News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 14, 2008

Softball scene: Wabash Valley softball teams faring well on road

With the adult softball season in full swing, I thought it might be fitting to look at the local men’s slowpitch travel teams making noise on the state level.

Teams such as Outkast, Crawlworks, Copper Bar/T Macs, Terre Haute Blue, DeHart’s Rentals and Clabber Girl have been playing since late March in numerous tournaments throughout the area.

For a community that has seen the demise of men’s fastpitch leagues, the Glenn Civic Center softball facility and declining numbers of league teams, Terre Haute has an unusual number of men’s slowpitch travel teams. Several of the above-mentioned teams have fared well in prestigious tournaments this spring.

Leading the way is the Outkast squad. In its travels to Owensboro, Ky., Indianapolis, Jasper, Vincennes and Bedford, the Outkast team has finished with no less than a 2-2 mark. In its most recent tournament, Outkast ended up with a 6-2 record in the Bedford All-Nighter. The 6-2 mark earned it a fifth-place finish out of 52 participants.

This weekend, Outkast will travel to Crawfordsville to participate in the annual Strawberry Fest Invitational. There, it will be competing in one of the Midwest’s strongest tournament fields in an effort to gain a berth in the NSA Class C national tournament. Outkast has already earned the right to participate in the NSA Class D state, regional and world tournaments with successful early-season efforts.

Playing for Outkast this season are Todd Hein, Mike Walker, Chad Cress, Dusty Sturm, Kevin Wilt, Cory Kral, Tommy Slaughter, Ronnie Whistler, Jeff Long, Dusty Batchelor, Eddie Bennett and Paul Rupska.

Several other local squads also will be venturing to Crawfordsville to compete. Entered in the B/C division are Clabber Girl and DeHart’s Rentals. Entered in the D division is Crawlworks. Joe Hoops will compete in the coed division.

As noted above, the demise of the Glenn Center softball facility is complete. All remnants of the once-lively facility have been removed.

For those unfamiliar with the local softball scene, Glenn Center was once the hub of slowpitch action. League play took place throughout the week, while tournament action filled the weekends. The facility hosted ASA state-finals play every summer from 1980 through the mid-1990s.

Often asked if Terre Haute could support a multi-diamond softball complex nowadays, I usually refer to the demise of Glenn Center. Local league team numbers have declined, the cost to play has escalated and the interest of younger potential players seems to have diminished.

My heart says yes, we need another softball complex, but my head says we can’t support one.

What are your thoughts? When you see me around the local diamonds, let’s talk it over.

ASA state commissioner Wayne Myers is on a rapid road to recovery from open heart surgery. A “get well quick” to Wayne Myers.

As in years past, I call on you to help contribute to the “Softball Scene.” I look forward to hearing about your softball exploits and will gladly report them for you. My number can be found below.

John Benton didn’t lie. He can be reached by phone at (812) 877-2566.