Archive for the Category ◊ 2012 ◊

BIO:

Chuck L. Atha anchored the outfield for Greater Cincinnati’s top-ranked teams – Bushelman Construction and VIP Limousine/Express Transport – during the 1980’s.  With Bushelman, Atha captured three Amateur Softball Association (ASA) Major Metro titles (1982, 1984, 1985), then with VIP/Express, he netted an unprecedented five consecutive Metro crowns from 1987-‘1991.  He was also a member of VIP’s 1989 USSSA Men’s Class “A” World Championship team.  Atha first gained notoriety at the age of 22 when his Diesel Construction team stunned the 1980 Hudepohl Classic National Invitational Tournament field with a first place finish.  A year later with Diesel, he won the batting title at the ASA Men’s Class “B” National Tournament in Jones Beach, NY.  The following season, 1982, Atha joined Bushelman Construction and won his first Major Metro at only 24-years old.  After adding Metro titles in 1984 and ‘85, he moved on to the legendary VIP Limousine/Express Transport softball team in 1987, winning five straight Metros and the U-Trip “A” World.  Atha also won four state championships during his 16-year career.  He was named to eight Men’s Major All-City Teams, was a first team All-Decade selection for the eighties in 1990, and in 2000 was named a member of the Greater Cincinnati All-Century team.  Primarily a left and center-fielder, Atha was predominantly a pull hitter who excelled at hitting the ball between 3rd and short and compiled a lifetime batting average of approximately .600.

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BIO:

Michelle Ann Cummins was the premier shortstop in Greater Cincinnati during the nineties, powering both ABP (1992) and Empress Chili (1993) to a 4th place finish in the USSSA Women’s “A” World Series.  Later in the Masters 35-Over program she helped lead Ty-1-On to four U-Trip World Championships in five years from 2001-‘06.  She also captured a Women’s “B” World title with Ty-1-On in 2007.  A lifetime .550-.600 hitter with good power in the gaps, Cummins also had excellent speed.  She won back-to-back Greater Cincinnati “Player of the Year” honors in 1992 and ’93, and was a four-time All-World selection, including 1992 with ABP at the Women’s “A” World Series, and then in 2001, 2003 and 2004 in the Masters program with Ty-1-On.  She was also named World Tournament MVP in 2003.  Cummins’ teams won numerous State Championships and National Invitational Tournaments during her 37-year career, and she was named to several all-tournament teams in those events.  Her biggest thrill was when Empress Chili upset Cannon Illusions in the winners’ bracket finals of the USSSA World Tournament in 1995 before losing in the championship game.

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BIO:

Gerry Anthony Scaringi was an original member of the Cincinnati Suds professional softball team in 1977, and later played outfield for several of Greater Cincinnati’s top-ranked teams during the late seventies and the eighties.  Scaringi starred for the Rolling Hills Lakers, Rockcastle Motors, Universal Insurance and Stroh’s teams of Northern Kentucky, and for Hammer’s and Jay’s in Cincinnati.  He also enjoyed a successful career in the Masters program with Newport Steel in Kentucky and Jay’s in Cincinnati.  After competing in New York during his early career, Scaringi moved to Kentucky and played with the Standard Oil of Richmond in 1973 and ’74, and in Lexington with Sportsworld in 1975 and ’76.  Then in mid-1976 he moved to Northern Kentucky, where he resumed his softball career with Sims Roofing.  The following year he played professionally for the Cincinnati Suds, and in amateur softball with Sims and Rockcastle Motors.  In 1979 he joined Universal Insurance, and helped to lead the Independence, Ky. team to a coveted Ohio Valley Classic crown.  Scaringi considers that to be his greatest thrill in softball.  Scaringi spent most of the next three years with Jay’s, winning a prestigious Hudepohl Classic title in 1981.  He would later win five Kentucky 35-over “Masters” State Championships with Newport Steel from 1984-1989, earning state tournament MVP honors in 1985.  Scaringi won several batting, home run, All-Tournament, and Tournament MVP awards during his 28-year career.  He was named to the Greater Cincinnati Men’s Major All-City team five consecutive seasons from 1978- ‘1983, to the All-Northern Kentucky team in 1983 and again in 1984 when he was selected Northern Kentucky “Player of the Year” with Stroh’s.  He was also picked to three All-World teams.  A lifetime .600 hitter, Scaringi hit over 500 home runs during his career, and was known for his blazing speed on the bases and in the outfield.

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BIO:

After starring in Church and Industrial play early in his career, Loyd Grey Smith caught his second wind when he began playing in Senior softball tournaments in the late ‘80’s.  After his Masters 12 team earned a runner-up finish in the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) 55-Over National Tournament in 1988, they took care of unfinished business the following year, capturing the title.  Smith went on to notch a second ASA 55-Over title a year later with Cane Run Stables, then netted a fourth crown with Tri-State Masters in the 60-Over division in 1994.  Smith’s teams also won senior national championships in NSA in 1990 and ’91 with Cane Run (50-over), and in 1996 captured a Senior World Series title.  In all, Smith participated in seventeen senior national or world championships.  He has been named to eight All-American or All-World teams and compiled a 78-22 pitching record in senior play.  During his overall career, his pitching record is approximately 1000-500.  He has been named to over thirty all-tournament teams, and won over forty home run titles.  A feared power hitter, Smith clubbed over 1,000 home runs while compiling an estimated .685 lifetime batting average.  He was inducted into the Senior Softball Hall of Fame in 1997.  Smith also enjoyed a successful career in the Industrial program, winning both the ASA Metro Industrial and Open championships in 1960 with National Lead of Ohio.  His Bright Christian Church team enjoyed a 34-game winning streak in 1960, and won ASA Metro Church titles in 1986 and ’88.

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BIO:

Arguably, Dave Watanabe is the most successful manager-sponsor of men’s teams in Greater Cincinnati Softball history.  Watanabe may never win multiple national or world titles like Al Brausch of Gatliff Motors or Matty Carrelli of Hamilton Tailoring.  But then it is unlikely that anyone will ever match his personal overall legacy – if for no other reason than its pure longevity.  During the last twenty years, Watanabe Optical teams have captured nine Major Metro titles.  For fourteen consecutive years, Watanabe teams have either finished first or second in the Metro, and for seventeen consecutive seasons their teams have finished in the top three.  They have made four Amateur Softball Association (ASA) Super Major National Tournament and four United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) Major World Series appearances.  Most recently, the team capped off the 2011 season by winning a USSSA Men’s Class “B” World Tournament.  Most impressively, Dave Watanabe was named “Manager of the Decade” in both 2000 and 2010.  After earning class “B” manager of the year honors in 1991, Watanabe made such an impression on his peers in 1992 with a 4th place finish in the Hudepohl Classic and Major Metro and a Thoroughbred Classic championship that his fellow managers voted him “Open” manager of the year in 1992, despite the fact that his team was classified “B.”  In 1993 Watanabe moved up to class “A” and it proved to be his team’s breakout season.  In addition to a 5th place finish in the prestigious Springfield Stroh’s National Invitational, Watanabe finished runner-up in the ASA Major Metro, and captured a USSSA “AA-A” State crown and an ASA “A” National Championship.  Watanabe went on to capture back-to-back Major Metro titles in 1998 and ’99, and  “Manager of the Year” honors five more times in the ‘90’s, then collected seven more Metro crowns and three “Manager of the Year” selections between 2000 and 2010.  No shortage of talent has worn the Watanabe Optical name on their jerseys, including no fewer than fifteen “Players of the Year” and several “All-Decade” and “Players of the Decade” selections.  There have been countless other All-City, All-American and All-World honorees as well.

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BIO:

Merle Williams’ name was synonymous with women’s major softball for 18 years. His teams captured two Amateur Softball Association (ASA) National Championships, including 1970 with Rutenschroer Floral, and 1976 with Sorrento’s Pizza.  Over a seventeen year period from 1967 to 1984, Williams’ teams finished among the top 4 teams in the National Tournaments an incredible ten times, making it to the championship game six times.  He organized his first team in 1966 around a young phenom from Milan, In. named Jenny Johnson, who would one day become the most recognized name in women’s softball.  The following year, Williams and Johnson joined defending national champion Dana Gardens, coached by the legendary Commie Currens, to take a shot at a national title.  But Dana fell short, losing to Ridge Maintenance of Cleveland in the finals.  In 1968 Dana split up, and Williams and Currens formed a new team, which evolved into 1970 national champion Rutenschroer Floral.  Like Williams’ Sorrento’s team six years later, Rutenschroer lost their first game of the national tournament, but roared back to win 10 straight games, double-dipping defending champion Miami Dots.  After Rutenschroer failed to repeat in 1971, the team split up and Williams formed Sorrento’s Pizza in 1972.  It took Williams four years to re-tool, but Sorrento’s finally jelled in 1976, and he captured his second ASA National Championship.  Over the next five seasons, Sorrento’s finished second once, third three times and fourth once.  In his final season in 1984, he merged with UPI of Cookville, Tn. and finished second.  Williams was credited with transforming the game of women’s softball.  He was the first coach to implement a four-man outfield.  He stressed fundamentals and discipline, and utilized the skills each of his players brought to the game.  The players were taught to sacrifice.  And batting averages were trumped by teamwork.  He also insisted on mental toughness.  And no one was better at player development.  Local and national hall of famers Jenny Johnson-Kappes, Beverly Beck, Marsha Helton, Sue Malcomb, Marilyn Booher, Martha Kidd, and V. K. Lehmann were just a few of the great players who came under Williams’ tutelage.

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