Three local individuals will be inducted into the Alabama Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017 this Saturday (Mar. 4) in Tuscaloosa.
Deborah Dixon, Steve Nelson and Steve Salvador will join 31 previous ASA inductees from the Gadsden/Etowah County area. Dixon and Salvador will be inducted as slow pitch player, while Nelson will be inducted as an umpire.
An Attalla native, Dixon began her bat and ball experience in 1979 playing youth baseball. In 1983, she began her AASA career with Kelly’s Cougars, a dominant JO team. During her six-year stint with the team, the Cougars won four league championships and five league tournament titles. Dixon was a member of the Etowah High softball team from 1985 to 1989, and then received a softball scholarship to Gadsden State, where she played for two seasons. During her time at GSCC, Dixon competed in the AASA’s adult programs, where she played in the Women’s Major Church, Major Co-Ed and Women’s A and B Open Slow Pitch divisions. These teams won several District 4 championships and five AASA state titles. Dixon was named to the all-tournament team and selected as Most Valuable Player several time. She also named an All-American.
Being an excellent hitter and superior defensive player, Dixon took the field at pitcher, outfield and second base. After her 21-year playing career, Dixon was appointed as AASA player representative and served on the AASA state staff for two years.
A Gadsden native, Salvador began his softball career in 1980 at the age of 19 and immediately picked up the nickname “Big Sal.” He primarily spent his career in the Gadsden area with East Walnut Baptist, one of Alabama’s all-time top men’s slow-pitch church teams. East Walnut participated in and won many District 4 tournaments, as well as numerous invitational and out-of-state tournaments. Salvador also played with CIA/Everlasting and Sports Auto, which won 14 District 4 tournament championships. For many years, these teams were classified as ‘Major’ before dropping down to Class A. He was the MVP of the 1982 AASA church state championship team, and CIA/Everlasting won six straight AASA titles with Salvador in the lineup and won the ASA national championship in 2002. During his 25-year career, Salvador’s teams almost always qualified for the AASA state tournaments and won 10 of them.
A Springville native, Nelson attended his first umpire meeting in 1979 with the Etowah County Umpires Association. As his career advanced, he became officer of his local umpire group, and over the years he umpired in more state and national tournaments than any other AASA umpire. Nelson has umpired in over 50 state championship games and 30 ASA national tournaments, including one fast-pitch tournament. In addition, he was the umpire-in-chief in 10 national tournaments. Nelson umpired in such prestigious tournaments as the Men’s Border Battle (between USA and Canada) and the Armed Forces Championships. He also umpired an USA Olympic team’s exhibition game in Montgomery in 2008 and was received the ASA Award of Excellence in 2003. As an umpire in both high school and college for several years, Nelson was received the State Umpire of the Year award from the Alabama High School Athletic Association in 2002.
Nelson is a member of the ASA National Umpire Staff and the ASA National Indicator Fraternity, where he earned both Gold Medal status and Elite Certification in Slow Pitch in 2003. He was served as District Umpire-in Chief from 2000 to 2006. Nelson was selected as ASA Southern Region UIC in 2012, where he served until he was appointed ASA Deputy Director in of Umpires in 2016. Nelson made his biggest impact on Alabama ASA by serving in many capacities for Commissioner G. Pat Adkison.
Saturday’s banquet will be held at the Jerry Belk Recreation Center located at 2101 Bowers Park Dr., Tuscaloosa, AL, 35405. A reception will begin at 3 p.m. Tickets are $35 for adults and $20 for children under age 12. Small children are admitted free. Call ASA Hall of Fame trustee G. Pat Adkison at 256-490-9650 for tickets. All friends and softball followers are invited to attend.
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