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While the upper echelon of amateur softball is dominated by quasi-professional players, there are thousands of lower-rung leagues and tournaments in which just getting enough people to show up is a victory. Here, a sampling of teams that did a little better than that
When Indianapolis-based Andretti Autosport is not helping the likes of Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick win races, the company kills on the softball field, winning the USSSA's Men's Corporate B World Tournament last year. "Working on race cars, we have pretty good chemistry," says chief mechanic/second baseman Keith Badger.
Coed softball has countless leagues of its own, among them the New York Corporate Co-Ed Softball League, which was won last year by the law firm Frommer, Lawrence & Haug. They can't defend their title, however. Key players "left for the DC office," explains infielder/associate Philip Kouyoumdjian.
Kentucky Steel Erectors, which constructs warehouse stores for Wal-Mart (WMT), Sam's Club, and Home Depot (HD), won the 2009 American Softball Assn.'s Men's Industrial Slow Pitch Championships "We'd finished second for a couple years," says Craig Tincher, a company vice-president who is also a star pitcher, "so we weren't shocked we finally won."
The 2009 winner of Atlanta's Architects & Engineers Softball League was the consulting and engineering firm Newcomb & Boyd, recently selected to engineer the sustainably designed dormitories at Emory University. The secret to its success, says IT manager Chris Sullins, is less indomitable talent than "we had a group of guys committed to showing up."
The Outback Steakhouse chain holds its own double-elimination tournament for Northeast franchises, awarding the Koala Kup. The 2009 winner was Southington, Conn., which edged Yonkers, N.Y., 9-6 in the finals. It was a miraculous turnaround for Southington, which finished 17th the year before. "We had tryouts and scrimmages," explains managing partner Ryan Lucas.