< 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 syched 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 and operates 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.

So when all the smoke is cleared before the beginning of the 1991 season, I decide to join Wayne Willimason 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.

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 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. In 1989 I saw Bruce Meade hit one that should have went further but it came straight down in front of the fence to be caught. He was playing with the Silver Bullets and we were playing against Lighthouse in the ASA. They beat us something like 7 - 5. That was the year we were usng the Wilson Optima balls.

During the 1989 Olympic Festival that was held in Oklahoma City, 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.

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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