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11th Annual Illinois / USSSA Hall of Fame Induction Banquet

October 28th At Cliffbreakers Restraunt & Suites In Rockford

(L-R) John Kramer, Ron Lindenberg, Roger Belcher & Mark Austin

The twelfth annual Illinois USSSA Hall of Fame Induction Banquet was held on October 28th at the Cliffbreakers Restaurant & Suites in Rockford with six individuals and one team being inducted bringing the totals individuals inducted to eighty-eight and the teams honored to three. More then one hundred ninety people attended this year's function. Also honored with special awards were the four Illinois teams that won USSSA National titles over Labor Day Weekend. Co-Master of Ceremony Jeff Brown from Rockford gave the invocation before the meal was served
The evening's festivities opened with Co-Master of Ceremony, Chuck Fisher from Louisville, Kentucky stating, "The highest honor that can be bestowed upon an individual, coach, manager, director, umpire sponsor, or anyone involved in the game of softball, is to be nominated, elected and inducted into the Illinois USSSA Hall of Fame." Fisher than introduced all the previously inducted Illinois USSSA Hall of Fame members who were here to honor this years inductee's one by one as they stood to be recognized by those in attendance
Carol Stack from Champaign was the first person inducted this evening. As a player she was a pitcher won has two MVP awards from the Illinois USSSA Women's Class A State Tournaments to her credit with her team also place in the top four at the Women's Class A USSSA World Tournaments in both of those years. In her acceptance speech Stack said, "I know what the camaraderie of the game, the friendships that were formed has meant to me." She closed by saying, "I accepted this award not only for myself by any means but for all the men and women who play in Central and East Central Illinois. I thoroughly enjoyed the caliber of play that I had in the USSSA".
While presenting Stack with her Hall of Fame plaque Brenda Paulson read an e-mail that she had received from a former teammate of Stack, Cheryl Snyder it said in part, "It was an honor to play softball along side Carol Stack; She was a mentor, a friend and one of the greatest player in her time." Paulson close by saying, "Thank you Carol for all that you did for women's softball in the central part of our state, and welcome to the Hall of Fame."
The next inductee was Roger Belcher who along with his father Don Belcher sponsored many teams from the recreational level to the Men's Major level of USSSA softball over the past thirty-one years. The name Belcher Construction has been on the check written to cover the entree fee of Illinois USSSA sanctioned tournament more than five hundred times. Roger spoke of the joy that this honor brought to his dad, who had passed away last winter by saying, "It all started with Pops …he would have loved to been here, he loved the game." Belcher closed by saying, I want to thank everyone for being here tonight and my wife for letting me stay with the game and dad appreciates everything. I'm sure pops is looking down with a big old smile."
Paulson said. "Roger you and Don thank you so much for all the years of sponsorship." The Illinois USSSA next honored the first of four Illinois teams who brought home 2006 USSSA National titles to the state of Illinois in 2006 with KA Softball/Worth from Chicago being presented an award. Accepting on behalf of his team which had also won the 2005 USSSA Men's Class B National Tournament title manager Ken Adams (1999 Illinois USSSA Hall of Fame, Meritorious) who offered his congratulations to Scott Klein who is the only person he knows of to have been named to both the 'All-National Team' and to the 'All-World Tournament Team' in the same year. Adams went on to say, "Everybody needs to recognize how precious this is. When you are going through a national tournament you feel like we'll do this again. Well, there are so many little things that you have to do right … and you are never promised that again."

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