Archive for the Category ◊ Members ◊

BIO:

Under the Freeze Concrete banner, Jim Freeze sponsored local teams for over 20 years, including some of the premier Men’s Class B teams in Greater Cincinnati during the 1990’s and early 2000’s. It was a time when teams were required to win a National Invitational or National Tournament to qualify for World Tournament play. From 1996 to 2007 in NSA and USSSA play, Freeze Concrete teams won 52 National Invitational Tournaments, three City Slam titles, six B State Championships, four B National crowns, and a World Tournament. They also enjoyed a .600 winning percentage against A-AA teams, winning a pair of A-AA NIT’s, and finished ranked nationally as a top five team in the country for five consecutive years from 1999 to 2004. Jim also contributed to his team in the batting lineup, winning several all-tournament awards. In 2001 he batted .933 to lead Freeze to a USSSA B State title, and in 2004 when he was named the Outstanding Offensive Player in the USSSA B Nationals. With Jim’s induction, Freeze Concrete teams will have produced five members of the Sorrento’s Pizza-Greater Cincinnati Softball of Fame.

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BIO:

Since becoming a slow pitch umpire in 1982 at the age of 19, Dave Maury’s life has been intricately connected to the game of softball in Greater Cincinnati for over three decades. In 1990 he became the Assistant Park Director at Rumpke Park, then in 2001 was named Park Director at what is now Mid-America Ball Yard, where he is currently the park’s Operations Manager. Dave’s trademark appearance – stained, dirty ball cap, Wrangler jeans and work boots – has been a familiar site to countless players and fans during the early morning and late evening hours now for over thirty years. During that time, he has also been active as a player, coach, sponsor and ASA Commissioner, and has served on many committees which have contributed to the betterment of the game. At Mid-America, he has overseen a staple of such premier events as the annual Bash for Cash, City Slam, Conference USSSA Men’s Major, and the Metro Tournament. Dave has unquestionably been responsible for the success and longevity of the Metro Tournament. Above all else, he treasures the many life-long friends he has made in the game. One of his most prized memories in softball is the time his dog and long-time sidekick, Max, ran across field number 1 at Rumpke Park during a Jay’s vs VIP Major Metro semi-finals game.

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BIO:

During his 20-year playing career, Johnny Miller was best known for spending the bulk of those two decades batting leadoff and playing left field for EMR. He helped lead his teams to a pair of Major Metro championships (2000 and 2004) and eight top three Major Metro finishes. His teams have also captured a pair of USSSA B National titles and an NSA B and WSL C Midwest World Championship, and many other invitational and Metro tournament crowns. Johnny’s individual accomplishments include being named to the 1st Team All-City Major division ten times and 1st Team All-Decade in 2000. He was an eight-time 1st Team All-Metro selection and a 2000 Major Metro MVP. Overall he has been picked to 19 All-Tournament teams, with five MVP awards. And in addition to many other awards, he has been named USSSA B All-State three times, and to an NSA B, USSSA B and WSL C All-World 1st team. Known as a hitter who could “throw it around the yard” and hit for occasional power, Johnny owns a .660 lifetime batting average and has hit over 450 career home runs.

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BIO:

From 1967-‘80, Michelle “Micki” O’Donnell played for some of the top women’s major teams in Greater Cincinnati, including 1968 ASA Women’s Open Major National Champion Escue Pontiac, ASA Metro and Regional Champion Cincinnati Cardinals, and the Cincinnati Blazers. But it was her participation in the Senior program that would ultimately elevate her into the Greater Cincinnati Softball Hall of Fame. With the Ohio Cardinals from 1999-2009, Micki captured numerous Senior World Series titles and Senior Olympics Medals. Primarily an outfielder during her 51-year career, her athleticism and versatility also enabled her to play shortstop. A lifetime .566 hitter, she batted in the 3-4-5 slot, and “made things happen” with her powerful swing. Despite all of these accomplishments, Micki proudly confesses that her biggest thrill was winning the 2004 Women’s Senior Softball World Series in Des Moines, Iowa, and getting to hold her son Noah in the team’s winning picture.

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BIO:

Her managers and coaches and teammates all agree that they could not have asked for a better teammate than Carole “Baldy” Baldauf Replogle. Described as a dependable player and a base-running and defensive specialist in left and right centerfield, Carole simply out-worked and out-hustled the competition. When the game was on the line and a team needed a clutch play in a crucial part of the game, Carole was the player you wanted to have the ball hit to. During her 21-year career, during the height of women’s slow pitch softball, she was a mainstay on the roster of two National Championship teams, Rutenschroer Floral (1970) and Sorrento’s Pizza (1976). Many credit Carole with winning the 1970 National Championship after making a diving catch in the outfield behind another outfielder while doing what Carole always did, backing up a teammate. A lifetime .300 hitter, Carole also claims four ASA Metro Champions to her resume among some 49 tournament titles her teams collected.

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BIO:

Steve Rogers has been playing softball for 49 years and is still going strong in the senior softball circuit. Steve’s resume of teams is extensive, including ASA Open Metro Champion and USSSA B World Champion Queen City Pattern, and two-time ASA Open Metro Champion Greater Cincinnati Sports. He also played with the Cincinnati Suds the year they compiled the best regular season record in the American Professional Slo-Pitch League. But it has been Steve’s play at the Senior level that has fashioned him into a Hall of Famer. Competing with teams like Riverside Paving, Stafford Sales, Travelodge, American Metals, Kinnco, and DeClaire Insurance, Steve has collected over 25 World titles in ASA, ISA, NSA, ISSSA, SPA and USSSA 50, 55 and 60-over play. And he has ammassed a staggering 250 league and 300 tournament titles. His personal accomplishments include nine MVP awards and more than two dozen All-Tournament selections in Invitational, State, Regional, National and World Tournament competition. And he was named to four All-City teams. A towering right-fielder, Steve boasts a lifetime batting average of .600-plus with over 1,500 home runs and 4,000 rbi’s.

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BIO:

For 40-plus years, Wayne Rust positioned himself behind many a home plate and shared ballfields with countless players while umpiring over 35,000 games prior to passing away in 2007. Wayne worked as an ASA umpire for Queen City Umpire Association for twelve years prior to joining the Buckeye Umpire Association at Expressway Park. There Wayne officiated over 300 USSSA National Invitational Tournaments, 225 USSSA State Championships, 25 USSSA National Tournaments, six USSSA World Tournaments, and a USSSA Men’s Major World Series in 1996. Long time friend Bob Owens, Park Manager at Expressway Park where Wayne worked the lion’s share of his games, said Wayne relished working any game at any level, whether it be a league game or tournament game. Wayne never missed an umpire assignment, Owens added, and no one was ever a greater ambassador for the game. Owens also praised Rust for being a mentor, teacher and father figure to Expressway Park’s umpires, and for his unmatched knowledge of the playing rules. He attended twenty USSSA Divisional Umpire Clinics, and fifteen USSSA National Clinics. He served as Umpire-In-Chief for over 100 USSSA State Championships, over 300 National Invitationals, twelve USSSA National Championships, and four World Tournaments. Locally, Rust received 17 Buckeye Umpire Service Awards from 1982-2007, was named Buckeye Umpire Association “Umpire of the Year” six times, and was selected Greater Cincinnati USSSA “Umpire of the Year” twice. He was honored as the “Ohio USSSA State Umpire of the Year” in 1996, and in 2002 was presented the USSSA “National Director of Officials Award” – USSSA’s highest umpire award except for induction into the National Hall of Fame. Rust was also an accomplished player, competing with nationally ranked teams like Greater Cincinnati Sports and Bushelman Construction. He was named to nine All-City teams and won four ASA Metro titles and four ASA Regional crowns. Wayne was also a longtime Ohio High School basketball and football official, and is a member of the New Richmond High School basketball and baseball Hall of Fame. would work any game at any level whether it be a league game or tournament game. Wayne never missed an umpire assignment Owens said. Russ was also selected as umpire of the year multiple teams by mulitple slowpitch associations including USSSA National Director of Officials Award in 2002, one of USSSA’s highest umpire awards..

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BIO

Before his softball career would reach its zenith in the Senior Program, Bill Brown had previously distinguished himself in Industrial ball and with Men’s B and C teams.  He led his CWA 4400 team to a National Telephone Company Championship in 1982, drove in the winning run to lift F & C  Athletic to the ASA Major Metro title in 1986, and captured a Kentucky State Championship with Nix Construction in 1989 and Rick’s AC in 2001.  But Bill’s career catapulted to an unprecedented level when he turned 50 and began competing as a senior.  From 2003 to 2008, he won 17 National titles and was named to 17 All-American or All-World teams with clubs like Riverside Paving, Direct Hire and Travelodge.  He won MVP honors with Direct Hire in the 2004 SPA Major 50-Over Nationals, was Offensive MVP in the 2005 USSSA Major 50-Over World with Travelodge, and in 2004 batted .929 (38-42) to lead Direct Hire to a runner-up finish in the USSSA Major 50-Over World.  Overall, Bill has won 7 State and 17 World and National crowns, and was named to 4 All-State, and 19 All-World or All-American teams.  A versatile defensive player comfortable at any infield or outfield position, Bill is primarily a 3rd baseman.  He carried a .690 batting average during his 40-year career.  His matchless softball bloodline includes his father, the legendary “Whitey” Brown, an ASA All-American and first team Greater Cincinnati All-Century 2nd baseman, and his son Jason, a first team Greater Cincinnati All-Decade 2nd baseman and winner of three Metro Championships.

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BIO

Under the EMR banner, Don Holden has sponsored men’s and girls’ youth slow pitch softball teams for the last 30 years in Greater Cincinnati.  During that time, the name EMR has become synonymous with championship softball, producing some 150 league and tournament titles.  That legacy included 52 league and league tournament championships, 75 open and National Invitational tournament titles, eight Cincinnati Metro crowns, three state championships, and six National and World Championships in ASA, NSA and USSSA play.  Those championships came in girls youth play, adult men’s play and in the men’s masters program.  EMR/Worth’s breakout tournament came in the year 2000, when they won the first of two ASA Cincinnati Metro Major titles.  A month later they captured a USSSA “B” National Tournament.  In 2001, EMR won back-to-back USSSA NIT’s, bagging both an Early Bird and Louisville Slugger A-AA title.  Later that spring they followed up with a victory in the ASA Super Shootout.  A year later in 2002 they captured the inaugural USSSA City Slam, then in 2003 traveled to Atlanta Georgia to win the USSSA Peachtree Classic “B” NIT.  2004 brought their second ASA Major Metro crown, and NSA “B” and 35-Over World titles.  EMR notched another World Championship in Panama City Beach in the NSA 40-Over in 2005, then won USSSA Girls Youth Worlds in 2007 (12-Under) and 2009 (14-Under).  In 2014, EMR won a Men’s “A” and “Open” Metro, then successfully defended that “Open” title in 2015.  Sponsor Don Holden says he will always treasure the sportsmanship and lifelong friends he experienced during his 30-plus years sponsoring teams.

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BIO

Robert “Rosie” Kroell dedicated 45 years to the game of slow pitch softball as a player, manager, coach and umpire before retiring in 2010.  As a player, Kroell competed as a pitcher and infielder with teams like Jones Café, Bud’s Café, Sweeney Auto, Eddie’s Café, Reading Motors, and Northside K of C, then later in a 50-over league at Randy Buck, and more recently in a 75-over league in Blue Ash.  As a manager he guided his Rosie’s Boys/Webers Café team – consisting of his six sons –  to a 1986 Metro title, winning 12 games in a row out of the losers’ bracket.  Later that year the team finished 3rd in the ASA Nationals in Fairborn.  He also coached Watanabe Optical from 1994-1997 as the team amassed numerous top three finishes in ASA Major and Super Major and USSSA A-AA Metros, National Invitationals, Nationals and World Tournaments.  But Rosie is best known as one of Greater Cincinnati’s most recognized and respected umpires.  For 25 years beginning in 1975, he distinguished himself calling Greater Cincinnati’s best leagues and tournaments for the only umpire association he would ever worked for, Ohio Valley Umpires.  Rosie’s league resume included weeknight play at Avoca Park, Koenig Park in Reading, and Hartwell Recreation Center, as well as Greater Cincinnati’s elite Men’s Major play – the Tuesday-Thursday night Majors at Haubner Field in White Oak, and the Friday night Majors at Ross Park in St. Bernard.  He also worked countless invitationals at Avoca Park and Sports Farm in Harrison, and in two of the nation’s premier National Invitationals – the Hudepohl Classic at Ross Park and Northside K of C, and the Ohio Valley Classic at Ross Park and Sports Farm.  He was also honored with being selected to work in the Professional Softball League at Trechter Stadium in 1977 and ‘78.  In 2002 he worked in “The Farewell to Riverfront Cinergy Field,” a softball game between Cincinnati Reds legends and retired major league players that played before a sellout crowd.

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