Louise Mazzuca

 

Was born December 23, 1939 and graduated from Stadium High School in 1958 and from Portland State University in 1982. She began playing softball at age 11 in various park leagues and honed her game as a youngster by playing against the boys in her neighborhood including Joe and Tony DeRosa who would later play on Stadium’s state championship basketball team of 1958.  In the summer of 1955, at age 15, Louise joined the Hollywood Boat & Motor fastpitch team. The team was coached by Margaret Zepeda with Carl Benson, her brother-in-law, serving as the assistant coach.

After three seasons with HB&M, where she learned considerably more about the game of fastpitch and about how to pitch, she was recruited to Oregon to play for the Forest Grove Meadowlarks in 1958. It didn’t take long for coaches and players to recognize the talent she possessed and for the next three seasons she played for the nationally-ranked Erv Lind Florists out of Portland.

In Mazzuca’s first season with the Florists, the 19 year-old found herself pitching in the finals of the world championships. Her opponent was the great Bertha Ragan Tickey and the incomparable Raybestos Brakettes of Stratford, CT. In the final game, Louise was instructed by her manager, Harvey Oberg, to intentionally walk Brakette catcher, Mickey Macchietto-the big hitter for Raybestos at the time—which loaded the bases. The next batter stroked a single to right field and the winning run scored with the Brakettes defeating Erv Lind Florists, 1-0 in nine innings.

Ragan held the Portland club to one hit and Louise gave up four hits to the defending champions. Enroute to the finals, Mazzuca threw two no-hit games and three shutouts to share the spotlight with Ragan as the tournament’s top pitchers.

A repeat performance was in the cards again in 1960 when Ragan was matched against Mazzuca in the title game of the ASA World Championships, played before 18,000 fans at Memorial Field in Stratford, CT. Mazzuca’s efforts were superlative throughout the tournament as she threw three no-hitters and struck out 75 batters in 45 innings. But, Ragan again pitched her team to a victory in the finals over the Portland club and she and Louise shared the Most Valuable Player award honors for a second straight year.

A three-time first team All-American in 1959, 1960, and 1961 while with the Erv Lind Florists, Louise still holds the record for most no-hitters thrown in a National Championship tournament with three in 1961. She accomplished this record-setting feat at Normandale Park in Portland in front of a home crowd but the Florists still failed to make the finals.

Mazzuca’s career continued in California where she pitched for the highly-regarded Whittier Gold Sox from 1962-64, the Huntington Park Blues in 1965, and the Buena Park Gold Sox in 1966.

From 1959-62 Louise was on a par with the best pitchers in the country and was easily one of the hardest-throwing, most feared and successful hurlers in the game. During her career she hurled 35 no-hitters and nine perfect games. She also pitched against the Portland Beavers Class AAA Pacific Coast League team and was inducted into the Northwest Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.

Her most impressive feat was in the 1964 regional tournament, when she pitched a seven-inning game that her team won, took a 20 minute rest, and then pitched against Joan Joyce and the Orange, California, team. This epic classic between two of the greatest pitchers in the world lasted 29 innings before Orange won, 1-0. In the space of one night, Mazzuca pitched a total of 36 consecutive innings.

Louise was inducted into the Tacoma-Pierce County Baseball-Softball Oldtimers Hall of Fame in 1995 and into the Tacoma-Pierce County Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. In 2007, she was enshrined in the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame, only the second female from the state of Washington to receive this honor.