Zane Smith shares memories of the bygone era of military fastpitch softball

Written by Bob on December 14th, 2009

15 Comments so far ↓

  1. […] From Otto in Focus: Written by Bob on December 14th, 2009 By BOB OTTO botto3 (at) […]

  2. Rod Taylor says:

    Hey Bubbam if you get this, I just wanted to say hi. Zane hit the ball so hard, and was a dead pull hitter. I had the best time of my life playing with him in San Diego, and with the Vista Bombers. We played a tournament in Yuma one time , and Zane cramped up so bad, that we had to help get him undressed and carry him to the pool to help him relax. Those were the good old days!!!

  3. Just happened to get on and read about Zane Smith. It brought back a lot of memories when I played as an 18 yr old with Sub Flot One back in 67-68 with Roy Burleson(age 21) and George Giles(age 38). It was only tour of dudy I had and enjoyed every minute of it. continued to play back home in Texas til ’86 where our team represented Texas 8 yrs in a row in the ASA National Tour. Thanks George(the creaper) Giles for picking me up to play with ya’ll. Wish I could see ya’ll again.
    Enjoying the memories.

  4. Bob Cheeseman says:

    I also remember the great times in San Diego. My Dad Jim Cheeseman pitched along with Roy and Ted Brown. I was lucky enough to be batboy and keep score. My dad and I were just talking the other day about the great teams.

  5. Doug Noble says:

    I played for Bob Petinak at NTC in 68.

    Bob Your dad and I pitched against each other, in I think 71, at the Sub base in New London. We went 13 innings. I remember Dungee and Custer, and Jessie, and Giles…I went to ComSubLant because they came up with my transfer code 1st. We won the All Navy the 3 three years I was there, with Bill Godwin.
    Jessie,did you play for Mountian View in 74and 75, when I was with Sunnyvale? I went to Vegas with you guys in 75. Ray Philips won 9K with Gene’s money, and all who were around went to Mustang Ranch on Gene. Freddie Santos and I came in late and Gene gave me and Freddie 20 bucks to share. Memories are great. I don’t remember How many times we faced each other, but I remember beating Guy French once.

  6. Cary Reese says:

    Does anyone out there Remember me or any of the players from the 1969 Camp Pendleton varsity team. I played shortstop for Camp Pendleton and also played for the Tri City Merchants out of Oceanside in the congress league.Some of the names Pete Russo , Ron Gorr. USMC team.. Rusty and Corky Riener oceanside team. let me know. I’m CARY REESE at

  7. BARRY EHLERS HM2 says:


    …Ran across your article on Smitty. I played basketball and softball with him when we were stationed at the amphib base at Corodado. He actually taught me to take over the pharmacy and he received order elsewhere. What a great guy! we had so much fun my last year in the navy in 69. Do you happen to have his e-mail address and or his home address. I would love to touch bases with him again. pun pun. kindest regards…….BARRY

  8. Bob says:

    Thanks for sharing Barry. Those were great times and now greater memories!

  9. dick harkins says:


    I remember you well. I played with Sub Lot One (previously known as Sperry 1962 and 1963, Sub Flot 1 thereafter, 1964 – 1970; don’t recall you on my team at least through my discharge in August 1970. Where are you now days?


  10. Barry L, Kenney says:

    I played on the Long Beach Naval Station Team in 1967 & 1968. We played against two of the best Military fast-pitch teams in the military back then. Sub Flot One in San Diego and Vandenberg AFB team which both I believe were All Service Champs at one time or another in the 60’s.
    My question is what was the Sub Flot One’s Pitcher’s name that pitched in 67 & 68? He had quite a rise ball that I will never forget! Great to play in that era of the best fast-pitch softball in the Navy!

  11. Bob says:

    Hopefully someone from that era of military fastpitch can recall the pitcher that had the great rise ball. Many, many outstanding pitchers “cut their teeth” on the rubber while in the armed forces. I surely enjoyed my time playing Marine Corps fastpitch!

  12. Tom McLauchlin says:

    Zane my friend I miss playing with against and under you,But most of All I miss your friendship and talking fast pitch all night long. I learned more about the game from you and Georgie Giles, hey contact me.And for all reading Zane’s bat was a Paul Bunion size bat but he could hit the best of the best with that 38 to 40 oz bat. His best asset was his ability to call a game. Miss you big guy.

  13. dick harkins says:

    Sub Flot 1’s pitchers in 1967 and 1968 were Ted Brown (great rise and knuckleball); Jim Cheesman and Roy Burlison.

    I caught them. Burlison threw the hardest; Chessman was the best competitor and Brow was the best all around.

    The guy with the rise ball was Brown.

  14. dick harkins says:

    Brown had the best rise ball. Chessman and Burlison also threw a rise.

  15. Ron Williams says:

    Hey Zane, we were teammates on the North Island Packers. Besides a great catcher you were a great teammate. I remember taking a bladder full of beer in a cooler to the Padres game. Then throwing peanuts at the umpire from behind the first base dugout. We almost were thrown out.

  16. Jack Walters says:

    pitched for nothh island 1972.a game against Naval Hosp. Pendelton a guy broke his collarbone swinging at a change-up. Was that Zane catching? I was a short guy, threw mostly rise balls, thought my change was pretty good.

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