NEW CASTLE —
There was no better time to be a softball player in the New Castle area.
The Croton Dukes and Cray’s Iron Dukes were dominating the slo-pitch world. Gaston Park and Progressive Field were filled to the brim most weekends with spectators.
Lynn Runyon — now Lynn Padice — was a major part of it as a the starting catcher for Stan’s Auto.
“We formed at the right time,” she said. “The Iron Dukes and the Croton Dukes were successful and traveling. The fields were packed on weekends.
“The girls that I played with had the best talent I’ve ever seen by far. We accomplished it all as a young group of girls. We were world champions twice in three years. We were traveling around the United States. It was unforeseeable. It was a great experience that I was blessed to have.”
ENTERING THE HALL
Padice, 57, was surprised to learn of her induction into the Lawrence County Historical Society Sports Hall of Fame. She will join 11 other inductees being enshrined on May 4 at the New Englander.
“I was really humbled, because I played a team sport,” Padice said. “Being individually rewarded is an honor, but I recognize that it was a team sport. I know what we accomplished was as a team. It wasn’t an individual honor. We were one of the best — if not the best — softball teams at that time. It was very rewarding to me, but I have to remember that we did all that as a team.”
She was known for defensive abilities.
“She was the best catcher hands down,” said Luann Grybowski, who pitched for Stan’s Auto and is currently the Neshannock High girls basketball coach. “She wasn’t the best hitter out there, but she was the best defensive catcher for all those years we played.”