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Frankenmuth Softball Association to welcome 3 new members Feb. 1
Three former softball players will be inducted into the 33rd annual Frankenmuth Softball Association Hall of Fame on Saturday, February 1. The banquet and ceremony will take place at the Bavarian Inn Lodge.
The hall of fame is an honor society consisting of the finest players, coaches, sponsors and other special contributors to the game of softball and baseball in the Frankenmuth area.
This year’s honorees are Steve Findlay, Dave Lach and Craig Atkins. All three have made significant contributions to the sport of softball.
The 2019 Frankenmuth High School scholarship winners will also be recognized. They are 2019 seniors Claire Breinager, Kaylee Kujat and Emily Coulter for the Lady Eagle softball team and Joby Ostrofsky for the Eagle baseball team.
Special recognition will be given to the Tiffany’s Food & Spirits men’s fastpitch team for winning the Open Eastern Silver Division title. They are coached by Dick "Coot” Krueger. Frankenmuth News Editor Scott Wenzel will also be recognized for his 30-plus years of covering local softball and baseball and the banquet information.
Social hour will begin at 5pm, with dinner served at 6pm, followed by the induction ceremony. Tickets are $35 each and may be reserved by contacting FSA member Jim Petteys (652-6221) or at Frankenmuth City Hall. No tickets will be available at the door.
Craig Atkins began his softball playing career in the Bridgeport Township Men’s League in 1977 at age 18. Atkins continued to play in Bridgeport after becoming their parks and recreation director in 1981.
In 1988, Atkins was named Frankenmuth’s parks and recreation director and started playing in Frankenmuth with Walk Softly MacCons Shop for two seasons.
In 1990, Craig joined Zeilinger Wool Company’s slowpitch softball team and played for sponsor/player, the late Gary Zeilinger. Z Wool went on to win several Frankenmuth Men’s Slowpitch League titles.
In 2007, Atkins took a year away from the diamond but returned to play for Bergman Electric, winning a few more league crowns. After Bergman folded, he continued to play with several teams. He took another hiatus, returning later to play alongside his two sons, Ben and Andy.
Overall, Craig logged 36 years of slowpitch softball. He was known as a singles and doubles hitter who used his speed on the base. Atkins played second base, outfield and completed his career as a catcher.
Steve Findlay began playing fastpitch softball in Reese in 1982, where he played for Tri-County Sports until 1986. From 1987 through 1990, Findlay joined with Frankenmuth Black Label, where he was part of the 1989 MASA Class B State runner-up squad.
Findlay headed back to Reese to play for Warack Trucking/Karp’s Bowling Bar from 1991 until 1996. Steve competed in both the Thumb Fastpitch Travel League and ISC Travel League.
Next, Findlay joined Millington’s Up-To-Date Painting team, playing 14 years for that club (1997-2011). He was player on the 2001 state championship team. He wrapped up his 32-year playing career with the Reese A’s (2012-14).
Findlay primarily played third base and outfield during his career. He played in over 1,500 games and was plus .300 hitter over his career, with over 100 home runs, 1,000 runs scored and over 450 stolen bases. Along the way, Findlay won several league crowns, individual awards and played in national championships across 10 states and Canada.
Steve also had an eye on coaching, working with players in the Reese Girls Softball program from 2000-2009 and coached his three daughters.
Dave Lach is entering the hall for his meritorious service and as a player. Lach first played fastpitch softball in 1995 with Richville. In 1997, he began playing with the Frankenmuth Brewery, where the Brewers placed second in the Class B State Tournament, first in the Great Lakes Regional and played in the Class B National in Florida.
Lach played with the same team sponsored by the Brewery, Zak’s Kandy Haus and Up-To-Date Painting until 2009. In 2001, Dave played on the Class B State Championship squad.
In 2010, Lach became a player/manager for Up-To-Date, now the Schaefer & Bierlein Wranglers. The Wranglers have played in 10 state tournaments.
Offensively, Lach was a middle-of-the-lineup hitter, hitting well over .300 for his career and was known for putting the ball in play. With the glove, Dave played outfield, catcher and pitcher.
Lach played in eight ISC World Tournaments, collecting ISC II All-Tournament honors in 2002 and 2009. In 2005, he was named on the NAFA first team.
Since 2003, Lach has coordinated tourneys in Frankenmuth, including the Schwab-Spagnuolo Memorial Tournament in Heritage Park. The tournament has brought teams from all over the Midwest and Canada.
In 2010 and 2012, Lach helped organize the ISC World Tournament in Midland and was instrumental in establishing the ISC 19-and-under division. He also organized other ASA Championships, including the WBSC Junior Men’s World Championship in 2016.
Lach’s other off-field accomplishments include leading the Thumb League as its president, and serving as an ISC Ranking Committee member and on the USA Softball of Michigan Pitchers Classification Committee.