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Oct. 1, 2011 – Senior Softball-USA

The Nation Senior Softball Hall of Fame has inducted 18 members for its class of 2011. The Hall of Fame was founded in 1995 and is now headquartered in Mustang, OK. Its purpose is to recognize players, managers, umpires, directors and sponsors who have achieved the highest honors in senior softball.

Here are those nominated in the player category and a few words that their colleagues had to say in nominating them.

Roland Bleitz: “Roland has great stamina and speed. He leads the team in extra base hits and is on base more than 70 percent of the time. He is the ultimate team player and does whatever is asked of him. His strong offense is what first makes him stand out among his peers, but at closer inspection, you realize that his defense is as steady and consistent as his offense.”

Bob Cummings: “Bob is a superlative defender and is widely recognized for a ‘cannon of an arm.’ He is well known all over the country for his skills at the Major-Plus level. He hits to all fields and is best in the clutch when the game is on the line. He is a totally positive person, friend and supporter of his teammates.”

Ron Danoski: Ron is one of the most feared hitters in the game. This is certainly true with his power, but it’s even more so if he happens to keep the ball in the parks as few people hit the ball as hard as he does. Ron is a motivator who makes you want to be the best you can be. He is a tremendous teammate with little or no ego.”

Bruce Fairchild: “Bruce was one of our top players and usually bats second on a team of excellent players. He is also one of the finest defensive first basemen I have ever seen. He is the ultimate hitter, combining power and average and handles his glove with the best at his position. He is truly an asset to the game of softball.”

Ellwin Jobe: “Ellwin’s versatility is certainly an asset to those teams he has played for. He is consistently a high average hitter with excellent power. He is one of the finest fielding infielders in Senior Softball. He is a perfect example of a totally dedicated, committed, hard-working and unselfish team player who understands that individual awards are subordinate to the overall success and well-being of the team.”

Bob Koss: “No one’s nickname could pose a greater disparity than of Bob “Snake” Koss…the real Snake is caring and friendly. He is also one of the very best senior softball outfielders ever to play the game. As a truly exceptional outfielder, he not only covers a lot of ground and makes all the routine plays, but he also regularly nabs balls while diving or racing back to the fence. He is an excellent punch hitter who has won many all-tournament selections.”

Gary Richter: “Gary has been a premier softball player for most of his career. Since joining senior softball, he has continued his excellence on the field while playing for three Major Plus teams, the N.Y. Statesmen, Thermco and CT Sportxplex. During his tenure, these teams have won more than 10 national championships. Clutch hitting, a perennial high average and the knack of igniting the big inning are just some of the aspects that Gary brings to a team.”

Steve Snow: “As a senior, Steve has played on three very talented teams that won 14 national titles. He was named to nine different All-American or All-World teams and is a lifetime .700 hitter with great speed.”

Here are those who were selected in the Pioneer Category and what their colleagues said in nominating them:

Salvador “Sal” Cisneros: “Sal play much larger and younger than characterized by his size and age. He comes to play ball. He’s quiet, but the results shout. He is a class guy and a good friend. Through the past 20 years, Sal has played at the majority of national tournaments with teams that were in younger divisions of his age group. He is fast, hits with power and has justified that he can play at all levels.”

Pete Conley: “He is a great teammate with his positive comments and cheering on the team. He is a true scholar of the game and he has been instrumental in creating many of the rules that Senior Softball uses nationally. He has performed at the highest level regarding not only his softball play, but his personal attitude toward the game. He is a great ambassador for the game. He is a man of great character and compassion.”

Gayle Cowen: “Gayle has been an instrumental force at the top level of Senior Softball since 1994 with some of the best teams in the sport. In addition to the 16 years of consistently excellent hitting, Gayle has been a model for senior softball players to follow. He is a gentleman on and off the field, plays with grace and intensity that inspires those who play with him. He is the man you want to see come to bat with the game and the championship on the line.”

Donald Duell: “The unique part is that Donnie made many all tournament teams playing in different positions. He has played infield, outfield and in some tournaments, he pitched. He has such God-given talent in hitting, fielding, throwing and running, but it is his “nice guy attitude” which carries his talents to the fore. He is a power hitter who can hit to all fields with a high average.”

Bob Hannah: “Bob’s infield efforts are legendary and opposing hitters trying to hit between third and shortstop more often than not find Bob’s glove. Bob at age 70 could perform at the Major Plus level in the 60 or 65 age groups and continue to garner MVP awards. He is a very humble player and with his great talent, personality and team chemistry, he is what every senior softball player should use as a role model.”

Vincent Marino: “He is a fine infielder with excellent range and a strong accurate throwing arm. He hits with power, often to the opposite field for extra base hits. His bat could always be counted on and if you needed a big time hit when the game was on the line, you were always glad to see the guy stepping into the box.”

Joe “Doc” Smith: “Doc is both a great competitor and a leader on and off the field of play. He’s a soft-spoken man who has a strong demeanor and he leads by his actions. His teammates will feed off the energy he projects and they usually rise to new and higher levels of play.”

Harry Walker: “Harry’s senior softball career has been primarily focused on pitching, yet he is very capable and comfortable playing in the infield or outfield. He is competitive, a model team player and perhaps most importantly, just a great person with character, modesty, caring and family values.”

Elected to Senior Softball Hall of Fame in 2011 in the manager category was Sal Candelora. Here’s what some his nominee’s had to say:

“Sal has been coaching and sponsoring Senior Softball teams since 2004. The successes of his teams and their dominance in their respective categories is clearly noted in every Senior Softball organization. An innovator on and off the field, he has defined his legacy as a great coach and motivator of players. Everyone who has ever played for or against Sal’s teams has developed great respect for him. His teams never finished lower than fourth in any national tournament.”

Elected to the Senior Soffball Hall of Fame in the Director-Pioneer category was Wes Weddle. Here’s what his colleagues had to say: “Wes officially founded the Kansas City Metropolitan Senior Softball league in 1990. Through his guidance, the league has grown from three teams into one of the best Metro Senior Softball organizations in the country with 700 members, including 110 women. He continues to stay active in organizing and promoting the draft leagues, working with local and regional tournaments. He is often called upon and always delivers.”

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Senior Softball-USA is dedicated to informing and uniting the Senior Softball Players of America and the World. Senior Softball-USA sanctions tournaments and championships, registers players, writes the rulebook, publishes Senior Softball-USA News, hosts international softball tours and promotes Senior Softball throughout the world. More than 1.5 million men and women over 40 play Senior Softball in the United States today. »SSUSA History  »Privacy policy

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