I will title it: 1980-A historic year for Arkansas softball.
I think it was the the first year for the great Glenn Brothers team and the year that Ozark Nursing Home probably fielded it's best team.
Glenn's was considered by most people to be the best team in the state and Ozark second.
Coming into the state tournament ONH was actually ahead 4 games to 3.
Glenn's beat ONH twice in the state tournament to win the championship and had a 5 games to 4 lead.
A quote from Wally Hall's column:
"If there had been a pre-tournament betting pool as to what two teams would end up in the finals, no doubt Glenn Brothers Trucking and Ozark Nursing Home would have been the odds on favorites.
While Ozark has not received the publicity of Glenn Brothers, what with their home field being more the 120 miles from the aorta of softball, their reputation is wide spread".
Little did he know then that those two teams along with two other teams would make softball history.
Wilkerson Diesel having won the state tournament the year before got an automatic bid to the regional. Fowler Concrete placed third in the state an earned a bid to the regional.
So it was Glenn's, ONH, Wilkerson and Fowler representing Arkansas in the Southwest Regional in Lawton, Oklahoma.
ONH and Fowler both lost fairly early in the tourn. and had to play thru the loser's bracket. Glenn's and Wilkerson stayed in the winner's bracket on opposite sides. They beat teams and sent them to the loser's bracket and ONH and Fowler sent them home.
There was a team from Oklahoma City who was highly touted an thought locally as the team to beat. That is exactly what Glenn's did -beat them- sent them to ONH who sent them back to OKC.
When the dust cleared and only 4 teams were left standing, they were all from Arkansas. The Arkansas fans and teams stood and called the hogs. Much to the dismay of the local fans who no longer had anyone to cheer for.
ONH beat Fowler. Glenn's beat Wilkerson in the final of the winner's bracket.
Now all that stood between ONH and another show down with Glenn's was Wilkerson. We had played them twice and beat them soundly both times. Not that night. Not only did the beat us, they crushed us. We could blame it on having to play thru the loser's bracket and being tired, and that was partially true. However; that was not the biggest reason they beat us. They were an exceptional team at the top of their game and were better than us that night. Just as we had been better than them the two previous times. There was not a huge separation of talent between any of these teams.
Glenn's beat Wilkerson to win the championship and prove they were consistently the best.
The Final order of finish in the 1980 Class A Southwest Regional in Lawton, OK:
1st - Glenn Brothers Trucking - ARKANSAS
2nd - Wilkerson Diesel - ARKANSAS
3rd - Ozark Nursing Home - ARKANSAS
4th - Fowler Concrete - ARKANSAS
Has any state ever swept the top 4 spots in a regional before; at any level? I can't say for sure, but I seriously doubt it.
1980 - A historic year for Arkansas softball
Many players, coaches and sponsors in that tournament are in the Arkansas softball hall of fame and hopefully others will be in the near future.
If there is actually a room or wall where HOF items are on display, this regional finish should be there. I can't remember if it was ever published.
Please forgive any errors. I have chronic headaches that ended softball for me at age 56 and sometimes cause me to lose focus.
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