Pacific Mutual Fuels

Women’s Fastpitch Grows in Popularity and Participation from the mid-1940s through the late 1950s.

             Everyone likes an underdog, and that would certainly have described the Sumner AC Maids at the 1949 state softball tournament in Sunnyside.
            The squad had a rocky start to the ‘49 campaign, losing a number of games. In his Sumner Standard column, “As We See It,” Harry Johnson wrote that for most of the season the Maids “looked bad, played ragged sluggish ball. Local attendance at their games fell off.”
           
The result? The Maids saw their financial support for a journey to the state tournament pulled by the sponsor, which stated that, in addition to a dearth of funds, the team “didn’t present the proper competition.” In order to raise the necessary funds, the Maids sponsored an invitational tournament and scraped together enough money to make the “three-day trip” to Sunnyside.

             That’s when the unlikely happened. The “Cinderella” Sumner nine won three straight to reach the championship game of the double-elimination tournament. Spokane’s Western Pines forced a playoff game with a 4-3 win over the Maids, but Sumner came back with a convincing 8-3 victory in the title contest.

            The Sumner club got outstanding play from a number of individuals, but no two players were more important than the battery of pitcher Ann Kauzlarich and catcher Dora LaFaive, both of whom were named to the tournament all-star team.
           
There was no pot of gold for the Richland Rainbows in the opener as Sumner recorded a 6-0 victory behind the one-hit pitching of Kauzlarich. It was in the club’s second contest that Kauzlarich was at her best, however, firing a no-hitter and hitting a triple in the Maids’ 3-0 win over Yakima. They added a 5-4 victory over Bremerton to get to the championship game, where they eventually chopped down Western Pines.
           
Several weeks later the team played at the regional tournament in Boise, placing third and earning the event’s sportsmanship award.
           
The team that wasn’t even supposed to be there instead brought home the two-foot tall state championship trophy.
           
The story of the Sumner AC Maids winning an unlikely state title is just one of many highlights in Tacoma area women’s fastpitch (sometimes called fastball) softball during the period of 1940-58. Following is a chronological look at some of the names and teams that shined brightest during that that era.
           
From rosters, it is evident there were at least three teams prior to 1945. They were the Blue Streaks and the Tacoma Tigerettes, both in 1940, and Lincoln Electric, in 1942. Newspapers of the time did not report on any of the games.
           
In the Spring of 1945, the face of Tacoma area women’s fastpitch changed with the formation of the Women's City Softball League. Teams comprising that initial league were the Ft. Lewis Flames, G.T. Comets, McChord Bomberettes, Madigan Army Hospital, Woodman of the World, Steilacoom Red Streaks, White Rockets, Lincoln Electric Heights, Salishan, and Sumner. In 1946, Hardy Hobos was added to the league.
           
In the early going, newspaper coverage of the league was primarily limited to the team schedule and the pitcher-and-catcher combination of a particular game, with no summary of the action. As the year progressed and the sport grew along with its popularity, however, more articles appeared giving results, batteries, and some highlights.
           
Some of the league’s players were school-age girls, but a good number of those were considered among the circuit’s top performers. In the coming years, a handful of those players would etch their names on the list of Tacoma women’s fastpitch greats.
           
Youth was certainly served in the form of the spunky and talented youngsters who comprised the Midland Tigers/Lumberettes. The team, consisting of seventh, eighth and ninth graders, played Parkland, Woodland and Kapowsin in junior high games. The girls loved to play ball so much, however, that they entered a team in the city league for fastpitch softball.
           
In both 1945 and 1946, league champion Lincoln Electric, spotlighting standout pitcher Teddy Davis, went on to win state championships under coach Bob Huegel. Tony Riconiscuito, owner of Lincoln Electric and brother of team member Marian Ricono, agreed to sponsor the team. Practices and home games were played at Jefferson Playfield and generally drew a good crowd. Road games often meant trips to Seattle, Canada or Bremerton, the latter which they reached by ferry. Lincoln Electric played 1944 national champion Lind-Pomeroy from Portland and ace pitcher Betty Evans for the right to go to nationals, but the local squad managed just one hit and two total base runners in two games. Helen Jansen remembers it well. “I was playing for Lincoln Electric at the time and we went up against the great Betty Evans. The highlight of my softball career was ticking the ball against her—once!”
           
The 1946 state tournament championship, played at the Sumner High School athletic field, featured a battle between league rivals Lincoln Electric and Sumner AC “Maids.” The “Electrics” piled up 34 runs in three games to advance to the title contest, while Sumner, in only its second season, lost its opener to Spokane B.O.F. and was forced to win three straight to get a shot at Lincoln Electric. The Maids held down the Electrics in winning the first game, 8-4, but the Electrics regained their offensive prowess with a 15-8 decision in the finale.
           
The Midland Tigers finished fourth in the tournament, led by catcher and all-tournament selection Esther Deuel. Both Deuel and pitcher Barbara Taylor were honored for their all-around play.
           
After winning consecutive state titles, Lincoln Electric disbanded and many of the team members joined other local teams.
           
In 1947, Brotman Clothiers from Tacoma and Sumner AC appeared at the state tournament in Spokane. A pair of home teams battled for the title with Spokane B.O.F. beating Western Pine.
           
Spokane B.O.F. repeated as state champion in the 1948 tournament played at Warren Field in Bremerton. Pacific Mutual Fuel (the Fuelerettes) and Sumner AC qualified for that tournament. Sumner third sacker Kate McHugh also earned all-star honors in the ‘48 event.
           
The Fuelerettes were sponsored by PMF owner Rufus Briscoe “Boots” Christian and coached by 23 year-old Frank Cey. While many of the girls had some experience playing together at Midland Junior High and their summer recreation team called the Midland Tigers several years earlier, the team was still inexperienced when it came to the fundamentals of the game.

“Most of the girl’s didn’t really know how to take infield practice so we spent a lot of time learning that. And then I took them out to a baseball field in Puyallup and taught them how to slide. I will tell you one thing—there was absolutely no hesitation on the part of these women when it came to taking someone out with a slide. They were tough when they took the field,” remarked Cey.

Pacific Mutual Fuel opened the tournament with a thrilling 6-3, 14-inning win over Richland in front of 1,000 fans. Pitcher Esther Deuel started the decisive 14th inning with a triple and later scored what proved to be the winning run. Team members named as tournament all-stars were catcher Dot Miskar, shortstop Dee Sagmiller and utility player Pat Strachan.

            Cey commented, “We had a pretty good team and finished fourth one year at the state tournament. We had a good group of women and while some of them weren’t what you would call really outstanding, they all contributed and worked hard which allowed us to play well as a team. I kept a pretty tight lid on them. I’d find out where they hung out at night and then I’d go out and check up on them after the game. We didn’t have any problems.”

“Pat Strachan was a big, strong, versatile player for us. She was intimidating when she toed the mound and I knew that I could bring her in in the middle of a tough spot and she’d find a way to get us out of the jam. Dee Sagmiller was as fluid and confident of a player as one could want. She was strong for her stature and she made everything look easy. If I had to pick one person as the team leader, however, it would have to be our catcher, Dorothy Miskar. She was a real workhorse. She was like a locomotive behind the plate—ain’t nobody moving her out! She was a little older than the rest of the girls and I think they looked up to her because of her experience and work ethic,” recalled Cey.

            After Sumner AC won the 1949 title, several team changes took place the following season. The 1950 Washington State Championship was held in Olympia, with the Orphans and Fuelerettes representing Tacoma.
           
Dot Miskar coached the Orphans, made up of the players who, like Miskar, had previously played for the Fuelerettes. Among them were Dee Sagmiller and Pat Strachan, who had earned all-star honors along with Miskar at the 1948 tournament and had earned headlines with other teams in previous years. Tacoma Fuelerettes came into 1950 with a revised roster and new coaches Dick Penhale and Phil Yant, replacing Cey, who stepped down because of a busy schedule that included raising his son Ron, a future Major League All-Star third baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
           
Pacific Mutual Fuel, coached by Bill Stavig, won the 1951 Pierce County Women's Softball title with a 15-1 record, earning entry into the regional tournament in Richland. Shirley Soggie was named to the regional all-star team. The Fuelerettes also captured the 1952 league title with a 1-0 victory over the Tacoma Orphans. Ann Kauzlarich, who three years earlier had pitched Sumner AC to an unexpected state crown, was the game’s star, hurling a no-hitter for the winners. Only two Orphans reached base, one on a walk and one on an error. Kate McHugh scored the winning run with two out in the ninth inning.
           
The Fuelerettes gained entry into regional tournament play in Portland, won by national powerhouse Erv Lind Florists. The Fuelerettes placed five players on the regional all-star team: pitcher Ann Kauzlarich, first baseman Janis Chase, shortstop Virginia Glassy Penhale, leftfielder Shirley Soggie, and rightfielder Pat Hankinson. In addition, Kauzlarich was named the "most inspirational" player.
            
The Tacoma Rustlers, sponsored by The PVT Club in Lakewood, joined the league in 1952, and also participated in the Northwest Women's Major League, which was affiliated with the newly formed National Softball Congress. Besides the Rustlers, the four-team circuit included the Epicures of Seattle, Lind Florists from Portland and Perkins Oilers from Vancouver. The teams played home-and-home series. The Rustlers played a big game against the Epicures at Viking Field in Puyallup. Seattle’s starting pitcher was "Big Alice" Jorgensen, called the "Toast of the Coast,” while the Rustlers answered with Maggie Heinrick. The game was of special interest to Puyallup fans because of Rustlers’ shortstop Dee Sagmiller, the "All-American Redhead" who graduated from Puyallup High School in 1951.
           
A highlight of the year was the appearance of the Phoenix Queens, playing the Rustlers at Athletic Park (now Peck Field). Five-time All-America pitcher Charlotte Armstrong, who had eight different deliveries, held the local squad to one single by Dee Sagmiller in a 10-0 victory.
           
Such exhibition games, some played in front of crowds numbering 1,000, were frequent during the 1950s. A yearly visit by the world champion Phoenix Queens was the highlight of Tacoma women’s fastpitch during that decade. The Arizona team was billed as the “Ziegfeld Girls of Softball” and had won four world titles in six championship game appearances starting in 1949. Other top teams to play in the area included Lind-Pomeroy of Portland and the Salt Lake City Shamrocks.
           
There was another shuffling of teams and players in 1953, and the following teams made up the league: Dairy Maids, Tacomarettes, McChord WAFS, Belles, and the PVT Rustlers. The Dairy Maids defeated the Tacomarettes in a one-game playoff to serve as host of the 1953 regionals at Athletic Park. Eileen Anderson from the Dairy Maids was selected to the all-star team.
           
In 1954, the local league consisted of the Rustlers, McChord WAFS, Dairy Maid, Fuelerettes, Tacomarettes, Hollywood Buccaneers, and Tacoma Boosters. In addition to the City League, the Northwest Women's Major League added the Olympia Cannerettes, the Yakima Apple Queens, Seattle, Longview, and the Tacoma Shamrocks. The Shamrocks often had their hands full. An Aug. 25, 1954 article in the Tacoma Times stated, “Tacoma’s youthful Shamrocks dropped a twin bill to Longview Sunday in closing out a 58-game women’s softball schedule at Longview. Longview won the games 20-3 and 8-1. The Shamrocks, composed of teenagers, won 19 games over the season. They were paced by Louise Mazzuca, 14-year-old pitcher, Dianne Myers, 13-year-old catcher, and Gloria Longo, the top hitter on the team.”
           
The following year, the Hollywood Buccaneers, made up of players from the Shamrocks and Dairy Maids, won the Metro League Championship by beating the Fuelerettes, 9-7, in a playoff game. The game’s pitching star was Louise Mazzuca, who would go on to national tournament fame with Erv Lind Florists from Portland, OR.
           
Hollywood Boat & Motor, sponsored by Harry Esborg and led by player-coach Margaret Zepeda, burst on the scene in 1956. Zepeda’s team played locally and in the Northwest Women’s Major League. Zepeda recruited some of the top players from the local leagues, including Louise Mazzuca, and “the Queens” became a major attraction. HB&M played its home games at what is now Peck Field and hosted a team featuring Charlotte Armstrong, she of the eight different pitching deliveries. Armstrong could pitch from the pitcher’s rubber, from second base or from centerfield and remain virtually unhittable.
           
In addition to being a marvelous pitcher, Armstrong had an eye for designing uniforms. The uniforms, made of a material with a satin feel, were worn throughout the fastpitch ranks and resembled the kind that the actors wore in the movie, “A League of Their Own.” Esborg, not wanting to shortchange his team, outfitted HB&M players in the latest in fastpitch fashion.
           
At the same time, however, fastpitch was slowing down on a city-wide basis as the 1956 Metro League consisted of only three teams, the Hollywood Buccaneers, the Hollywood Queens, and Miskar's Girls. The following year the league consisted of the Bottlers, McChord WAFS, Miskar's Nine, and Bethel. The final season of Metro City League women’s fastpitch came in 1958 with three teams, Bethel, Grabettes, and Outlaws.
           
A year later, slowpitch softball took over.
           
Though fastpitch softball lasted less than two full decades, it enjoyed a lively life and produced some of the most exciting athletes and moments in Tacoma sports history.

INCOMPLETE LIST OF ROSTERS - 1940-58 - TACOMA AREA WOMEN’S FASTPITCH TEAMS

Blue Streaks - 1940:

Betty Hart (LF), Catherine Gavigan (CF), Jeanne Rea (RF), Marian Ricono (SS), Agnes Hulscher (1B), Pat Hennessy (2B), Peggy Moran (3B), Lilian Vargo (C), Betty Knowles (P), and Jerry Martinea (RF).

Tacoma Tigerettes - 1940:
Nardina Lunsdall (Manager/OF), Masie Olson (SS), Betty Keffler (CF), Teddy Davis (P), Dorothy Sarazen (3B), Bebe Blake (1B), Mabel Debolt (OF), Marguerite Sarazen (C), Hildegard Sierman (2B), Gertrude Wilhelmsen (SS/RF), Edna Gunnette (RF), and Margaret Perkins (3B).

Lincoln Electric - 1945 Washington State Champions:
Coach Bob Heugel, Betty Hart Rowan Bland, Marian Ricono Dubois Stahl, Audrey Lakowske Vaughn, Margaret Heinrick, Teddy Davis, Jackie Church Pagni, Maureen MacLaughlin, Katy Vaughn Case, Patty Smith, Peggy Moran Ruehle, Betty Keffler.

Lincoln Electric - 1946 Washington State Champions:
Betty Knowles, Dorothy Anderson, J, Rogers, Edna Rogers, Ethel Gunnette, Teddy Davis, Patty Smith, Joyce Hauge, Audrey Vaughn, Peggy Ruehle, M. Stevens, Dora Dietz, M. Bemen, Betty Keffler, Jackie Church Pagni, Bebe Blake, manager and coach Telli Pagni, sponsor Tony Ricono.

Midland Tigers/Lumberettes - 1945:
Coach John Deuel, manager Bob Doyle, Barbara Taylor, Esther Deuel, Patsy Strachan, Tommy Hankinson, Patsy Hankinson, Janice Moore, Dorothy Severt, Maxine Rainier, Louise Baskett, Norma Dunham, Donna Brown, Doris Jean Porter, Glee Porter, Marian McCormick, Doris Hovland, Katy Martin, Charlotte Nelson.

Midland Tigers - 1946:
Donna Brown, Glee Porter, Doris Porter, Kate McHugh, Pat Strachan, June Wood, Margaret Heinrick, Pat Hankinson, Tommy Hankinson, Louise Baskett, Dorothy Miskar, Dorothy Johnson, Shirley Johnson, Norma Durham, Janice Moore, Marian McCormick, Doris Hovland, Katy Martin, and Charlotte Nelson.

Sumner AC - 1946:
Manager Jerry Kreuger, coach Vern Hodgins, pitcher Frieda Schoenbachler, Wylma Hodgins, Bernice Lind, Blanche Kreuger, Helen Jansen, Monterey Green, Betty Loucks, Loraine Purvis, Mable Hanson, Judy Barry, Nadine Conlon, Ann Pyfer, Nadine Conlon, Miss Carlson, Charlotte Ransom, Fairle Robinson.

Ft. Lewis WACS - 1947:
Manager Sgt. Hank Hyle, Frances Whitman, Terry Green, Cecilia Hough, Farmer Maciejack, Dot Dreas, Willa Overstreet, Anita De Rasiers, Clem Zents, Marty Keough, Butch Sutter, Marguerite Hanna, Ione Wheir, Gracie Gabler.

Brotman Clothiers - 1947:
Coach Earl Wood, Coach John Deuel, Joyce Nelson (C), Donna Brown (RF), Esther Deuel (P), Glee Porter, Doris Porter, Kathyrn McHugh (3B), Patsy Strachan (1B), June Wood (SS), Joy Nolen, Peggy Heinrick, Pat Hankinson (LF), Tommy  Hankinson (2B), Louise Baskett (CF), Dorothy Miskar (C), Dorothy Johnson (P), Shirley Johnson (CF).

Sumner AC - 1947:
Manager Jerry Kreuger, Coach Oliver Malley, Loraine Purvis, Dora Dietz, Frieda Schoenbachler, Teddy Davis, Betty Knowles, Elinor Dahl, Judy Barron, Gloria Malley, Helen Jansen, Charlotte Ransom, Ann Pyfer, Ann Kauzlarich.

Sumner AC - 1949 Washington State Champions:

Ann Kauzlarich, Dora LaFaive, Gloria Malley, Kate McHugh, Margaret Heinrick, Doris Wanberg, Helen Jansen, Shirley Soggie, Frieda Bostwick, Dorothy Cottrel, Dolores Benjamin, Mary Jane Bramman, Jean Hartshorn and Ann Pyfer.

Pacific Mutual Fuels - 1949:
Coach Frank Cey, sponsor Rufus “Boots” Christian, Jueline Smith, Pat Hankinson, Shirley Johnson, Marjorie Johnson, Dorothy Anderson, Dee Sagmiller, Joyce Jones, Esther Deuel, Ruthe Canonica, Virginia Glassy, Pat Strachan, Dot Miskar, Peggy Parsons, Louise Baskett, Donna Brown, Margaret Heinrick.

Tacoma Orphans - 1950:
Manager Dot Miskar, Betty Knowles, Esther Deuel, Pat Strachan, Doris Carlson, Dee Sagmiller, Joyce Jones, Alice Bergstrom, Dorothy Anderson, Pat Hankinson, Shirley Johnson, Marjorie Johnson, Donna Brown, Peggy Parsons, and Patty Parsons.

Pacific Mutual Fuels (Tacoma Fuelerettes) - 1950:
Coach Dick Penhale, coach Phil Yant, Margaret Heinrick, Ann Kauzlarich, Virginia Glassy, Janis Chase, Ruthe Canonica, Kate McHugh, Shirley Soggie, Mary Jane Brammann, Ula Verle Browning, Eloise McCaine, Delores Benjamin, Mary Farley, Beryl Thrasher, Janet Day, and Barbara Thrasher.

Pacific Mutual Fuels (Tacoma Fuelerettes) - 1951:
Coach Bill Stavig, Shirley Soggie, Donna Brown, Dorothy Anderson, Joyce Jones, Kathryn McHugh, Pat Strachan, Eileen Schmidt, Dolores Benjamin, Gloria Malley, Mary Jane Brammann, Pat Hankinson , Sue Kauth, and Margaret Heinrick.

PVT Club - 1951:
Joyce Jones Wolf, Patty Parsons Mohler, Dee Sagmiller, Shirley Johnson, Marjorie Johnson.

Tacoma Rustlers - 1952:
Coach Dick Penhale, Dee Sagmiller (SS), Shirley Johnson (CF), Shirley Soggie (LF), Margaret Heinrick (P), Pat Hankinson (C), Patty Parsons (3B), Marge Johnson (RF), Joyce Jones (2B), Mary Ellen Farley (1B), Virginia Glassy Penhale, Sue Kauth, Werschler,
bat girl Barbara Farley.

Dairy Maids - 1953:
Eileen Anderson, Gloria Longo, Donna Chappel, Gloria Thrasher, Peggy Parsons, Georgene Warner, Carol Schnuriger, Barbara Thrasher, Alice Dickson, Jean Twidwell, Mary Alice Parsons.

Tacomarettes - 1953:
Manager Eileen Schmidt, coach John Deuel, Jeanette Kohler, Joyce Snyder, Ann Baskett, Lola Lenzl, Sally Clifford, Dorothy Apothorp, Donna Dugger, Jeanna Deuel, Joann Kilcup, Esther Deuel, Pat Cannon, June Cannon.

Tacoma Boosters - 1954:
Coach Dorothy Miskar, manager Margaret Heinrick

Shamrocks - 1954:
Louise Mazzuca, Dianne Myers, Gloria Longo

Rustlers - 1954:
Margaret Heinrick (P/SS), Dorothy Anderson (P/2B0, Mary Farley (C), Sue Kauth (1B), Pat Parsons (3B), Shirley Soggie (OF), Mary Cooper (OF), Donna Thompson (OF), Babe Farley (Utility), Mary Hawkins (Utility), Margie Zurfluh (Utility).

Hollywood Boat & Motor - 1955-57:

Sponsor Harry Esborg , coach Carl Benson, coach/3B Margaret Zepeda, Louise (Chris) Mazzuca (P), Gloria Longo (C), Carol Schnuriger Boyer, Sandy Molzan (3B), Joyce Jones Wolf, Alayne Butterfield, Jan Chase, Esther Deuel, Sue Kauth, Jody Bysak., Margaret Heinrich, Delores Benjamin, Mary Farley, Beryl Thrasher, Janet Day, Barbara Thrasher, Virginia Keefe, Dee Sagmiller, Jan Chase, Marge Blair.

 

Washington Hardware:
Coach Fritz Haines, Charlotte (Nelson) Wildes, Vivian (Peterson) Anderson, Pat Jones, Katy (Martin) Bergman, Ruth (Hall) Hooker

 

Darigold Dairymaids:

Coach George Pease, Peggy Parsons deHaven, Patty Parsons Mohler, Mary Alice Parsons, Gloria Longo Jean, Lora Lea Mills.

 

Woodman of the World:

Charlotte Dylina

 

WOMEN’S FASTPITCH BIOS

 

Donna Anderson

Born Oct. 26, 1941, in The Dalles, Ore., Donna graduated from Puyallup HS in 1959. A rightfielder who played the game for fun, she was on the Hollywood Boat & Motor team in 1957 and later played at Offutt AFT in 1960-61. A bowler with a 160 average, she is retired from a manager’s job at Lozier Corp.

Betty (Hart Rowan) Bland

Born Aug. 31, 1923 in Tacoma, she graduated from Stadium HS in 1941. Betty played 10 years in all, beginning as a rightfielder with Lincoln Electric in 1942. She also played for Sumner AC. She didn’t limit her athletic participation to fastpitch, however, also playing city league basketball for a decade.

Frieda (Schoenbachler) Bostwick

Born July 18, 1926, in Sumner, Frieda graduated from Sumner HS in 1944, where she participated in basketball, volleyball and track. “Fritz”, as she was known by, was a pitcher for several seasons for Sumner AC, including the 1946 team that finished as state tournament runner-up. She recalls pitching three games in a day in one tournament and winning that tourney. Other highlights include the 1951 state championship and tournament travel to Boise, Portland and Sunnyside. She was a housewife and retired as a bank cashier.

Alayne Butterfield

Born Dec. 19, 1941 in Tacoma, Alayne graduated from Stadium HS in 1960. She played from 1955-57 for the Hollywood Buccaneers, Shamrocks and the Hollywood Queens as a centerfielder, catcher and pitcher. She is now retired after a career as a deputy sheriff for the County of Monterey in California.

Katy (Vaughn) Case

Born July 11, 1927, in  Hereford, Texas, Katy graduated from Stadium HS in 1944. She played with her sister-in-law, Audrey LaKowske Vaughn, for the 1945 Lincoln Electric state championship team as a roving fielder. She later was a city league girls basketball referee. A military wife for 22 years, she is now widowed and living in Anchorage.

Ruthe”Connie” Canonica

Born June 10, 1921, in Montana, she graduated from Yelm HS in 1939. She played second base and catcher for Pacific Mutual Fuels in 1949-50, serving as the team’s captain in 1950. She also played basketball, bowling and golf. Ruthe was the manager of the graphic arts department for West Coast Grocery before her retirement.

Peggy (Parsons) DeHaven
Born June 5, 1933, in Salem, Ore. Peggy was a catcher and first baseman on the Fuelerettes team that placed third at the 1949 state tournament and the Orphans team that played at state in 1950. She also played for the Dairy Maids in regional tournament action. Several of these teams won city league championships. She went on to a career in the Department of Defense.

Mary Ellen Farley

Born April 16, 1936, in San Francisco, Mary Ellen graduated from St. Leo HS in 1954 and earned graduate and post-graduate degrees from Gonzaga. She played catcher, first base and relief pitcher for eight years with the Fuelerettes, Rustlers and Hollywood Boat & Motor. She traveled to the 1950 state tournament in Richland in the assistant coach’s red convertible. She recalls hitting two home runs in one game. Another sports highlight was playing an exhibition game prior to the Globetrotters’ appearance at the UPS Fieldhouse. She entered the field of spiritual ministry working for Franciscan Spiritual Center-West. Sisters Barbara and Sue also played briefly and the participation in sports by all three daughters influenced their parents who sponsored numerous slowpitch teams through their business, Farley’s Florists. Their mother, Barbara, is in attendance today.

Beryl (Thrasher) Hastings

Born Nov. 19, 1935, Beryl graduated from St. Leo HS in 1953. She played centerfield (“but mostly left out,” she states) with the Fuelerettes. She coached grade school girls sports in Texas and eventually worked for Weyerhaeuser in computer systems support.

Elinor (Dahl) Hinderer

Born April 8, 1932, in Sumner Heights, she graduated from Sumner HS in 1950. She played first base for the Sumner “Maids” in 1947. She participated in numerous sports in school at Edgemont, enjoying the sports and good sportsmanship.

Wylma (Blackadder) Hodgins

Born July 27, 1924, in Sumner, Wylma graduated from Sumner HS in 1943. She played two seasons at third base for the Sumner AC club. Wylma went on to success as a golfer, winning the Linden Golf & Country Club women’s title 17 times in addition to a state championship. She played for the Puget Sound Ladies Golf Association, the Tacoma Women’s Golf Association and Nine Tees Association. Her fastpitch highlight was playing “with a bunch of wonderful ladies.”

Ruth (Hall) Hooker

Born Jan. 4, 1926, in Tacoma, Ruth graduated from Stadium HS in 1944. She played third base for Hardy Hobos, sponsored by Washington Hardware, in 1945 and 1946. Ruth’s entire family was involved in baseball back to the turn of the century in Tacoma’s baseball past.

Louise (Baskett) James

Born December 28, 1929 in Tacoma and graduated from Lincoln HS in 1948. She played centerfield for the Midland Tigers and the Tacoma Fuelerettes for three season. “We never got away from home very often so to be able to travel over to Eastern Washington to play in tournaments was a real thrill,” Louise recalled. “Can you believe it? We stayed at the YWCA in Spokane for only $1 a nite!” Louise worked as an elevator operator at the Winthrop Hotel, and as a meatwrapper before retiring as a beautician.

Helen (Thoren) Jansen
Born April 7, 1923, Helen graduated from Sumner HS in 1941. After playing for Lincoln Electric, she played shortstop for three years with the Sumner AC team, the highlight of her career was hitting a tick foul ball against the great Betty Evans of Erv Lind Florists ball club. Helen also enjoyed playing basketball and volleyball and having twin sister, Gloria, at her side on the softball diamond.

Gloria (Longo) Jean & Delores (Longo) Craig
The twin sisters were born November 11, 1936 and graduated from St. Leos in 1956. Delores played third base just two years with Brigg’s Builders and the Darigold Dairymaids before hanging up her cleats but Gloria enjoyed a long career. She started out with the St. Leo’s Saints as an 8th grader and then went on to play for Briggs, Darigold, the Hollywood Buccaneers, and Hollywood Boat & Motor. A parttime second baseman and a fulltime catcher, the highlight of her career was catching Louise Mazzuca for several seasons. She retired as a health clerk in the Bethel School District after 28 years.

Marjorie Johnson

Born June 30, 1929, in Tacoma, she graduated from Roy HS in 1948. She played second base and rightfield for the Fuelerettes teams that won the 1949 and 1953 city championships. Since that time she built a list of accomplishments as a bowler and as a golfer, including winning division championships in 2002-03 at Meadow Park and at Highlands in 2002. She was an insurance agent with a CPCU designation and was employed Persing, Dyckman and Toynbee.

Blanche Kreuger

Born Nov. 15, 1922 in Davis, S.D., Blanche graduated from Sumner HS in 1940 and from Tacoma Secretarial School in 1941. She played rightfield for Sumner AC in the 1940s. She married the team manager, Jerry Kreuger, and daughter Karen (Kreuger) Olsen was the bat girl.

Kathryn “Katy” McHugh

Born Jan. 27, 1931 in Sandpoint, Idaho, and graduated from Lincoln HS in 1948. She was an outstanding player who earned state tournament all-star honors playing for Sumner AC in 1948. She also played for Midland, Brotman Clothiers and the Fuelerettes, scoring that team’s winning run in the 1952 league title game. She went on to a career as a bookkeeper for Consolidated Freight.

Nadine (Conlon Girard) Michaelson

Born Oct. 15, 1928 in Tacoma and a graduate of Sumner HS in 1946 and from Tacoma Catholic College in 1948. Nadine played for the Sumner AC team in 1946. She worked for the Clover Park School District as a library paraeducator.

Patty (Parsons) Mohler

Born Feb. 28, 1936, in Salem, Ore., she graduated from St. Leo’s HS in 1954. Nicknamed “The Arm” as a third baseman and pitcher, she states that her greatest achievement was a committing no errors at third base. She was only 12 years old when she started playing fastpitch in 1948 with the Fuelerettes, and she was scouted by the American Baseball Women’s League at age 13. She played locally until about 1955, taking the diamond for such teams as the Orphans, Tacoma Boat, PVT Club and the Rustlers. Her coaches included Frank Cey, George Pease and Dick Penhale. She worked as a manager for US West and also for the Tacoma School District.

Shirely McLaughlin “Mac” Olsen

Born June 12, 1936, in Anacortes, “Mac” graduated from Lincoln HS in 1953 and from Tacoma School of Nursing in 1957. She was a nurse and later a mail carrier until her retirement. After playing for several years in Milwaukee, Ore., she moved north and played for the Fuelerettes and for Hollywood Boat & Motor. She also played several years in the Air Force and returned again to the Portland area where she played and coached. During her playing career she played shortstop, leftfield, pitcher and second base. She played basketball in the Air Force and for the Tacoma Bells, and also belongs to the 600- and 700-clubs as a bowler. “Mac” was a Little League umpire from 1952-75 and an ASA umpire from 1975-96.

Gloria (Thoren Malley) Perry
Born April 7, 1923, in Puyallup, Gloria graduated from Sumner HS in 1941. She played for Lincoln Electric and then two years for the Sumner AC Maids—including the ’49 state title team—with husband Oliver coaching the team and daughter, Sheryle, a bat girl/mascot during one of the seasons. She was the nine-hole golf champ at Gig Harbor Golf & Country Club in 1982 and still golfs.

Ann Pyfer

Born May 4, 1921, in Corvallis, Ore., Ann graduated from Sumner HS in 1939 and from Pacific Lutheran College in 1941. She was the centerfielder on the Sumner AC team that won the 1949 state championship. Ann was the office manager in a medical office before retiring.

Carol (Boyer) Schnuriger

Born May 11, 1937, in Port Angeles, Carol graduated from St. Leo HS in 1955 and from Seattle University in 1959. A first baseman and outfielder, she played for Darigold and Hollywood Boat, among other teams, in the 1950s and had “just plain fun.” She entered the field of nursing and worked for Cascade Park in Vancouver, Wash.

Loraine (Purvis) Schroeder

Born Oct. 27, 1926 in Puyallup, Loraine graduated from Sumner HS in 1944. She played two seasons for the Sumner AC team as a catcher. She now lives in Laurel, Mont.

Doris (Wanberg) Seifert

Born Aug. 30, 1925, in Rustad, Minn., Doris graduated from Comstock (Minn.) HS in 1943 and later attended North Dakota State. Doris played one year as a second baseman for the 1949 state champion Sumner AC “Maids.” She also earned all-star honors that year at the regional tournament in Boise. “ I was very nervous about playing and made about 12 errors in my first game. I asked the coach to take me out but he said we didn’t have any subs and that I was one of his better players anyway. He told me to just hang in there and I am glad I did because playing ball with the Sumner SACS was a ball!” “I do know that we did a little socializing after the games. Does anyone remember the strop poker game? I’m just glad that my uniform top was a big and long as it was!!” “Playing in the state tournament was a blast. I was surprised to find out that I had a batting average. I actually got four hits in that tournament. I was short and pitchers had a hard time finding the strike zone so I walked a lot,” recalled Doris recently. “At the regional tournament I was named to the All-Regional team. Not because I was all that good, but probably the other second basemen were not so good either. It was probably based on heart and energy and a lively, vocal spirit. Who knows?” She moved to Alaska the following year. She became an accountant and is now retired, living in the tulip country of Pella, Iowa.

Audrey (LaKowske) Vaughn

Born June 7, 1926, in Tacoma, she graduated from Stadium HS in 1944. She played second base for the 1945 and 1946 Washington state champion Lincoln Electric team. Audrey has become a successful golfer, winning the ladies championship at Madrona Links in 1992 and the Ft. Steilacoom Ladies Nines title from 1997-2000 and again in 2002.

Barbara (Thrasher) Weber

Born March 4, 1934 in Tacoma, Barbara graduated from St. Leo HS in 1952. As one of the “young kids” on the Fuelerettes, she recalls being driven to games by Virginia Glassy and other team members. “They looked after us.” She has a “vivid memory of being struck out by a Bremerton pitcher. I never even saw the ball.” She went on to a career as a respiratory therapist at Tacoma General Hospital.

Dora (LaFaive Dietz) Wiener

Dora was an all-star catcher on the 1949 Sumner AC team that won the state title. Her son, Ken recalls his mother later playing the “Queen and Her Court” and getting a hit off the famous Charlotte Armstrong. Dora was the local team’s catcher and would tell her son that their pitcher, picked up for the game, threw so hard that her hand swelled up, making it difficult to take her hand out of the catcher’s glove. With the help of teammates icing her hand between innings, she was able to finish catching the game.