ASA Inducts 2009 National Softball Hall of Fame Class; 2010 Inductees Announced

November 13, 2009

Reno, NV

For Immediate Release: 11/11/09

ASA Inducts 2009 National Softball Hall of Fame Class; 2010 Inductees Announced

RENO, Nevada -
  The Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA) inducted eight members on Wednesday evening to its National Softball Hall of Fame as ASA celebrated its 29th Annual Hall of Fame Induction celebration. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the 2010 class was announced with 10 members nominated for induction next year.

The four players inducted this evening included Leah O’Brien-Amico, Corona, Calif. (Fast Pitch Player); Al Yeager, Seymour, Conn. (Fast Pitch Player); Allyson Rioux, (Deceased)-Stamford, Conn. (Fast Pitch Player); Jeff Seip, Boyertown, Pa. (Fast Pitch Player).

The non-players inducted were Benny Bunch (Deceased) of Enid, Okla., (meritorious service), R.B. Thomas of Manassas, Va. (manager) and umpires Newton Buckner of Brooklyn, N.Y and Tony Walsh of Memphis, Tenn.

The Class of 2009 increases the membership in the National Softball Hall of Fame to 353 since it was established in 1957. Formal inductions were started in 1981 and since 2001 the induction has been held as the closing banquet the ASA National Council meeting.
Leah O’Brien-Amico
Leah O’Brien-Amico earned ASA All-America honors six times during her career and was a member of three Olympic gold-medal winning teams in 1996, 2000 and 2004. She posted a .313 batting average in 15 highly competitive events during her career, ranging from the Pan American Games to the Olympics. O’Brien-Amico was an outstanding clutch player throughout her career and starred playing the outfield or first base.
Allyson Rioux
Allyson Rioux, who is only the second Hall of Famer elected posthumously, played 10 years for the Raybestos Brakettes before she passed away on February 9, 1989 of a brain tumor. She was a member of five ASA National Championship teams and four National runner-ups. In 1985, she won not only the prestigious Erv Lind Award as the outstanding defensive player in the National Championship, but also the tournament’s MVP award. She is the 20th former Brakette elected to the Hall of Fame.
Jeff Seip
Fellow 2009 Hall of Famer Jeff Seip of Boyertown, Pa., also collected a batting championship during his career (1976-1990), batting .500 to lead the 1983 ASA National Championship in batting. One of the most feared hitters in Men’s Major Fast Pitch during his career, Seip awed fans with his outstanding power and consistent RBI totals, hitting 18 homers and driving in 43 runs in National Championship play. He earned All-America honors six times. In 1976, he was a member of the USA Team that shared the gold medal in the ISF World Championship and in 1984 was a pick-up player for the Franklin Cardinals who represented the USA in the World Championship in Midland, Mich. Twice Seip helped teams win ASA National titles (1977-1978) and led his team to a pair of gold medals in two of the four Olympic Festivals he participated in.
Al Yeager
Yeager, who starred for the Raybestos Cardinals from 1965-1981, is the 12thformer Cardinal elected to the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame. Raybestos has the second most number of former players elected to the Hall of Fame. Only the Clearwater, Fla. Bombers have more of their players in the Hall of Fame with 22. An outfielder, Yeager was a member of four National Championships teams and had a career .298 batting average. Yaeger earned All-America honors three times and also led the 1971 ASA National Championship in batting (.455).
Newton Buckner
Newton Buckner umpired from 1981 through 2001 and worked nine ASA National Championships, including eight Men’s Modified Pitch Nationals. In five of the championships, he was selected to work the plate in the championship game. Buckner was named New York City UIC in 1981 and the association was later changed to Southern New York.  In 1992, Newton became a member of the National Indicator Fraternity and a year later was ISF certified in modified pitch.

Tony Walsh
Tony Walsh started his umpiring career in 1979 and worked five ASA National Championships between 1981 and 2003. In 1988, he was named to the ASA National Umpire staff representing the Southwest Region and remained a member of that staff until 2001. He is a member of the ASA National Indicator Fraternity and the ASA Medals program.

R.B. Thomas
R.B. Thomas has been the manager of the Thomas Engineering team the past 31 years, leading the team to eight ASA National Championships in 19 appearances. The National Championships have included two in the 50 plus division, two in the 55 plus division and four in the 60 plus division. Besides being the team’s manager, R.B. has sponsored from one to five teams every year since 1978. During his career, he has sponsored 43 teams with 11 winning ASA Nationals. He is the 26th manager elected to the ASA Hall of Fame.

Benny Bunch
Bennie Bunch, the 39th person named in meritorious service, unfortunately passed away on Sept. 16, 2009 but was honored to have been nominated into induction. Bunch was involved with the Oklahoma ASA since 1969 and had been instrumental in the growth and improvements the Association has experienced the last 40 years. A former player, Bunch played or coached in 32 state tournaments and served as the ASA rep at 12 ASA National Championships. He helped his hometown of Enid, Okla., host 11 ASA Nationals.

The 2010 class includes five players, one commissioner, two umpires and two for meritorious service. The five players include: Carl Solarek (old-timer); Fast Pitch Player, Suzy Brazney; Fast Pitch Player, Jody Hennigar; Fast Pitch Player, Norbert Worken; Fast Pitch Player and Mike Schenk; Slow Pitch Player.
E.T. Colvin of Mississippi was nominated in the commissioner category while Richard Ribby and Cheryl Simmons were selected as umpires.  Ronnie Isham and Guy Demaio will be inducted for meritorious service.

The 2010 induction ceremony will take place on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 in Shreveport, La. at the Shreveport Hilton.  For more information on the ASA National Hall of Fame contact Holly Krivokapich at

About ASA
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation's largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 77 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 210,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit
About USA Softball
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men's, Women's, Junior Boys' and Junior Girls' National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women's National Team is one of the only two women's sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won eight World Championship titles including the last six consecutive as well as claimed two World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit

Holly Krivokapich
Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications
ASA/USA Softball

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