George Karpach

As a slick fielding first baseman and crafty left-handed pitcher for the Bellarmine Prep Lions, George Karpach became one of the top baseball players in the always tough Tacoma City League. A three-year varsity letterman, George was equally proficient with his bat as he was with his glove, and, as always, carried a tremendous competitive spirit onto the field with him.

In basketball, George was the point guard and playmaker on the powerhouse teams of 1948 and 1949. It was George’s slick ball handling, outstanding court sense, and hard-nosed defense that enabled the Lions to capture their first ever City League basketball championship and inaugural berth in the state basketball tournament. George’s role as the undisputed floor leader of the Lions did not go unnoticed by his ­opponents who elected him to the All-City squad in his senior year.

Gonzaga University also took note of George’s basketball talent and awarded him a scholarship to play for the Zags in 1949. After a year in Spokane, George left Gonzaga - but did not want to stray far from the Jesuits — and enrolled in Seattle University. At Seattle U., George displayed his athletic versatility by competing for the Chieftain golf team for two years before returning to the baseball diamond in his senior year. Once again, success followed George as be helped Seattle University gain a berth on the NCAA Western Regional Tournament where George was picked to pitch against perennial powerhouse University of Southern California.

George returned to Tacoma after three years in the army, married his wife, Sara, and raised two daughters. Colleen and Ann. George never has left his passion for athletic competition far behind. He played both City League basketball and baseball into the 1970’s and officiated high school basketball and football for nearly 30 years.

It was in fastpitch softball where George truly distin­guished himself, starting in 1952 and ending in 1973, a 22-year span. During those 22 seasons, Karpach played in the Northwest Regional tournament 21 times, earning regional all-star honors in 1955, 1958, 1960, 1963 and 1969. He also played in four ASA national tournaments (Irwin Jones Dodgers in 1952 and Federal Old Line Insurance in 1958, 1960 and 1961). He played for Wood Realty in 1956 and was a player-manager for the Tacoma Athletics and Clearview Nursing from 1963-67.

George has been in­ducted into the Northwest Regional Softball Hall of Fame, the Seattle Metro Softball Hall of Fame, the Tacoma-Pierce County Baseball/Softball Oldtimers Hall of Fame, the Tacoma-Pierce County Sports Hall of Fame and the Bellarmine Athletic Hall of Fame.