2009 Female Player: Denise “Dee” Susin

Denise “Dee” Susin

Female Player 2009_Denise Susin.jpeg

When Dee’s seventh grade softball coach asked, “Is there anyone that could catch a fly ball?” little did anyone realize that this was launching a 37-year softball career for one of the most outstanding women outfielders in Illinois softball history.

While playing left field for Class A Chicagoans, she earned several national All-Tournament team selections at Sheboygan, along with Milwaukee and Cincinnati with her .573 career batting average. Her career ended with her retirement in 1992.

Born, raised, and still living on Chicago’s northwest side, she was the youngest of five, with a mother that was a huge Cubs fan. This instilled a love of the games of baseball and softball at an early age.

Dee attended Mother Guerin High School in River Grove, where she experienced her first opportunity to play organized sports under the direction of her first high school basketball coach, Gloria Kolbusz, who introduced many of Guerin athletes to AAU basketball and travel softball.

After a stellar high school career, Dee received a full ride scholarship for basketball from the University of Illinois Chicago, where she also played softball. This is where many of Dee’s teammates also became longtime team members of the Chicagoans.

She began playing USSSA softball for Stingers of Aurora and played with them in a World Tournament in Virginia. Her second World Tournament experience occurred when she participated with the Chicago Wind at Hutchinson, Kansas.

Softball has given me so many lifelong friends that I could never imagine my life without.
— Denise Susin

Even though Dee’s 14 years of on field USSSA participation are ones to remember, perhaps her most memorable off field achievement took place at the Detroit World Tournament; in an attempt to amuse her teammates, she ran full speed into the inflatable Miller Lite bottle, nearly resulting in putting her on the disabled list. She never did anything half speed.

Dee admits, “My long-term commitment and fondest memories are the many years playing with the Chicagoans.”

Even though she played mostly left field, she also played all other outfield and infield positions. She even pitched some, resulting in one of her most outstanding softball accomplishments when she combined with teammates (Herbert and Malpede) to toss a complete game no-hitter at the State Tournament.

Dee summarized her participation in softball by saying, “Softball has given me so many lifelong friends that I could never imagine my life without.”

For the Chicagoans and the Illinois Hall of Fame, we cannot imagine what it would be without Denise “Dee” Susin.

2009 Female Player: Cinda Liefer

Cinda Liefer

Cinda Liefer.jpeg

Perhaps no one has hustled their way into the Illinois Hall of Fame the way Cinda Liefer has, as the speedy outfielder from Red Bud consistently turned routine singles into doubles for her Dashners team.

Cinda describes herself as a walking scab, due to the numerous scrapes and scars she has accumulated through her years of playing a sport she loves. Those on-diamond battle wounds define the success that she has found over her numerous years of participation, and she still plays with the same competitive spirit as she did during those years of 200 plus game seasons in the late ‘80s.

Cinda led her Dashners squad to several State Tournament titles during her 12 years of USSSA play from 1985 through 1997, while also earning a State Tournament Most Valuable Player nod prior. In 1989, she found her greatest softball thrill, as her beloved Dashners team finished eighth in the Class C World Tournament in Muncie, Indiana, which was their best finish in many visits to World Tournament play.

For Cinda, who batted over .600 during all 12 years of her USSSA competition, the game has always been about the team as she states, “I strive to do anything for my team and help my teammates succeed.”

Softball is my life and I would not do anything differently if done over.
— Cinda Liefer

At her softball peak, Cinda registered an outstanding season in 1988 with a .710 batting average and 206 doubles.

At age of 50, Cinda still competes, as her thrill of competition has not dwindled. She states, “Softball is my life and I would not do anything differently if done over.”

She is also very grateful to the USSSA organization, which provides opportunity to so many with their leadership and tournaments provided, while also praising the USSSA umpires for a job well done.

Cinda has shown us all what effort can provide, as she has successfully hustled and hit her way into the Illinois USSSA Hall of Fame.