Local pair honored by state softball hall of fame

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The Alabama Amateur Softball Association recently honored a pair of former players with local ties.

Fred Sington, Jr., and Ricky Hampton will be inducted into the 23rd Annual AASA Hall of Fame on Jan. 17 at the Jerry Belk Center in Tuscaloosa. A reception will begin at 4 p.m. with the induction banquet to follow at 5 p.m. 

Joining Sington and Hampton in the Class of 215 are Craig Elliott of Wadley, Joe Griggs of Fort Payne, Sandy Hunter of Weaver, Chan Keller of Mobile, Eunice Knight of Dothan and Ken Sanders of Douglasville, Ga. 

A Gadsden resident, Sington began his softball career in Homewood at the age of 17. After playing in that area for four seasons, he served with the U. S. Navy and played at three naval bases and twice was named to the Naval 5th District team. 

Upon returning to civilian life in 1959, Sington attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. His Nomads team advanced to the AASA State Tournament three straight years. 

In 1963 Sington enrolled in Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., where he played for a fast-pitch softball league until moving to New Mexico. 

Sington moved to Gadsden in 1965 and played in the city’s fast-pitch league for 15 years. When the league disbanded after 15 years, Sington joined the Gulf State Steel travel softball team for two years and twice played in the AASA Class A State Tournament. 

Sington’s playing days were curtailed in the mid-1980s due to both age and a decline in the fast-pitch game. 

During his softball career in Gadsden, Sington played several times in the Blue-Gray, Chattanooga Choo-Choo, Nashville Invitational and Pensacola Invitational tournaments. As a pitcher, Sington struck out over 2,500 batters while averaging 10 strikeouts per game. He also threw six no-hitters. As a solid hitter at the plate, he averaged over 10 homes runs per season while maintaining a good batting average. 

A Gadsden native who now lives in Ashville, Hampton began his softball career in 1979 at age 22 and retired in 2005 after playing competitively for 26 years. 

Hampton started out playing for East Walnut Baptist, 12th Street Baptist and Mt. Zion Baptist. He then joined the Everlasting Life/CIA team as a player/coach and played on many league, district, state and national championship teams. His Everlasting Life/CIA team won six consecutive AASA Church championships as well as the 2002 ASA National Tournament championship.  

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