The following four were selected to be inducted into the USA Softball of South Dakota. The banquet for the 2018 class will be Oct. 13 at the Sioux Falls Downtown Holiday Inn. More details to come.
Thez Langbehn Huron, SD Area Youth & Deputy Co-ed Commissioner
Thez who worked for the Park Department in Huron before retiring got involved on the state level as an area commissioner for Youth Fastpitch in 1982. In 1984 Youth Slowpitch grabbed her and made area commissioner for the Huron area. In 1994 she became the State Youth Slowpitch President and held that position until 2015 when she retired after 35 years of combined service.
Recognizing her value, she was appointed Deputy Commissioner for Co-ed softball in 1992. It was a program that she lead and help grow. Thez's drive grew the state tournament to record numbers, with the most being 98 teams playing State. With her guidance, Co-ed created a second division which was very successful in getting more teams to play at state.
While serving as the Deputy she was also a valuable part of the ASA Executive Council. In 1987 Thez was presented the Distinguished Service Award by ASA of SD. In Thez's real job, she was honored by Hershey Track with the Achievement Award in 1992. In 2011 SD Parks and Rec awarded Thez the Professional Service Award. Two years later the Midwest (6 states) Region Parks and Rec Awarded Thez the Distinguished Professional Service Award. This award is given to 1 person in the 6 state region per year.
In 2017 Thez retired from all of her duties so she could spend more time with her family. "35 years of giving to the ASA/USA program of SD is a very long, loving, dedicated, and privilege to give back to the softball program."
Congrats Thez Langbehn!
Dawn McInroy Sioux Falls, SD Women’s Slowpitch player
This lefty shortstop played at high level for 24 years, starting her career with the Aspen Lounge in 1984, Clem's from '89 to '00 and finishing with the Ramkota from 2001 to 2007. She also played in the men's fall league for 4 years.
Dawn's teams were State D1 champs with Clems in '97 and '98. Then again in D1 with Ramkota in '05 and '06. Those same two years Dawn was also part of the Clems/Boomers over 35 champs. In 1996 Dawn played on the Women's Modified State Champs. Pretty impressive career but she was not done as she played on D1 Co-ed champs in '97, '02, and '04. Not a bad State Tournament resume especially when you throw in four 2nd place, three 3rd place, and a 4th place finish.
Dawn had success at the National level also, with a 5th place finish in 1991 in Plano, Tx. Although her team went 0-2 in Bloomington in 1996, they came back to take 3rd in Class C in Grand Forks in 1998. Then in 2007 Dawn got her highest finish at Nationals when they took 2nd in the Co-ed Major.
She was an 18-time South Dakota Division 1 All-tournament selection. Again she added to those awards with an ASA Class C Women's 1st Team All American in 98 and at the 2007 Major Co-ed Nationals, she came home with her second 1st Team All-American honor.
Softball is not her only athletic talents, as Dawn was a letter winner at Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls. She has been a SDHSAA Basketball Official sinde 1999. Been selected to officate 5 "AA" State Tournaments. Has worked volleyball since 2003, working many districts and regionals as well as a volunteer official at the Tri-state Basketball tournaments in SF.
Dawn is also a 5 time club champion in golf at the Brandon course.
Congrats Dawn McInroy!
Bob Billotto Eureka, SD Umpire
Bob came to SD from the East Coast as a teacher and coach. When he got to Henry they got him started in his softball career playing at old Sioux Valley Diamond outside of Watertown.
It did not take Bob long to switch his playing career into an umpiring career as he started umping in 1980 in Watertown. Shortly after he moved to Eureka to teach and coach. But he continued to umpire in the Aberdeen league as well as doing tournaments almost every weekend.
Bob has worked the State Men's B/C (open) every year from 1985 to 2012. But Bob was never the guy that thought he should just do the top teams and no one else. He also umpired the State Youth from 1990 to 2010, Women's from 1981 to 1995 and the 14" State from '85 to '12. Bob Starting working Regionals in 1985 and worked every year until they were discontinued.
In 1985 Bob worked the Women's Nationals in Austin, Mn in 1985, Men's A in Duluth, Mn in 1986, Men's 12" Major in Parma, Oh in 1987, and 16" Men's A in Joliet, Il in 1987.
Bob was named JO Youth Slowpitch UIC in 2015 after being the Assistant UIC for 5 years. Was the UIC for the Girl's Slowpitch Nationals in 2017, President of the Aberdeen Umpires Asociation since 2000. In 2000 he was awarded the National Indicator Award for his National Tournament accomplishments.
In his teaching/coaching career, Bob was Girl's Track Coach of the year in 2003, Lower Level Basketball Coach of the year for Region 1-4 in 2004, and National Assistant Coach of the Year in 2014.
Tim Steinwandt of Aberdeen summed up Bob this way. "He umpired 2 nights a week in Aberdeen for years. But what made the special was Bob lived in Eureka which is a 75-mile drive one way...for league games. What is probably greater than his umpire ability is his character. Bob's faith in God is very important to him. He doesn't only talk it, he lives it. He is concerned about how people are doing in their everyday lives and willing to help any way he can. His wisdom and common sense is a great asset to our game."
Congrats Bobby Billoto!
Arnie Schmeichel Sioux Falls, SD Player Men’s Fastpitch
For those who know Arnie, they would be surprised to know that Arnie was nominated by an umpire! Hall of Fame Umpire Warren Kramer "It was clear from the beginning that Arnie was a player that everyone knew and respected. He was a complete player, being able to play offense and defense with the best."
Kramer goes on to say that he did have to throw Arnie and another player out once for arguing....before the game had even started.
"Then I had to let him back in because the other guy had a broken leg and could play anyway! Arnie never has thank me! Arnie was an inspiration to all who played and showed players how it should be done."
Arnie played 30 years for different Sioux Falls sponsors including Waterhole, Macamba Club, Nite City, Drive-In Radio, Beal Bud, Schoenhard's, Rollin Pin, Drake Ortho, Morrell CU, and Scarlett starting in 1973 and finished in 2002. His teams were state champs in '74, '77, '78, '81, '82, '84 - '88, '90, '91 in the Open Division, He was state championships teams in the Masters (over 40) '93 - '96 and also won the State B division in '93 and '96.
In 1974, Waterhole won the state which had 64 teams and was still a single elimination event.
Arnie and his teams played in 4 nationals, '90. '93, '94. '96 finishing 7th out of 71 teams in '93.
One of Arnie's career memories was one year he played with brothers Arlo and Arwin as well as son Brent. Together they won a state title.
When asked to sum up his career. "I Love the Game!"