Sunday, July 27, 2003

'Fly-Man' won't take off Metro


Schutte will play in 34th straight tourney today

By Colleen Kane
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[img]
Ron Schutte of Okeana, OH watches as his son Jay's team plays in the Met Softball Tournament Saturday.
(Mike Simons photo)
| ZOOM |
Ron "Fly-Man" Schutte remembers the Cincinnati Metro Softball Championship when wood bats were the norm, metal spikes were legal, the balls got lopsided by the third inning and there were no fences in the outfield.

Things have changed a bit, but one thing remains the same: Schutte still stands on the mound - only now he's fielding line drives from players half his age.

Schutte played in his first Metro tournament in 1969, and he never stopped.

Today at 10:10 a.m., Schutte will begin his 34th consecutive Metro, when his team A & A Millwright & Rigging plays Double D's Tavern in the National Division C bracket at Eggleston Park.

"I can still do it," Schutte said Saturday at Rumpke Park. "As long as the phone rings every winter, and I'm invited to play, I'll play."

The 52-year-old Roger Bacon and UC graduate played baseball when he was young because "it was the thing to do," and started softball when his brother Jim convinced him to play. Not long after, he earned the "Fly-Man" nickname, which he proudly displays on the license plate of his motorcycle.

"I was running the bases and a guy yelled out, 'Man that guy flies, man,' and it just stuck with me," Schutte said.

And the nickname still applies. Schutte says he can still compete with the young players. He plays softball three nights a week and every other weekend as a pitcher and outfielder. He plays indoor soccer in the winter. He jogs every day at lunch to get a break from his desk job at American Financial Corporation.

It's that level of fitness, and a little luck, that have kept him playing all these years, he said. He's had only one injury in his career - a broken collarbone from sliding head first into first base in 1987 - and that kept him out just half a season.

"He's real on top of things, real competitive," Ron's son Jay said. "He's running back and forth, and the young guys are tired sometimes."

Jay is one of those young guys, making sure the Schutte name stays in the Metro for another generation. On Saturday, Ron Schutte watched Jay play as a pitcher in Schreib's Tribe's first loss in the C American division.

After spending his childhood summers on the ball field, softball was only natural for the 22-year-old Jay, who also played baseball at North College Hill.

"The only thing I can remember is sitting in the dugout when I was real young.

"As I grew up, I knew I wanted to do it," Jay said. "We were always out in the yard throwing, and he taught me how to hit."

Jay and his 19-year-old brother, Tyler, who proclaimed himself more of a soccer player, even played in a league with their dad this summer.

"I've been coming to these games since the day after I was born," Tyler said. "I've been coming ever since."

Because of all those years, Jay and Tyler said they "know everyone" at the softball fields. And that's one of Ron Schutte's favorite parts.

"I like the athletic part, but I also like the camaraderie part," he said. "I can't tell you how many friendships I've made over the years."

In his 34 years in many different divisions, Schutte's teams have placed second twice and third twice, but he's never won.

"Maybe this will be the year we win it," Schutte said.

Softball highlights

Major showdown I: No. 3 seed EMR Worth beat No. 4 DLP Purchasing 28-26 before several thousand Saturday night.

EMR Worth will face Tinytown Pizza on Monday. EMR hit the team limit of 12 home runs, three each by Danny Houchin and Mike Kinnett.

Major showdown II: Top-seeded Perkins Roofing, the two-time defending champion, hit 10 home runs Friday in a 23-14 victory over No. 2 Watanabe. Perkins plays Springdale Cleaners at 9:20 p.m. today.

Movin' up: Last year's A Champion, Taylor Made, makes its mandatory move to the majors today, facing Robke Sports/Red Boyz at 7 p.m.

Cincinnati Metro Softball Championship

SATURDAY

Majors

EMR/Worth Softball 28, DLB Purchasing 26

Class A

Blitz Softball 6, BWW Specialty Vending 4

NKY Softball/Angilo's 20, Capitol Investment Corp. 1

Class B

Creative Glass 17, Jackson Marine 5

House of Carpets 8, Hofbrahaus 7

Quality Sports/Endurance Siding 18, Rush Auto/CAA 6

Winton Tavern 11, 1st Source Sports 8

House Rules/Crosleys 10, Extreme Softball 9

Class C - American

Webster's Branch Inn 17, 2andOut Schandling 4

Valley Insulation 7, Queen City Nutrition 5

Roswells 9, Shakey's Countrywide 5

SportsPage/Mo Transport 9, Ground Round 8

Mad Balls 9, JR's/Ingilis Properties 7

Archie's Wedge Inn 12, ESP/RDI 8

Bases Loaded/Stiggy's 8, East End Softball/Roc Boys 3

OH Bank/Skyline 9, Hot Wings Sports CafÈ 2

Webster's Branch Inn 11, Valley Insulation 10

Hilbert Construction 16, Neil's Hardware 1

Precision Construction 14, Southwest Financial 2

Archie's Wedge Inn 16, Mad Balls 12

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E-mail ckane@enquirer.com




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