News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 28, 2007

Softball Scene: Ballyhoo still best slowpitch team around

By John Benton

TERRE HAUTE — Last weekend, the Ballyhoo Tavern served notice that it wasn’t ready to relinquish its title as the Wabash Valley’s best men’s slowpitch team.

Re-assembling its team from the ranks of the retired and occasional league players, Ballyhoo marched through the nine-team Terre Haute Invitational at Spencer Field without a defeat.

Leading the way offensively for the Ballyhoo was Chad Stigall, Jeff Lauritzen and Jeff Biggs. Complementing the offense were the wily pitching of veterans Cyle Watts and slick fielding of shortstop Josh Hall. Other Ballyhoo players included Bryan Englebrecht, Steve Elmlinger, Travis Mason, Paul Rupska, Jason Thomas, Steve Fougerousse and Vance Edmondson.

Hoping to capitalize on its success, the Ballyhoo will participate in the ASA Class C state finals Friday through next Sunday at Evansville.

The above-mentioned Terre Haute Invitational tourney hopefully indicated a resurgence of interest in local men’s slowpitch softball. The tournament attracted several competitive teams and featured a number of very good games. Highlighting the weekend were contests between Ballyhoo and Clabber Girl, Ballyhoo and DeHart’s Rentals and Clabber Girl and DeHart’s Rentals.

The DeHart’s Rentals vs. Ballyhoo game was witnessed by several hundred fans, certainly the biggest crowd in recent softball history. The game was highlighted by the theatrics of the DeHart’s Rentals pitcher and the offensive response by the Ballyhoo team. A mid-game offensive explosion by Ballyhoo resulted in a 20-12 win.

The championship of the winners’ bracket featured Clabber Girl vs. Ballyhoo. The final score was 11-10 in favor of Ballyhoo.

Another game of note was the grudge match between DeHart’s Rentals and Clabber Girl. An emotional game marked by defensive errors resulted in a 12-11 Clabber Girl victory.

Ballyhoo defeated Clabber Girl 12-4 in the championship game.

In closing, I would like to recognize the many people who made this very successful tourney possible. Most deserving of would be league administrator Chris Patterson for organizing the event. Also worthy of praise are scorers Michael and Daniel Millington, concessionaire Shelly Patterson, umpires Don Corey, Chris Patterson and Jeff Millington and grounds-crew workers from the Terre Haute Parks and Recreation Department with help from Chris Patterson and Kenny Myers.

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Another local team enjoying success last weekend was the First Financial coed team. Playing a 14-team Greencastle fund-raising tourney, First Financial earned the title with a 6-1 mark after defeating Jackman Law 5-4 in the championship game.

Members of First Financial’s team are Kacee Reynolds, Jeannine Mellish, Meagan Payne, Kasi Thatcher, Lacey Brown, Billy Nevill, Eric Favre, Justin Thompson, Scott Boerner and Jason DeSanto.

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Good luck to the Elkins Brothers Tree Service men’s fastpitch team as it ventured to Elkhart this weekend to play in the ASA Class C state tournament.

Elkins Brothers Tree Service is vying with 14 other teams for the state title and the right to represent Indiana in the ASA national tournament.

The team is led by veteran hurler Larry Shaffer.

See ya at the park.

John Benton can be reached by phone at (812) 877-2566.