Seven players, an umpire and a scorekeeper who collectively brought "attention to the widespread value of the game" have been inducted into the Utah Softball Hall of Fame.
The four women and five men were honored (two posthumously) in a ceremony at the Larry H. Miller Softball Complex, home of the Hall of Fame administered by the Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation Division.
Steve Leishman came out of Wellsville with an iron arm, pitching competitively for 29 years. He led Cache Valley Cheese to three ISC World Tournaments and an Ogden team, Swift and Shaw, to two national tournaments. Leishman once pitched 28 innings in a day as his team stayed alive in the loser's bracket of a tournament. He threw four perfect games.
Toni Marie Rodda joined her father, Tony, as the fifth father-child combination within the Hall of Fame ranks. Known to most as TM, she was a pitcher and longtime teammate of two other players who were part of the hall's Class of 2012 Carol Browning and Annette Cottle.
Browning was the shortstop and Cottle played third base on a series of teams beginning in the mid-1970s, standing out for their fielding and hitting skills and on-field leadership. Both achieved All-America status in 1982.
Bill Sartor and the late Ronald Hansen also were teammates for a while with the Rebels, a fastpitch softball team headed by 2001 Hall of Fame inductee Kenny Thompson.
A pitcher and outfielder, Sartor started playing as a 12-year-old and continued until he was 48, competing in nine world tournaments and receiving All-America honors in 1978. Hansen also spent more than 25 years on the diamond, where he was known for his hitting prowess and outfield skills.
Throughout much of that time, they competed against Dean Jensen, a hard-hitting, smooth-fielding third baseman for teams such as Don Blair Photography and Page Bake.
During his quarter century of umpiring, the late Al Peterson called games involving most of these players. Besides a regular schedule of County Rec league games, he was a fixture for years at the once-prominent Pioneer Days fastpitch tournament, held at the Miller Complex, and represented Utah at several national tournaments.
The Miller Complex pressbox was a home-away-from-home for nearly 30 years for Kaaren Covili, who not only kept score at thousands of games but also scheduled other scorekeepers to work league and tournament contests. Former County Recreation director Fred Tamagawa called Covili "the glue for the county softball program."
Utah Softball Hall of Fame
Established in 1984, the hall honors individuals who have been involved in softball for more than a decade and are more than 50 years old. Additional information is available at http://www.utahsoftballhalloffame.com.