News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Softball Scene

June 26, 2006

Softball Scene: Ballyhoo’s long-time reign could be nearing end

The Wabash Valley softball scene may be witnessing a significant change in the men’s slowpitch power rankings.

At question is the Ballyhoo Tavern’s nearly two-decade-long claim to the area’s No. 1 ranking. As such, it appears EZ Street Auto Sales (formerly Century 21 and Big Apple Bagels) has made big strides in closing the gap between the two squads.

Ballyhoo Tavern (1994-present), formerly McMillan Sports (1988-1993), has long maintained its position as the Valley’s No. 1 team. Winner of the ASA Class B state championship in 1996, as well as several prestigious invitational tourney titles, the Ballyhoo team has remained competitive on the state level for many years. Locally, it has served as a benchmark for other aspiring slowpitch squads.

The combination of age, dwindling commitment, injuries and a committed competition may spell the end of Ballyhoo’s reign.

The aspiring replacement is EZ Street. Combining veteran players with a liberal sprinkling of upcoming young stars, EZ Street has played well thus far in 2006. Notable among its achievements would be a tourney crown in an early-season Vincennes invitational as well as two second-place finishes in Owensboro, Ky., and Vincennes. It also has played well in Jasper and Bloomington.

Last weekend, EZ Street handed Ballyhoo its second loss in the prestigious Bloomington Invitational. In doing so, it won a hard-fought, come-from-behind 18-16 game.

Among those playing for EZ Street are Rick Robins, Mike Knust, Jason Hinton, Jason Long, Ryan Nicholson, Brad Pierce, Glenn Parrish, Jeff Long, Ron Whistler, Paul Rupska, Dusty Batchelor, Kyle Seaney and Ryan Carter.

The only question remaining would be commitment. Winning over the years requires a team commitment which many find too costly. Just ask players from the Clean Air Service, Yogi’s Sports Bar or Morgan’s Tavern teams about the cost of staying on or near the top for years at a time.

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