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Five to be inducted into Metro Omaha Softball Hall of Fame

Five to be inducted into Metro Omaha Softball Hall of Fame

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Nearly 150 years of involvement in Omaha softball will be represented when Steve Crampton, Tony DeLeon Jr., Brad Guenther, Bob Higgins and Jim Johnsen are inducted Nov. 5 into the Metro Omaha Softball Hall of Fame.

Tickets are $60 apiece for the ceremony and banquet at Anthony's Steakhouse. Social hour is from 6 to 7 p.m. and the dinner and program follow. Contact the hall of fame at 402-669-7152 for more information.

The inductees:

Steve Crampton

A 20-year slow pitch career took Crampton to 10 states for regional and national tournaments with teams that were consistently in contention for top national honors.

Crampton was a sophomore starter on the Millard North baseball team and earned all-state honors in 1983, then all-conference honors two consecutive years at Iowa Western. His career at Nebraska was cut short because of injury.

He later joined the Scottsman Ice, which won multiple Housch-Minor league titles and played for the 18th Amendment, Omaha Frame Company, O'Tooles, Don Carmelos Pizza, Micky Finns, TL Lynes Printing and Prosperity Mortgage.

Considered one of Omaha's top hitters with an ability to hit for average and power, Crampton had a career batting average over .700

Tony DeLeon Jr. 

DeLeon's softball career spanned nearly 40 years. He began playing at 17 and played until he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1970.

After his military service, he founded the Omaha Los Santos men's fast pitch team and served as player/coach for 25 years.

Brad Guenther

In a 22-year career, Guenther started every game on some of the most successful slow pitch teams in state history. He spent his final 10 years with the T's 13 squad. He often served as manager, coach and infielder and claimed more than 2,000 wins in his career and accumulated a .800 win percentage.

He played on teams that won 17 Nebraska state championships and claimed 10 top-five finishes in national and world tournaments with the Amateur Softball Association and USSSA. In 2006, 2008 and 2015 he earned All-America honors at national level events.

He finished his career with a .675 on-base percentage.

Bob Higgins

Higgins' took up the sport by chance, when Bob Wahl of Wahl Optical asked him to join his slow-pitch team. Higgins spent his entire 19-year career, starting in 1981, with the Wahl squad.

Before that, Higgins earned all-state honors in football, basketball and baseball at Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson.

Jim Johnsen

Johnsen's career has spanned 73 years. He played men's fast pitch for some 20 years, but his career mostly focused on slow pitch, as he typically played three to four times per week.

A 1954 graduate of Omaha North, Johnsen returned from a stint with the Army and embarked on a career at the old Western Electric plant from 1966-1999. He played in the company's closed league and multiple others, including the old 32-team morning industrial league.

He also made his mark in the Nebraska Senior Softball organization, starting with the group from its origin 20 years ago. He was a fixture on the "Old School Legends" team (ages 60 and 65-plus) that won multiple regional and national titles from 2005 to 2010. In 2008, he earned All-America status as the OSL team claimed a national title.

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