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NSA Girl's Fast Pitch Softball
Illinois NSA

Hall of Fame Class of 2013

Mark Alliss
Umpire
Beaverville, Illinois
Inducted December 7, 2013

Mark Alliss is one of the most dedicated, hard-working NSA/BPA officials Illinois has ever put on a field.Mark started umpiring in 1994, while living in Tennessee, partly responding to peer pressure and partly looking to pick up a few bucks on the side. He learned the crafts of both baseball and softball easily and well, and quickly garnered respect for his officiating from fellow officials, coaches, players, and fans. His easy demeanor helped contribute to his on field presence and further enhanced his reputation as a solid official.

In 2003, Mark moved to Illinois, and sought out officiating work with programs which would allow him to continue his avocation, one which he had come to love. His first encounter with NSA happened as much by chance as anything else. Over the last ten years, Mark has worked every level of NSA softball and BPA baseball, in Qualifier Tournaments both in state and out. Mark puts in the same intensity and effort for 10u as he does for 18u.

Always in sync on field, always intensely aware of the circumstances and options of not just the current play but also the very next play, Mark’s focus is uncanny, and uncompromising. His dedication is unwavering. With nearly 20 years umpiring experience, Mark still to this day remains an absolute ‘Student of the Game’ whether for himself or to help his fellow officials grow in their knowledge and expertise. Mark Alliss is humbled to be inducted into the Illinois NSA/BPA Hall of Fame.


Steve Bobzin
Umpire
New Lenox, Illinois
Inducted December 7, 2013

Steven Bobzin has been married to Maria for 29 years and lives in New Lenox. He has two daughters, Lynn who graduated with a Master’s Degree from the University of Utah and Abbey who is currently enrolled at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Steve has been playing softball since 1972 as an original member of the league that started in Frankfort, Illinois that year.

Steve met his assignment chairman Jim McIntyre during that initial league play. Jim realized his competitive nature and as Steve stated his “respect” for umpires as he told him, “Stop complaining, if you can do better you should become an umpire.” Steve started umpiring shortly thereafter and quickly realized it wasn’t as easy as he thought. Originally associated with ASA and USSSA his organization switched to NSA approximately 25 years ago, and Steve has worked NSA softball ever since. Steve has worked thousands of league games in the Chicago suburbs during his career and numerous NSA 12-inch qualifiers, States, Super States, Super NITs, Super Regionals and World Series tournaments.

In 2012 and 2013, Steve was selected by Les Duncan NSA 16-inch National Director to work with Hall of Fame Umpire Frank Vojtech during the 16-inch Men’s World Series finals. Also in 2013, Steve worked the Bronze State finals, and was selected to represent Illinois NSA in the Men’s Silver Super World Series in Warsaw, Indiana. Steve has been known as the “rules guy” by his fellow umpires and thinks that as umpires we have an obligation to the teams to give 100% every time we step onto the field.

Steve believes, “If you bend the rules once for one team you lose credibility as an umpire with all teams.”

In addition to umpiring, Steve still finds time to play softball as part of the Chicago Blue Chips 60’s softball team based out of Orland Park.  This past November the Blue Chips placed third in the Winter World Series in Phoenix, Arizona. Steve said, “It is an honor and privilege to be part of the Illinois NSA/BPA Hall of Fame, and I hope I can live up to the legacy of all the past HOF inductees.”


Kurt Juerjens
Coach
East Peoria, Illinois
Inducted December 7, 2013

Kurt started coaching when his daughters Sarah and Katelyn began playing in the early 1990s. Working most evenings, he wasn’t able to spend as much time on the field as he would have liked. He started coaching 12u travel in 2002 as his kids’ careers were coming to an end. After one year at 12u, he started a 10u travel team for the East Peoria Express. Starting up, there were a lot of growing pains, but it was obvious the work was starting to pay off. The 10u East Peoria Express won their first state title in 2007.

Since that time, they have won two more B states and placed in the top four several other times. They have also finished in the top five of B Nationals twice. In his time with the organization, Kurt is proudest of the strides the East Peoria Express has made in improving players and its contributions to the community.


Kimberly Kinney
Player
Oakwood, Illinois
Inducted December 7, 2013

Kimberly Kinney, 28, lives in Oakwood, Illinois with her husband Josh, step-daughter Kira, and son Owen. Kimberly started playing with the 14u Central Illinois Diamonds when she was in 8th grade and played for a total of 6 years.

Through those years some of Kimberly’s biggest highlights were in 2000 being the Elite 8 in NSA State, in 2002 placing 3rd in the NSA World Series, and in 2002 placing 5th in the NSA Super World Series in Las Vegas, Nevada.

A personal highlight was pitching a perfect game in the Super World Series in Las Vegas, Nevada. Kimberly also attended St. Joseph-Ogden High School.  During her softball career there she was named All-Conference for three years, The News Gazette All-Area Softball Team for three years, Golden Glove for two years, and MVP her senior year.

Her most memorable game was the Sectional Championship her Junior year when she pitched a perfect game. With the help of playing with the Central Illinois Diamonds and her high school career, she earned a scholarship to play for Western Illinois University for four years. There she earned the Mid-Continent Academic All-Conference for three years, and won Conference her senior year.

After college Kimberly has done some coaching, being an assistant coach to St. Joseph-Ogden High School for two years, St. Joseph Grade School for one year, and the 18u Central Illinois Diamonds for one year.


Curtis Page
Umpire
Hoopeston, Illinois
Inducted December 7, 2013

Curtis Page attended High School at Hoopeston Area, where he played football and competed in wrestling. Curtis continued his wrestling and football career while attending College at Olivet Nazarene University. He later graduated with a BS in Chemistry and a Masters in Business. He is a father of four children that all participated in sports, three played softball and/or baseball. He started coaching his daughter’s softball team in 1995 beginning his involvement in the great game of softball. He later started and coached the American Pastime’s, a girl competitive traveling softball program.

The Pastime’s went on to win a third place finish in the 2003 NSA B State and a second place finish in the 2004 NSA B State. His 2004 team also captured a fifth place finish in the 2004 Super Worlds. His 2006 team Won an NIT Qualifier and later participated in the Worlds. He also coached the local St. Pats Junior High team for 6 years. Curtis was also a board member of the Kankakee Girl’s Summer Softball League from 1996 to 2008.

He was president of KGSSL from 2000 to 2008. In 1998, he helped in starting the first KGSSL Classic Tournament at the Riverside Sports Complex which started his involvement as an NSA Tournament Director. During his stent as a tournament director, he received the NSA North Central Zone 110% Award. He began his Umpiring career in the late 1990’s by umpiring summer league games as well as starting to umpire NSA and BPA tournaments. Curt has been asked to assist as Umpire-in-Chief (UIC) in multiple tournaments the past few years.

He is currently UIC for the Hoopeston Youth Baseball League and assists as UIC with traveling baseball tournaments in Tilton. His other umpiring accomplishments are two NSA World Series Tournaments, and two BPA World Series Tournaments which included two World Series Championship games. His love and passion for the sport continues to drive his involvement to this day.


Rodge Stockwell
Umpire
Clay City, Illinois
Inducted December 7, 2013

Rodge Eugene Stockwell was born in Flora, IL, and went to school in Paxton, IL, where he played one year of football.  After blowing a knee out that first year, he played baseball for the next three years.  After high school, Rodge started playing fast-pitch softball in 1976, and continued to play until 1997. In 1981, Rodge started his officiating career, doing volleyball, basketball, baseball, and softball at the junior high and high school levels, and continues to do so at present.

In 1996, he joined an organization call Umpires Unlimited, and in addition to officiating many tournaments in his base of Mattoon, he also traveled to locations including Martinsville, Terre Haute, and Indianapolis, IN, umpiring baseball and softball. In 2006, Rodge started taking the role of Umpire-in-Chief (UIC) for the tournaments in Mattoon, and eventually in Charleston.

At the present time, he UIC’s approximately nine tournaments per year, of which 5 are NSA events.  Rodge was recently named South Central Illinois NSA UIC. To support his addiction to officiating, Rodge worked as an Illinois State Trooper from 1987 until his retirement in 2011. Rodge is married to Ninfa Stockwell, they have two children together and are expecting another in March 2014.  Rodge also has two children from a previous marriage.


John Van Gennep
Player
Mokena, Illinois
Inducted December 7, 2013

John Van Gennep lives in Mokena, Illinois with his wife of 22 years Kristin, his daughter Nikole, and son John. John grew up in South Holland and played ball with some very good baseball teams. Gilbert Electric was a travel team made up of many of the best high school players from different local high schools in the south suburbs. During that time he attended Thornwood High School, where he was all conference for 3 years and all State his senior year. He still owns the record at Thornwood of 3 no hitters. After High School, John received a full ride scholarship to the University of Illinois for baseball. He played at U of I for 2 years, and then signed a professional baseball contract with the Atlanta Braves and played AA ball with them. A trade sent him to the south side, where he signed his AAA contract with the Chicago White Sox. That is where softball started.

In 1983, after being released by the White Sox, he was at a crossroads in his life. Should he sign a contract with the Oakland A’s and go back to Minor Leagues, or start a career. He chose to start a career with COUNTRY Companies Insurance, and that was 30 years ago. Selling insurance gave him lots of free time to play softball. The first year out of pro baseball, John was talked into playing 16-inch softball. After 2 or 3 broken fingers, he decided softball without a glove was not the way to go. A friend talked him into playing fast-pitch softball. So John went to a practice with the Highland A’s. A guy named Van Proyen was pitching gas. They told John it was his turn to bat and he asked were the batting helmets were, in which they informed John that they don’t wear helmets. Long story short, the first pitch went right at John’s head and he threw the bat down and said this game is not for me. Then a cop friend of John’s talked him into playing 12-inch for the Styx. After many wins and tournaments, John was approached by Bobby Krause to join the Calumet Lift Truck team. That was the good old days of playing 200 games a summer and traveling all over the country to play softball, including to Kankakee tournaments where they loved to be around this young guy named Gerry Gund.

12-inch softball always seemed to come easy to John. He won numerous awards including MVP of State tournaments, most homerun awards several times, and All-National Team awards. After realizing that he was now an old man, and tired of hurting after each game, John hung the spikes up to coach, something he loves as much as playing. For the past 8 years, John has run a girl’s travel team organization called the Lincoln-Way Storm, and he also coaches one of the teams. They have made quite a name for themselves over the years, and have won a couple State titles in NSA where they deal with another classy guy, Bob Biehl. Now, John gets to be around Gerry Gund again where they get to talk and relive the glory days. John also coaches girl’s fast-pitch softball at Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox. So, as you can see, John loves that little 12-inch ball, and he takes great pride in coaching and teaching the next generation everything he knows. Because of softball, and baseball, John now gets to make a difference in kids’ lives.

His motto is when some kid walks up to him some day and says, “Coach you made a difference in my life (or in sports),” that is priceless, and I owe it all to softball! Thank you to all of you who thought of me tonight for this special honor, and thank you NSA for all you do for all of the athletes of the world.