Legends Recognized at Woodstock Tourney 2006-2007

John Thompson of Waterloo, Ontario, compiled these very interesting biographies of the 2006-2007 Legends:


“Mound Magician”

Born – August 9, 1960

Hometown – Garden River, ON

Impact sports competitors are often referred to simply by their first names – baseball’s Babe, basketball‘s Michael, golf’s Tiger- the ultimate acknowledgement of respect.

In fastball – it’s Darren.

It was foreboding that Darren won his first ISC All-World recognition in 1992 as a member of the Vancouver Magicians, the upstart team that finished 4th in Salt Lake City. If the Babe is remembered as the “Sultan of Swat”, then surely Darren will be the “Magician of the Mound” in the memories of fastball purists.

Space limits describing Darren’s pitching exploits, but suffice it to say that his performance in Sioux City in 1995, against the top batters in the world – established an illusive bench-mark for generations to come. 69 & 2/3  score-less innings – not simply throughout the tournament - but consecutively, notching 10 wins while striking out 150 batters. Yes, it was record-setting - but he simply broke his own record for strikeouts he established in 1992.

Darren has a lengthy list of international experience with many gold medals at the Pan Am and ISF Championships

Darren is a soft-spoken gentle man, and a gentleman, regarded as a true sportsmen, possessing all the redeeming values associated with that descriptor. He’s especially proud of his Aboriginal roots and has been recognized publicly on many occasions for his role modeling for Aboriginal people.

(A little known fact – especially for Canadian hockey fans – Darren played three games of Major Junior Hockey with the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds in 1979-80).




“Versatile Skills”

Born – September 22, 1948

Hometown – Fingal, ON

A mainstay of various Memorial League teams, Steve Virag was always the nucleus of the pitching staff. As well, he was an offensive threat in the batting order

Steve got his start in softball in Fingal as a 9-year old under coach Jack Barrett, and played for Shedden Jrs. in the mid-60’s – a team that had a 58-0 record before losing 2-1 and 1-0 to Elginburg in OASA. Steve advanced to senior ranks with Port Stanley, London (various clubs), Woodstock Tornadoes and Dorchester.

Possessing moxie to complement his talent, Steve’s endurance enabled him to pitch as many as five games in a day. In 1980, he was named top pitcher in 4 tournaments and twice selected to play for Ontario (Cold Springs in in ’80 and Sarnia in ’81) in the Canadian Championships where he hurled a complete game 21 inning 1-0 win over Saskatchewan. Following a brief retirement, he enjoyed had two final seasons with Shedden in 1989-90.

One memory that Steve shared was when Ray Tilley took him deep four times… in a single game… remembered more fondly now than at the time… stating that he “at least I got touched up by a ‘great batter’”.

Steve retired in 2004 as Detective Sergeant (Fraud) from London Police Services (he played on four Ontario teams at Int. Police/Fire Games, winning three gold medals). He and his wife Toni reside in London with two sons Steve, 27 and James, 23. When not golfing, Steve volunteers for security for special events such as Tournament of Hearts and the LPGA Championship.



“Long Ball Consistency”

Born   November 12, 1947

Hometown – Ingersoll, ON

Baseball provided the early opportunity for  Dick Parker, playing for hometown Ingersoll in the 1960’s, and he contributed to a couple of local minor hardball championships. However, when baseball folded in the mid-60’s, Dick turned to fastball at age 17, and soon became an impact player.

Once he found his softball stroke, the troika of strength, confidence and an imposing stance in the batter’s box was intimidating to opposing pitchers. With switch-hitting skills acquired in his baseball career, a seldom-used trait in fastball circles, Dick hit for impressive average as a long-ball threat throughout his career that started in Ingersoll, and blossomed in Woodstock.

In 1972, in the illustrious and highly-competitive Ontario Fastball League, Dick’s  defensive acumen was impressive, but paled in comparison to his batting skill. In his inaugural OFL season, while patrolling the outfield, he batted .345 and was named a league All-Star while playing for the Woodstock Warriors.

His most memorable team-mates included Ray Tilley, lanky short-stop Bob McKinnon and Randy Hewitt, an agile 2nd baseman who provided vast ground-ball back-up for the  converted 1st baseman.

A memorable moment for Dick occurred during a match-up encounter with ace hurler Dick Hames of London Cable TV. With Jim Brown catching and a 2-2 count, an offering from Hames appeared to be thrown at Dick’s head. While Dick bailed for safety, Hamesscrewball  action nipped a corner of the plate for a called 3rd strike – a story that all three players enjoy re-telling.      

Dick resides in Ingersoll with wife Pegi, and children Tracy and Rick, with spouse Angela, and grandchildren Jordan, age 10 and Daniel, 7. Dick takes special interest in the early exploits of Jordan and Daniel who are embarking on their own baseball careers..


“Well-travelled veteran”

Born – November 24, 1954

Hometown – Fingal, ON

Larry Lynch oozes infectious enthusiasm. With a fastball career spanning almost 1/3 of a century, Larry has donned fielder’s cap, batter’s helmet,  coach’s chapeau, manager’s mantilla, and administrator’s crown. In fact Larry’s lids are somewhat indistinguishable as he has assumed a variety or concurrent roles during his memorable and on-going career.

As a player with Port Stanley in the Memorial Fastball League, a career move in 1977 to Kitchener, eventually resulted in a long-time association with the Waterloo Twins. Larry has coached in 15 ISC World Tournaments, guided his Twins to 4 Ontario Championships and was in the coaching box for one Canadian Championship with Saskatoon.

Larry’s love-affair with the game has taken him to many small-city/small-town venues spanning North America (in excess of 400,000 country miles in his fastball journeys), enjoying the thrill of winning, while being subjected like all others, to the pain if defeat… and he keeps bouncing back for more.

His passion is beyond the playing field, as he has tirelessly promoted the game. Notwithstanding his on-field stats, his devotion to senior men’s fastball has positively impacted the survival of the game in K-W, the attraction of the ISC tourneys to Kitchener, the duration of the Waterloo Men’s Classic tourney, as well as the current success of the Legends Tourney in Woodstock and the upcoming 2007 Kiwi Tour of Southwestern Ontario.



“Multi-skilled Outfielder”

Hometown – Woodstock, ON

Consistent and strong defense and timely offence oft describe a championship team. These basic components also belong to thoroughbred fastball outfielder, Dan “Doc” Werby, a natural fleet-of-foot athlete who patrolled centre field with ease, exhibiting a style that embodied grace, for his hometown Woodstock teams. As a lead-off hitter, he was a double-threat, possessing a keen “eye” at the plate, and complementing his patience with an explosive bat that consistently drove the ball to the green gaps in the outfield pastures.

His skills were but one part of his game, as his poise and leadership resulted in his being named team captain on every team for whom he donned a uniform for three decades. In the highly competitive Ontario Fastball League he twice finished second in the batting parade, and was a member of the top-ten batters in five seasons, which were rewarded with OFL All-Star selections.  

His fastball prowess was shared with many great Woodstock teams, including the Flat Tires, Hotelmen, Bengals and Tornadoes.

Among his many highlight memories, “Doc”

fondly recalls the familial ties of suiting up and sharing the fastball diamond with his three brothers, all in the same hometown lineup.




“Career Softball Lady”

Hometown – Milverton, ON

Traditionally, softball is not a career opportunity, much less an endeavor. However, Lori Sippell, the pride of South Western Ontario makes for the exception.

Lori has devoted more than half her life to fastball in mid-west America, while maintaining her Canadian roots at an elite level. The balancing act has proven to be very enjoyable and rewarding.

Lori entered Nebraska University as an enthusiastic small-town athlete in 1985, and helped the Huskers win their 2nd-ever league title, was named as the tournament MVP, and advanced to the College World Series. In 1987 and 1988, Lori captained the Huskies to two more CWS. Her university career was one of excellence   Academic All-American Player- of-the-Year and in 1995, her #16 sweater was the “first-ever” retired from the Nebraska softball team.

Back home, Lori was a 13-year member of Canada’s National Team and inducted into the Canadian Softball Hall of fame in 1993. Her career was on-again/off-again, coming out of retirement to compete for Canada in the 1998 world championships in Japan, where she fashioned a one-hit shutout over Italy.

In 2005, Lori was selected for 2006 induction into the International Softball Federation Hall of Fame.

Lori maintains international competition, using her skills acquired as an  assistant coach in the US (Kansas 1989-90 and Nebraska 1990-2002) and Associate head coach at Nebraska (2002-present) and was named as Head Coach for Canada’s National Team in March 2005, to prepare for the 2008 Olympic games.





John Thompson, Diamond Dirt, Waterloo, Ontario