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Florida Legend Giovanini Dies

Dec. 1, 2014 – Joe Ruggiero SSUSA staff

Louis A. Giovanini, 75, of Venice, Fla., who was a highly talented shortstop and fierce base-hitter, died Nov. 19, at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa.

He played in the first Senior Softball World Series in 1989. The following year, he was instrumental in forming the Florida Legends, which he played on and coached until 2013.

“He was there from the very beginning – a pioneer not only as a player, but also as a promoter of senior softball,” said Patrick Bidelman, a lifelong teammate and friend.

Bidelman added that, “In his heyday, Lou possessed a terrific arm with terrifying range. He was always very creative on the field and looking for ways to utilize field position to have an edge on competitors. For at least a decade, we had the best double play combination in softball. Together, the Florida Legends won 107 national championships including the 1991 World Series. Lou was a big part of that. He was an excellent teammate and friend; supportive and friendly.”

“He was a driving force in getting Florida Half Century Softball Association started,” said Mike Cerrea, chairman.

“Lou was a damned good shortstop. He had an arm like a canon and any ball that got near him he sucked up like a vacuum cleaner,” said Bud Wortendyke, treasurer of Florida Half Century Softball Association. “I really appreciated getting to know Lou when I first started out as an umpire. He was professional on and off the ball field and I really appreciated his expertise in the softball arena. As an active member of the board for a considerable amount of time, he was instrumental in getting the association started and getting me more involved in Senior Softball.” Lou retired in 1994 from Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation where he had been a teacher for 32 years.

Lou also taught and coached at Columbus High School for 10 years before becoming the first baseball and basketball coach at Columbus East High School. He led the 1979, 1987 and 1989 baseball teams and the 1977 basketball team to the state finals.

Inducted into the Senior Softball Hall of Fame, the Florida Half Century Hall of Fame, the Venice Florida Sports Hall of Fame and, most recently, the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, Lou made an indelible impact in the communities he served.

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