The 2005 World Softball League Home Run Tour Featuring the Long Haul Bombers
The 2005 World Softball League Home Run Derby Tour will again be performing before games at Major and Minor League stadiums across the country - with the quest of crowning a WSL Home Run Champion. This year four of softball's largest bat players will each be sponsoring two representatives in the WSL HR Tour. Combat, Easton, Miken and Mizuno will all have two competitors in the Tour. Louisville Slugger will supply a pitcher to the events.
As a group, the players will compete as the Long Haul Bombers. Like last year, all of the WSL HR Tour highlights will be captured on Softball 360 - the only national TV show dedicated to softball. For a complete listing of channels and show times visit www.softball360.com.
At all WSL HR Tour Events the participants will be hitting Trump softballs, the Official Softball of the WSL, and will rely on rental cars from AVIS, the Official Rental Car of the WSL.
The Bombers will make some familiar stops this year, in addition to a few new venues for the 2005 Tour. Check out the Softball360.com website for a complete schedule that includes Major League Stadiums like Miller Park, Minute Maid Field, The Great American Ball Park, and many more. In addition, the Tour wants to get in front of as many competitive softball players as possible throughout the summer. The Bombers will be performing at two of the nation's largest slow-pitch softball events: the McQuade in Bismarck, ND and the Smokey Mountain Classic in Maryville, TN. They will also be at two unique softball events including the Pov's Skills Challenge in Andover, MN and in Houston, TX in conjunction with Big League Dreams, the makers of the Field of Dreams replica stadiums.
The following will be this year's WSL HR Tour competitors:
Team Combat: Johnny McCraw and RJ Howerton
The Team of Johnny McCraw and RJ Howerton brings a combination of experience and youth to the table. McCraw has experience working for him as he has won 10 World Championships at the highest level in the game of softball and has been named All-World 15 times. Don't misjudge his teammate, the youngest member of the Tour. At 6'5" and 260 lbs., Howerton is a rising star in the Major level of softball. The Old Scout, Gordie Heagle, has deemed him "the real deal" and after you see him swing, you'll know why. McCraw and Howerton will be swinging the Combat B1 Da Bomb!
Team Easton: Brett Helmer and Scott Brown
Home Run Tour veterans Brett Helmer and Scott Brown provided some of the most memorable moments from last year's events. At the Metrodome, in Minneapolis, Helmer was crowned the inaugural WSL HR Champion and was awarded $5,000. Brown put on a show wherever he went. While performing for the St. Paul Saints, he became the first person to ever hit a moving train beyond the left-field fence. Both know what it takes to entertain the crowd during the Derby. Helmer and Brown will be swinging the Easton Synergy Plus.
Team Miken: Bob Woldyk and Kenny Briggs
If there has been an event in major softball over the last 20 years, you can count on either Bob Woldyk or Kenny Briggs to have been part of it. Woldyk (Wally) has been All-World 24 times and has won 18 World Championships . . . and as the MVP of the ASA Major Worlds last year he is not showing any signs of slowing down. Briggs has been All-World 20 times and won 8 Major Tournament MVP Awards. Last year he was the ASA Major Worlds Home Run Champion and the USSSA Major World Home Run Derby Champion. Woldyk and Briggs will be swinging the Miken Freak Plus.
Team Mizuno: Jeff Hall and Rusty Bumgardner
Been there, done that could be the slogan for Jeff Hall and Rusty Bumgardner. Last year Hall won the Triple Crown of Softball - highest batting average, Home Run total, and Home Run frequency. Hall was the first person to ever hit over .800 for the season when he hit .817 in 1996, which still stands today as the highest ever. Bumgardner has been All-World 33 times and he has won 22 World Titles. He has won 2 Softball Grand Slams and hit the first 2 Home Runs on the franchise history of the Florida Marlins. Hall and Bumgardner will be swinging the Mizuno TechfireTM Envy.
Team Louisville Slugger: Andy Purcell
In the world of Major Softball, Andy Purcell needs no introduction. The two time National Softball Player of the Year will be joining the Long Haul Bombers on the Tour. Purcell comes at the request of the hitters to make sure they receive the best and most consistent pitching available. In the past 4 years, Purcell has won 10 Major World Championships. If he wanted, Purcell could give the Bombers a run for their money with the bat, but has decided to let them have the spotlight this summer.