2011 Female Player: Glenda S. Junge

Glenda S. Junge

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This self-taught softball veteran began playing softball 50 years ago while in grade school when she played against all the boys in the neighborhood. This experience provided her outstanding fundamentals and, most of all, confidence.

It is evident that Glenda has taught herself well, as she has a lofty lifetime .650 batting average and recorded over 1,500 round trippers in her career. She has acquired numerous state tournament accolades as well as NIT and World Tournament team selections.

Her resume of teams that she has played for reads like a book of Who's Who of Southern Illinois softball. She began her competitive career with Fults in 1966. After 9 years of success with Fults, she moved on to participate with the Class B State Champion and USSSA World Champion Hecker Miller Lite for 10 seasons. That led her to compete with Dashners from 1986 through 1991, where she captured another State Yitle and 9th and 10th World Tournament placements. Following that, she competed with the Co-Ed teams of The Marauders and Miller Lite Misfits before playing with Wells Fargo. She presently participates with two outstanding squads, the Arch Rivals and the 60+ senior team of Sho-Me.

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With Sho-Me, Glenda had her most memorable softball experience as she met 4 ladies from "A League of Their Own" in Phoenix, AZ, while participating in the Senior World Tournament.

Glenda has participated with many great players over the years and mentions Deb Germann, Cinda Liefer, Linda Byron, Sandy Mason, Jeri Mueller and Judy Kaiser as only a few. Surrounding herself with such talent has allowed her to understand the word team, stating, "We win as a team, we lose as a team. It is always a team effort!"

That has always been her approach to the game, and she wants to be remembered as being a great teammate that gave 100%, got along with everyone and always tried to help others.

The Illinois USSSA Hall of Fame was created for those like Glenda who, after 50 years of softball participation, still has the burning desire to play the game without regret.

2011 Female Player: Mary Gifford

Mary Gifford

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Mary Gifford's career highlights include several unexpected events, as she was the first Rockford woman softball player to hit a home run over the fence at Forrest Hills Diamonds and the first Rockford player to hit a home run over the fence at a World Tournament contest. She has coached both youth and adult co-rec teams and ran Boone County Fairgrounds Park for 8 years. She was also a USSSA director and was awarded the Illinois State League Director's Award in 1996.

Mary has a list of teams that she has played for as long as her leg and each holds special memories for the 43-year diamond veteran, whether they were competitive or just played the game for fun.

She began playing USSSA softball with the Betty Bremer Realty team from Belvidere in 1976, which launched her to a Class C state championship with the Northern Illinois Stars in 1982. After playing stints with 3C's and Town Hall, she hooked up with Prairie Moon Saloon to finish 2nd in Class A state and 5th in Class A world.

Other outstanding teams on her long term resume include Jerry's Garage, King Potter, Blackhawk Athletic Club, Hulsebus Chiropractic, Carters, Rainbow Separations, Northern Diamonds Concordia Lanes, Freedom Graphics and a present stop with Settimi Fetters with whom she captured a 2010 National Title.

While possessing a lifetime batting average over .600 and a best season mark of .782, she was always a threat at the plate, while being selected to several all-state teams.

Her many memories span from hitting numerous home runs over the fence, to playing in the middle of the night at the Class A World Tournament, to pitching a no-hitter. However, the most memorable was being selected MVP of the 2010 National Tournament, 30  years after capturing her first MVP selection in 1982.

Mary also listed Toodie Moss, Wendy Fudge, Sheila Eversole, Barb Beimal along with numerous others, as the best players she has played with. She credits her father in leading her to the game of softball and teaching her the fundamentals. She thanks Tim Fetters for giving her a chance to continue playing competitively.

As a younger player, Mary had all the softball attributes - speed, power, defense and offensive technique - but as she got older, she provided even more to her team through her knowledge and being a good teammate. That is what she wants to be remembered for when her playing days end.

Mary realizes that many friendships and memories that the game of softball has bestowed upon her over the many years can be traced to the efforts and support of the USSSA, Brenda Paulson, great coaches, fans, tournament directors and most of all her family. She also thanks the Hall of Fame Committee for this tremendous honor.