Stacie Townsend is from Orlando, Florida, but her father was born and grew up in England and Stacie joined the GB Women's Fastpitch Team in 2005 at the age of 17. Although she only showed glimpses of her talent that summer as a pitcher and infielder, by 2006 Stacie was pitching and winning games in the ISF World Championships in Bejing, helping the GB Team, which had entered on a wild card, to a surprising 10th place finish.
After Stacie left high school and was recruited to NCAA Division 1 University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), her softball career took off. During her four years at UTEP, she set every school record for pitching and became the face of UTEP softball. For the GB Women, Stacie became the team's #1 pitcher in 2007, and in 2009 led the GB Women to a highest-ever second place finish at the European Championships and to a first-ever World Championship qualification.
From 2009 through 2012, Stacie was the team's top pitcher and hitter and her work ethic, game awareness, sense of humour and support for her teammates was at the core of the team's success. The GB Women came third in European Championships in 2011 and again qualified for World Championships in 2012, where, as in 2010, they finished as the 11th best team in the world.
In addition to some stunning pitching performances, including a no-hitter against the world's #7 team Chinese Taipei in the 2012 World Championships, Stacie was the sixth-best hitter in the 2010 World Championships in Venezuela and the second best hitter in the 2012 World Championships in Canada, where she was voted to the tournament's All-World Team. As a pitcher, she also led the tournament in innings pitched and strikeouts.
In an era when world-class pitchers achieve much of their success with sheer speed, Stacie was different – and a joy to watch. Her success came from movement on a variety of pitches, subtle changes of speed and the ability to out-think opposing hitters, often tying them up in knots.
Stacie retired from GB Softball after the World Championships in 2012 to pursue her post-graduate studies in law, and will complete her degree and be admitted to the bar later this year.
Martin Cartledge started his playing career in 1996 with the team that was the Cilag, then the Earl Howe and then the Windsor Dodgers in the Windsor & Maidenhead League, but has also played A-grade softball with the Stingrays, Baker Tomkins and the Windsor Knights, and has been the team captain on many of the teams he has played for. He was the Male MVP when the Earl Howe Dodgers won the BSF Co-ed Slowpitch National Championships in 1997.
Martin was selected to play with the GB Slowpitch Team as an outfielder at the first European Championships in 1998, and rejoined the team in 2006. He has European Championship winner's medals from 1998, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2011, and is one of only two players to represent GB Slowpitch in three different decades.
After retiring as a GB player after the 2011 season, Martin has since re-joined the team as a coach, and as such has another winner's medal from last summer's European Championships in Pardubice.
Martin was not the flashiest or most noticeable player on any of the GB Teams he played for, but was an utterly reliable line drive hitter and a consistent outfielder who read the ball well and always made the right throw. He was a student of the game and played with great intelligence as well as a quiet passion.
Apart from his playing career, Martin served as the Chair of the Windsor & Maidenhead League from 2009-2011 and as slowpitch softball's representative on the British Athletes Commission, and has always been happy to get involved in coaching, supporting and advising with his club teams and with schools programmes in the Thames Valley area.
David Baird was introduced to softball when, as a student, he did a work placement around 1988 at a London design studio that had a team called The Bureaux in the Designers Softball League. He was given no choice about playing, but one game and he was hooked. He came back to work for the same firm after graduating, bought a pair of trainers and his first glove and has been with the teams that evolved from The Bureaux – the 69ers and the Niners – all the way up until the Niners finally gave up the ghost in 2013.
Around 1990, David ventured into the world of competitive Men's League softball with one of London's most interesting teams, LFG or Live from the Ghetto, and seeing teams like Zoo Crew and Raiders really opened his eyes to the complexity of the sport.
As the 69ers and Niners became more competitive and moved through the Ad League into the GLSML and eventually became a top A-grade tournament team, David become the key player that the team relied on for his playing ability, his negotiation skills, his coaching and base coaching and his constant upbeat attitude. He ran the team for its last five seasons, and no matter how competitive the softball became, the 69ers/Niners managed to maintain a fun-and-friend aspect that has always been very important to David and his teammates.
David also played for many years for LNZ in the GLSML and currently plays for H2O.
When a GB Slowpitch Team was first formed and went for a training/competition tour to Tifton, Georgia in 1997, David was on that trip, and he subsequently played in five European Championships as an outfielder, pitcher and occasional infielder. He was excellent at any position and his speed, allied with a great line drive stroke, made him a significant offensive threat.
Once David realised that softball could be played competitively, the game for him was always about improving and trying to get better.
David has been a high-level BASU umpire for many years, helped refine the rules for Indoor softball when the sport was just beginning and has always been a huge fan and promoter of the game. His wife Elissa, herself in the BSF Hall of Fame as a softball organiser, said, “The seductiveness of softball for David has been being able to combine competitive sports, family, friends and fun. Not many sports offer all of these things.”
Russ Snow was a world-class fastpitch softball pitcher and player when he first arrived in the UK from his home town of San Diego, California, and as a player-coach led the London Meteors Men’s Team to the 1996 European Super Cup, one of the two European Cup wins in British softball history.
After asserting his dominance as a player-coach at club level, it was only a matter of time before his skills were put to use at a national level, and shortly after women's fastpitch became an Olympic sport, Russ was appointed as the Head Coach of the GB Women's Fastpitch Team. Russ was the person who turned the GB Women from a casual into a serious programme with serious (Olympic) aims, and the team stunned the softball world by coming third in the 1999 Euro-Africa Olympic Qualifier in Parma, losing only 2-1 to Italy in the Page Playoff pre-final. The team contained only four overseas-based players, which makes the achievement even more impressive. Although Russ only coached the GB Women for that one competition season, his team laid the foundations for the successful GB Women’s Teams that have followed.
In 2005 Russ took up his second GB Head Coach appointment, this time for the GB Men's Fastpitch Team programme. This gave him the distinction of being the only person in the history of British softball to coach both the GB Men's and Women's teams. One of his greatest achievements during his time with the GB Men was coaching the team to a bronze medal at the 2008 European Championship in Copenhagen, which qualified them for World Championships the following year. What made this particularly remarkable was that the team had just three overseas-based players.
Russ coached the GB Men to their highest-ever world ranking of eighth after the team qualified for the playoff round for the first time at the ISF Men's World Championships in Saskatoon, Canada in 2009.
After missing out on European Championships in 2010, Russ coached the team to a second place finish in the round-robin phase of the European Championships in 2012 in Amstelveen, Holland, thus gaining automatic qualification for the World Championships in 2013. Those World Championships took place in Auckland, New Zealand and under Russ's leadership, the GB Men finished ninth, just missing the playoffs. During the round-robin phase, the team lost only 1-0 to the eventual silver medallist Venezuela.
Russ retired from his position of GB Men's Team Head Coach at the beginning of 2014.
Over the years he spent coaching GB teams, Russ never left his London Meteors and continued to play for the club at various tournaments in Europe, even when his personal life meant he had to share his time between California and London. The annual Zeister Slot tournament in Zeist, Holland, was among his favourite tournaments, evidenced by his near 100% attendance over the 30-year life of the event. Russ won many accolades at the tournament, including multiple MVP and top batter and pitcher awards. In 2010 his contribution to the Meteors and the tournament was honoured when he received the Zeister Slot Hall of Fame award.
Russ's softball legacy with GB is likely to be carried on by his daughter Alana, who was a star performer for the GB Under-16s at European Championships in 2013.
Lesley Morisetti's career as a player, administrator and umpire in British softball has spanned more than 20 years, and is still going strong.
As a player, Lesley first played softball – or Teeball to be exact – in the United States, and was a early member of the Picts Softball Club in Edinburgh in the early 1990s. Lesley then played in the Edinburgh Surveyors League and later the Edinburgh Softball League, and was a member of Edinburgh's travelling team, The Clan.
Lesley was selected for the first GB Slowpitch Team and played in the first European Slowpitch Championships at Brunel University in 1998.
She also played cricket from 1992-95 with the Scottish Ladies team, winners of the Northumbria League!
So Lesley has had a solid career as a player, including a stint with GB Softball – but she has been elected to the Hall of Fame primarily as a softball administrator, fulfilling many roles.
From 1999 to the present, Lesley has been the League Co-ordinator for the Edinburgh Softball League, and from 2000 to the present she has been Joint Organiser (with Liz Graham) of the Edinburgh Festiball, one of Britain's best open slowpitch tournaments.
In 2004, Lesley and Liz came on board as Tournaments Officers for the BSF, and brought order from chaos as far as National Championships were concerned, running these events together until Lesley stepped back at the end of 2012. In 2007, they were jointly awarded the Glover Cup for services to softball.
Lesley became a BASU-qualified umpire in 1993 and has been umpiring up and down the country ever since, earning a reputation as one of BASU's best umpires. She became ESF-qualified in 2004 and has been BASU's Assistant Umpire-in-Chief since 2009.
It all began for Stuart when he put together a mixed softball team in 1984 consisting of workers from British Telecom called the Telecom Blue Jays and arranged matches against other teams. In April 1985 Stuart arranged a meeting of team captains in Ealing and the Greater London Softball Mixed League, the first London-wide mixed softball league apart from the London Advertising League, was formed.
Founder members of this league were: FSD Dodgers, Concorde I & II (British Airways), Guildhall, Richard Rogers Partners, Conoco Jets, Telecom Blue Jays, Camplan, Haden Young and Camden Softball Club.
Then, at the South East Softball Association (SESA) AGM in March 1986 – where, under the Presidency of Mike Humphrey, it became the Great Britain Softball Association (GBSA), having broken away from the British Baseball & Softball Federation (BABSF) – Stuart joined the National Committee as the first mixed slowpitch softball representative.
Stuart led the GLSML through a rapid expansion during 1986 and 1987, oversaw the Advertising League’s crucial affiliation to GBSA and staged the first London-wide mixed slowpitch championships. So large was the GLSML contingent that the league’s committee eventually morphed into the London Regional Committee, with Stuart as Director. At the same time, as part of his national role, Stuart was building up a network of softball contacts across the UK.
In order to gain Sports Council recognition and access to funding, it was vital to demonstrate that the GBSA had true national coverage, supported by a regional administrative structure. Stuart travelled round the country helping regional organisers and putting on coaching clinics. He also organised a series of tours by international teams from the US and Zimbabwe.
In 1988, Stuart also organised a reciprocal visit to Austin, Texas, designed to attract more US teams to come over to Britain, where a British national team entered in USSSA World Slowpitch Championships. The British came back with an enormous trophy awarded for sportmanship!
Stuart stepped away from the London Committee in 1988 to concentrate on his national role.
In March 1989 Stuart arranged the inaugural general meeting of the National Softball Federation in Birmingham. At the behest of what was then known as the Sports Council, Stuart was installed as General Secretary of the NSF. This coincided with the setting up of a Softball Commission, chaired by the Sports Council's Elaine Burgess, to oversee the establishment of a national governing body for softball, and Stuart was the leading softball member of this Commission.
After a long period of promotional work, meetings and reams of correspondence, Stuart’s work on the Softball Commission finally paid off in January 1991 when the Sports Council officially ratified the NSF as the national governing body for softball. During 1991 Stuart had also taken over the production of softball’s national newsletter, ‘Homerun’, which boosted the NSF’s standing in the eyes of the Softball Commission.
Meanwhile, Stuart successfully applied to the British Olympic Association for ‘Associate Membership’ to help bolster the ISF’s case to become an Olympic sport. Then, when softball officially became an Olympic sport in June 1991, Stuart stepped up to represent softball on the British Olympic Committee. In November 1991, at the NSF AGM in Windsor, Stuart was elected to the vacant position of NSF President, and effectively coupled this role with that of General Secretary.
In August 1992 Stuart took a GB Women's Fastpitch Team to the European Women’s Fastpitch Championships held in Bussum, Holland. Highlights were the only triple play recorded at the Championships by Great Britain’s Kate Allen against Belgium, and a tremendous come-from-behind victory over Russia in the bottom of the seventh inning.
During this time, now that the NSF was eligible, Stuart had also been working on the NSF’s application for grant funding. Eventually, in September 1992, the NSF was awarded Stuart’s full application of £15,500.
In 1993, Stuart was admitted to hospital and underwent major surgery – the first of three visits to the operating theatre. Thanks to the intensive care unit at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, Stuart pulled through, but it was months before he was able to return to his full-time job, and at that time, his softball activity more or less came to an end.