News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 4, 2009

Softball Scene: Recently-touted Valley softball teams fall on hard times

By John Benton

TERRE HAUTE — The last Softball Scene column featured a discussion of the recent success of the Outkast men’s team and the 59-game winning streak enjoyed by the First Financial coed team looked as though it was going to be a Sports Illustrated cover jinx situation. No sooner do I tout each team’s success, then they both encountered troubles.

In the Terre Haute Family Y coed league, First Financial’s long winning streak came perilously close to ending. The previously unbeaten Fox Canteen squad rallied from an early 9-2 deficit to tie the score at 14-14 in the top of the seventh inning on the strength of a three-run home run by Jason Van Dyke.

But First Financial’s Erik Smith stroked a solo blast in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the winning streak with the 15-14 victory.

The Fox Canteen team is presently 8-1 on the season. Team members include Andy Fox, Chris Nichols, Kyle West, Pam Pahnke, Stephanie Shelton, Tasha Sturm, Annette Sullivan, Ashley Oliver, Ali West, Sherri Elder, Van Dyke, Ryan Swiger and Ryan “K” Nichols.

The Outkast men’s team suffered through the Bloomington Invitational tourney without their leading hitter Kevin Wilt (foot). After dropping their opening game to Dirty Birds by a 15-5 score, Outkast defeated Middle’s Open 10-7, before being eliminated by PAS Easton in a tough 21-19 loss. It was their first tournament since early April that Outkast failed to finish with a winning record.

• On a more positive note, the Crawlworks men’s team continued to enjoy a successful season. Playing in the Bloomington Invitational Class D/E division, Crawlworks earned a fourth place finish with a 4-2 record.

As part of the ASA Dudley Challenge Series, the Bloomington Invitational performance boosted Crawlworks’ chance of capturing the statewide competition. They are currently 13 points out of first place with one tourney left in the five-tournament series. They will be traveling to Topeka (Ind.) in mid-July in an effort to win the series and a handsome package of prizes. In an earlier tourney effort, Crawlworks finished seventh of 38 teams in the prestigious Border Wars tourney in Owensboro, Ky. They also captured a berth in the Avon Tourney of Champions in mid-September by winning a round robin affair at the Avon facility.

Crawlworks next tourney effort will be July 11 in Effingham, Ill. Playing for Crawlworks are Chris “Chachi” Nidiffer, Nate Hall, Randy Winkler, Bill Knierim, Adam “Big Country” Miller, Derik Pierce, Erik Smith, D.J. Chessir, Kelly Chessir, Shane Chessir, Seth Cosgray and Bill “Butter” Zimmerman.

• The rumor mill is going full blast and word has it that Ryan DeHart is ready to make some noise for the Fourth of July. Reliable sources say he’s obtained the services of B.J. Goins, as well as several other well-known Indiana softballers and will be surfacing soon.

A mainstay on the local softball scene, DeHart is the player/manager/sponsor of the well-know DeHart’s Rental teams. Further news to follow.

• Effingham, Ill., will be hosting a men’s slow pitch tourney on July 11. Teams interested can contact tourney officials at (217) 690-3465. Entry fee is $125 for a three-game guarantee. Entry deadline is July 8.

• Kudos to the Terre Haute Family Y as they continue to offer tourney play to interested local teams. When the women’s tourney scheduled for June 20 failed to materialize, they quickly scheduled a round robin affair for June 27.

Results from the five-team affair confirmed First Financial’s stranglehold on coed play at the Terre Haute Y facility.

First Financial cruised through the tournament without a loss. They recorded wins over Sullivan Shockers 19-7, Eagles 291 23-4, Hamilton Center 17-2 and Fox Canteen 23-13.

The Sullivan Shockers finished second with a 3-1 record.

Thanks go out to Elle Hightower and Fred Robinson for the organizing efforts.

See you at the park.