< Lighthouse/Sunbelt

During the off season of 1990, after the great year that my Steele's Silver Bullets team had had, things took a turn for me for the 1st time in my career. While I was working out all the time during the off season, getting myself really psyched up, for the upcoming season, I learned something about the game of softball. The game itself doesn't owe anybody anything. Just when you thought everything was going right a monkey wrench gets thrown into the mix. Steele's has suffered yet another set back in it's illustrous career. The primary owner of Steele's runs into some problems with his financial advisors and the complete system is shut down for Steele's Sports. The company has to not sponsor a softball team for the ist time since the early 1970's.

The reason being that the owner can't afford to spend 1 million dollars on a softball team for the season. If it's not there then it's just not there. So Dave calls me and says were not having a team. We even went to Cocoa Beach that January and held our team tryouts. We also had envited a number of people that spring to be part of the Steele's Fantasy Camp. Greg Quinn who goes by PeeWee who did at one time operate the Softball Planet web site was there that year. It was really a great time.

That was the year that we went to Cocoa Beach and stayed at the Expoe Centers camp. The umpire Eddie Brinkman has his school for umpires there. Coach Neale also invited to the camp Wendell Rickard and Jaques Millier.. Coach Neale had secured Casrl Rose for the next season so he did not come...

So when all the smoke is cleared before the beginning of the 1991 season, I decide to join Wayne Williamson and Cecil Alford's Lighthouse/Sunbelt softball team. When the Bullets team broke up a nujmber of players went to Lighthouse and some of them went to Ritch's Superior. Monty Tucker, Danny Williams, Todd Joerling, Greg Schulte and myself all stayed on with Lighthouse/Sunbelt.

Dirk Androff, Rick Weiterman, signd with Ritch's Superior for the 1001 season..

During the 1991 season we won a number of tournaments. We won the Tullahoma USSSA qualifier. We had Carl Rose, Sylvan Little, Steve Craven, Kenny Carver, Ricky Huggins, Dewayne Frizzell, from Lighthouse and we added Clyde Guy right before the worlds. The chief came on strong as usual at the end. We played very well in the two previous world tourneys. The ISA, NSA. When the ASA came around we were playing pretty good as a team now. The 1991 ASA was held at Little Rock, Arkansas at Ray Winder's Baseball field. That's where the Minor League team AA team plays.

The ASA was held in Oklahoma City in 1990 and I believe they finally realized that we either needed to tone something down, (the bat or the balls) or don't play there anymore. The main reason is the scoring was so high because the wind blows stright out to left field and sometimes can gust up to 40 miles per hour. In 1990 I saw Billy Blake hit one out of the place that might still be going.

Here is the crazy part of what the ASA did. They let Wilson Sports use their ball because they paid the ASA 50K to use their product. The Super was played in Oklahoma Ciry in 1988 for the first time.. It was played there in 1988, 1989, and 1990. After that the next year 1991, they moved it to Little Rock... And yes, the ASA let Wilson be the ball of choice because of the money... In 1988 the Wilson ball was called the Wilson Optima. Each year the ball was different. Believe me... In 1988 the bal played fairly well... If you hit it goodn then it went... When 1989 came around the ball was really bad..

In 1989 I saw Bruce Meade hit one ball in the ASA in Oklahoma City, that should have went 25 feet over the fence. But it came straight down in front of the fence to be caught. He was playing with the our Silver Bullets and we were playing against Lighthouse in the ASA. They (Lighthouse) beat us something like 7 - 5. That was the year we were usng the Wilson Optima balls.

That was also the year they had the Olympic Festival in Oklahoma City to see if they would put Slow Pitch into the Olympics.. The ball we used was so bad that a number of ASA people sat in the stands after the tourney going through the balls taking the covers off to find a ball with nothing in the center...

During the 1989 Olympic Festival that was held in Oklahoma City in 1989, there was a discussion on the balls once again. There were a couple of players that actually got a little physical with an umpire over the balls in one of the contest. What balls were being used? You guessed it! The Wilson Optima. Now you know someone from Wilson must be throwing some money somewhere for the same balls to keep coming into play ever time were in the big tournaments. They actually must have been thinking about putting slo-pitch into the Olympics. We had the festival in 1989. But it was turn down for a number of reasons.

Then the next year 1990, we used the Optima ball again and you could not keep it in the park... That was the year I was playing for Steeles and we played Lighthouse for the championship and the score was 65 - 50 for the finals!


Back to 1991 and at the ASA World tourney.

Tournament -1991 ASA Super World Champions
Location - Little Rock, Arkansas Ray Winder Field

1st Place - Sunbelt/Worth, Centerville,GA

2nd Place - Ritch's-Superior/TPS, Windsor Locks,CT

MVP - Steve Craven, Sunbelt/Worth (14-19, .737, 5 HRs)

Most Home Runs - Jim Fuller, Ritch's-Superior, Jeff Arnold, Williams/Finke,

Britt Hightower, Ritch's-Superior, & Danny Williams (.632), Sunbelt - 8

Leading Hitter - Carl Rose, Sunbelt/Worth - .800 (7 HRs)

Dimensions: Left Field-330 Centerfield-390 Right Field-345


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