Remembering Tampa Bay Smokers Jason Hanson and his ISC World Tournament heroics

Written by Bob on November 13th, 2013

1996.ISC.WT.Hanson.1web Tampa Bay Smokers No. 9 hitter Jason Hanson hit a dramatic, walk off home run in the 1996 ISC World Tournament that gave the Smokers a 4-2 victory over the Green Bay All-Car Roadrunners. Photo By BOB OTTO

KIMBERLY, WISC. – I doubt Jason Hanson will ever forget the 1996 ISC World Tournament. If we take the liberty of calling athletes “heroes,” then Hanson certainly qualifies.

Let’s step back in time and relive his at bat that qualifies as one of the most dramatic in the 64 years of the World Tournament.

It’s the bottom of the seventh in the championship game at Sunset Park in Kimberly, Wisc. Hanson, batting No. 9 for the Tampa Bay Smokers, is at the plate facing Michael White, pitching for the Green Bay All-Car Roadrunners. The game is tied 2-2, and White has Hanson down 0-2 in the count.

But a sudden pulled leg muscle forces White from the game.

96.ISC.white.allcar.2webAll-Car pitcher Michael White injures himself and has to leave the game. Photo By BOB OTTO

In trots reliever Michael Gaiger.

And with Gaiger’s first offering, Hanson sends the ball deep over the 250-foot centerfield fence with David Boys aboard for a walk off, 4-2, Smokers’ championship victory.

Hanson was quoted as saying:

“What went through my mind was every dream I’ve had in six years as I’ve been playing this game with top teams. I wanted to be the last batter, and I wanted to hit a home run. Why not? Who wouldn’t? I’m happy…Not bad for a No. 9 hitter, huh?”

It was one of the greatest games I’ve seen between to great ball clubs. All-Car had ISC Hall of Fame pitchers, White and Mike Piechnik, who started the game and went four innings, but was relieved by White, who had to be helped hobbling off the field.

All-Car had an incredible run through the tournament, finishing 10-2.

All-Car lost its second game to ISC Hall of Fame manager Ron “Doc” Simmons’ Broken Bow Qualigraphs,5-2, and then proceeded to win nine consecutive games before falling to Tampa Bay and the tournament’s Most Valuable Pitcher Todd Martin (4-0).

And of course, the best No. 9 hitter in the world of fastpitch on this particular day had something to do with it. A day that I’m sure Jason Hanson has never forgotten.

Hanson was selected a First-Team All-World infielder for his .375 batting average (6 of 16) with six walks and four runs scored. And of course, one very dramatic home run on the biggest stage in all of fastpitch.

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