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Owsley inducted into softball hall of fame

By CHUCK LANDIS - clandis@chronicle-tribune.com

Ron Owsley still has trouble believing the recent honor he received.

The Marion resident was inducted into the USA Softball of Indiana Hall of Fame for his illustrious 15-year slow-pitch career, which included All-World Team recognition and helping his team win the ASA Major National championship. Induction took place in Bloomington.

“Oh, yeah, without a doubt I wasn’t expecting this,” Owsley said Tuesday afternoon. “I didn’t even think about it.”

Owsley knew about the softball hall of fame and that local greats such as Ronnie Carmin and Rick Atkinson and Jerry Caudill were members. All of them had been fast-pitch players, though, while except for one year he performed strictly on slow-pitch teams.

At his prime, Owsley was the leadoff hitter for the New Construction team based out of Shelbyville and reached base three out of every four times. New Construction won the ASA Major National championship, slow-pitch softball’s highest level, in 2001 and was Indiana’s No. 1-ranked team much of the time.

“We also won the Conway Twitty (tournament) in Tennessee in 2003 and that was one of the biggest tournaments I had ever been in,” Owsley said. “There was more people there than any tournament I’d been part of.”

Owsley worked for New Construction while he was on the team and it afforded him the opportunity to travel and play most nights of the week during the summer. He started out playing in the outfield and moved to second base as he got older.

After leaving New Construction, Owsley played for Faith Baptist, Bloomington, and some teams in Kentucky. The first team he played for was Box Express in the Matter Park League and he said the team did not lose a league game over a five-year period.

A bike accident several years ago hastened the end of his softball career and he quit at age 40. Until then, softball and before that baseball had consumed his life.

“I had a love for the game ever since I was little,” he said. “It was all I had ever done for more than 30 years.”  

A 1990 graduate of Bennett High School, where he was a basketball and baseball standout, Owsley remembers batting .589 his senior year for a Trojans team with a 1-18 record. He went on to play both sports for Bartlesville (Oklahoma) College and basketball for Graceland College (now closed) in New Albany.

Herb Price, an Indianapolis resident, nominated Owsley for the hall of fame.

“I have great memories from the first year to the 15th year,” Owsley said. “It was a good thing there was softball once you got out of high school. I was pretty lucky to be a part of it,”

“I have some great memories from the first year to the 15th