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TOM “MOUSE” CAROLAN – Tom started in fast pitch in Shellsburg, then played 14″ and 16″ slow pitch in Cedar Rapids. He played from the early 1970’s until 1989 and died in an auto accident in 1996. His 16″ games were in the Cherry Hill Park league, and he was a pitcher for Armstrong’s in 14″ from 1982 until ’89 compiling a 480-89 record including 84-8 in 1982. “Mouse” was on three 14″ State Tournament championship teams, and two runner-up squads. As one of his fellow players said in Tom’s resume, “One of the best pitchers in the game – you could put a quarter on home plate and Mouse could hit it.”
RICK HARTZELL – Rick played fast pitch softball from 1974 through 1996, with four years of that in Cedar Rapids. Locally, he played for King Richards in 1979, and Modern Piping in 1980 through 1982. During his overall playing career, he played in seven ISC and seven ASA tournaments, World and National. He went to the ISC World with Modern Piping all three years he was with them, and made it to ASA Nationals twice. He was one of the top five players in the Major Open league three years. Among his biggest thrills in softball, Rick lists “Playing with great teams and wonderful people … now lifelong friends … being on the Modern Piping team that finished 5th in the ASA National in 1982.” (He compiled a .454 batting average in seven games.) As a former teammate wrote, “Rick was a great competitor and an outstanding player on both offense and defense.” He lives in Cedar Falls.
MARK HORAK – Mark played 16″ slow pitch into his 40’s, but his main claim to fame was as a sponsor. He played for McCooters and Lightweights, and sponsored all types of teams both men’s and women’s. He’s been a backer (and generous donor) of the Cedar Rapids Softball Hall of Fame for many years, and says his biggest thrill has always been “Being able to help young men and women play the game of softball by helping with sponsorships and donations.” In keeping with that tradition, he made another sizeable contribution for 2016. Retired, he lives in Cedar Rapids.
RON HUNT JR. – Ron played 25 years of softball, mostly 16″ slow pitch. He was active from 1986 to ’89, and again from 1994 to 2015 as a player, coach and sometimes umpire. He played 3rd base for Kuba Funeral Home and Viking Lounge, added 1st base, pitching and coaching for CJ’s Sports Bar and Stadium Lounge. He also umpired in 16″ and 12″ slow pitch, although admitting to only “a few here and there.” He earned two MVP awards and two Golden Glove honors in 16″ districts, was on what he terms “a lot” of 14″ state title teams, and even played 12″ unlimited arc in Center Point. He says his biggest thrill was winning his first 16″ state tournament with CJ’s. Ron works for Quaker Oats, and is a proud member of Amvets, past 1st Vice-President of Amvets Post 6, and a member of the Amvets Color Guard.
RICH McSWEENEY – In addition to being a coach from 1972 until 1992, Rich was instrumental in bidding for and receiving the 1990 National 16″ Tournament for Cedar Rapids. Perhaps his most memorable event was the Dale Lee Classic Tournament which he organized for ten years, bringing some of the best 16″ teams from the Midwest each year. As for statistics, he says “Coached a lot of games! Just ask my wife!” Teams he was involved with included Osgood’s, Judy’s, R&L Marine, The Blasters and Cedar Rapids Budweiser, with squads he was in charge of making it to the 16″ Open state tournament every year from 1975 through 1992. Even though the tournaments he organized and hosted had a big impact on Cedar Rapids softball, Rich lists his biggest thrill in the game as making it to the first Open National tournament. He resides in Cedar Rapids.
STEVE PLOTZ – Steve played 12 years of slow pitch from 1978 to 1994. He was 3rd baseman on Armstrong’s and 911 14″ teams, and the Armstrong’s, Powercell and Telecom/Worth 12″ squads. He compiled a .448 batting average in 14″ and .488 in 12″. His teams won four state titles, and finished as runners-up twice. In 1986, his team competed in the 12″ Nationals. Unable to single out a “biggest thrill,” Steve lists 14″ days at Urbandale and playing against the best in 14″ and 16″. He especially recalls being told by an opposing 16″ coach “I’ve never seen anyone play 3rd base like you … you’re ‘All World’ in my book!” The owner of his own business, S&P Woodworking/Cabinets, he lives in Cedar Rapids.
AL RECKER – Al played 18 years in 12″ and 14″ slow pitch. Teams included Ralston Well Drilling, CRANDIC Railroad, Baumhoefener Nursery, Armstrong’s, PJ’s/Worth-Powercell and Weimer before moving on to a team from Lincoln, Nebraska. His teams had a total of five “A” state tournament appearances, two regional trips, won two “A” National qualifiers and had six trips to “A” National tournaments. He lists his “biggest thrill” as finishing 16th in the 1993 “A” Nationals and winning the “A” State championship the following year. During seven years with Armstrong’s and successors, he compiled almost 11-hundred hits, scored 912 times and drove in 958 runs. In one year, he played on two 14″State champions … Armstrong’s in Open and CRANDIC in “A”, moving over from 12″. Employed by CRANDIC Railroad, Al lives in Marion.
DENNIS A. ROLOFF – He played and coached for 45 years, starting in 1969. Playing on 18 different teams, Dennis says he played all positions, and in 12″, 14″ and 16″ slow pitch, fast pitch and coed. While still in high school, Dennis started playing fast pitch for Asbury United Methodist Church, which won the West Side League all seven years he participated and claimed the city title five times. That was followed by time playing in Waterloo and Chicago. Returning to Cedar Rapids, he played over 120 games one summer, competing with teams in the Major Open and Church fast pitch leagues and 16″ slow pitch league. His Kirby team won the Major Open and advanced to the state fast pitch tournament. With three different 16″ teams, he claimed All-State honors at state tournaments five times. His being named MVP of one State Class “A” tournament ranks as one of his biggest softball thrills. Retired after coaching and teaching at Kennedy and Mt. Vernon, Dennis lives in Cedar Rapids.
MIKE STICKNEY – Mike was a fast pitch player from 1982 to 1999, playing for Creative Software, Briles, The Iowans, Collins, Bosch-Rausch, Fleck-Miller, Mahoney’s and Central Iowa Express in the Major Open. He’s a five time ASA State MVP, three time ISC State MVP, and two time ASA Regional MVP. His top biggest thrill came in 1996 while playing for Mahoney’s in the ISC World Tournament. Their game against a team from British Columbia went 21 innings and, by the time it was over, had been seen by five thousand to seven thousand fans. But he also lists “All the softball players and families I have met over the years and the great times spent together on and off the field.” After 28 years with D.C. Taylor Company, he lives in Marion.