TERRE HAUTE — What better way to close out another season of the Softball Scene than to introduce the 2006 inductees to the Terre Haute Fast Pitch Softball Hall of Fame?
This year’s group includes nine softballers whose playing achievements and contributions to local softball have deemed them worthy of inclusion. Listed alphabetically, you will find the new members and a brief summary of their achievements/contributions.
• Duke Bennett was noted for his efforts on many fronts. As a player, Duke pitched on six different teams that made it to a state championship game. In doing so, he managed to come home with two state titles and four second-place finishes. In addition to his playing achievements, Duke served as an umpire, scorekeeper and grounds crew at the local fast-pitch stadium.
• Joey Bennett, like his brother Duke, served many roles on the local softball scene. His contributions as a player, team manager, umpire, grounds crew, scorekeeper and local district commissioner were all marked by his devotion to the game and promoting local softball interests.
n Ron Cherepkai had a playing career that lasted from 1973 through the 1990 season. During that period, Cherepkai played on some of Terre Haute’s best fast-pitch teams, including Spinning Wheel, Mr. Boo’s, Joy’s, Lindsay’s, Dietrich Buick and Clean Air Service. Ron was also a member of the Moo Wa Lounge team that captured the 1979 Men’s Class fast pitch state title.
• Paul Cherepkai was a fixture on the local softball diamonds for nearly six decades. Starting his career in fast pitch at Rankin Junior High in 1945, Paul played until retiring when he was 70. During his playing days, he was noted for his excellent play as both a catcher and left fielder. Paul was especially proud to note that he had the fortune of playing with both his sons, Brent and Ron, during his long career.
n Bob Clements’ interest in local softball started as a water boy for the Commercial Solvents team in 1935. His local fast-pitch playing career started in 1938 and extended through 1960. He finished his career in fast-pitch in 1963 after having moved to California. During his local career, Bob played for Old Mister Boston Bottling, Commercial Solvents, Graham Grain and Coca Cola.
• Olin Herner was a star pitching during the 1930s and 1940s on the local softball scene. Starting in 1934, Herner’s career extended through the 1950 season. The majority of his local accomplishments were as a pitcher for the Commercial Solvents team. While Herner served as Commercial Solvents’ No. 1 hurler, the team amassed numerous league and tourney championships.
• Jack Lawson was noted for his achievements while playing for local teams such as Fontanet, Gibco, Merchants, Terre Town and Spinning Wheel. His overall versatility defensively and his hitting abilities were noted during the induction ceremonies.
• Dennie “Butch” Leek started his career with the Mecca Arabs in 1974 and continued through the 1999 season. During that period he played with Snacks Cafe, Terre Haute Cosmos, Terre Haute Merchants, Howell’s Septic and Clean Air Service. Butch was a member of two state championship teams, Terre Haute Cosmos in 1980 and Clean Air Service in 1993.
• Jim McAllister played for Granma Joy’s, Po’s Double Play Lounge, Coca Cola, Terre Haute Merchants, Terre Haute Heart Center and Merchants National Bank during a career that extended from the 1970s into the 1990s. During his career, he won recognition for his home run prowess and a golden glove award for his defensive abilities.
Congratulations to the new inductees to the Terre Haute Fast Pitch Softball Hall of Fame.
In a season marked by local adults teams’ lack of success in Amateur Softball Association state tourney play, it looks as though the locals were saving the best for last. During the ASA Novice state tourney in Avon, local teams managed to finish third and fourth in the 25-team affair.
Placing third was the Schurick’s/Crawlworks team with a 5-2 record. In doing so, Schurick’s/Crawlworks recorded wins over Century 21, 14-2 and 12-4; Damonds 11-8; Little Mexico, 16-4; and RJB, 12-4. They were defeated twice by Circle City, 6-5 and 8-5.
The fourth-place finisher was Century 21, also with a 5-2 record. Unfortunately for the Century 21 team, Schurick’s/Crawlworks was in the tournament. Century 21 defeated everyone else they played, recording wins over Hacienda 10-4, Ace Builder 16-15, Grand Slam Pub 14-2, Dented Bats 12-10 and Tempest Homes 10-9.
The Chop Shop co-ed team got hot at the season’s end and grabbed two local tourney titles. They won the Saline City Labor Day tournament and Brazil’s Popcorn Festival tourney.
In other local fall league play, the Chop Shop men’s team grabbed the Terre Haute fall league title while Beef O’Brady’s won the Brazil postseason tourney title.
Thanks again to all who make this column possible.