was a member of the ASA Class A State champion team being named an All-State 3rd basemen 5 of the 6 years playing with the Whiz Kids. Lisa traveled to Marietta, GA to play in the National tournament. She was entered in the homerun hitting contest and placed 3rd nationally in the event. She even cleared the 315 foot fence on one of the blasts. She was lured away from the Whiz Kids to play for a team out of St. Peters, MO called Dick Weber Lanes. Lisa played with them for 2 years from 85-86.
            Lisa took a teaching job in Kankakee, IL in 1985 and decided to stay the summers in Kankakee. She found a local team named Cardinal Transport to play with. She continued to play 3rd base and started pitching. In 1989 Lisa helped form a local team named Salkelds. This is when Lisa became a full time pitcher and had much success in this position. She was a player/manager with Salkelds from 1989 until her retirement from softball in 1993. Salkelds played in leagues at River Road park as well as in tournaments across the state and nationally.
            Lisa retired from softball after her third knee surgery. Lisa’s batting average was well over 600 in most seasons. She earned the nick name of “master blaster” from her team mates as she cleared the fence as River Road and bounced the ball off of the pavilion roof. Lisa loved the game and is humbled and honored to be receiving this tremendous recognition.

   

KGSSL

Girl's Fast-Pitch Organization

Kankakee, Illinois

Inducted December 6, 2014

   

Bob Marfechuk

Umpire

Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin

Inducted December 6, 2014

            For over a decade, Riverside Sports Park/KGSSL has provided softball leagues to the community and hosted girl's fast-pitch tournaments attracting hundreds of teams from the greater Midwest. The Kankakee Girls Summer Softball League was incorporated in 1996 to provide softball opportunities for all girls in the Kankakee Area. The initial goal was that no girl who wanted to play softball would be turned away for lack of funds. The league is proud to have maintained this standard for twenty years.
            From the beginning, the league has been in partnership with the Kankakee Valley Park District. Originally a cornfield, in 2000 Riverside Hospital and StarRadio donated the land that became the home for KGSSL at Riverside Softball Complex. Early officers of the league include NSA Hall of Fame member Curtis Page. Curtis initiated the KGSSL Classic which has been a mainstay in the NSA summer schedule for nine years.
            In partnership with the NSA the KGSSL has hosted numerous tournaments over the last nine years including Class A and Class B State Tournaments. The KGSSL’s original focus was on Rec Softball. The KGGSL hosted a qualifier every year necessary to qualify for the Land of Lincoln Recreation Championship. During these years several KGSSL All Star Teams collected plaques and the 18u team coached by Richard Sagersee was the 18u Champion in 2007.
            In 2009 the KGSSL started its Aftershock Travel Division with two teams. Due to the NSAs many tournaments, KGSSL decided to provide a quality travel experience without all the expenses of travel ball. This program has grown every year under the guidance of Andy Nicholos and John Coghlan who became vice president and president in 2009. KGSSL currently has six teams playing travel and has finished in the top tier of the B State Tourney, with the 18u team finishing second in 2013 and winning both the North and South NSA Championships in 2014. Every year KGSSL teams have qualified to compete in the NSA World Series with all five teams qualifying in 2014.
            Keeping true to its original focus, the KGSSL continues to provide rec softball opportunities for any girl that wants to play, regardless of financial circumstance. The league has sent numerous players on to college careers, and continues to be a training ground for area high school and college players. It is only through the dedicated efforts of its volunteer coaches and grounds crews that the league has continued to prosper and overcome the many downpours that always seem to hit at tournament time. In partnership with the Kankakee Valley Park District and StarRadio, the league has continued to improve the experience at Riverside Park renovating fields and fencing while adding more trees and continuing to offer the best concessions food in the state. The Kankakee Girls Softball League and Riverside Sports Complex are proud of this long association with the NSA and grateful for inclusion in the Hall of Fame!

            Bob “Marf“ Marfechuk is married to Joanne; they live in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. They have three children, Eric, Jade, and Evan, along with one grandchild name Eric.
            Bob has been umpiring since he was 18 years old when he started out at Liberty Park of America, in Sterling Heights, Michigan. At the age of 20 he was working the conference and open leagues. He moved to Illinois to peruse his career as the Sports/fitness director at Great Lakes Navy base for the past 29 years.
            Bob umpired NSA at Softball city in Hansville, Illinois from 1990-2001. In 2000 he moved to Wisconsin and in 2002 and starting working NSA tournaments for Illinois. Since 2004 to present he has been the Wisconsin NSA UIC. In 2008 Bob was assigned to be the NSA UIC for the Super “C” World Series in Missouri. From 2002 to 2012 Bob was the UIC at Lumpy’s Sports Bar in Wisconsin. He has assisted Bob Kerness in providing umpires for Illinois NSA tournaments. He also has been a Tournament director/UIC for Illinois tournaments. Bob has worked 11 NSA World Series and 7 Super Worlds in the Northern Zone. Since 2011 Bob has worked summer tournaments in the state of Illinois.
            With 36 years as being an umpire, Bob still enjoys the thrill of working the tournaments. When Bob started as an umpire, his father instructed him to “hustle, be fair, learn the rules and to be firm, but friendly”. Bob concluded “Thank you Illinois NSA for this honor! I’ve enjoyed the ride!”

Bill Meyer

Umpire

Decatur, Illinois

Inducted December 6, 2014

Kenneth Miars

Umpire

Yates City, Illinois

Inducted December 6, 2014

            Bill Meyer formerly of Blue Island, Illinois has resided in Decatur for the last 35 years. Bill has been married to his wife Cherie for 33 years. Bill has two daughters Amy Meyer and Chrissy Petitt, a son in law Harry Petitt, and three grandchildren Donell, Kybreius, and Lexi. Bill has played, coached, and umpired softball for the last 22 years. Bill coached both of his daughters and also his grandson Donell.
            Bill began his NSA umpiring career in 1994. “I worked a high school game early that season with Robert “Bob” Knox. He asked me if I would work for him through NSA that summer, and have continued to work for NSA ever since. I later met Bob Biehl and Leonard Winchester. Due to their leadership and guidance, I continue to improve my umpiring skills.”
            Bill worked his first World Series in 2003 and has worked almost every year since. Bill has worked the World Series Championship Game several times. Bill has been awarded four 110% Awards from the North Central Zone and also several plaques for working championship games. “Each award that I have received is special to me.” Bill is very humbled and honored to be selected to be inducted into the NSA/BPA Hall of Fame. I would like to especially thank my family, Bob Knox, Bob Biehl, Leonard Winchester and each umpire that I have had the privilege of working with throughout the years.

 

            Kenneth (Ken) L. Miars, of Decatur graduated from Brimfield high school in 1961. He is married to wife Debbie and has 2 daughters and 4 grandchildren. Kenneth joined the Marine Corps in 1961 and was honorably discharged in 1966. He Served in Southeast Asia-Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. Kenneth was a Purple Heart recipient, a Bronze Star recipient and earned 7 combat stars!
            He started umpiring for NSA in 2000. Kenneth worked 4 World Series at Owensboro, KY, Michigan City, IN and East Peoria. He worked many NSA A/B State tournaments, at East Peoria and Kankakee, and numerous NSA qualifiers. Kenneth was selected for 2012 NSA Illinois U.I.C of The Year Award. He also worked BPA baseball. Ken worked several other associations prior to starting with NSA/BPA, including IHSA and American Youth Baseball.
            He was inducted into the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown Dreams Park in 2005 and the IHSA Coaches Hall of Fame as an umpire in 2007. Ken said, “I have really enjoyed myself while I umpired….met many umpires and directors along the way and look forward to meeting even more! When I started I learned a lot from the older umpires that I worked with and get a feeling of satisfaction helping new umpires become better like I did.”

 

Oak Lawn Park District

Complex

Cate O'Brien

Oak Lawn, Illinois

Inducted December 6, 2014

   

Derrick Rolfingsmeier

Umpire

Highland, Illinois

Inducted December 6, 2014

            Oak Lawn Park District Centennial Park Softball Fields were built in 1983. 2015 will be the 32nd year running adult softball leagues. The complex features four diamonds with scoreboards and can facilitate adult slow-pitch, girl’s fast-pitch and boy’s baseball. The Oak Lawn Park District currently offers a variety of 12 inch and 16 inch NSA adult leagues for men, women and co-rec teams. Oak Lawn has one of the biggest softball programs on the South Side of Chicago with over 100 teams playing every Summer and over 75 every Fall.
           For many of these years the Oak Lawn Park District has been working very closely with Les Duncan and the NSA South Suburban Umpires Association. After the Summer 2015 season, plans are in place to begin a renovation project on the Centennial Park Softball Fields, making them better than ever! Oak Lawn is proud to work with Les Duncan in providing quality softball programs for our residents. We are honored and grateful to be to be selected to the Illinois NSA Hall of Fame!

            Derrick Rolfingsmeier went to Mater Dei High School in Breese, where he played football and baseball. He went on to play football at the University of St. Francis in Joliet. Derrick started playing softball when he was 17 and played in the Clinton County and Madison County areas.
            In 2004, Derrick wanted to do more with the game of softball by becoming an umpire at Gordy Mac Softball Complex in Troy, Illinois. It was here that he met tournament director Tim “Demo” Demetrulias. After his first year, Tim asked Derrick to become his UIC. Since then, Derrick has been the UIC over the Troy, Chatham, and O’Fallon tournaments. There were weekends that Derrick has also stepped in as the tournament director when Tim was not available.
            Derrick has umpired multiple state, regional, NIT, and qualifier tournaments throughout his years. He has umpired the COED World Series and the 2014 50+ World Series. Derrick’s involvement in umpiring the last 4 years has slowed down due to the fact that he had the opportunity to coach high school football. He is the varsity defensive line coach and the Head JV coach at Highland High School.
            Derrick is married to his wife Melissa and has four children Kaylyn, Dylan, Trevor, & Travis and continues to live in Highland. In 2003, Derrick worked the Four Man Umpire Crew for the NSA C World Series Finals.

Class of 2013
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Mark Alliss

Umpire

Beaverville, Illinois

Inducted December 7, 2013

   

Steve Bobzin

Umpire

New Lenox, Illinois

Inducted December 7, 2013

           Mark Alliss is one of the most dedicated, hard-working NSA/BPA officials Illinois has ever put on a field. Mark started umpiring in 1994, while living in Tennessee, partly responding to peer pressure and partly looking to pick up a few bucks on the side. He learned the crafts of both baseball and softball easily and well, and quickly garnered respect for his officiating from fellow officials, coaches, players, and fans. His easy demeanor helped contribute to his on field presence and further enhanced his reputation as a solid official. 
           In 2003, Mark moved to Illinois, and sought out officiating work with programs which would allow him to continue his avocation, one which he had come to love. His first encounter with NSA happened as much by chance as anything else.
           Over the last ten years, Mark has worked every level of NSA softball and BPA baseball, in Qualifier Tournaments both in state and out. Mark puts in the same intensity and effort for 10u as he does for 18u. Always in sync on field, always intensely aware of the circumstances and options of not just the current play but also the very next play, Mark’s focus is uncanny, and uncompromising. His dedication is unwavering.
           With nearly 20 years umpiring experience, Mark still to this day remains an absolute ‘Student of the Game’ whether for himself or to help his fellow officials grow in their knowledge and expertise. Mark Alliss is humbled to be inducted into the Illinois NSA/BPA Hall of Fame.

            Steven Bobzin has been married to Maria for 29 years and lives in New Lenox. He has two daughters, Lynn who graduated with a Master’s Degree from the University of Utah and Abbey who is currently enrolled at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
            Steve has been playing softball since 1972 as an original member of the league that started in Frankfort, Illinois that year.
 
Steve met his assignment chairman Jim McIntyre during that initial league play. Jim realized his competitive nature and as Steve stated his “respect” for umpires as he told him, “Stop complaining, if you can do better you should become an umpire.” Steve started umpiring shortly thereafter and quickly realized it wasn’t as easy as he thought.
            Originally associated with ASA and USSSA his organization switched to NSA approximately 25 years ago, and Steve has worked NSA softball ever since. Steve has worked thousands of league games in the Chicago suburbs during his career and numerous NSA 12-inch qualifiers, States, Super States, Super NITs, Super Regionals and World Series tournaments.

            In 2012 and 20
13, Steve was selected by Les Duncan NSA 16-inch National Director to work with Hall of Fame Umpire Frank Vojtech during the 16-inch Men’s World Series finals. Also in 2013, Steve worked the Bronze State finals, and was selected to represent Illinois NSA in the Men’s Silver Super World Series in Warsaw, Indiana.
            Steve has been known as the “rules guy” by his fellow umpires and thinks that as umpires we have an obligation to the teams to give 100% every time we step onto the field. Steve believes, “If you bend the rules once for one team you lose credibility as an umpire with all teams.”

            In addition to umpiring, Steve still finds time to play softball as part of the Chicago Blue Chips 60’s softball team based out of Orland Park.
  This past November the Blue Chips placed third in the Winter World Series in Phoenix, Arizona.
Steve said, “It is an honor and privilege to be part of the Illinois NSA/BPA Hall of Fame, and I hope I can live up to the legacy of all the past HOF inductees.”

   

Kurt Juerjens

Coach

East Peoria, Illinois

Inducted December 7, 2013

     

Kimberly Kinney

Player

Oakwood, Illinois

Inducted December 7, 2013

            Kurt started coaching when his daughters Sarah and Katelyn began playing in the early 1990s. Working most evenings, he wasn’t able to spend as much time on the field as he would have liked. He started coaching 12u travel in 2002 as his kids’ careers were coming to an end. After one year at 12u, he started a 10u travel team for the East Peoria Express. Starting up, there were a lot of growing pains, but it was obvious the work was starting to pay off. The 10u East Peoria Express won their first state title in 2007. Since that time, they have won two more B states and placed in the top four several other times. They have also finished in the top five of B Nationals twice. In his time with the organization, Kurt is proudest of the strides the East Peoria Express has made in improving players and its contributions to the community.

            Kimberly Kinney, 28, lives in Oakwood, Illinois with her husband Josh, step-daughter Kira, and son Owen.
            Kimberly started playing with the 14u Central Illinois Diamonds when she was in 8th grade and played for a total of 6 years.
  Through those years some of Kimberly’s biggest highlights were in 2000 being the Elite 8 in NSA State, in 2002 placing 3rd in the NSA World Series, and in 2002 placing 5th in the NSA Super World Series in Las Vegas, Nevada.  A personal highlight was pitching a perfect game in the Super World Series in Las Vegas, Nevada.
            Kimberly also attended St. Joseph-Ogden High School.
  During her softball career there she was named All-Conference for three years, The News Gazette All-Area Softball Team for three years, Golden Glove for two years, and MVP her senior year.  Her most memorable game was the Sectional Championship her Junior year when she pitched a perfect game.
           
With the help of playing with the Central Illinois Diamonds and her high school career, she earned a scholarship to play for Western Illinois University for four years. There she earned the Mid-Continent Academic All-Conference for three years, and won Conference her senior year.
            After college Kimberly has done some coaching, being an assistant coach to St. Joseph-Ogden High School for two years, St. Joseph Grade School for one year, and the 18u Central Illinois Diamonds for one year.

Curtis Page

Umpire

Hoopeston, Illinois

Inducted December 7, 2013

Rodge Stockwell

Umpire

Clay City, Illinois

Inducted December 7, 2013

            Curtis Page attended High School at Hoopeston Area, where he played football and competed in wrestling. Curtis continued his wrestling and football career while attending College at Olivet Nazarene University. He later graduated with a BS in Chemistry and a Masters in Business. He is a father of four children that all participated in sports, three played softball and/or baseball. He started coaching his daughter’s softball team in 1995 beginning his involvement in the great game of softball. He later started and coached the American Pastime’s, a girl competitive traveling softball program. The Pastime’s went on to win a third place finish in the 2003 NSA B State and a second place finish in the 2004 NSA B State. His 2004 team also captured a fifth place finish in the 2004 Super Worlds. His 2006 team Won an NIT Qualifier and later participated in the Worlds. He also coached the local St. Pats Junior High team for 6 years.
           
Curtis was also a board member of the Kankakee Girl’s Summer Softball League from 1996 to 2008. He was president of KGSSL from 2000 to 2008. In 1998, he helped in starting the first KGSSL Classic Tournament at the Riverside Sports Complex which started his involvement as an NSA Tournament Director. During his stent as a tournament director, he received the NSA North Central Zone 110% Award.
            He began his Umpiring career in the late 1990’s by umpiring summer league games as well as starting to umpire NSA and BPA tournaments. Curt has been asked to assist as Umpire-in-Chief (UIC) in multiple tournaments the past few years.
 He is currently UIC for the Hoopeston Youth Baseball League and assists as UIC with traveling baseball tournaments in Tilton. His other umpiring accomplishments are two NSA World Series Tournaments, and two BPA World Series Tournaments which included two World Series Championship games. His love and passion for the sport continues to drive his involvement to this day.

 

            Rodge Eugene Stockwell was born in Flora, IL, and went to school in Paxton, IL, where he played one year of football.  After blowing a knee out that first year, he played baseball for the next three years.  After high school, Rodge started playing fast-pitch softball in 1976, and continued to play until 1997.
            In 1981, Rodge started his officiating career, doing volleyball, basketball, baseball, and softball at the junior high and high school levels, and continues to do so at present.
  In 1996, he joined an organization call Umpires Unlimited, and in addition to officiating many tournaments in his base of Mattoon, he also traveled to locations including Martinsville, Terre Haute, and Indianapolis, IN, umpiring baseball and softball.
            In 2006, Rodge started taking the role of Umpire-in-Chief (UIC) for the tournaments in Mattoon, and eventually in Charleston.
  At the present time, he UIC’s approximately nine tournaments per year, of which 5 are NSA events.  Rodge was recently named South Central Illinois NSA UIC.
           
To support his addiction to officiating, Rodge worked as an Illinois State Trooper from 1987 until his retirement in 2011.
            Rodge is married to Ninfa Stockwell, they have two children together and are expecting another in March 2014.
  Rodge also has two children from a previous marriage.

   

John Van Gennep

Player

Mokena, Illinois

Inducted December 7, 2013

       

            John Van Gennep lives in Mokena, Illinois with his wife of 22 years Kristin, his daughter Nikole, and son John. John grew up in South Holland and played ball with some very good baseball teams. Gilbert Electric was a travel team made up of many of the best high school players from different local high schools in the south suburbs. During that time he attended Thornwood High School, where he was all conference for 3 years and all State his senior year. He still owns the record at Thornwood of 3 no hitters.
            After High School, John received a full ride scholarship to the University of Illinois for baseball. He played at U of I for 2 years, and then signed a professional baseball contract with the Atlanta Braves and played AA ball with them. A trade sent him to the south side, where he signed his AAA contract with the Chicago White Sox. That is where softball started. In 1983, after being released by the White Sox, he was at a crossroads in his life. Should he sign a contract with the Oakland A’s and go back to Minor Leagues, or start a career. He chose to start a career with COUNTRY Companies Insurance, and that was 30 years ago.
            Selling insurance gave him lots of free time to play softball. The first year out of pro baseball, John was talked into playing 16-inch softball. After 2 or 3 broken fingers, he decided softball without a glove was not the way to go. A friend talked him into playing fast-pitch softball. So John went to a practice with the Highland A’s. A guy named Van Proyen was pitching gas. They told John it was his turn to bat and he asked were the batting helmets were, in which they informed John that they don’t wear helmets. Long story short, the first pitch went right at John’s head and he threw the bat down and said this game is not for me.
            Then a cop friend of John’s talked him into playing 12-inch for the Styx. After many wins and tournaments, John was approached by Bobby Krause to join the Calumet Lift Truck team. That was the good old days of playing 200 games a summer and traveling all over the country to play softball, including to Kankakee tournaments where they loved to be around this young guy named Gerry Gund.
            12-inch softball always seemed to come easy to John. He won numerous awards including MVP of State tournaments, most homerun awards several times, and All-National Team awards. After realizing that he was now an old man, and tired of hurting after each game, John hung the spikes up to coach, something he loves as much as playing. For the past 8 years, John has run a girl’s travel team organization called the Lincoln-Way Storm, and he also coaches one of the teams. They have made quite a name for themselves over the years, and have won a couple State titles in NSA where they deal with another classy guy, Bob Biehl. Now, John gets to be around Gerry Gund again where they get to talk and relive the glory days. John also coaches girl’s fast-pitch softball at Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox.
            So, as you can see, John loves that little 12-inch ball, and he takes great pride in coaching and teaching the next generation everything he knows. Because of softball, and baseball, John now gets to make a difference in kids’ lives. His motto is when some kid walks up to him some day and says, “Coach you made a difference in my life (or in sports),” that is priceless, and I owe it all to softball! Thank you to all of you who thought of me tonight for this special honor, and thank you NSA for all you do for all of the athletes of the world.

 

Class of 2012
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Robbie Carr

Player

Reddick, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2012

     

Andrea Hildebrand

Player

Kankakee, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2012

            Robbie Carr from Peotone, IL now 46 years old resides in Reddick, Illinois. He attended Peotone High School where he played basketball and baseball. Robbie received all conference and all area honors in both sports before graduating in 1984 and went on to play one season of baseball with KCC.
            Robbie is married to Dawn Beasley and has a daughter Corrinne which just finished a successful season as a pitcher with Prairie State in the fast pitch softball program. He is a member of Local 265 sheet metal union.
            Robbie started his softball career at the age of 16 when he was asked to play in the Early Bird Classic tournament by a local Peotone team.
            Robbie ended up playing many years with that Teresa Pizza team which would win multiple state championships in 1990 & 1997 where Robbie was placed on the all-tournament team.
            In 1998 he began playing softball with various teams in all sanctioning bodies Robbie was well known for his defensive abilities in the outfield and his strong ability for hitting to any field.
            In 2002 Robbie joined CanDo Metals, a powerhouse NSA Class C team and played with them until 2008. CanDo Metals focused on NSA which allowed to Robbie play with Hall of Famers like John Wojnowski and Terry Speed.
            CanDo Metals won many tournaments in 2005 including the NSA C State where he was named to the all-tournament team. CanDo Metals also finished second in the NSA Super C World Series Tournament in Indianapolis.
            Robbie Carr playing with Block Law/Sharp Sports as they won the Master State Tournaments in 2005, 2006 and 2007! He was also named to the all-tournament team in those tournaments.
 
            Robbie said, “I would like to thank my family and teammates for all of their support through the years as we know without them none of this is possible.
  I dedicated my younger life to softball and now get to enjoy watching my daughter start her career in slow-pitch softball!”
 

            Andrea Hildebrand has been playing slow-pitch softball for about 20 years.  She played in many leagues for both women’s and co-ed teams including Kankakee, Peotone, Joliet, Frankfort and Bourbonnais.
            Andrea’s most recent accomplishment was with Z FARMS who won the 2012 NSA Women’s Illinois State Championship in Waukegan. She was named to the all-tournament team. Over the years she made several all-tournament teams in her career.
            In 2011, Andrea played for ZFARMS as they placed 4th in the NSA Women’s World Series held at Athens Sports Complex in Lexington, Kentucky.
 In 2010, Z FARMS finished 5th in the NSA Women’s World Series in KoKomo, Indiana. Andrea has played in 12 NSA World Series from 2001 to 2012.
           
In 2007 and 2005, Andrea played with Manteno Pool & Spa and won two more state championships. She also played several years with powerhouse Belcher Construction taking 3rd in the NSA State Championship in 2001 and 2002.
            “I love playing softball and I thrive on all the competition” Andrea said. “Tournaments are my favorite because they are so competitive. It does end up taking a toll on your body. The older I get plus all the surgeries I have had, makes it a much longer time to recuperate! But I wouldn't take it back for anything and I still enjoy playing.”

           
Andrea said, “It’s a great honor to be inducted into the hall of fame, especially since there are so many tremendous ball players. Thank you for the recognition, also thanks to my teammates, coaches and great friends I have made over the years, because without them this could have never happened.” 

   

John Kramer

Player

Mokena, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2012

     

Kevin "Redbone" Kronst

Player

Kankakee, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2012

            John Kramer has been married to Kristin for 21 years and they have 2 sons, Matthew (17) and Jacob (10) and one daughter Bailey (13) and live in Mokena, Illinois. 
            John played Football, Basketball and Baseball at Bremen High School in Midlothian, Illinois, earning All Conference honors in Baseball in 1980 and 1981.
  Upon graduating, he earned a baseball scholarship to play at Chicago State University.  John played four years earning All CCAC honors in 3 seasons.
            He started playing slow-pitch softball in 1982 and played competitively until 2008.
  John played with some of the best players and best teams and in Illinois softball history including Belcher Construction, KA Softball, Mid America Concrete, Tron Piping, Kluevers Snap-On, Joe Black, Rip-City, Hahn Industries, Kens’ Beverage and Hurricanes.
            John played with NSA teams that won 9 NIT’s, 6 State Championships, 4 World Championship and finished in the top 4 in 5 Super World Series. While playing NSA he was named MVP 3 times, All Tournament 7 times, All State 6 times and All World 4 times.
            John believes that “the camaraderie and confidence in each other contributed the most to the team success we achieved over the years. “
            Highlights in his NSA softball career include: finishing second in the 1997 NSA Class A World Series in Warsaw, Indiana to Gasoline Heaven from New York, winning multiple NIT’s in 2003 & 2004 with KA Softball and winning the 2004 NSA 40 and over World Series with Tron Piping in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida!
            One of his most exciting memories was in 1994 at St. Claire Park, Illinois when his team Mid America Concrete stormed out of the loser’s bracket, winning seven games on Sunday to claim the NSA Class B World Series Championship!
            John also found time to coach his children in basketball, baseball and softball! Now he enjoys watching his son Jacob play football, his daughter Bailey play AAU basketball and his son Matthew play varsity baseball at Lincoln Way North High School.
            John said: “I would like to thank all the sponsors including Don & Roger Belcher, Ken Adams, Don Loid, Ken’s Beverage, Kevin Polizzi and Larry Pauly!”
  Also, thanks to all of the players over the years, “You guys made it all worth while”.  Finally, John “would like to thank my family, mostly my wife Kristin who NEVER said a word when I traveled out of state for all those tournaments.  Thanks Kristin, I Love You.”

            Kevin “Redbone” Kronst started his softball career early in the back yards on Bresee and vacant lot of Checker gas station in Bourbonnais. All of the neighborhood kids used to gather and pick up sides to play football, whiffle ball, street hockey and 12-inch softball. Kevin usually played with kids older than him and took some lumps but he was a fighter and always came back up for more.
            This courage followed Kevin with every team he played for and there were many, many teams. Kevin estimates that he has played for over 70 teams in his 35+ year career. Every weekend and weekday Kevin would find some team and some place to play.
            Kevin first started playing organized softball in 1976 with Bourbonnais Brewers. Some of the other teams that followed were: Belcher II, Dam Tap, Midwest Silk Screen, Performance Sports, Superior Silkscreen, Court Street Ford, Belcher Construction, Dominoes, Waterfront, J Denny, CanDo Metals 50+ and Central Illinois Chiefs 55+.
            Highlights of his career include: in 1988 as player coach with Court Street Ford won D state in Champaign, in 1990-94 with powerhouse Belcher Construction, three 2nds, a 3rd and a 4th place finish in Major AA State and three state championships in the 90’s in the NSA 35 and over.
            Teams that Kevin played on continued to win state championships in 2004 with Waterfront, 2005 and 2006 with J Denny. He also played on Superior Silkscreen who won the first five KVPD Fall League championships.
            Today, Kevin continues to play in the senior softball circuit across the country with other mature players.
 He has been named to senior state all-tournament teams 6 times. Kevin has slowed down to play only 180 games in 2012.
           
Kevin said: “I played with many talented teams and great players spanning five decades, but my best teammate was my wife Kathy who accompanied me for over 20 years at almost every game!”
            Kathy was diagnosed with cancer and passed in 2006.

   

Robby Lambert

Meritorious Service

Kankakee, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2012

     

David Melosi

Player

Highland, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2012

            Robert “Muscle Head” Lambert’s slow-pitch softball career started while playing fast-pitch softball with Sollitt Tap of Beecher. Sollitt Tap was short of players one night so he asked Mark Lewis a slow-pitch player out of Momence to play with them. Mark agreed to play fast-pitch with Sollitt if Robbie would play on a slow-pitch team for him.
            Lambert then began playing for a local team D & J Tire out of Momence. In doing so, D & J ran across a team a couple times in the finals named Belcher's Construction.

           
Don Belcher, the late head coach and member NSA Illinois Hall of Fame, took a special interest in Robbie and invited him to be a part of their team.
            Lambert continued his career with Belcher's from 1976-1998 with great success. He averaged at least 300 home runs a summer and carried a 700 plus lifetime batting average.
            Belchers won many tournaments during the summers and were tough in postseason notching three AA State championships, three AA State runner-ups as well as two AA Midwest Regional Championships.

Some of Robbie Lambert’s accomplishments include:

 4 AA Most Valuable Player Awards in AA State Championship
 3 AA Most Valuable Defensive Player Awards in AA State Championship
 2 AA Most Valuable Player Awards in AA Midwest Regional Championship

            Current NSA Hall of Famers, Boo Greenley, Rich Wolman, John Wojonowski, Kevin Kronst and Gerry Gund also played with Belchers during their softball careers.
     Robbie has three daughters, Gina 34, Lisa 28 and Erica 26 who he values more than anything and his love and dedication for the game of softball will never die!
 

 

            David Melosi of Highland, Illinois was married to Bobbie in 1977. The Melosi’ s have a daughter Jyl Wallace, two sons Nick and John with four grandchildren - Morgan, Riley, Rome and Cash (and a 5th on the way).
            Dave started playing slow-pitch softball in 1973. He is still active in softball, playing over 100 games a year with his 40th year in 2013.
            Dave played for Lenjos for over 30 years as well as Lonzos, B & J Logging, Alton Eagles, Randy’s - 40 over, Mule’s - 40 over, 50 Caliber - 50 over and Marathon Financial.
            He has played at many parks including Pocahontas, St. Clair Park, Gordy "Mac" McFarland in Troy, O’Fallon, IL and Bridgeton (BMAC).
           
Dave won 6 MVP state awards and was named to 12 all tournament teams and 6 national all tournament teams.
            Dave said, “Thanks to Tim Demetrulias for nominating me! Thanks to the team sponsors: Lenny Rakers, Joe Blunt, Randy Ackerman, Jim Muehlhauser and Glen May!
This game could not grow without the sponsors who have the love of the game as we do!”
            He continued “Softball has allowed me to meet many people who have become much more than acquaintances, but more friends than I can count.
Thank you NSA for this honor!”

Class of 2011
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Jacquelyn Douglas

Player

Urbana, Illinois

Inducted December 3, 2011

   

Harold "Buck" Healy

Meritorious Service

Kankakee, Illinois

Inducted December 3, 2011

            Jacquelyn “Jackie” Douglas, 26 lives in Urbana, Illinois with her husband Paul Douglas and daughter Gemma Kye Douglas. One of Jacquelyn’s passions other than softball is to work with young adults. Jacquelyn is a Behavior Intervention Specialist at the R.E.A.D.Y. Program in Champaign, Illinois.
            Jackie is the daughter of Ivy and Preston Williams Jr. of Urbana. Her grandparents are Preston and Mary Williams who along with several aunts and uncles currently reside in Kankakee.
            Jackie started playing organized baseball at the age of eight and played baseball until making the switch into fast-pitch softball at the age of ten. Due to the lack of an organization that had a 10U or 12U, Jacquelyn had to play with the 14U Central Illinois Diamonds. Jacquelyn played nine years with the Central Illinois Diamonds.
            One of Jackie’s most memorable seasons was 2001when the Diamonds finished 3rd in the National NSA World Series and qualified for the NSA Super World Series in Las Vegas, Nevada.
            “NSA allowed me to compete at a high level in a sport I love year around” said Jackie. “I met my best friend while playing NSA and was able to see, visit, and play in many different cities and states.” Jackie was a three sport athlete at Urbana High School - competing in volleyball, basketball, and softball, earning ten varsity letters - four in softball.
            In 2003, Jackie earned a partial scholarship to continue her softball career at Illinois State University. During her senior year, she earned a full scholarship and the starting centerfield position!

The following are some of Jackie’s personal accomplishments at ISU:
2004 –  Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) 3rd Place
2005 –  Foreign Tour to Australia
            Arthur Ashe, Jr. Award
            MVC Commissioner’s Academic Award
            MVC Honor Roll
2006 -   MVC Regular Season Champions 19-4
            MVC Tournament 3rd Place
            NCAA Regional Iowa City 3rd Place
            MVC Honor Roll
2007-    Team Captain
            NCAA Regional at Evanston, IL. 2nd Place
            Laurie Mabry Award Winner
            President of Student Athlete Advisory Council

            For the past two years, Jackie has coached Junior Varsity volleyball at her alma mater, Urbana High School. She has also coached 10U Fast-Pitch Softball for Champaign Blue Ice. This past fall, Jackie was inducted into her Urbana High School Hall of Fame.

            Harold "Buck" Healy started playing slow-pitch softball in 1972.  His brother-in-law, Bob Crawford, got him to play for Homestead at Pier 6 in Aroma Park. 
            Since that time, Buck played for 14 different teams:  County West, Knights of Columbus, Driftwood, Dazzles, United Consumers Club, Birch's Bombers, Leo's on the River, Bill Bolger Ford, Painters Local #467, Grace Realty, Momence News Agency, Scanlon Auto Body, and Tobey's Construction.
            Buck pitched 2 no hitters – a feat quite rare in the slow-pitch game! One was against Belchers, one of the better teams in the area, which consisted of 25 pitches and was umpired by current Illinois NSA Hall of Famer Dick “Polock” Kanoski.
            Buck hit 714 average one season, mostly singles, occasionally an extra base hit. He also pitched 7 games in one day despite the 90 degree temperatures in the Martinton Festival Classic!
            Buck teams went to the State tournaments several times.  Buck played until he was 60 years old and in his last season he played 48 games.
            Buck married Judy Judd and they have three daughters, Debbie, Linda, and Kathy, who spent as much time at the ballpark as their father did.  Buck and Judy also have four grandchildren, and they just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
            Buck said, “Softball has provided me with opportunities to meet quite a few people and make lasting friendships that continued into ‘Life after Softball!’ Several players ‘touched base’ with us at our 50th Wedding anniversary!”

 

   

Rick Latham

Umpire

Bourbonnais, Illinois

Inducted December 3, 2011

     

Lynne Robbins

Director / Player

Bourbonnais, Illinois

Inducted December 3, 2011

            Richard "Rick" Latham has been married to Pam for 36 years.  He has two children, a daughter, Rhonda (Drake) and a son, Brad and two grandsons, Noah and Nathan Drake.  Rick started umpiring 39 years ago for high school baseball.
            The first softball slow-pitch game Rick umpired was in a tournament in St. Anne, Illinois.  After the tournament, his good friend, the late Don Nolan, came up to him and asked if he would want to do more slow-pitch out at Pier 6 in Aroma Park, Illinois.  At this time, that was the only place in Kankakee doing slow-pitch and men's fast-pitch.  Slow-pitch then moved to River Road Park in Kankakee, Illinois.
            After a few years at River Road, Don asked Rick to take over the scheduling.  Rick did all of the league and tournament scheduling for 5-6 years.
            Because of Rick's extensive work load at Exelon Nuclear, he had to give up umpiring in 1988 until 2001.
            One night, Rick ran into a good friend, Bob Kerness, who encouraged him to start umpiring again.  The next day, Dick "Polock" Kanoski called and asked Rick how many games per night he would want to work.
            Rick's umpiring career in girl's fast-pitch started about the same way.  Bob Kerness gave Rick a call and asked if he could help out his friend, Barry Parks, by doing just the bases for a girl's fast-pitch tournament in Kankakee.  The next day, Barry called and gave Rick 10 games over two days.  Since that tournament 8 years ago, Rick has worked many more games and tournaments for Barry Parks. 

Accomplishments:
2003 - 2009         Umpired Slow-Pitch Super NITs and Regionals
2009                   Umpired Slow-Pitch World Series
2010                   Umpired Slow-Pitch Super World Series
2010                   Received Northern Zone 110% Award

            Umpiring has always been an enjoyable and important part of Rick's life.  He has met many friends and acquaintances in players, coaches, fans, and fellow umpires, through the years that have made the experience memorable.
            Rick Latham said, “I am truly honored and thrilled at being inducted into the Illinois NSA/BPA Hall of Fame.”

            Lynne Robbins started playing fast pitch softball in high school.  Graduating high school in 1982, Lynne started playing slow-pitch softball in the Peotone Women's Softball League and has been playing Women's and Co-ed slow-pitch softball ever since.  During the early years of the Peotone Women's League, when managed by the players, Lynne was voted onto the four member board to manage the league.     
            Lynne has played in many leagues and tournaments including ten State tournaments and four World Series for both Co-ed and Women's teams.  The many leagues she has played in include Frankfort, Joliet, Tinley Park, Chicago, New Lenox, Kankakee, Bourbonnais, and Peotone. 
            This past summer she played in the Co-ed Lower North State tournament with a local team called the MPI Ding Bats. The MPI Ding Bats won the tournament and Lynne was voted onto the 2011 All-Tournament team.  Lynne was a huge asset in leading the team to victory with an impressive .714 batting average for the tournament.
            In 1990, the Men's ASA Class B State Tournament was held in Kankakee, IL.  This was a 100 team tournament that continued over two weekends.  Lynne was chosen by Gerry Gund, then with the park district, to keep score for individual games and participate on the All-Tournament team committee.
            In 1998, Lynne started working for Gerry Gund, NSA State director, assisting with the adult slow pitch tournaments.  In 2000, when Gerry started girls fast pitch tournaments, she also added them to her weekends of work.  In 2002, Gerry started the boys baseball program (BPA) Lynne added that to her schedule.
            Lynne stepped into a role of site supervisor and tournament director for numerous tournaments including World Series qualifiers, State tournaments, Regionals, NITs, and World Series. Lynne has also been able to travel and direct tournaments in Peoria, Pekin, and Waukegan.  
            Lynne has been involved in all facets of tournaments including field maintenance, concessions, checking paperwork and brackets and anything else that needs to be done to ensure the tournaments run smoothly for everyone. This would include dealing with the weather!
            In 2004 and 2010, Lynne was presented with the prestigious NSA Northern Zone 110% Award for outstanding effort, contributions, dedication, and support of the NSA/BPA North Central Zone.
            Lynne added, "Softball has and always will be an important part of my life whether playing or being involved in any activity of the sport."

   

Cori Smith

Umpire

Clinton, Illinois

Inducted December 3, 2011

     

Terry Speed

Player

Gardner, Illinois

Inducted December 3, 2011

            Cori Smith started her softball career playing slow pitch softball after she was out of high school. Cori enjoyed this for a few years, and then she was approached about umpiring. Cori decided to start umpiring the woman's ASA slow pitch softball league in Clinton, IL, in 1985 and also registered with the IHSA in 1990. That is when she started looking for girl's fast pitch teams in the area.
            Cori found a youth league in Decatur, IL, and that happened to be the CIGS organization. It was ASA sanctioned when she started. Then in 1994 they made the change to NSA, and this is when Cori met Mr. Robert (Bobby) Knox. With his encouragement, Ms. Smith joined NSA and never looked back.
            Cori loves this organization and dedicates herself to NSA every summer. She had the honor of meeting Bob Biehl (her NSA State Director) & Leonard Winchester (her NSA UIC), who have helped her believe in herself, and become a much better umpire.
            Ms. Smith was asked to work her first World Series in 1996 and could not make it. Since that year, she has been to a World Series every year, except two. Cori has worked World Series tournaments in Columbus, OH, several times, also in Tennessee, North Carolina, Indiana, and right here in Illinois, several times.
            Cori has enjoyed working many Qualifiers, State Championships, World Series and two Super World Series.
            In her career with NSA, she has been awarded two 100% achievement awards, as well as plaques for working the championship games at the World Series. Cori is very proud of every single award ever given to her, and is honored to accept this great achievement award. She will forever be honored.
            Cori said, “I would like to thank everyone who has helped me along the way, and that there is always something more for her to learn!”

 

            Terry Speed, age 45 of Gardner, has been married to Kori for 16 years.  They have two children, a daughter, Taylor, age 14, and a son, Troy, age 11.  Terry is a veteran of the United States Navy and has been a member of the Laborer's Local 75 of Joliet for over 20 years. 
            Terry Speed is considered one of the top offensive slow-pitch softball players of his era.  He played all sanctions of softball from 1987-2001 on various teams.    Then in 2002, Terry concentrated strictly on NSA, teaming up with current Hall of Fame member John Wojnowski of CanDo Metals. 
            The year 2005 was a memorable one for them.  CanDo Metals won several tournaments that year, as well as the NSA Class "C" State Tournament.  CanDo Metals placed second in the NSA Super C World Series Tournament in Indianapolis.  Terry went 31-36 (.861), which won him the Offensive MVP Award for the Super C World.
            Terry Speed has competed on teams in twelve NSA state tournaments, eight NSA World Series, and three Super World Series Tournaments, winning seven state tournaments and finishing second twice.  Terry Speed has received eleven All-Tournament selections and four MVP awards. 
            Terry Speed won the Master State Tournament in 2005, 2006, and 2007 while playing with Block Law/Sharp Sports.  In 2009, while playing with Commission, he won the NSA "B" State Tournament winning the MVP award.
            Terry said, “I would like to thank my family, teammates, and sponsors for their years of support.  Without them, none of this would have been possible!”

Class of 2010
Return to Classes

 

Bob Biehl

Director

Champaign, Illinois

Inducted December 4, 2010

   

Clarence Flessner

Umpire

Rantoul, Illinois

Inducted December 4, 2010

            Bob played and managed the Champaign-Urbana Merchants from 1974-1980. In 1980, after moving to Nebraska, he played for the Sioux City Soos and in 1992 for the Sibley Merchants and the Villa Grove Rookies, retiring from playing after the 1996 season.
            After returning to Illinois, he coached high school softball at Champaign Centennial as a volunteer from 1992-1998. In 1999, he was hired as the assistant softball coach at St. Joseph-Ogden High School where he is still coaching today. While at SJO, the team was third in the State in 2005, and was IHSA State Champions in 2006.
            One of their biggest wins was the 2006 Super Sectional game played at the U of I against Beecher. SJO scored the only run of the game in the bottom of the 7th inning to advance to the state tournament. Beecher had been ranked tenth nationally and that was their first loss in two years. SJO went on to win the State Championship that year.
            Bob helped organize the Central Illinois Diamonds in 1995 and he coached from 1995-2001. During that time, the teams had impressive finishes in the National Softball Association (NSA) World Series including: in 1995 - 18u finished 5th; in 1999 - 18u finished 4th; in 2001 - 16u finished 3rd and in 2002 - 10U were World Champions.
            Bob was appointed the NSA Illinois State Youth and Adult Fast Pitch Director in 2002. He organized all the State Tournaments and was chosen as a site director for the Youth World Series Tournaments. Bob directed the Central Illinois Diamonds Fast-Pitch Classic Tournaments from 1996-2008! He created the NSA Missouri-Illinois Border War Tournament and recruited and directed the NSA Women’s World Series.
           
Bob has been involved with the game of fast pitch softball for fifty years. He has seen many changes in equipment, athletes and methods. “Fast pitch softball is the best and most exciting game around,” says Bob, “especially when you can use all the assets and skills, long ball and short ball.” 

            Clarence “Hans” Flessner started playing organized baseball when he was eight years old in Little League and eventually played and managed in the Eastern Illinois Baseball League. At some point he started playing fast-pitch softball also, sometimes playing a baseball game in the afternoon, and then playing a fast-pitch doubleheader in the evening.
            Hans played for such teams as Flatville, Urbana, Rantoul, and Champaign-Urbana Merchants. He also managed the Champaign-Urbana Merchants from about 1989 to 1992. During this time, in 1990, they won the Illinois ASA State Tournament, which allowed them to travel to Minot, North Dakota, to play in the Men’s ASA “A” Nationals.
            Sometime about 1990 or 1991, Hans pulled a hamstring, and decided to end his playing days. He continued to manage the Champaign-Urbana Merchants until about 1992, when he decided to retire from softball altogether.
            But the lure of the softball game was too great, and after a couple of years away from it, Hans decided he had to be involved somehow, anyhow, in a game he loved, so he started umpiring both baseball and softball.
            In those early days of umpiring, Hans did mostly adult baseball and softball. In 1996 he was recruited to umpire in the First Annual Central Illinois Diamonds Softball Classic NSA World Series Qualifier in Rantoul. Hans had umpired a few local youth games, and he was impressed with the quality of play in this tournament. Hans was hooked and he worked the Diamonds tournament every year until its last year in 2008.
            Hans has worked countless NSA Illinois State Tournaments over the years. He worked the Youth World Series in Columbus, OH, in 2004, Charlotte, NC, in 2005, East Peoria in 2006, Northwest Indiana in 2007, and East Peoria in 2008 plus a Youth Super World Series. Hans also worked the first Border Wars Tournament in St. Louis, MO.
            “I always liked to play ball”, said Hans, “and couldn’t stand to be away from it. Umpiring was the next best thing to playing. I’ve had a lot of fun, made a lot of friends, and NSA has been good to me!”

 

Barry Parks

Umpire in Chief / Umpire

Beecher, Illinois

Inducted December 4, 2010

   

Harry Peterson

Manager / Coach

Whiting, Indiana

Inducted December 4, 2010

            Barry Parks umpired his first game when his oldest daughter was about 7 years old, and just beginning to play softball; coaches of competing teams shared 3 innings each of officiating; she’s now in her early 30’s. That coaching / umpiring dual role expanded as each of his three amazing daughters learned and played softball.             After doing what managers, coaches, players and fans seemed to feel was a good consistent job of umpiring, he was asked to also start scheduling for local programs. That eventually evolved into Barry being an UIC and scheduler of two recognized and respected softball / baseball officiating organizations NSA and BPA.
            Barry was referred to Les Duncan, a primary assignor. He received strong commendations from managers and coaches, soon receiving varsity contests, Barry started working college play as well, which then led to numerous collegiate games including the National Junior College World Series in Joliet.
            With the recommendation of Les Duncan, Barry began working some of the NSA Kankakee area tournaments under Brian Hebert and Curtis Page. Barry worked many games in Kankakee at all levels, including many Championship Games. It was then he formed a relationship with Gerry Gund, the tournament director. 
            That same year, Barry was first invited to work the NSA “A” World Series, an honor he excitedly accepted. Four Illinois umpires headed out to Columbus, OH that year! Barry reported that at the conclusion, NSA Tournament UIC Don Snopek said to our group, “You guys from Illinois can work my World Series ANY TIME!”
            And since that time, Barry had the opportunity to work every NSA World Series event through the 2009 season - including several opportunities to serve as crew chief and plate umpire for Championship Games! Unfortunately for Barry in 2010, personal health issues kept him from working the World Series.
            In 2002, Barry was ‘encouraged’ to take on the role of NSA Chicagoland South Area Umpire-in-Chief working primarily for NSA area director Gerry Gund. Thus, he then began managing tournaments and scheduling umpires as well as running clinics to teach umpires the rules and proper mechanics of the game.
            Barry puts together a clinic program that is one of the best in Illinois, sharing what many great officials taught him. Barry’s personal touch and enthusiasm is contagious as he understands that teams are customers! Barry said, “Without customers there are no teams, no tournaments and no games to work!”
            In 2005, Barry was asked to become the BPA Illinois State UIC by Gerry Gund, BPA State Director. He agreed and has been scheduling baseball and softball tournaments ever since. Barry served as the Tournament UIC for the BPA 16u-18u Boys Baseball World Series - the first in the history for BPA at those levels!
            Barry received the Northern Zone 110% Award in 2007. He successfully schedules umpires for 50+ teams in multiple locations six or more weekends per year. The largest tournament Barry assigned was “The Howling for Cystic Fibrosis” with 92 teams in 2009!
            Barry said that his biggest motivation as UIC is “Having managers, coaches and fans regularly thank him and commend my umpires for the jobs they do at the NSA / BPA tournaments!”

            Harry Peterson’s 16-inch softball career started in 1988 playing in a local league in Whiting, Indiana that used gloves. Remember that true Chicago Style softball is played bare hand and playing in Indiana teams used gloves.
            Harry said, “This gave us an advantage when we played teams (from Chicago) that did not know us, when they saw we were from Indiana and had to play bare handed they figured we were a push over and did not take us seriously. It took 3 or 4 years of tournament success to finally get the recognition and respect from the Chicago teams.”
            In 1992 Harry became the manager of Spebars Tavern before the first game of the season because the incumbent manager no longer wanted to “be responsible” for the team. With no one stepping up to fill out the lineup card, he grabbed a pen and the rest is history.
            In 1998 the first year of the NSA State and NSA World Series tournaments Harry’s Storm team went 5 and 0 in the state tournament and 7 and 0 in the World Series. The team was nervous and voiced their concerns to Les Duncan because Storm could not use gloves since NSA 16-inch is bare handed and the league they played in used gloves.
            Since the inception of the NSA 16-inch program, Harry has managed, coached or had his players participate in every NSA World Series tournament that has been played.

The following is a list of team and personal accomplishments:
NSA Team Accomplishments 
1998 Storm - NSA Softball State and World Series Champions
1999 Storm - NSA Softball World Series Champions
2000 Storm - NSA Softball World Series 4th place
2002 Storm - NSA Softball World Series Champions
2004 Lugnuts – NSA World Series Runner Up
2005 Lugnuts – NSA World Series Champions
2006 Lugnuts – NSA World Series 3rd place
2010 Stars and Stripes - NSA World Series Runner Up

NSA Personal Accomplishments 
1998 NSA All World
1999 NSA All World
2002 NSA All World

            Harry concluded saying, “First of all without my supportive wife Cecilia none of this would have been possible and now I am happy that I can share these experiences with my 2-year-old son Ajay. I also have learned not to take myself too seriously because after all this is a game we are playing. Finally if it was not for the dedication and confidence that my players have had in me over the years I would not be in the position that I am tonight being inducted into the NSA Hall of Fame.”  

 

Schaumburg Athletic Association

Schaumburg Sluggers

Girl's Fast-Pitch Organization
Schaumburg, Illinois

Inducted December 4, 2010

   

Frank Vojtech

Umpire

Mokena, Illinois

Inducted December 4, 2010

            Schaumburg Sluggers/Schaumburg Athletic Association sponsors over 50 youth softball teams plus 5 other sports – a total of over 6,000 total registrants each year.
            In 1995, the Schaumburg Sluggers began playing NSA softball tournaments and teams have competed in the NSA World Series every season since 1995!
            Teams from the Schaumburg Athletic Association have placed 2nd twice, 5th, 7th, 10th and 17th in the NSA Nationals during the past 10 years plus placed 3rd in the Super World Series in 2003. Schaumburg Sluggers have been a top three NSA state finisher numerous times including 3rd in 2010 and 2nd in 2009.
            In 2003 Schaumburg and the Athletic Association hosted the NSA Girls Fast-Pitch Class B World Series! 221 teams participated in the week-long event held at six softball complexes.
            Schaumburg Sluggers/Schaumburg Athletic Association hosted the NSA Illinois Girls Fast-Pitch State Championship in Schaumburg - The tournament grew from 90 in teams in 1996 to 168 teams in 1999. 
            From 1996-1999, the Schaumburg Sluggers and then state director Chris Garner, established a $500 college scholarship awarded to a player in the State Tournament. The award was based on hustle and good sportsmanship.
            In 1995 the Schaumburg Athletic Association began hosting Slugfest, a NSA National Qualifier which has continued for 16 consecutive years. The tournament was recognized by the Chicago Tribune as one of the best tournaments in the state in 1996. In 2010, 68 teams from the 10u-14u levels competed.
            In 1996, the Schaumburg Athletic Association hosted the USA Olympic team including Lisa Fernandez, Michelle Smith, Dot Richardson, and Michelle Ventrella on a stop during their country-wide tour! The Olympic team played against an all star team coached by the Sluggers.
            In 1999, Schaumburg Sluggers/Schaumburg Athletic Association was awarded the “NSA 110% Award” from the NSA National Office!
            This photo, submitted to the Illinois Hall of Fame, shows the Lady Sluggers and families from all age groups celebrating their finish in the 2010 NSA National Championship in South Carolina. The Schaumburg Sluggers 16u finished 2nd (Finalist) and gathered for a Runner-up National Championship picture in South Carolina!
            “SAA would like to thank the hundreds of dedicated volunteers who helped in our endeavors!” said Frank Hill, Slugger Coach, “Through them, enjoyable events were provided for thousands of girls and families!"

 

            Frank Vojtech has been married to Peggy for 42 years and lives in Mokena. He has two daughters, Kathy and Debbie; four grandchildren Alyssa, Jimmy, Sean and Colin. Frank has an extensive collection of NSA tournament memorabilia!
            Frank has spent the past 40 years as a coach, player and now an umpire. Teams Frank has played on include: Sulky Inn of Harvey, Brickyard of Blue Island, and Paddy B’s of Orland Park.
            While playing for Paddy B’s of Orland Park they achieved 5 Co-ed league championships 1987-1990 and a Men’s league championship in Alsip. From 2000-2004 he played 12” senior softball for Orland Park Aurelio’s-Hooters. Frank went to Las Vegas for the Hooters (50-55) Senior Division. 
            In 1990, Frank started umpiring men, women, and co-ed 12” and 16” softball for Steve Bobzin, Jim McIntyre, Willis Miles and Les Duncan in the Chicago suburbs. He was a workhorse umpiring nightly at league games in Alsip, Frankfort Square, Country Club Hills and Oak Lawn. Frank worked numerous tournaments including states, nationals and World Series.
            In 1999, when NSA was established, Frank started umpiring for Dick “Polock” Kanoski and Bob Kerness. Frank worked numerous NSA 12-inch Qualifiers, States, Super States, Super Regionals and World Series! He traveled to work tournaments in Crete, Crystal Lake, Decatur, Godley, Kankakee, Peoria, Rockford and Urbana.
            In 2007, Frank was chosen to umpire the NSA Super “E” World Series in Owensboro, Kentucky.  Frank received the NSA North Zone 110% Achievement Award in 2009. 
            Softball has always been a passion for Frank Vojtech and has always been an important part of his life! Frank said, “I am truly honored to be inducted into the Illinois NSA Softball Hall of Fame. I am thrilled to be a part of the NSA family and am grateful to all of my family, friends, teammates, and umpires for this wonderful experience!”

 

 

Leonard Winchester

Umpire in Chief

St. Joseph, Illinois

Inducted December 4, 2010

       

            Leonard Winchester played outfield in fast-pitch and slow-pitch for about 3 years in the late 1970’s but with his job at the railroad, it was difficult to make all of the games and eventually he gave up playing.
            Leonard started umpiring about the same time usually as a volunteer on the bases. He found out that he enjoyed it, and started calling the plate also. Leonard umpired slow-pitch and men’s fast-pitch for several years whenever his railroad job allowed. 
            He started umpiring youth fast-pitch in the mid 1980’s when his daughter started playing and at that time no one wanted to umpire girls. Being on call 24/7 on the railroad, it was tough to maintain a firm schedule.
            In 1997, after leaving the railroad, he started umpiring more, doing youth softball and baseball games all around East Central Illinois. In 2000 Bob Biehl talked Leonard into being the UIC for his Central Illinois Diamonds tournament, and he started working the NSA program. 
            At that time he was working every weekday night locally, and most weekends in tournaments around the state. In 2004 Leonard accepted the position of Illinois State Fast pitch UIC, and assumed the duties of recruiting, scheduling and appointing umpires for the state tournaments while conducting training and clinics during the year to teach current rules and proper mechanics.
            Leonard has worked numerous local tournaments including Qualifiers, State Tournaments, World Series, and Super World Series as an umpire and as a UIC. He was Site UIC for several Youth World Series as well as several Women’s World Series.  Leonard has been the Co-UIC for the “Braggin’ Rights Border Wars Tournament” in St. Louis the last few years.

Leonard has received the following NSA awards:
2002      Northern Zone Fast-Pitch Elite Four Umpire
2003
      Eddie Caillouett Award (National Fast-Pitch Umpire of the Year)

2006      Eddie Caillouett Award (National Fast-Pitch Umpire of the Year)                 
Note: Leonard is one of only two umpires who have won this award more than once.
2007      North-Central Zone UIC of the Year

            Leonard has also coached high school girl’s softball since 1988 as a volunteer pitching coach, starting at Villa Grove High School where they won two Regionals. In 2000 he moved to St. Joseph-Ogden High School, where he has been for 11 years. At St. Joseph-Ogden Leonard has coached a team that won nine Regionals, four Sectionals, two Super-Sectionals and one State title in 2006.

            “The game of softball has given me many opportunities to interact with some of the best people in this country, whether they are players, coaches, fans, or my fellow umpires” said Leonard, “Because of softball I have many friends and acquaintances across this great country!”

 

Class of 2009
Return to Classes

 

Tim Demetrulias

Director/Player

Cahokia, Illinois

Inducted December 5, 2009

   

Les Duncan

Director

Matteson, Illinois

Inducted December 5, 2009

            Tim "Demo" Demetrulias' spark for the game of softball came at an early age attending his older brother's games. In 1986 that spark ignited when he got an opportunity to start playing the game. The fire still blazes in his heart and soul today!
            "Demo" attributes his success as a player and coach to the teams he played for and especially his teammates which made the game a thrill ride every season
            Some of the teams "Demo" played for include the Diamondbacks, Alton Eagles, Mobandy, Grand Master, C City Sox, Red Devils, Nuggets, Wizards, St. Clair A's and the Renegades.
            "Demo" played over 23 years of State, World and Super World Tournaments, including 6 State Titles, 4 NSA Super NIT Titles, 3 NSA Super Regional Titles, 12 top ten finishes in worlds and 2 top ten finishes in super worlds!
            Demo said, "When Gerry Gund asked me to join the Illinois NSA team as a director in 2003, I saw this as a chance to give back to a game that has given me so much! Directing State, Regionals and NIT tournaments has given me a chance to see the future of the game and provide teams a chance to play NSA Softball!"
            In 2005 Demo was awarded the NSA North Zone 110% award. Gund said, "Demo has done a great job in establishing a NSA presence in Southern Illinois. He is a big part of the plans to expand the program in the south and central portion of Illinois!"
            Demo said, "To be successful you have to have a great supporting cast. I would like to thank all of them - my family, friends, teammates, umpires and parks for the wonderful ride!"
            A longtime contributor to competitive sports in the South Suburbs, Les Duncan of Matteson, has just completed his 40 years in softball and has many accomplishments during that span.
            Duncan started his softball career in 1969 as an ASA umpire. In 1972 he became a ASA Area Director until 1980. Duncan umpired four National ASA tournaments and was the National ASA Umpire Coordinator in 1979.
            Duncan went independent in 1980 and formed the MUA (Metro Umpires Alliance) In 1981, USSSA was started in Illinois and Duncan served not only as the 16 inch State Director but became the National Director of all 16 inch softball in the country until 1999. During that span, USSSA had the largest and best Class "A" State and World tournaments in the history of 16 inch softball with many of the tournaments on Television.
            Duncan started the 16 inch Chicago Softball Tournament in 1991, as it became the biggest 16 inch tournament in the world. More that 2400 teams participated in the tournament. During the 1998 Chicago Classic, Duncan was presented with the Lifetime Chicago 16 inch Achievement Award.
            Duncan was also inducted into the Chicago 16 Hall of Fame in 1998 as one of the top organizers in 16 inch softball.
            Duncan also had a television softball show. Let's Talk Softball for 4 years as four cable stations aired the show six times a week for the entire softball season.
            In 1999, Duncan joined the rapid growing NATIONAL SOFTBALL ASSOCIATION (NSA) and became the NSA 16 inch National Director. Duncan, received the 1999 New Comer of the Year award from CEO Hugh Cantrel and the 1999 NSA REGION 6 President award.
            The NSA started a baseball program, Baseball Players Association (BPA) and Duncan was named Assistant State Director by Gerry Gund. In 2006 and 2007 Duncan received from the North Central NSA zone the 110 percent award.
 

EastSide Centre

Complex
Complex

East Peoria, Illinois

Inducted December 5, 2009

   

Gordy "Mac" McFarland Sports Complex

Complex

Randy Ackerman

Troy, Illinois

Inducted December 5, 2009

            EastSide Centre opened in 1997. It is a 110 acre sports complex with ten ball fields, four soccer fields, a 4,000 seat football stadium and track, and a recreation center with four thousand members with an attached water park.
            EastSide Centre is host to the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) State Softball Championships and the Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) State Baseball and State Track Meets. EastSide also hosts the Great Lakes Valley Conference Softball Championships annually and has hosted the Missouri Valley Conference Softball Championships several times.
            EastSide Centre plays host to numerous National Softball Association (NSA) events including numerous qualifier tournaments leading up to the NSA State Tournaments and various national NSA tournaments events.
            EastSide Centre has hosted Illinois NSA Girl's Fast-Pitch State Championships in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and is scheduled for 2010!
            EastSide Centre has hosted NSA Girl's Fast-Pitch World Series Championships in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009 and is scheduled for 2010!
            EastSide Centre has hosted NSA Girl's Fast-Pitch Super World Series Championships in 2003, 2004 and 2005!
            EastSide Centre has earned the NSA NATIONAL OUTSTANDING PARK AWARD in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009!

            In 1972 at the age of 21, Mr. Ackerman started playing and managing softball with friends. He won his first tournament and league with J & J. in 1974.
            In 1976, he joined Depot II and over the next 5 years won numerous tournaments and leagues. In 1978, Depot II finished 2nd in the ASA Class A State and in 1979 placed 6th in the ASA Class AA State tournament! Randy pitched a no-hitter in the1978 Class A state tournament.
            In 1992 Randy joined a 40+ team Randy's Restaurant, which won 3 state tournaments and a World tournament. Randy was awarded tournament MVP once and was named to the All-Tournament team 4 times.
            Softball Central Complex opened in 1982. Randy Ackerman took a corn field and built 2 quality softball fields. It is one of the only privately owned ball complexes left from all the parks in the 80's.
            In 2006, Softball Central was renamed the Gordy "Mac" McFarland Sports Complex after a very good friend and teammate of Mr. Ackerman who said about McFarland that "When you played against him or with him you played better!"
            Gordy Mac Fields has been the host of countless leagues and weekend tournaments for 27 years! It has some of the best outfields in the state and it is very hard to get rained out. Infield sprinklers were added in 1996.
            The first big tournament hosted was the ASA AA women's state tournament in 1983.
            In 2003, Randy started running NSA tournaments and leagues at Gordy Mac Fields assisted by Tim Demo, NSA Southern Illinois Director.
            Gordy Mac Fields has hosted annual NSA Cash Bashes, World Series Qualifiers, Super NITs, Super Regionals as well as Men's Class D and Class E Southern Illinois State Championships!
            Mr. Ackerman said, "My wife Carol and I still sit and watch softball, as if we do not see enough softball at our park. If we get a weekend off, we go to other ball parks to watch softball. I have sponsored over 120 teams throughout the years!"
 

Gordon Greenley

Meritorious Service

Kankakee, Illinois

Inducted December 5, 2009

   

Vic Laredo

Director

East Peoria, Illinois

Inducted December 5, 2009

            Gordon "Boo" Greenley and his wife Dawn have been married for 15 years. He has two sons Gordie and Melvin. In November of 2007 he retired from the Kankakee post office where he carried mail for 30 years.
            He played for Windys Tap, Tiny Tap, Salkelds Sporting Goods, Franks Truck Stop, T J Donlin's, Great American Tap, AJ's, Manteno A's and Belcher's Construction.
            His lifetime batting average is .600 and has hit numerous home runs (over 1500 in 28 years). He is an all round player who played every position. He won countless MVP awards in many tournaments. He is a 5 tool player, one who excelled at hitting for average, hitting for power, base running and speed, throwing ability and fielding ability.
            The lasting impression that the game of softball left with Boo was the lasting memories and countless friendships of teammates and competitors he forged during his softball career. Boo Greenley considers being elected to the softball hall of fame a great honor and sign of respect for all his accomplishments during his softball career.
              Vic Laredo has coached for 30 years. Nine of those years coaching an adult softball team, 3 years with boy's baseball, and the remaining 18 years with girl's fast-pitch softball.
            During his coaching of girl's fast-pitch softball, Vic Laredo managed to find time to direct tournaments and leagues for 12 years. His teams from the East Peoria Express have always been competitive and were a force to deal with at State Tournaments every year in any age group.
            The East Peoria Express and Vic Laredo carried the Illinois Banner to the NSA World Series showing good sportsmanship, skills, and plenty of spirit while representing our great state!
            The tournaments in East Peoria, most directed by Vic Laredo, helped boost the NSA program in that area as well as for Central Illinois.
            Vic Laredo's commitment and dedication has helped the community of East Peoria recruit and host the NSA Super World Series, NSA B World Series, and NSA North-Central B World Series.
            Illinois NSA State Director Bob Biehl said, "There may not be any one person in Central Illinois recognized more than Vic Laredo at parks and not think of the NSA! He deserves to be one of our Hall of Famer's as a director/coach!"
 

Mattoon Pride

Girl's Fast-Pitch Team
Wade Bradley

Mattoon, Illinois

Inducted December 5, 2009

   

Jim Parks

Umpire

Quad City, Illinois

Inducted December 5, 2009

            Mattoon Pride started their girl's fast-pitch organization back in 1992 with one 12 & under team. Eventually they grew to have teams in all five age groups and have continued that tradition since 1999.
            Mattoon Pride has participated in the NSA Class "A" World Series Qualifiers, NSA Class "A" Illinois State Championships and NSA Class "A" World Series every season since 1995.
            Mattoon Pride has hosted a NSA Qualifier in Mattoon for the past 10 years with the field climbing to as many as 65 teams. They have received numerous compliments relative to the organization and success of their tournament during this time.
            Mattoon Pride has collected five Illinois NSA Class "A" State Championships in 2002, 2006, 2008 (2 ages) and 2009.
            Mattoon Pride teams have brought home the "hardware" seven times from the Class "A" World and Super World Series Championship tournaments. Here is a list of those teams:
2002 - 16u finished 2nd in Chattanooga, TN 2003 - 18u won Super World in East Peoria, IL
2006 - 16u finished 2nd in Columbus, OH 2007 - 14u finished 4th in Charlotte, NC
2008 - 16u finished 3rd in Columbus, OH 2008 - 10u tinished 5th in Columbus, OH
2009 - 16u finished 2nd in Chattanooga, TN
            Organizer and Coach Wade Bradley said, "We take "PRIDE" in fair play, sportsmanship and building character in the players that pass through our organization!"

            In the summer of 1964, Jim Parks went out and umpired Little League, got hooked on it, and has been umpiring ever since. Mr. Parks started umpiring ASA Softball in 1985, NCAA and NAIA College Softball in 1986 and IHSA Softball in 1990. For the last ten years, Jim has been the college and high school umpire assigner for several areas.
            As NSA became popular in Illinois, Jim Parks started working Illinois NSA Men's, Women's and Co-ed State Slow-Pitch Tournaments for Bob Kerness, Illinois State UIC and Kankakee NSA Girl's Fast-Pitch Tournaments for Barry Parks Illinois Area UIC. He also worked the Men's B and Men's C Slow-Pitch Super World Series for Bill Suich, Northern Zone UIC.
            Jim Parks started umpiring Illinois NSA Girl's Fast-Pitch tournaments for Leonard Winchester, Illinois State Fast-Pitch UIC. He has been a site UIC for the NSA Class A State Fast-Pitch Tournament in Quad City and also the B Youth Fast-Pitch State Tournament in Kankakee and in East Peoria. Jim Parks is the area UIC for the Quad City Area and was the UIC, Scheduler and Director of the Iowa NSA State Youth Fast- Pitch Tournament. In 2008, he umpired in The NSA Class B Youth Fast-Pitch World Series in East Peoria, Illinois.
            Jim Parks' said, "I'm getting ready to start my forty- sixth year of umpiring. I've been around long enough to be umpiring my third generation of softball player in my area. I always said if I live long enough to see my fourth generation, I would be a happy man!"

 

Mike Peters

Meritorious Service

Kankakee, Illinois

Inducted December 5, 2009

       
            Mike Peters was born in Kankakee, Illinois on November 23, 1952. He is married to Linda and have one son, one daughter and six grandchildren.
            Mike began his softball career in 1974 at Pier 6 in Aroma Park with the Homestead which later became No Dogs Allowed for 10 years. From there he played with the St. Anne Foundry for 4 years. His teams made it to the State tournament every year with both teams finishing in the top 5 several times. He was also a part of many all tournament teams.
            Mike also played with Armstrong in the Industrial State tournament for 5 years making the all tournament team 3 times. With the Manteno A's he won the 35 and over State tournament and was named the MVP. He competed in the 35 and over World Series in Cincinnati and his team finished in 3rd place. Once again, Mike was named a part of the all tournament team.
            After his tournament career he continued to participate in 2 leagues until his retirement. 2 years ago Mike retired after playing his last game in a 50 and over tournament in Las Vegas.
 

Class of 2008

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Ray Johnson

Umpire

Chicago, Illinois

Inducted December 6, 2008

   

Greg Marek

Meritorious Service

Illinois

Inducted December 6, 2008

            Ray Johnson, twice married, has five children: Latitia, Latonya, Lashawn, Andrew and Raymond; 13 grandchildren and one great grandchild.
            Ray Johnson began playing 16-inch softball with the Bingos in 1961 under the tutelage of John "Wolf Wilson", one of the premier players of the Chicago land area. Ray played on the Flamingos, the first African American teams to finish in the top three in the 16-inch World Series, in Sheboygan Wisconsin in 1968. He played softball until 1985.
            Ray Johnson started umpiring in 1981. Always a professional, Ray umpired both girl's fast-pitch and slow-pitch for NSA. Ray umpired over 5,000 games in his 27 year umpiring career.
            Ray umpired in numerous leagues, qualifiers, Super NIT's, Super Regionals and State Championships! He worked in14 NSA World Series and 2 Super World Series - the Men's Class B in Muncie and the Men's Class C in Indianapolis.
            Ray umpired girls' fast-pitch World Series championships in Columbus, Schaumburg, East Peoria and South Carolina. He was chosen to work the finals 5 times and the plate once.
            In slow-pitch, Ray umpired World Series championships in Country Club Hills and Kankakee; and Super Worlds in Muncie and Indianapolis. He worked most of the finals and was the plate umpire!
            In reference to why he umpired, Ray Johnson stated that he "enjoyed the sport and that it was a great way to keep in contact with sport" Ray continued that he "thanked God for his mentors, all of the directors and the great experiences he had working with people!"






 
            Greg Marek blessed the lives of many people and there was something about him that you would never forget - his heart! Greg's smile and laugh would always bring everything back down to earth - he just wanted to have fun!
            Greg was a ballplayer, a team manager, a director, a groundskeeper, a promoter, but most of all, he was a human being experiencing all of the ups and downs in life. People sometimes took Greg for granted and now that he is gone, we realize that we miss him!
            Greg was a manager and player on the following teams: Hustlers, Slammers, Rock n Roll Express, The Page and The Sports Page and Y Not. The Sports Page was ranked no.1 in 1991 by Chicago Metro Softball Magazine,
Sports Page was impressive winning state championships in 1986, 1989 and 1991; Regional and Metro Championships in 1986, 1988, 1989 and 1991; and participating in World Series three times including third place in the NSA Class B World Series in 1991!
            When Softball City in Grayslake opened in1989, Greg was there to umpire as many games as he could get umpire. Owner Otis Carter made Greg the complex manager and Greg started running tournaments on weekends and league play during the week. He also helped out at the Waterhole and Pappa Gus's softball complexes! Greg started the NSA Rites of Spring Tournament. (1987-1997)
            During the 2005 Men's Class C World Series in Kankakee, a torrential rainstorm raked havoc with the tournament that weekend and Greg was the first person out of the press box to help rake and pour diamond dry on the diamonds most of the day on Saturday. He asked for some hefty compensation - a case of beer and still worked all of his games on Sunday!
            Greg was well-respected as an umpire as he worked many softball tournaments in Illinois and Wisconsin including State Championship, Super NIT's, Super Regionals, Men's and Coed World Series.
            On January 19, 2008 Greg Marek received the NSA North Zone Umpire 110 percent Award, in Lexington Kentucky! We wish that Greg Marek was here now to enjoy his induction for Meritorious Service into the NSA Hall Of Fame - December 6, 2008! Congratulations Greg Marek!

River Road Park

Complex

Kankakee, Illinois

Inducted December 6, 2008

 

Sherri Wendt

Player / Manager

St. Charles, Illinois

Inducted December 6, 2008

            National City River Road Park has long history of providing softball leagues to the community and hosting slow-pitch and girl's fast-pitch tournaments attracting thousands of teams from the United States and Canada.
            Originally hunting grounds, the park was donated by the state of Illinois to the Kankakee Valley Park District. River Road Park showcases a beautiful wooded river front area and six diamond complex. It has become the home of hundreds of area and out-of-town teams and thousand of softball players each summer!
            The park has been the recipient of the "NSA Outstanding Complex Award" in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007and 2008. This national award is given to parks that provide outstanding facilities for NSA tournaments!
            River Road Park has hosted over 60 state championships, 12 Super NIT's, 7 Super Regionals, and 10 World Series. The park has hosted softball tournaments with 100 teams or more 10 times.
            Highlights of tournaments hosted include the NSA Early Bird Slow-Pitch Classic (1980-2008), Men's Slow-Pitch World Series (1998-2008), NSA Class B Girl's Fast-Pitch Illinois State Championship (2004-2005) and NSA Land of Lincoln Girl's Fast-Pitch Rec Championships (2004-2008),
            The park district started hosting softball leagues on two fields in 1971. Two more diamonds were added in the 70's. A pavilion, press box and lights were added in 1981 Two more diamonds were added in the 80's.
            In 2001, all six diamonds were re-fenced, infields were shortened and a new diamond mix added. A tourism grant added lights to diamonds 4 and 5. A playground was constructed in 2006 and in 2007 covers were added to the dugout.
            Jim Romanek, Executive Director of the Kankakee Valley Park District said: "We would like to thank all of the players, teams, fans, umpires and NSA for coming to River Road Park! Without the support of all of you, this would not have been possible! Thank You!"

            Sherri Wendt lives in St. Charles with her husband Eric, son Robert and two daughters Nicole and Alexis. She started playing baseball at the age of 6 and played baseball till she was in high school then switched to softball, played all 4 years on varsity.
            In 1988 Sherri Wendt played on a fast pitch softball travel called the Sidekicks and then in 1991 started playing slow-pitch. She played 3rd base and left center with the Northern Diamonds from 1992-1998. Northern Diamonds was one of the top NSA Women's in the Illinois, winning several tournaments in Country Club Hills, Kankakee and Rockford.
            In 1999 Sherri Wendt started her own women's team called "The Fun Bus", playing left center until 2005. Fun Bus left their mark on the field, playing in 3 NSA World Series from 2002-2005. In 2004, Fun Bus finished 2nd in the NSA State.
            Fun Bus finished 9th in the NSA World Series in North Carolina in 2004. After 4 knee and 2 back surgeries, Sherri was forced to hang up the cleats in 2006.
            Sherri Wendt started coaching the St. Charles Comets fast-pitch softball and her daughter Alexis' fast pitch travel team in 2007. The Comets qualified and went to the World Series the past 2 years.
            Sherri and Her husband have recently built a softball training and batting facility in St. Charles called the Kane County Dugout!
            When asked about the many memories of softball, Sherri stated that "Every minute I played it was exciting because I was doing the thing I loved the most."

 
 

Steve Wilhelm

Player / Manager

Mascoutah, Illinois

Inducted December 6, 2008

   

Mike Wlodek

Player

Chicago, Illinois

Inducted December 6, 2008

            Steve "Hoyt" Wilhelm began his softball career participating in intramurals at Illinois State University in the 1980's. After graduation, Steve returned to Southern Illinois and began playing in area softball leagues with his childhood friends as the Busch Brewers. In 1991, the Brewers combined talents with the High Lites softball team.
            Hoyt, as Steve was coined by his teammates, participated in many State, World and Super World Tournaments. Team accomplishments include 4 Men's State Championships, 2 Coed State Championships, 1 Super NIT Championship, 2 Super Regional Championships, 1 Central Divisional Championship and 1 Super World Championship.
            Individual Awards include 10 All Tournament Team Awards, 4 Defensive Most Valuable Player Awards and 4 Tournament Most Valuable Player Awards including receiving the Most Valuable Player and Best Tournament Coach Awards at the 1995 Super World Tournament.
            Hoyt coached two different teams to 12 or more tournament victories in a single season (Brewers 1995, Eagles 2002). In addition, his team was selected to receive the Outstanding Team Sportsmanship Award at the 1995 World Series Tournament which included 140 teams and was voted on by the tournament umpire staff.
            Most importantly, Hoyt is proud to have participated in slow-pitch softball with quality individuals and credits his teammates for his success as a player and a coach. Hoyt's best memories include playing ball with his kids between tournament games and winning the 1995 NSA Super World Series!
            Steve and his wife Sarah have been married since 1983. Their children, Rob, Mark, Wes and Kristen grew up at Illinois softball complexes and traveled with their dad to tournaments around the country. Employed by Mears Group, Inc., Steve serves as Vice President of Finance.

 

            Mike "Woody" Wlodek has been married for 11 years to his wife Debbie. Mike lives in Oak Forest, and has worked for Allied Tube in Harvey for the last 28 years. Mike started playing softball in 1979 at Lou Boudreau stadium in Harvey, and currently has played in over 3800 games!
            Teams Mike has played on include: Assault and Battery, Band of Demons, Bandits, Blu, Club, Commission, Fetch, Grasshoppers, Ice, I'm Sorry, Jokers, Lugnuts, Men from Uncle, Petes Hidaway, Rubes Sportsman, Storm, Speed, Sulky Inn, That's It and Surge.
            Mike's teams in 1995 won the Class A state tournament in Orland Park and won back to back 16" world tournaments in Orland Park (1994) and (1995) with Speed. Also won 16" metro state and 16" Nationals with Men from Uncle (1998).
            Mike played on 3 NSA state championship teams Jokerman (2000), Storm (2002) and Lugnuts (2006); and two NSA World Series championship teams winning with Storm (2002) and Lugnuts (2005).
            Mike was the 16" NSA MVP and all-state player with Jokerman (2002) and made the NSA 12" D Illinois Northern State all tournament team (2004). Mike was also NSA State Most Outstanding Offensive Player (2006). Mike has been named NSA All-World (2002, 2004, 2007).
            Mike is currently a member of the Commission 16" team from Chicago Heights. Playing on this team in Matteson since 1999, going 141-19 this team has won 6 league championships and taking 9 of 10 league championships.
Mike participated in competitive leagues at Alsip, Blue Island, Calumet City, Country Club Hills, Dolton, Harvey, Homewood, Matteson, Mt. Greenwood. Park Forest, Riverdale, South Holland,
            Mike has played on many numerous teams and enjoyed all the new people he has met and played with, but his most enjoyable was playing with his brothers in the 12" leagues in Dolton from 1987-1994.
            Being an umpire and a player many gratifying experiences and pleasures have come playing and officiating this game. Hoping to use my playing experience Mike hopes to give back something to this game, so the younger players become better players and play this game with passion, integrity, and sportsmanship.

Class of 2007

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Ken Adams

Manager

Chicago, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2007

 

 

Rick Alderson

Umpire

South Wilmington, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2007

            Ken Adams has managed and sponsored two teams which have competed in the NSA Men's B program over the last ten years ---- Home Run Inn & KA Softball. 

            Home Run Inn finished second in the NSA state tournament one time, but it was with the KA Softball team that Ken found the most success. 

            KA Softball has won the NSA state tournament three times (2004, 2005 & 2006) and finished second in 2003.  The team has won a NSA Super B NIT five straight years (2003 in Kankakee, 2004 in Avon, IN., 2005 in Arlington Heights, and both 2006 & 2007 in Kankakee). 

           KA Softball participated in the NSA world tournament seven straight years, beginning with the A World in 2001 and at the B World from 2002 through 2007.  The highest finish was fifth, accomplishing that four times (2002, 2003, 2004 & 2007).    

           KA Softball qualified for the NSA Super B World six straight years (2002 through 2007).  The highest finish was fourth, accomplishing that three times (2003, 2005 & 2006). 

           KA Softball has participated in several other notable NSA events, including the Gumby three times and the Music City once.

            Rick Alderson is married to Cindy and has 2 adult daughters, Cassie and Amy. He is mayor of South Wilmington. 

            Rick started umpiring in 1978 (29 years ago). He was a U.I.C., assigned, umpired slow pitch leagues and tournaments beginning in 1978 at the V.F.W. Park in South Wilmington.

            With 2 daughters playing fast pitch, his focus turned to fast pitch softball in the 1990's. After retiring from the Illinois Department of Transportation in 2002, Rick began umpiring full time. 

            He has worked 100 + NSA tournaments, 7 NSA State tournaments, 6 NSA World Series and 1 NSA Super World!             

            Rick works over 300 games a year including college, high school, junior high school, summer leagues and travel softball. 

            Rick Alderson is one of the better umpires in the state using his calm personality and great communication skills to manage his games!

Belcher Construction

Don Sr., Roger and Don Jr.

(Don Jr. accepted the award)

Sponsor

Manteno, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2007

Don Brinkley

Umpire in Chief / Umpire

Springfield, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2007

           Don Belcher was married to Judy and had two sons Don Jr. and Roger. Don owned Belcher Construction and in 1975 started to sponsor softball teams. Both sons, Roger and Don, played on the Belcher sponsored teams, taking up the passion that Don Sr. had for the sport of softball.  Don Sr. in the earlier years pitched and played when needed. He was a very good hitter! Don also coached most of his teams.        

            Don Sr. and Roger sponsored competitive men's teams in the 70's, 80's and 90's. Don Jr. helped coach Belcher-sponsored women's teams from 2001-2004.  Judy Belcher passed away in 2001, and Don Sr. passed away on Christmas Day 2005.

 

           Don Brinkley started doing NSA Slow-Pitch in 1988 at Four Seasons Sports Complex in Springfield, IL. He worked mens and womens league games and did many tournaments in the St. Louis area over the years.  Don did slow-pitch until approximately 1995. While doing slow-pitch, Don worked over 75 tournaments and 1,500 games. He umpired in State tournaments and in 1994 worked the men's Class C World Series in St. Louis. 

            In 1992, Don Brinkley began doing fast-pitch. From 1994 thru 2007, he worked 15 State tournaments and approximately 150 tournaments, over 2,100 fast-pitch games!  

            Don had the privilege to work seven (7) World Series (Jupiter, Fl., Columbus, OH.(twice), Chattanooga, TN., Charlotte, NC., Indianapolis, IN, and E. Peoria, IL.) and two (2) Super Worlds. 

            Don's most memorable World Series was in Jupiter, FL. in 1995 when Hurricane Erin struck the area. Out of a possible 35 games he might have worked, Don was only able to get 16 games in. It was a "logistics nightmare" to find playable fields and get teams there to play at their designated times . Don was umpiring at 4:00 A.M. and then scheduled to begin again at 7:00 A.M.

            Don is greatly honored and thankful for this recognition that he has received.

 

Here is a list of most of those teams:

981 - Belcher 2nd AA state

1982 - Belcher 1st AA state

1992 - Belcher 2nd AA State

1993 - Belcher 2nd AA State

1994 - Belcher 2nd AA State

1995 - Belcher 1st AA State

1996 - Belcher 1st AA State

2000 - Belcher Women - 1st State

2001 - Belcher Women

 

2002 - Belcher Women

2003 - Belcher Women

2004 - Belcher Women 2000 - Belcher Women - 1st State

2001 - Belcher Women

2002 - Belcher Women

2003 - Belcher Women

2004 - Belcher Women

2005 - Benfield/Reece/Belcher/AM

2006 - Bell Corp/Taylor Bros/Belcher/Easton

2007 - Bell Corp/Belcher/TAI/Backman

 

 

Rusty Bumgardner

Honorary

Kings Mountain, North Carolina

Inducted December 1, 2007

 

 

Steve Endress

Umpire

Kankakee, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2007

Rusty is married and his wife's name Page. 

He has been playing softball for 10 years and is currently a professional softball player, Contractor for NUS-PEC Tech. 

High School Sports Highlights/Awards/Records:  Outstanding High School Football and Baseball player. Highly recruited by numerous colleges. All Conference and all County in both sports. Hold records in both sports at King Mountain High School. 

College Sports Played:  Football & Baseball. 

College Sports Highlights/Awards/Records:  Played as a true Freshman, Lettered all 4 years. 

Professional Sports Played/Teams/Highlights:  Baseball- Florida Marlins, First player signed by Florida Marlins Expansion Team. Hit the first 2 Home Runs for the Florida Marlins at Bucky Dent Baseball School in Del Ray Beach, FL during the Marlins first year of existence. 

Teams Played On:  Converters Unlimited (92-94), Shen Valley (95-97), Team TPS (98-00), Long Haul/Taylor Bros/Shencorp/TPS (01). 

All Tournament:  25 Times Total; USSSA (8), ASA (4), NSA (7), ISA (3). Others (3) 

Championship Teams:  17 Total; USSSA (4), ASA (3), NSA (4), ISA (3), Others (3) 

MVP Titles/Records Held:  1997 Player of the Year; 1997 NSA MVP; 1997 Smokey Mountain Classic MVP (Set various Records at this Tournament); 1992-2000 Numerous MVP's; 2001 MVP NSA Major, Columbus, OH; 2001 All-Tournament ISA Super World Series; 2001 ASA All World Team; 2001 Grand Slam Champions; 2001 theoldscout.com All World Team 

 

 

Steve Endress, a native of Sparland, Illinois, a small town north of Peoria and now a resident of Kankakee, Illinois for the past 30 plus years has spent most of his life on the softball diamonds as a player, manager, coach and now an umpire. 

            In the early 1990's while still playing slow pitch Steve started working at the River Road Softball Complex as a slow pitch umpire two to three nights a week and was player-manager for his slow pitch team the other nights. 

            Steve did not start working fast pitch games until 1996 when his daughter was playing Division I college fast pitch. Steve started working NSA slow pitch in 1998 when the Kankakee started hosting NSA championship tournaments. 

            Steve has worked almost all of the State, Regional's, NIT's and World Series that have been hosted at the Kankakee complex averaging about 120 slow pitch games each year.  He regularly is selected to work on the Championship crew for all of the major tournaments. 

            In 2002 Steve worked his first Slow Pitch Super World Tournament at the Men's D Super World Series in Muncie, Indiana and was selected to work the Championship game in his first trip to a Super.  Steve has made two additional trips to a Men's Super Worlds 2005 and 2006.  Steve was selected to work the Championship game each year and was named to work the plate in the 2005 Men's C Super World.

            When Steve retired from playing in 2001 he began working NSA fast-pitch at the Kankakee area softball fields.  Since then he had been working an average of 60-70 games of girl's fast pitch each summer in addition to his slow pitch schedule. 

            Steve has been selected to work the Women's 23+ World Series in East Peoria, Illinois in 2005, 2006 and 2007 being selected each year to be in the Championship game umpire crew.

            Steve's dedication to the game and to the umpiring profession has be recognized at both the local and zone levels.  Steve received the Northern Zone 110% award in 2002 and was awarded the 2004 Umpire Directors' Award of Excellence for the Kankakee area.

 

Chris Garner

Director

Springfield, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2007

 

 

Gerry Gund

Director

Kankakee, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2007

Chris Garner, age 44, of Springfield has three daughter's: Augustana 10, Cassidy 9, and Alexia 6. Chris considers himself a very lucky man!  

 When Chris retired in 2001, he was both NSA Southern Illinois Adult Slow-Pitch Director and NSA Girl's Fast-Pitch Director. He was with NSA for 13 years!  

In 1988, Chris started with NSA after being recruited by Roger Cook, Illinois state director to manage slow-pitch tournaments. Lonnie O'Haver was the Illinois UIC. 

Chris soon purchased Four Seasons Recreational Park which had 3 diamonds and began to run men's, women's and coed leagues! Four Seasons won the NSA National Outstanding Park Award from 1988-2001! 

Mary O'Connor, Indiana Youth Director, convinced Chris to run girl's fast-pitch tournaments and he started running the Springfield Shootout in 1991. Chris became the first girl's fast-pitch director in Illinois in 1993 and Carlos Childress became the first GFP UIC. 

The first Illinois Girl's Fast-pitch State tournament was held in Springfield in 1993,! In 1994 - Glen Ellyn, in 1995 - West Chicago and in Schaumburg from 1996-2001! 

While in Schaumburg, the state championship blossomed from 90 teams in 1996 to 228 teams in 2001. The tournament was so large that Chris had to split it so the 3 age groups were playing one weekend and 2 age groups were playing the next! 

In 1998, the Chicago Tribune rated the NSA Girl's fast-pitch tournament in Schaumburg as one of the best run tournaments in Illinois! 

Chris instituted a $12,000 cash scholarship program for the state tournament and several activities which added a new dimension to the tournament. 

Chris received the NSA National Most Improved Director Award in 1999! He received the Area Director of the year 1991-1999.

 

Gerry Gund has been married 27 years to his wife Lynne, the best thing to happen to him in his life is that he has been blessed by great people around him. 

He started playing slow-pitch softball when he was in sixth grade playing pick up games behind his parents house in Bourbonnais.   When he was twenty, he left college, got a job at Bradley Roper and started playing with the company softball team. 

The next year, Gund started playing with the St Anne Nads, The Nads ran a "Sweet Corn " Festival tournament every August for a fundraiser.  Gerry soon learned from Terry Sirois and Walt Andrews how run a good tournament! 

In 1980, Gerry started another tournament, "The Early Bird Classic", which had only 6 teams, playing on the high school field in St Anne. 

In 1981, Gerry started playing with Belcher Construction of Manteno.  Belcher won 8 tournaments that year and finished second in the ASA AA state held in Kankakee. Gund made the all-tournament team. Gerry then started playing with Midwest Silk Screening.  In 1984 Gerry started a softball team, Performance Sports and in 1989 Superior Silkscreen. 

During that time "The Early Bird Classic" started to grow as a fundraiser, gaining key sponsorships and became one of the best tournaments in the Midwest, attracting 50-60 teams per year in four classes! 

In 1990, Gund was hired by the Kankakee Valley Park District as Recreation Director and started running more tournaments including a industrial tournament and Class B State tournament which had 100 teams. He also started a 35 and over state tournament in 1993. 

In 1995, Gerry suffered a serious knee injury which required two surgeries and a long rehabilitation. In 1997, Superior Silkscreen won the 35 and over Illinois state championship and Gerry made the all-tournament team, then retired as a player. 

In 1998, Gerry was appointed NSA Illinois State Director, and started to build the NSA slow-pitch program, with new tournaments, including world qualifiers, super nits, super regional and state championships, sending teams to NSA World Series. 

Gerry was tournament director for several Slow-pitch World Series tournaments including -  Men's B (2), Men's C, Men's D, Men's E (2), Coed C, Coed D (2), Coed E (2), Master 45 and assistant director for the Black American World Series with director Willis Miles! 

Gerry was on the Slow-Pitch Super World Series Committee directing the B in 2004 at Muncie, the C in 2005 at Indianapolis, the E in 2006 at Indy E and the D in 2007 at Owensboro. 

In 2000, Gerry started his first fast-pitch tournament - The KGSSL Classic, as a fundraiser for the local girl's league. In 2003, he added the Xtreme Promotional, MPI, Holiday Inn Express and Decker girl's fast-pitch tournaments. In 2004, Gerry added The Howling - a fundraiser for cystic fibrosis, and the Land of Lincoln All-Star championships. In 2006, the Firecracker classic was added and in 2007 the Big B Blast and Battle Royale. 

Gerry was site tournament director for the NSA Girl's fast-pitch Illinois Class B state championship held in Kankakee County in 2003 and 2004.  He was director for the Girls Fast-Pitch World Series in 2002 (Schaumburg), in 2005 (East Peoria) and in 2006 (Pekin.) 

In 2005, Gerry was appointed BPA Baseball Illinois State Director and immediately established a website which publicized new qualifying tournaments, new state championships and BPA World Series. The program today has now expanded to ages 9-18 in one year increments!  

Awards given to Gerry during his 9-year NSA career include: the 1999 Region 6 State Director Of the Year, the 1999 Region 6 Newcomer Of the Year, the 2004 North Zone NSA 110 % Award, the 2005 BPA North Zone Newcomer Of the Year, the 2007 North Zone Chuck Middleton Award and the 2007 NSA National Highest World Series Team Participation Award!

 

Frank Hill

Manager / Organizer

Schaumburg, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2007

 

 

Dick Kanoski

Umpire

Bourbonnais, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2007

Mr. Frank Hill has started and coached the Sluggers for 17 years, the Hoffman Estates Varsity for 6 years, and has been involved in the Schaumburg Athletic Association for 20 years.  During his tenure in the SAA, he has been Travel Commissioner, Softball Head Commissioner, and President of the organization, which serves over 6,000 registrants and over 600 softball players. 

in the June of '96, Frank, with the help of the volunteers of the SAA, dedicated Schaumburg's new Olympic Park with two major events:  a double header he coached against the 1996 USA Olympic Team, and the National Softball Association's State Tournament. 

Under the direction of Chris Garner, again in '97 and '98 the Schaumburg Athletic Association played host to the National Softball Association's State Tournament.  The Tournament went from 90 teams in '96 to 168 teams in '98.  It was rated in the Chicago Tribune as one of the best run tournaments in Illinois. 

Chris and Frank instituted cash scholarship programs and several activities which added a new dimension to the tournament.  Frank also earned the 110% award from the National Softball Association.  In 2003, the Schaumburg Athletic Association hosted the NSA "B" World Series which were held in the Northwest Chicago Area.  

As a coach of the Sluggers, Frank's teams won, three Metro Championships, went 6-2-2 in the Colorado Fireworks tournament, took 2nd and 7th, and 17th  in the NSA World Series, and 3rd place in the NSA Super World Series.  His teams have been to the NSA World Series every year since 1995.  He brings an intense love and knowledge of the game. 

Frank has worked over 50 tournaments and played in over 800 games, His teams played in 12 state tournaments, 12 World Series and 1 Super World Series!

 

Dick Kanoski, better know as "Polock", started his softball career in 1962 playing for Armour & Swift in the local Industrial League. They played in several state tournaments, finishing second to Kankakee Roper by a score of 3 to 2. 

After a few years of fast-pitch Polock started to play slow-pitch keg-games on Sundays. This was the start of slow-pitch in the area. Back in the mid 60's slow-pitch went from The Pier to River Road. Then Polock played for Windy's & Swift. They played in many state tournaments. 

In 1970 Polock started to umpire and played one more year of fast-pitch with the Gilman Merchants. He has umpired about 200 games every year in leagues, local tournaments and State Tournaments. 

Since approx 1980 Polock has been the Assignment Chairman for the Kankakee area. When he started we had about 8 or 9 Umpires. Polock started an Association to handle Umpire needs. Today we have 45 Umpires registered in our association.  Since the N.S.A. has been our sanctioning body, softball has grown in Kankakee area. Polock has worked every level in leagues and have worked almost every tournament to come through River Road Park - over 7,000 Games. 

In 2003, Polock received the N.S.A. Northern Zone 110% Award! In 2004 Polock received an Umpire Recognition Award from The Kankakee Umpire Association. Both of these awards are very gratifying to Polock as he loves staying into softball. It is nice to get recognized for something you like to do!

 

Bob Kerness

Umpire in Chief / Umpire

Kankakee, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2007

 

 

Bob Knox

Umpire in Chief / Umpire

Springfield, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2007

            Bob Kerness has been married for 40 years to his wife Linda and has three Children - Kerry 30's, Keith 30's and Kathleen 19. He has 2 grandchildren, Allison age 12 and Payton age 7. 

            Bob is also an accomplished football official as referee for high school and college, working in many championship playoffs!  Bob was also an accomplished basketball official but retired in 1995! 

            In his spare time he works as supervisor in the Finance Department for a large Biopharmaceutical company. 

            Bob has been a slow-pitch umpire since 1976 and was appointed Illinois State NSA Slow-Pitch UIC in 1999. He is responsible for the recruitment and for training of all NSA umpires in the state of Illinois.   Bob has worked or was UIC for tournaments in Iowa, Indiana, and all over the state of Illinois for approximately 30 NSA State tournaments, 20 Regional's, 80 World Series Qualifiers', and 50 NIT's. While working as an umpire, he was chosen to work the finals in most of the tournaments.

            Bob has implemented a training program and pay scale for the NSA tournaments in Illinois. He has presented umpire training sessions at the annual Zone meeting! Bob along with Dick Kanoski organized an Award Banquet for NSA slow-pitch umpires.

            Bob was the Winner of the 2004 NSA Northern Zone 'UIC of the Year' award!

 

            Bob Knox has a wife Frances, and 3 children Kathy age 50, Bob Jr. age 45 and Patrick age 40. Bob is celebrating 50 years of umpiring in 2008! 

            Bob started doing NSA Slow-Pitch in 1988 at Four Seasons Sports Complex in Springfield, IL. He worked men's and women's league games and did many tournaments in the St. Louis area over the years.  Bob did slow-pitch until 1991. During his slow-pitch career, Bob worked over 75 tournaments and 1,500 games. He umpired in several State tournaments and in 1994 worked the Men's Class C World Series in St. Louis, Missouri. 

            In 1992, Bob Knox began doing fast-pitch. From 1994 thru 2007, he worked 15 State tournaments and approximately 150 tournaments, over 2,100 fast-pitch games! 

            Bob Knox had the privilege to work seven (6) World Series (Columbus, OH (twice), Chattanooga, TN., Charlotte, NC., Indianapolis, IN, and E. Peoria, IL. and two (2) Super Worlds. Bob was the Illinois State Girl's Fast-pitch UIC from 1995-2000. Bob is greatly honored and thankful for this recognition that he has received.

 

Bruce Meade

Honorary

Bradenton, Florida

Inducted December 1, 2007

 

 

Willis Miles

Umpire

Chicago, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2007

             At 6'6", 250 lbs, Bruce Meade is a daunting man, especially with his waxed moustache. During his amazing career of 6000 home runs, he ripped the Hall of Fame softball home run distance record of 510-feet in Amarillo, Texas, 1978.

             Bruce Meade has been married for 25 years to wife Ellen! They have a daughter Bryce, who is 20 years old and a son Blake, who is 16. Bruce's full-time job is a Deputy Sheriff in Manatee County, Florida.

              A native of Bradenton, Florida, Meade won six world championships with Nelson's of Oklahoma City, Jerry's Caterers of Miami, Florida, Elite Coating of Gordon Georgia, and the Smythe Sox of Houston, Texas. Meade also played for Dave Carroll Sports, Ritch's-Kirk's and Starpath. 

             Meade has won three MVP awards on the national championship level! He led the nation in batting five of these years. Meade was named to 32 All-World teams in his long glorious career. 

             Meade is also one of only two players in softball history elected to all four association's Hall of Fames. He gained election into the USSSA Hall of Fame in 1989, the NSA Hall of Fame in 1992, the ASA Hall of Fame in 1999 and the ISA Hall of fame in 2003. He will be inducted into the Illinois NSA Hall of Fame during this year's ceremony.

 

Willis Miles has been married to Gloria for 33 years.  He has 4 children Cedric 36, Michael 33, Darian 29, and Dorothy 22, and four grandchildren:  Patience, Skyler, Devon, Darian Jr. and Michael Jr.

            Willis starting played 16-inch softball when he was 15! His coach and lifetime mentor was Coach Dan Dumas one of the best 16-inch softball players in the game.

            In DuSable High School, Willis was the captain of the varsity football team, played on the varsity basketball team, was a member cadet of the R.O.T.C. Program with the rank of Major.  He was a January graduate of the class of 1966.  In 1968 he received a Major in Business Administration from Wilson Junior college. In 1968, Willis was drafted into US Army and received an honorable discharge in 1970!   

            Willis has received 5 Most Valuable Player awards. He was selected for league and tournament All-Stars 25 times in Hamilton Park, Washington Park, Sherman Park and Ogden Park

            Willis started his NSA career in 1999! He has worked in NSA Class A Girl's Fast Pitch World Series in Columbus and South Carolina! Willis also worked in NSA Class B Girl's Fast Pitch World Series in Schaumburg, East Peoria and Merrillville.

            Willis has umpired many post-season slow-pitch tournaments: 9- 16-inch World Series, 3 12-inch Co-Ed World Series, 2 - 12-inch Class D World Series, 1- 12-inch Class D Super World Series, 2-12-inch Class E World Series and 5- 12-inch Black American World Series.

            Willis was the National Director for Black American program from 1999 - 2005 In 2005 he was inducted into the Chicago 16-inch Softball Hall Of Fame in the umpire category. Willis will now be inducted as an umpire in the Illinois NSA Hall of Fame!

 

Kevin Price

Player / Manager

Peotone, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2007

 

 

Vicki Senesac

Player / Manager

Manteno, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2007

Kevin Price of Tinley Park started playing softball in 1981! He also coached slow pitch teams from 1999 to 2006. 

Teams that Kevin was on include: Hanrahan's, Teresa Pizza, Phoenix Futures, Belcher's Const./Dudley, Mid-America TPS, Chicago Kings Easton, Joe Black / Worth, Rockers 16",Screwballs 16", Ken's Beverage, Empress Casino, Kluever's Snap-On / Easton, Illinois USSSA All-Stars, O'Charlies, Darcy/Marino Const./Joliet VFW, Superior Silk Screen, Cando Metals/Easton, Hero's & Legends, Big Basin Softball Club, Liquid Blue NJ, Supreme Softball FL, Hague/Ohio Trans/Wessell/Belcher/TPS OH, Martin/Mizuno IN, Mizuno OH, Darcy Joliet, AM/Benfield/Belcher/Reese/Easton VA, Bell Corp/Taylor/Belcher/Easton FL,

            Kevin made 13 All-Tournament teams, was awarded the Most Valuable Player 3 times and was the home run champion once. His teams won 7 state championships and were world champions four times. 

            One of his best memories and tournament was the 1993 NSA Class A World Series held at St. Clair, Illinois! His team, the Chicago Kings placed 2nd, and Kevin was named MVP of the World Series, going 21-24, batting .875 with 14 hrs! 

            One of the most exciting moments in his coaching career was during the 2005 NSA Major World Series in Michigan City, Indiana. Kevin's team, AM/Benfield/Belcher/Reese/Easton, won the Championship by beating #1 ranked Resmondo/Smith/Menose after being down 19 runs in bottom of 4th and then rallied to win the NSA Major Title in 8 innings!

 

Vicki started playing softball at the age of 10 with the Kankakee Petticoat Girls Softball League at Washington Park.  Due to a knee injury her freshman year of High School, she didn't play any high school or collegiate ball.

            Vicki started playing softball at River Road in 1979, on Salkelds women's league team.  Combining both the women's and Co-ed leagues she has pitched over 2,000 games holding an average ERA of 4.5.

            Vicki starting coaching in 2001 when she organized her first teams Belcher Concrete (2001-2004) and then Manteno Pool & Spa/Z Farms (2005-2007).

            Vicki has pitched in over 15 state tournaments, and over 10 World Series.  She helped her women's team win three state titles and place 7th in the 2004 NSA World Series in Lexington, KY. 

            Most recently Vicky made the all-tournament team at the Co-ed 2007 WS Qualifier in Itasca, IL, and was the 2007 Women's Illinois State Tournament MVP.

            Her most memorable moment was the 2000 State tournament at River Road Park when their team came through the loser's bracket to double dip Head First by winning the Championship game in a come from behind win in the 7th inning.

 

 

John Wojnowski

Player

St Anne, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2007

 

 

Rich Woolman

Player

Joliet, Illinois

Inducted December 1, 2007

John Wojnowski has 2 children, Adam age 27 and Rachel age 18. He also has a grand child (Adam) Hanna who is 12 weeks old. John lives in St Anne and owns his full-time business Cando Metals.

            John started playing softball in 1974 at the age of 19 with the St. Anne Nads with his brother Brian. In 1978 he started the St Anne Foundry until 1986 when he started playing with Belcher Construction with his brother Keith.

            Both John and Keith then played for Champaign Pias from 1992-3, Superior Silkscreen from 1994-95 and Cando Metals from 1996-2006.

            John's first tournament championship was in Danville in 1978! He played with his brother Brian and Gerry Gund on the St Anne Nads as they double-dipped Johnny Mac out of St. Louis, Missouri in the Championship.              

            John won many tournaments with Belcher Construction in including his first state championship in Alton in 1994. John also played coed with Cando Metals from 1996-2002 winning several state championships. John also won 10 Masters 35 and over state championships!

            Cando Metals played in 8 NSA World Series and 5 NSA Super World Series. John made the All-Tournament team in 1997 with his son Adam who was 16. John also made the NSA 35 and over state all-tournament team in 1997.   

            At the age of 50, John played in the 2005 Men's C Super World Series in Indianapolis Indiana with Cando Metals, finishing second. He and Adam made the all-super world team!

            During his 34 years of softball, John Wojnowski was undeniably one of the best softball players in the state of Illinois. John could hit, field run and throw with the best of them!

 

 

Rich "Birdman" Woolman at age 60 has been married to Barb for 39 years and has three sons: Rich 38 and wife Norma, Jeff: 37 and wife Kristi and Jeremy 35 and wife Marnie. Rich has been employed for 34 years at Caterpillar Inc. in Joliet.

            Considered one of the top defensive pitchers in game, Rich has been playing softball as a pitcher and outfield for 40 plus years. In 1964, Rich started playing modified fast pitch in Port Huron Michigan.

            From 1973 - 2007 he played for softball teams in Illinois and in the 1970s and 1980s had numerous top 3 tournament finishes! Bird's lifetime stats include over 1000 pitching victories and a .650 batting average. n 2007, Bird played the 50 and over Senior Circuit  in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Alabama and Champaign!

            Teams Rich played with: Platzer Plumbing; Red Birds; Fossil Rock; Mazon State Bank; Yellow Hammers; the legendary Belcher Construction; Superior Silkscreen, Melco: Monkey Spankers; Can-Do Metals; J. Denny and Class Act!

            Bird played on 3 Illinois state champions: Superior Silkscreen - 1997 NSA 35 and over, Cando - 1999 NSA Illinois Class B and Champs - 2007 Masters 40 and over!

            He played in 6 NSA World Series tournaments and 3 NSA Super World Series (1995, 1999, and 2007) finished in the top 9 in the NSA B Super World and the Top 5 in the NSA World Series!

            Bird made the all- tournament team 8 times including the 1981 AA Illinois State, the 1994 Masters 35 and Over World, the 1999 B World and the MVP in the Illinois Masters 35 State!

            Even with all of the wins, trophies and awards, the highlight of Bird's career was to be able to play on teams with his sons! Bird is honored to be inducted into the NSA softball hall of fame and believes that this is a dream of every serious softball player!