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By John Cardullo, sportswriter
Since the Rhode Island Slow Pitch Softball Hall of Fame began inducting the state’s best of the best who played the game, five years have elapsed, and 107 men and women players, directors, umpires, sponsors and coaches have answered the call to be honored.
This November another 23 inductees will raise the number of Hall of Famers to 160 total members. “When we began the Hall of Fame back in 2018, all we had was an idea,” said Vice President Bob Berard. “We had a committee of four people that first year. Since then, the committee has grown to 7 members who review each nominated candidate and vote on each person.” He added, “if a candidate doesn’t make it the first year, their name remains on the ballot for five full years before being removed.”
It has become a softball tradition this time of year when the much-anticipated announcement for the year’s new Hall of Famers is named. The first year, 2018, the event was held at the Cranston Country Club to a capacity crowd. The event was moved to the Crown Plaza in Warwick the following year, with 400 people attending. The 2020 induction was postponed due to the worldwide pandemic, but returned the following year in 2021, again at the Crown Plaza, where 500 guests witnessed a combination of 53 inductees welcomed into the Hall. This year’s induction will welcome 23 new inductees in November and will once again be hosted at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick, Rhode Island, on Saturday, November 19th.
The 2022 Rhode Island Slow Pitch Softball Hall of Fame members are: Scott Carlson, an umpire whose career has been entirely in Warwick, RI. The Sponsors that were voted in are Henry “Curly” Antoch of Mary’s Restaurant of South County, George Haddad of the Blarney Stone Pub, Leonard “Lenny” Baggesen of the Rhode Island Invaders and father and son combination John and Jack Calvino of Calvino Law.
The Coaches category had two members elected, the late Steve Thomas of Foxwoods, whose teams played in South County and Hadley DuPree who was the longtime sponsor of Mary’s Restaurant.
The women who will be inducted in November will be Nellie Gray, Tori Carbone, Denise George, Wendy Boothman, Donna Kounch and Cindy Mascio.
On the Men’s side of the ledger were Junior Butler, Jeff Butler (no relation), Frank Pallotta, Dale O’Dell, Robert Kenneally Jr., John Pagano, Steve “Skylo” Marcotte, Joe Grennan, Tom “Pee Wee” DeAngelis and Tom Mooney.
In addition to the new Hall of Famers announcement, the committee also announced a series of fundraising events leading up to the induction dinner. The 3rd Annual R.I.S.P.S.H.O.F Golf Outing will be held on Saturday, June 25th. The cost to enter the outing is $130 per golfer which includes golf, the player’s golf cart, an outing favor, dinner and prizes. Tee signs and green signs are available along with special sponsorships.
The 3rd annual softball tournament is planned for September with a unique twist being planned for this event, and finally a Steak Fry event will be held in early October. Details for these events will be released soon for those who would like to get involved and support the Hall of Fame.
John Cardullo, sportswriter