Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lawrenceville Merchants Girls Softball Team 1940

Lawrence County News July 31, 1958
“About 1937 or 1938 the game of softball came to Lawrenceville  in full flourish, and by 1940 had become a sport in which the fairer sex was just about as interested as the men and boys. The picture above is of the Lawrenceville Merchants Girls Team, the Wabash Valley champions in 1940.

They were the pride and joy of the late Arthur ‘Red’ Phillips and Conway ‘Connie’ Gariepy. ‘Red’ was highly respected and loved by his girls and he was never too busy to stop and talk with them at any time. It is in tribute to ‘Red’ Phillips, his love of the game and young people, that we submit this picture.

Reading from left to right the front row pictures Wanda Baker  (Conrad) whose position was first base; Bett M. Moore, catcher and left field; Norma Erwin, shortstop; Iwana Wilson (Eckiss), short field; Evelyn Hodges (Smith), third base; Dorothy Toliver (Wolfe), second base; Mildred Caudell (Sager), pitcher.

On the back row are A. W. ‘Red’ Phillips, manager; Maxine Palmer (Cummins), pitcher; Patty Scaggs, centerfield; Wanda Ray (Hartz), right field; Myrna Schmiedeskamp, left field, Maxine McDonald (Ronk), catcher; Marjorie Bowman (Boles), centerfield; Hope Jackman (Starwalt), centerfield; Conway  ‘Connie’ Gariepy, coach. In parentheses are the girls’ married names.

The Lawrenceville Merchants girls softball team took first place in the Wabash Valley softball tournament after defeating a tough Terre Haute team by only one run in a 10-inning playoff. The tournament was played in Marshall for several weeks, and the winning team was awarded a fair cash  purse for the victory. The girls enjoyed a fried chicken banquet and were presented individual gifts of sterling silver softball charms inscribed Wabash Valley 1940.

Teams entered in the Wabash Valley tournament included teams from Terre Haute, Paris, Robinson, Oblong, Marshall, Libertyville, Vincennes, and of course Lawrenceville.

Both ‘Red’ and ‘Connie’ were interested in the betterment of teenage physical education and worked many long hours toward this goal in coaching their girls to victory in the 1940 tournament, as well as the whole season, and several years following. However, the 1940 season was the most rewarding record their team racked up – not only did the girls take the Wabash Valley championship, but also compiled a seasonal record of 41 wins and only eight defeats.”

How many counties in the USA are named Lawrence?  Come to Monday's meeting (June 24th) 7:00 pm and find out!