News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Softball Scene

July 7, 2007

Softball Scene: Who is Wabash Valley’s top slowpitch home run threat?

TERRE HAUTE — Last week’s column focused on the team competition to replace the Ballyhoo Tavern as the Wabash Valley’s top-ranked men’s slowpitch squad.

This week, I thought it might be of interest to discuss who will replace Tom Kirchner, who has opted to retire, as the area’s most potent home-run threat.

The slowpitch game, noted for its offensive action, has witnessed a lively local competition for the title of “best local home-run threat.” As such, I’m referring to guys who you expect to hit a circuit blast at least once a game and often more times than that.

Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, players such as Geoff Shuck, Danny Miracle and the Bird brothers (Larry and Mike) were among the best on the local softball scene. Among the power hitters of note during the mid-1980s and into the early 1990s were Brian “Boney” Jeffers, Tom Riggs, Doug Elliott, Fred Decker and Curt Reimer.

With the changes in bat technology during mid-1990s and into the early 2000s, things get a little more difficult to figure out. The double-walled and exotic composite bats made it possible for almost everyone to hit the long ball. During this period, names such as Joe East, Jeff Lauritzen and Jeff Beeler come to mind as consistent long-ball threats.

Now to the replacement for Kirchner as the most potent threat on the local softball scene. Three names immediately come to mind for their prodigious long-ball “bombs” — Bryan Millington, Randy Morelli and Ryan Nicholson. Nicholson recently hit a tape-measure blast in Vincennes that traveled 392 feet, while Morelli consistently hits the long ball during Brazil YMCA league play.

Others in consideration for long-ball honors include David Kingery, Boomer Grange, Rick Robins, Brad Pierce and Jason Payton.

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