MAC TANGAROA of New Zealand delivers a pitch for the San Bernardino Stars during the 1986 Cinco de Mayo Invitational Fastpitch Softball Tournament at Encanto Park in San Bernardino. LARRY ROSE / The SUN
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – It’s 1981 and three San Bernardino fastpitch leaders, Joe Baca, Andy Najar and Ted Dominguez, decided to take a local team and throw them in the ring with some of the nation’s best fastpitch teams that played in the Western Softball Congress.
The WSC featured such powerhouse ball clubs as the Long Beach Nitehawks, ten-time International Softball Congress World Tournament champions. Along with the Lakewood Jets, Oceanside, Camarillo, Burbank, Vista, California Don’s, and Athletes In Action.
But the San Bernardino Stars were no patsies. They had been around since 1979 and were one of Southern California’s stronger teams.
But in joining the powerful WSC, Baca, the Stars general manager and catcher, upgraded the roster by adding brothers Harry and Rick Munoz, Frank Fraire, Mike Turnbull, Frank Jimenez, Alex Reid, Mike Mendoza, Pat Dominguez, Dave Henry, Nick Medrano, along with Dominguez and Najar. That roster proved solid with the gloves and potent with the bats.
But winning fastpitch requires stalwart pitching, and the Stars had that in veterans Dave Gray, Barry Roberts, Jim Knott and Jim Stupin.
“Our team has the attitude that we can step on the field and compete against anyone,” Baca said in a San Bernardino SUN newspaper story. “We don’t rely on one player to pull our team. Man-for-man, some teams have better ball players than we do, but they aren’t a better unit.”