Park Town Hall
In 1981, the Park Town Hall softball team, sponsored by Bob Parvin, had quite a busy, yet magical season. The Loves Park-based team played well over 100 games that summer, ultimately capturing the Central Division Class B Championship in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
“We were in tournaments nearly every weekend,” said Park Town Hall manager Jerry Fiordelisi. “We just had a great season; we had terrific defense, some power hitting and a very smart team. They all gelled together well.”
In the Divisional Tournament, Park Town Hall swept through their first five games to make it to the championship game. In that game, they found themselves down 5-1 through four innings, but it could have been worse if not for a big break in the very first inning. Facing a bases-loaded-no-out situation, a line drive to the shortstop turned into a triple play, thanks in part to some treacherous field conditions that day.
“It was very muddy because it had rained all morning,” recalled Fiordelisi. “It was so muddy that after the ball was hit and caught, the runners couldn’t get back to the bases right away. Our shortstop threw to second for the second out, then to third for the triple play.”
Park Town Hall strung six straight singles together in their half of the fifth to tie the score, and later scored a pair of runs in the sixth to lead 7-5. In the seventh with the tying runs on base, it was defense that saved the day, like it had all year. A smash up the middle was grabbed by pitcher John Wood, who started a double-play. One run eventually scored, but that was it.
“Defense is what determines whether you win or lose and offense only determines by how much,” said Wood after that game. “Our defense is what got us here, but we also came through on offense.”
One member of Park Town Hall that came through at the plate in the tournament is also one of this year’s inductees, Mark Austin. Austin was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament after hitting .762 with two home runs and 16 runs batted in.
“I’ve been on a lot of teams, but I have never been on a team that keeps coming back like this one does,” said Austin. “[As for the MVP] it wouldn’t have been possible without everyone else.”
Second baseman Tom Taylor felt, as in most championships that are won, it was more than just one or two players playing well.
“It was a total team effort,” said Taylor. “Everything had been building up for us and we peaked at just the right time.”
Twenty-five years later, we honor the members of the 1981 Central Class B Divisional Championship team, the manager and the sponsor. Congratulations and welcome to the Illinois USSSA Hall of Fame.
1981 Central Class B Divisional Championship Team Members:
- Mark Austin
- Mike Carroll
- Mike Emerson
- Jerry Fiordelisi (manager)
- Larry Hinerichsen
- John “Arky” Manis
- Jim Merchant
- Gary Miles
- Kurt Stellern
- Tom Taylor
- Mike Weiskercher
- Don Wesling
- John Wood