August 04, 2010

News Release

For Immediate Release

State Softball Championships This Weekend

The Springfield-Greene County Park Board and Springfield Amateur Softball Association will host the 2010 Missouri ASA Men’s Slow Pitch Class C, D and E championship games this Saturday, Aug. 7 & Sunday, Aug. 8, along with a hall of fame induction ceremony on Saturday evening at Killian Sports Complex, 2141 E. Pythian St.

The tournament will host 46 teams from across the state of Missouri. “This is one of the larger state tournaments we’ve hosted in quite some time here in Springfield,” said District ASA Commissioner Mark Nelson. “With the addition of the new softball stadium at Killian Sports Complex, the facility allows the Park Board to showcase just one of its newest sports facilities and offers increased amenities for our spectators. We’re excited to bring these championships to Springfield and know that the area’s hospitality will once again shine through for our teams and families.”

Games begin each morning at 8 a.m., with championship games wrapping up Sunday afternoon. There is no admission fee for the tournament and it is open to the general public.

The Springfield ASA will host a reception and induction ceremony at 5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 7 indoors at Killian Sports Complex for four local honorees. Vicky McCracken and John Sparkman will be recognized for their playing ability and Leon Henderson and Jack McCracken for meritorious service. Following the ceremony, all four will participate in the opening ceremony activities prior to the 6 p.m. game Saturday evening on the stadium field. The Springfield Softball Hall of Fame held its first inductions in 1965 and holds inductions every two years.

Inductees:

Vicky McCracken has played in Springfield’s Slow Pitch Softball leagues since 1980 and participated in 53 state tournaments, finishing first 13 times. The 1989 Brentwood Center/Kinder Investment Women’s team finished 4th in Nationals and Vicky helped to earn her team a spot to participate in the 1990 Olympic Festival representing the West team where they finished 4th. Vicky’s career is most noted for her longevity as an athlete for more than 30 years, her dedication to the sport playing summer and fall ball on both women’s and coed teams and as a major player contributing both offensively and defensively to many successful teams.

John Sparkman has been playing softball since he was 18 years old in various leagues throughout the Springfield area. Starting out in fast pitch, then moving to men’s and coed slow pitch, and most recently throughout his twilight years, John has become a major player involved with senior softball. He has played in countless tournaments and won 10 ASA state softball championships. John has participated in five senior national tournaments, won two senior national titles, been named to the all-tournament senior team three times and was the MVP in the senior AAA division in 2009.

Leon Henderson worked for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board for 35 years and retired earlier this year as head of park operations overseeing 90 parks and a department staff of more than 100 employees. Leon is credited for his high standards in field maintenance and acquired a reputation throughout the Midwest for conducting outstanding national, state, college and high school ball tournaments. During his tenure, the Park Board held nearly 30 national softball tournaments.

Jack McCracken has been one of the outstanding pitchers in Springfield’s slow pitch leagues for the last 40 years. Jack’s passion for the sport of softball has included many teams that he has sponsored and managed in men’s, women’s, coed and senior softball. He has been the voice of concern and the instigator of change while keeping the umpires and Park Board employees on his radar. Many of the changes within Springfield’s softball leagues have been ideas that Jack promoted and saw through to completion. Jack’s dedication to the sport of softball and the continued growth and success of the game locally has allowed him to serve as the Missouri ASA Player’s Representative for the last 4 years.

For more information, media contact: Mark Nelson, District ASA Commissioner and Tournament Director, 417-837-5817.