A man and woman posing for a selfie in a park.

RI Slow Pitch Softball Hall of Fame’s annual tournament a softball-fest! – John Cardullo

by John Cardullo, sportswriter

Photo, top: Hall of Famers Nancy Santopadre and Kirby Murphy ran the Home Run derby

The Rhode Island Slow Pitch Softball Hall of Fame held its 3rd Annual softball tournament on Saturday, September 10th. This year’s event had a twist, teams were going to be chosen by captains, just like the old sandlot games were when we were all young children. The concept was the brainchild of the RISPSHOF Vice President and Commissioner of Freedom softball Bob Berard, whose home base is in Warwick, Rhode Island. “I wanted to do something different this year to see how it would go over.” Berard said, “Seeing the turnout of 45 players, for this first-time event and the enthusiasm displayed by the players, I think this will be the format from here on.”

The idea was simple, anyone who wanted to play in this event was welcomed. Men who played in the open division, women and members of senior softball were welcome as well. Four captains were selected by the RISPSHOF Committee to “choose up” and select their teams. Each team was given their own color jersey for the day, and to keep as souvenirs. The format of the event was a 3-game round robin and then the teams were seeded to play each other by their record in the round robin. Team Yellow ran the table and won the event by beating Team Green, although they finished third and fourth, Team Blue and Team Gold, members of both teams walked away as friends. “Most of these players either know each other as competitors or kindred softball spirits, but until today, most didn’t really know each other until today.” Berard said, “now that they shared this experience, they walked away as friends. I think that this event will catch on and grow bigger every year that we have it.”

The Hall of Fame committee hosted the event with Kirby Murphy and Nancy Santropadre running the home run derby, which was being held during the semifinals, with the players who were waiting for their game went to a joining field to take their shot in the derby. The Women’s champion was Brenna Elliott and Adam Davis won the Men’s division. The RISPSHOF committee jumped in where needed to help the event run smoothly. Berard over saw the event with David Marland and Scott “Stump” Sunderland manning the grill. All the committed members are inducted members of the Hall of Fame. Kirby Murphy said, “You couldn’t have asked for a better day to hold this event. The weather was perfect for softball, and everyone truly enjoyed themselves.” Nancy Santropadre added “Everyone had a great time! While helping the Hall of Fame. There were 10 Hall of Famers in attendance, and the oldest player, Steve Marcotte, was actually on the field playing!”  

“When we started the Hall of Fame in 2018, we had no idea what to expect,” said Berard “all we knew was that the softball community was big, and the game was 70 years old. As we kicked it off it was obvious that it was going to be widely embraced right from the get-go! We are about to have the 5th induction in November, and we expect another sell out crowd.” The RISPSHOF currently has 103 members, and that total will jump to 126 in November.

Tickets for the 5th Annual Rhode Island Slow Pitch Softball Hall of Fame dinner are on sale now at $45.00 per person. If interested in attending the induction dinner, please call for tickets at 401-206-6648.



John Cardullo, sportswriter

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