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Class of 2010 announced for ISC Hall of Fame
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Class of 2010 announced for ISC Hall of Fame
By John Thompson
The ISC Hall of Fame held its 2009 induction breakfast for a half dozen of fastball’s finest and within days announced the stellar Class of 2010.
Royce Heath, chair of the ISC Hall of Fame Selection committee, announced that the ISC Board of Directors approved a stellar slate of softball luminaries for induction in Midland, MI in August 2010.
Six inductees will be recognized for their collective accomplishments and achievements as players, management and sponsors.
Darren Zack, Garden River, ON
Heading the list is legendary Canadian pitcher Darren Zack who toed the rubber for 18 seasons in the ISC World tournaments between 1987 and 2008. His pitching achievement includes 54 career wins (3rd All-time), including 29 shutouts. His career was punctuated by a 15-game consecutive winning streak (1994-96), the second best all-time in ISC. Zack’s life-time ERA is a miniscule 1.57. The “First Nations” native was named the Most Outstanding Pitcher four times between 1992-2000, and was ISC All-World nine times between 1992-2004. His personal success carried his club teams to ten “top four” finishes, with a quartet of ISC World Championships – Toronto Gators 1993 and 1995; Tampa Smokers 1998 and Decatur Pride 2000.
Darren is active in this year’s ISC II Tournament of Champions in Rock Island, IL with the Ohsweken, ON Redmen.
John Becker. Holmen, WI
Success as a player came to John Becker as a catcher with the Madison Farm Tavern (1987-91) and was highlighted by his final season with Green Bay All Car as 1994 ISC World Champions and a personal 1st Team All-World selection. In 1995, John doffed the catcher’s tools and instantly established himself as a bona-fide and successful team leader. His ten seasons as a field manager span 1995-2006 and include seven “Top-3” finishes, all with Wisconsin based squads. The pinnacle of success was the four-year string of ISC championship game appearances from 2003-06. Following two “runners-up” finishes, John’s County Materials squads won back-to-back ISC crowns in 2005-06. In a true season of competition dominance, the 2006 County Materials won every tournament in which it played – Eau Claire, Orillia, Boys of Summer, Monkton, Allentown, Madison and finally the ISC in Kitchener.
Alan Rohrback, Lakeside, CA
In 1981, Alan Rohrback was named as “rookie of the year” in the Western Softball Congress with the San Diego Vista Bombers. His youthful skills resulted in his being added to the Camarillo Kings roster for his debut ISC World tournament in Saginaw, MI. The Kings won that memorable tournament, and Alan was selected ISC 1st Team All-World player, with team-mates Larry Nolan (ISC HoF 2002) and Floyd “Blue” LaVergne (ISC HoF 2008). In 1983, Alan joined the Lancaster, CA Chameleons, where he won the WSC batting championship (.411) and MVP honours. The Chameleons won the ISC tourney and the following year placed third, when Alan was named to his second ISC All-World team. Two years later, with the new-look Lakewood, CA Chameleons, he acquired his third ISC All-World Selection. Alan continued to play with various competitive teams in California, highlighted by an ASA championship ring in 1991 with Santa Rosa CA Guennella Brothers.
Joe Avila, Hanford, CA
From his debut in 1964 with the Armona CA Merchants, Joe Avila was a skilled player and great ambassador for softball. As a shortstop possessing lightning speed, great hitting and fielding and an intensive competitive desire, Joe was among the best in the business. In ten ISC State tournaments, he was selected to the All-Tournament team each year. At the ISC tournaments in Kimberly, WI (1972) and Sun City, AZ (1974) Joe was named to the ISC All-World team as a member of the Clovis, CA Cowboys.
The Sonnentag Family (Tim, Billy and John) – Marathon, WI
Since 1986 when the Sonnentag family’s County Materials formed its first open level fastpitch team, with sponsorship based on the principle of “Chemistry and Culture” and doing things right both on and off the field, the game of softball has benefitted. In addition to a commitment to excellence, the family has been true promoters and ambassadors of the game, locally, state-wide and internationally. While winning is important, winning with class is the true measure - a trait synonymous with the Sonnentag family.
Mark Sorenson, New Zealand
Mark came on the international softball scene in 1984 as a 16-year old who was named to the New Zealand national men’s team. Five years later he was named captain of the New Zealand national team and led them to 3-consecutive ISF World Championships in 1996, 2000 and 2004.
He began his ISC career in 1986 with The Farm Tavern team of Madison, WI and ended in 2004 with County Materials. During that 18 year span, Mark’s teams won 4-ISC World Championships, Mark was named ISC All-World a record breaking 12-times, was MVP and RBI Leader once each. More important than titles and individual accomplishments, Mark was known throughout the sport as a great teammate. He was one of those who inspired his teammates to be better. He led by example and understood the mechanics behind the “team” concept and the chemistry needed to build a championship team.
When discussions are held about the best men’s player of all time, Mark Sorenson’s name is at the top of the list. Not only a great player and a tough out, he held the respect of his teammates, opponents, umpires, tournament officials and fans.
Dennis Johnson, St. James, MN
The love affair with softball for Dennis Johnson began June 4, 1959 when he got three hits in his first game of local rounders in the Augustana Lutheran Church League in his hometown. A half century later, he is being recognized for his decades of service to the sport including his stint as the ISC Commissioner of the Gopher State Softball League in 1981, a position he held until 2004 when he was appointed as an ISC Commissioner Emeritus. In recognition of his tireless efforts to have two new fastpitch diamonds built at the Watonwan County Fairgrounds, the city named the facility the “Dennis Johnson Field.” An example of his longevity and dependability is his record of having attended every game, home and away, since 1961 of his local high school basketball team, for whom he serves as scorekeeper – 1,060 consecutive games. WOW!
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