The Steel City Returns to the Gay Softball World Series

The Pittsburgh Penetrators. QBurgh was a proud sponsor of the team's return to the Gay Softball World Series.

The Steel City Softball League made its return and played in the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association Softball World Series earlier last month. The League had taken an eleven-year hiatus from the Series citing difficulty paying membership fees to join and additional costs of sending a team each year.  Fortunately, NAGAAA realized that this was a burden on the individual leagues and for the past several years the Tournament has been held in more central US locations.  A big shout out to Bobby Angelo, Steel City Softball Treasure for making the trip to the NAGAAA Spring Meetings this year and handling the Steel City’s readmittance

From the Archives: Pittsburgh hosted the 1990 Gay Softball World Series from August 19 to 26, 1990.

This year, the Series was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota from August 28 to September 2.  The Twin Cities Goodtime Softball League was the gracious host of “Light up the North”.  Games were played throughout the area both east and west of the Mississippi River. The weather was extremely warm and humid for this northern city and luckily the Pittsburgh team was just as hot.

Representing Pittsburgh were the Pittsburgh Penetrators. The Team was coached by league veteran Jimmy Sampson. Samson took ten players from Pittsburgh and rounded out the team with players from Ft. Lauderdale and Minneapolis. The Penetrators were in the D Division with 63 other teams. 

The Penetrators first played four placement games finishing with a 2 -2 record.  Their two placement wins came against teams from Atlanta and Birmingham and their losses against Houston and Knoxville.  Pittsburgh was seeded 39 in the double-elimination tournament. 

Pittsburgh first beat 26 seed the LA Swingers and followed that win by beating the Houston Dragons.  The San Diego Peacocks would hand the Penetrators their first loss which was then followed the next day by a loss to the LA Honey Badgers in a close score of 11-10. 

“It’s great to be back representing Pittsburgh,” said Jimmy Sampson. “The team played its heart out and we finished respectively.  It was great to have a fresh young team out here.  This was the first Series for 12 of our players who said it won’t be their last. They can’t wait for next year in Las Vegas!  Bring it on!”  

Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penetrators for a job well done! The Penetrators made their mark in Minneapolis and will be remembered for their toughness, hard drive hitting, and great taste in uniforms. 

On a personal note:  It was 40 years ago that I was Commissioner of the SCSL and we played in our first Gay Softball World Series in Chicago.  There were only 12 teams participating that year compared to the 224 that were in Minneapolis last month.  It was great to be back in Minneapolis where I played in their league for a few years and reunited with many old friends. Thank you SCSL for the honor of carrying the Pittsburgh flag during the Opening Ceremonies.  It was great to be up representing the Burgh and waving the terrible towel!

I also was fortunate to play on a Master’s Team (over 50-year-olds) called the Dallas Diamond Divas.  We finished 4 out of 22 teams and received a medal!  Thank you, Coach Ryan Holdhusen and the rest of the team, for a great week of brotherly and sisterly love. You all are amazing! GO DIVAS GO!!

Huge shout out to the entire NAGAAA Organization, the Twin Cities Goodtime Softball League Organizing Committee, and the Twin Cities Softball League for putting on an incredible event.  It’s tough hosting over 2,000 players who are bringing even that many more fans and family with them to an event and have it run so smoothly.  A reminder that this is produced entirely by volunteers!  If you want to see Community service at its best, then look no further.  All the volunteers put in endless hours ensuring the success of the event.  Thank you to all involved! Bravo, brava, bravissimo!

Jeff Freedman (he/him) is a Pittsburgh native and is in his fourth decade of volunteerism for the LGBTQ Community.  Jeff is one of the founding members of the Steel City Softball League in 1981 and has been an active member of the LGBTQ Community ever since.  Jeff is currently a member of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Commission for LGBTQ Affairs.  He is a past Chair of the Pittsburgh Pride celebrations (’05-’07) and current Pittsburgh Pride March & Parade Co-Chair.  You would recognize him by his voice.  He was the loud one on the megaphone lining up all the March & Parade participants.  Jeff has a lot of great stories to tell and looks forward to sharing the printable ones with the QBurgh Community.