Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Softball Dynasties come and go.........


The picture is from 1980. We were mostly in our early 20’s. The mighty M & D Team had won another tournament.  The players were from top left to right, Sam Skillman, Andy Lameroux, Mark Smith, Rob Colivas, Kevin Gomes, Mike Carroll and yours truly. The Bottom from left to right were Rick Mitchell, Kurt Brundgart, Loren Price, Sam Colivas and Mike Robinson.  We were the scourge of most tournaments, as were listed as “C” but knocked off “A” & “B” league teams in tournaments quite often. We notched tournament championships in Crescent City, Fortuna & Eureka but didn’t travel that much further. I first started putting teams together in the late 70’s as Traverse and Walsh/Early Bird Construction. Some of the top Teams in the late 70’s and Early 80’s were Tiny Tot’s, Sam C Milla, Johnny’s Cookhouse, Mazzotti’s and Art Johnson Sox. The top players at the time were John Lister, Mickey Ayala, Joe Denbo, Barry Scarpelino and Bob Sprague.
In the mid to late 80’s the bats were starting to change the game quite a bit. I folded the M&D team and played for James Hill Trucking, Bethel Church, Sacred Heart and Britt Lumber. The Calvary Brothers won almost every tournament they played in and we placed pretty well in the State Championships. The best teams during this time were Red Machine and Collenberg’s. Bodie Smith, Dave Frost and Paul Callens  were great players then.
In 1989 the James Hill Trucking team qualified to go the USSSA state championships in Woodland. 64 teams that survived their qualifying tournaments were battling it out. We finished 3rd in the state which is still the highest ranking for any USSSA team in Humboldt County. The next year I tweaked the team as Louisiana Pacific. We went to a North State qualifier that had 79 teams in Martinez! We had to finish in the top 16 to face the top 16 in the South.  We did and ended up 4th in the State! The top teams in the late 80’s and early 90’s were Latner’s, Rendevous, James Hill, E & J, Plateburners , Stinger’s and my Baywest Softball team. Top Players were Glen Johnson, Stacy Lyons, Jamie Robertson, Scotty Eskra, Bill Landowski, Rick Webster, Ronnie Webb, Mike Powers and Bob McCrea.
In the 90’s Mrytlewood Market had the best team.  They had Dave Allen, Gary Young, Barry Oliver, Mickey Ayala, Bob McCrea and any other hot player at the time. I had took up weight lifting and went from a placement line drive hitter to a power hitter. I played a few tournaments with Myrtlewood, but mostly was with James Hill. I also played for Everett’s in Arcata.
The 2000’s started the phasing in of Wood Bats in Arcata. The Tastebud’s and Ray Wolfe Construction were the teams to beat in Tournaments. Old Town Muffler had no competition in Eureka. The best players were Tommy Lawler, Chris Pence, Eric Eichen, Jeremy Rasmussen, Mike Dobrec and Jared Harpe. Kris Avelar and I started a Humboldt’s Finest team that dominated tournaments in the valley and reached a #5 ranking just a few years ago. But it was too much traveling and we folded.
Present. What have you done lately? I have slowed progressively the last few years. Two Wrist surgery’s didn’t help. I can still get on base, but am a liability on defense, but I still love to play. So I roll myself out there each week. Sons of Pitches are the team to beat the last 4 years. Bear River does well but plays little. Snow Leopards are up and coming.  The ebb and tide of the softball dynasties will continue. I was grateful I had a chance to play on some of the best while I could!

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Think you forgot some big names from the 80's and 90's.

samoasoftball said...

Please help me.

Anonymous said...

Scott peschs team of ringers was good in 2000 along with elk valley casino. That big dog team was solid too. Five year stretch of first or second in most tourneys.

samoasoftball said...

Oh yes, those are good additions. Thanks for mentioning.

Anonymous said...

The Sprague and Too Smooth? that played the middle infield.The left fielder Ratchford Radford?.

Anonymous said...

Mike Dolf, Steve Branstedder, Randy Collenberg, Ron Borges

Anonymous said...

That was Mark Sprague and Doug Weatherbee(too smooth).they were on Broadway Lanes which was the best team i ever saw.They also had Bill Landowski,Bodie Smith,Jon Lister,Jim sands,Mike Powers among others.powers hit the longest home runs i ever saw before all the fancy bats came out.Sprague n Weatherbee turned the fastest double plays i ever saw.i later played co ed with the two of them and it was the funniest thing.complete opposites.Sprague was always yapping non stop and Weatherbee was probably the quitest softball player i ever saw.

samoasoftball said...

That Broadway Lanes team actually won a ASA "C" division state championship. Bob Wratchford and Doug Weatherbee (Too Smooth) started playing on my old M & D teams. Doug and I were on the Bat West spring team this year! Mark Sprague, Bob Sprague and Billy Landowski should be on the SAC senior team next year.

Ross Rowley said...

In the 70's, those games were all over the Times-Standard. It was a fun time period.

Anonymous said...

Baywest teams had some offense...

Anonymous said...

Friz

Anonymous said...

Defensive shortstop.Chicken

samoasoftball said...

Mike Robinson was one of the best in the 70's. Chicken/Jughead was the best ever. period. Let the arguments begin!

Anonymous said...

Well Richard you know i don't like to talk publicly but since only you will know it is me here goes:). First off i would like to thank whomever for mentioning my name and Richard how dare you for forgetting me:).As far as Chicken/Jughead i believe that was Mark Bateson? I will just say that in all my younger years of softball you couldn't go wrong with Mark Bateson, Glen Johnson or Mark Sprague at shortstop. A hitter that i don't believe was mentioned was Rudy Davis. He was a line drive machine. Now i have to tell one of my favorite Richard softball story's ever for the younger players. Richard introduced me to softball 30 years ago.The first year i played with Richard he went up to bat with a pink bat that had a crooked handle.I later found out this was Robin's bat.I asked him what that bat was for.He told me it made your wrists faster.Ok i thought he must use it to try to get a little extra power.But here is my favorite part.He would then use this pink crooked handled bat that made his wrists snap faster to go up left handed to slap it to the third baseman or shortstop and beat it out for an infield hit:)and he could do it consistently.

Adrionfabf said...

That Broadway Lanes team actually won a ASA "C" division state championship. Bob Wratchford and Doug Weatherbee (Too Smooth) started playing on my old M & D teams. Doug and I were on the Bat West spring team this year! Mark Sprague, Bob Sprague and Billy Landowski should be on the SAC senior team next year.

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