Hall of Fame Director Mike Dykstra has announced the 2021 USA Softball of South Dakota class.
They will be officially inducted on Saturday, October, 9th at the Downtown Holiday Inn in Sioux Falls. Tickets to the banquet are $40 if bought in advance. More details will be coming.
The four inductees are:
Lon Anderson, player, manager, sponsor. Lon started playing ASA Fastpitch in 1976 with the 6th Av Bar. Other teams were Nite City, Budweiser, Taco Villa, Empire Lettering, SF Chiefs, SF Sox, and the last 20 years with the team he managed and sponsors, Scarlett O’Hara’s.
Lon, who was a catcher, shortstop and 1st baseman through the years, played 25 state champion teams at the AA, A, and over 40 master divisions. Lon’s teams finished 3rd twice, 5th, and 7th at ASA Nationals. He also played in seven ISC World Tournaments. Lon was inducted into the North American Fastpitch Hall of Fame in 2017.
Four HOF members wrote letters of recommendation, but Mike Timmerman sums it best with “Lonnie is the face for fastpitch in Sioux Falls and the South Dakota. His passion for and knowledge of the game exceed anyone, as he has earned the respect and admiration of players and coaches from all over the nation.
Congrats Lonnie Anderson, a newly elected member of the USA Softball of South Dakota Hall of Fame, nominated by Dennis Krier.
Todd “Eddie” Schuldt, player. Todd started his softball career in 1971, playing youth fastpitch in Sioux Falls. His fastpitch teams had success, the 1980 team was 18U state champs, Then again in 1981 as SD Men’s C Division champs. Todd also managed his son’s youth fastpitch teams to 3 State Championships, ‘06, ’08 and ’09.
Todd’s career blossomed in the men’s slowpitch game. In 1980, Todd along with friends from the east side of SF played in the Men’s C League. He continued to play with various teams in SF until Todd Anderson invited Todd to play on a new Sioux Falls team that could compete at the top level in SD as well as regionally and nationally.
With the beginning of John’s Shoe Repair, Todd moved from the infield to the pitching rubber. His competitive spirit, amazing glove, and a bat that hit for average as well as power, he helped lead John’s to 11 league titles, a run consecutive Division 1 state title from 2001 to 2006 and 5 National Tournament appearances.
After his run with John’s, Todd joined national power Tharaldson’s of Fargo, which was reloading at the time. Todd continued to be a force on the mound with his new team, being named MVP at a 100 team event in Vegas and 1st Team ASA All American in 2009. Tharaldson’s were ASA West National Champs that year after a 3rd place finish in the B Nationals in 2007.
Todd came back to SF to finish his career, playing for Chuck and Duck, winning the 2011 Men’s D1 State. Todd was also part of teams that won state titles in the 35&O as well as 14” state.
From the SF Men’s Board. “Todd ‘Eddie’ Schulz and the teams that he played for are the reason Men’s Slowpitch is what it is in Sioux Falls. Many players in the area strived to be as good as both he and the teams he played on were. They strived to be as good as Eddie and build their teams to play the level of Eddie’s teams.”
Congrats Todd ‘Eddie’ Schuldt, a newly elected member of the USA Softball of South Dakota Hall of Fame, nominated by Kenny Anderson Jr.
Gale ‘Lefty’ Paulson, player, started playing fastpitch softball after his senior of college baseball at SDSU. His first taste was with Clarence Kalsbeck and the Imperial Lounge of Clark. That first season Lefty help the Imperial to a 3rd place finish in state and a 2nd place finish at regional play.
After a couple of seasons with Clark, Lefty started his work and playing career in Sioux Falls. The teams' Lefty played with were like a who’s who in SF fastpitch. Mocamba Club, Drive In Radio, Nite City, Beal Bud, Schoenhards, Rollin Pin, Drake Ortho, Morrell’s Credit, Taco Villa, Service Credit Union, and Silver Stars Masters.
Lefty played on 10 South Dakota AA, 9 Masters, 3 Class B, 2 Class C State Champions. When Regional play was still a thing, his teams won the region in 1993 and took 2nd in ’73, 81, and ’85. His Morrell team played in the ASA Majors in 1990 and in 1993 his team finished 7th in a 71 team field at ASA Nationals in Vegas.
Some individual accomplishments were the John Harbeck MVP Award at the Sioux City Hall of Fame tourney while playing against national powers Penn Corp and Des Moines Bombers. Lefty was named to SD ASA All-Tournament teams 11 times in his career. Lefty hit a ground-rule double of the King, Eddie Feigner at Sioux Falls Packer Stadium in 1978.
Hall of Famer Joe Steever writes “Left is a great ballplayer as a fielder, as a batter, and more importantly a team player. I played with and against Gale for many years. He always showed a touch of class and great competitiveness on the field. Off the diamond, he is an outstanding individual.”
Congrats Gale ‘Lefty’ Paulson, a newly elected member of the USA Softball of South Dakota Hall of Fame, nominated by Arnie Schmeichel.
Gene Atwood, player, coach, sponsor, local officer, area commissioner, started playing youth fastpitch in 1965. In 1967, at the age of 14, he started played men’s league at old Pat Wyman Field. Some of the teams' Gene played for were fastpitch teams Morning Optimist, Scotts, Stockman’s Bar, The Cantina, Mocamba Club, Dunham Realty and slowpitch with Poirier Equipment.
In 1975 and 1976, the Cantina won the State Men’s B Division. A year later, while with the Mocamba they won the A division and 1982 with Dunham Realty. Gene pitched, played 3rd and 2nd, as well as the outfield.
As a youth coach, Gene’s boys and girls teams were very successful, winning league championship in both boys and girls fastpitch starting in 1982 and ending in 2010, when Gene retired from coaching. During that run his teams won over 20 league titles.
Genes team also were successful at state with the Charles Bailey team winning state championships in ’94 - ’96 and the SF Fusion teams winning ’09 – ’12. While coaching or assisting with the SF Washington Warriors high school team, Gene add state high school titles in ’02, ’06 and 2011 – 2013. The 1996 Charles Bailey team took runner-up in the boys nationals and the SF Fusion were invited to play at the Stadium in ’05 at the Hall of Fame games.
Off the field, Gene is active in the SF Youth leagues, an area commissioner for 23 years, as well as volunteering at State & Nationals softball events when in Sioux Falls. Gene has been a cornerstone in the Sioux Falls youth pitching clinics.
Hall of Famer Gerry Bills writes “Gene has played and coached both boys and girls team, with most of those teams being successful. Gene has been a mentor to those he played with and the kids he coached. His dedication to the game and willingness to volunteer speaks volumes for the love of the game.”