1998 Pioneer Player: Nancy Stark Shirley

Nancy Stark Shirley

Nancy Stark-Shirley was a defensive mainstay who patrolled left-center field for her eight-year USSSA career. No one who knew her would try to run on her arm because they knew she would throw them out if they tried. She was a singles hitter who knew the value of moving the runners on base along to set the table for the big RBI hitters in the line-up.

Stark Shirley was named to two USSSA All-Tournament teams at the 1981 USSSA Women’s Class A World Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas and at the 1982 USSSA Women’s Class A NIT in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

Stark Shirley’s team never won a USSSA World Title (they did win the ASA Women’s Class A once), but they finished with the top teams five times, including two second place finishes in 1979 in Petersburg, Virginia and in 1981 in Hutchinson, Kansas. Her team also finished fourth at the USSSA Women’s World Tournament in 1980 in North Carolina.

Her teams collected three USSSA Women’s Class A State Titles in Illinois. Stark Shirley was named Best Defensive Player at the 1982 USSSA NIT at Sunset Park in Geneva, Illinois. She also played co-rec softball as both an outfielder and as a first baseman.

Stark Shirley’s teams included: Stroh’s Lassies, EDS, Precision Erectors and Scotties (co-rec).

1998 Pioneer Player: Pierre LaBounty

Pierre LaBounty

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Pierre LaBounty’s softball career pre-dates the USSSA in the state of Illinois. It goes back to the very first park district league ever formed in Rockford back in 1961. He played USSSA softball for eight years until he retired from the game of slow pitch softball in 1981. His main position was pitching and he played for early Illinois USSSA teams such as Diamond Bar, RMA, Schlichting Construction, Pabsts and Country North.

During his eight-year playing career, his teams went to eight USSSA State Tournaments and six USSSA World Tournaments. He was twice named MVP of a USSSA tournament and was also named to numerous USSSA All-Tournament teams. During his career, he played softball in 16 different states.

LaBounty’s love of the game always made him give everything he had to his team in an effort to win. He loved to play against the best, so playing in the USSSA softball program was a natural fit for him. He believes the USSSA has always attracted the best teams in the Midwest to its tournament program throughout the year and especially on Labor Day weekend when the Divisional and World Tournaments are held.

The Bible starts out with the words, “In the beginning…” USSSA softball in Rockford started out with Pierre LaBounty and has not been any worse off from that beginning.