Local to be inducted in AASA Hall of Fame

March 6, 2020 chris
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Three Etowah County natives are among the AASA Softball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020.
Tina Rood Hopper and Mike Delozier will be indicted in the Player category, while Clark Livingston is included in the Meritorious category. Collinsville’s Donny Jones will be inducted as a player.
The AASA’s 29th induction banquet will be held on Saturday, March 14, at the Jerry Belk Recreation Center located in Bowers Park in Tuscaloosa. The event begins at 3 p.m. with a reception and renewing of friendships, followed by the banquet and induction ceremony at 4 p.m.
A Gadsden native, Delozier began his softball career in 1980 playing with Parker Memorial Church. He played with several other well-known teams during his AASA career, both in Alabama and Central Alabama ASA. ending with CIA. Delozier, who played in the outfield almost all of his career and was a very good defensive and offensive player, played on several district, state and national championship teams, including Parker Memorial, Dr. Gremmell’s and CIA. Most of his career was in the Major and A classifications. Delozier received several MVP awards and was named to many all-tournament teams. He was named to the All-American team when he was with CIA and the national tournament champion. Delozier loved to compete with the best and always was a team player. He was always well respected by his teammates on all the teams he participated with during his career.
Hooper, of Hokes Bluff, came to Gadsden in 1986 from Cincinnati, Ohio, on a basketball scholarship to Gadsden State, where she was a two-year starter. Little did she know that she soon would become well-known and respected as a softball player. Hooper’s softball career began in 1974 when she was 10 years old in the Deer Park League and other leagues in Cincinnati before moving to Gadsden in 1986. Most of Hooper’s AASA softball career was played in Gadsden, although she did play for a short time in the Florence/Muscle Shoals area. She played both basketball and softball at Gadsden State and was named to the National Junior College All-American Team in 1987. In the Gadsden softball leagues, Hooper as a member of Shoney’s and Captain D’s, coached by Ron Cordell. She was a very solid defensive player at first base most of her career but was better known for her outstanding offensive play as a tremendous hitter. Hooper was respected by her teammates as a team player. She played for 16 years before hanging up her bat and glove and becoming the most popular UPS employee in all of Etowah County. Hooper served as the maintenance/caretaker of the Gadsden Softball Complex under Commissioner/Coach G. Pat Adkison, who maintains that Hooper was the best worker he had ever seen as she kept the facility in tip-top condition at all times.
Livingston, of Glencoe, did not participate in youth sports due to his parents owning a dairy farm in the Piedmont area. When he did begin, it was with a bang in softball. In 1969, Livingston was instrumental in organizing a four-team men’s softball league in Piedmont. He was selected as president of the league, making out the schedule and putting together a concession stand. In 1970, Livingston was able to get the support of local cotton mill, and along with the city, he constructed a new softball field. At first the league had no umpires, so people came out of the bleachers to officiate the games. Livingston had been playing in AASA tournaments in Gadsden and saw the improvement of play when there were official umpires. He approached G. Pat Adkison about bringing umpires to Piedmont. This was accomplished, and the league became an AASA league. Livingston took great pride in not only being the moving force behind the league, field and umpires but of the concession stand. As he often said, with no concessions, folks will not attend games. Livingston coached his men’s team, winning the league championship for eight consecutive years. He also coached a women’s team for eight years.
In 1980, Livingston moved to Gadsden, where he stayed involved with AASA by helping with a church co-ed team for two years and taking up umpiring in the Gadsden Association for six years. He said he enjoyed umpiring the young girls league more than the adult teams since the youngsters did not get angry with the officials. Livingston also played on the Gadsden Umpires Team. There is no doubt that Livingston succeeded in helping grow the AASA in Alabama.
It would be most difficult to find a player that played with more dedication and competitiveness than Jones. A native of Collinsville, Jones has said that he loved the game for the opportunity to be competitive and for the action. He began his career playing in the Collinsville Slow Pitch League. Although he played on several different teams, the one most recall him competing with was Taxie, which would single a defense crazy and run the bases like wildfire. Jones played for big-name teams such as Bunch Brothers, Mean Machine, Chiggers, 12th Street Baptist, Ken Sanders and Beeline. Jones possessed the skills to compete on Major Class teams, but due to teams changing classifications, he played much of his career on A, B C and C class teams. He also played church and co-ed softball. Several of the teams he played with won AASA district, state, regional and national tournaments. One of Jones’ most memorable events was with the co-ed state champion as his team defeated state powerhouse Burger King.
Jones became a pitcher when during a game the pitcher of his team kept walking batter after batter. His objective was to do whatever could be done to get the batter out. It was very difficult for opposing batters to get a hit up the middle due to Jones’ superior defensive skills. He was a very good hitter who was known for, as he put it, “setting the table.” Jones’ teams won many district, state and national tournaments. During his 25-year career, Jones won several Tournament MVP awards and made All-State and All-American teams. Jones is an excellent example of a player with passion and competitiveness.
Tickets for the event are $35 for adults and $20 for children under 12 years of age. The deadline for ordering tickets is March 9. Checks should be made to the AASA Hall of Fame and sent to Jerry Logan at 8500 Sanders Ferry Road, Tuscaloosa, AL, 35401. For more information, call Jerry Logan at 205-650-0344 or G. Pat Adkison at 256:490-9650.
Submitted by G. Pat Adkison