Dan Luhtala's presence on the slowpitch field has been a constant in Tacoma for 35 years. Luhtala has played for about ten different teams since he first joined The Haven squad in 1974, and has played for the Wolfpack, J & J Construction. Team Swollen and Ruth Realty just to mention a few.
Born March 10, 1955, Luhtala grew up in Tacoma and graduated from Fife High School in 1973. He attended Lower Columbia College in Longview and currently works as a firefighter.
Dan starting playing USSSA softball in 1980 with some of the upper level teams from Tacoma and through the years has been with most of the state's top-level teams. A pitcher and first baseman primarily, Luhtala's tremendous bat control had made him one of most feared leadoff hitters for years as he always finds a way to "hit 'em where they ain't." He carries a .650 lifetime batting average which is a testimony to his ability.
Highlights from Luhtala's lengthy career include placing 16th at the Major Nationals tournament with the 1977 Haven team, earning fourth place at the Worlds tournament with the 1979 Cody's team, winning the "B" NW Nationals in 1998 and taking first place at the 2000 Nike Masters World Games.
Luhtala has played with over 20 state champion teams and has earned numerous All-Star and MVP awards. He earned All-World honors at the 2000 Nike Games. In 1979, Luhtala led the Northwest Regionals with an astounding .833 batting average.
Dan was inducted into the USSSA State of Washington Slowpitch Hall of Fame in 2003.
1977 THE HAVEN PUB SLOWPITCH TEAM
MEN'S OPEN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Regional Slowpitch Champions
16th Place - National Championships
Back row l. to r.: Tony Roseli (mgr), Mike Holland, Tim Thompson, Mark Belvin, Mike Williams, Steve Luhtala, Gary Jones, and Jim Frame.
Bottom row l. to r.: John Moran, Joe Kilby, Dan Luhtala, Fran Luhtala, Skip Thiel, Sandy Sessler, and John Bilski.