XENIA — As a six-year-old kid, Tracy Hall would lean a plywood board against his dad’s garage door and practice throwing against it. And his throws still eventually dented the door!
Some 60 years later, Hall is being recognized along with six other softball figures from the Miami Valley area at the 13th USSSA Legends of the Game softball weekend, June 16 at the Kettering Softball Fields in Dayton.
Hall has been a standout softball player, coach and league commissioner in area softball leagues. More recently, he’s been either a player or coach for the St. Mark’s Episcopal softball team, which plays in the Fairborn Parks and Recreation Church League, Recreation Division on Thursday evenings.
“It hasn’t really sunk in for me yet, but I know this means a lot to me,” Hall said. “A regular East Dayton kid who had great parents, great support and good coaches all along the way up through, and I’m honored. … I always was taught to hit the ball low and hard, and play hard. That’s how I coach today, too.
“You put the ball in play, and give the defense a chance to make a mistake.”
Hall, George Flake of Beavercreek, Mike George of Bellbrook, longtime softball event sponsor Dr. John Urse of Orthopedic Associates, DeGraff’s Curt Roach, along with Donnie Brewer and Bob Kender of Dayton, will be recognized at around 12:30 p.m. at the Men’s Class C, D, and E tournament. The ceremony will take place at Jim Gift Field, diamonds 18-20, near the park’s concession stand.
Today, Hall serves as the league commissioner for Fairborn’s Tuesday and Thursday Church Leagues.
“The Recreation Division (on Thursday’s) is pretty serious softball. The Tuesday league is more a social gathering,” Hall explained. “The whole idea behind the Fairborn Church Softball Leagues is for us to get together, have a good time playing softball, make some new friends and walk out of here under our own power.”
Hall, a longtime fixture on Riverside’s St. Mark’s Episcopal team, began playing when the Fairborn league’s formed back in 1975. Back then, St. Mark’s was joined by Fairborn United Methodist, Abiding Christ Lutheran, Mary Help of Christian, St. Timothy, and First Presbyterian of Fairborn.
Today, the Recreation Division has St. Mark’s, Arrowbrook Baptist, Maple Avenue Church of God’s B team, Abiding Christ Lutheran, Huber Mennonite, Medway United Methodist and Spinning Road Baptist churches in the seven-team league.
The eight-team Social Division has One Love Church’s A and B teams, Maple Avenue Church of God’s A team, along with Central Avenue Church of Christ, Christ Church of Bellbrook, Northridge Freewill Baptist, Redeemer Orthodox Presbyterian and Vandalia Nazarene.
“There’s a lot of good ballplayers in our leagues, but we can always use more. I think there’s fewer young guys on our leagues right now, so maybe this article can encourage them to come on out and have fun with us,” Hall said.
Fans of the game are invited to come out to either the Church League games at Fairborn’s Fairfield Park, located at 687 N. Broad Street, behind the Jack Schmitt auto dealership. Or they’re welcome to come celebrate with Hall and his friends on Saturday for the “Legends of the Game” tournament.
As Hall says on his invitation flyer, “…bring a chair and some shade, and come share in the joy!”