Coronado inducted into Softball Hall of Fame

by nathan oster

In a career that has spanned parts of five decades, Dave Coronado has been Mr. Softball in the Big Horn Basin.

He’s played it.

He’s coached it.

He’s umpired it.

He’s loved every minute of it.

Now, the sport to which he gave so much, helping players of all ages work on their swings or improve their fielding, has given something back in the form of a prestigious honor.

Coronado was inducted last month in the Wyoming Amateur Softball Association (WASA) Hall of Fame, joining his brother John (who was inducted in 2008) and another former Greybull resident, Bob Hallcroft, whose fast-pitch teams of the 1960s and ‘70s captured five state championships.

Hallcroft and John Coronado were in attendance at the Casper Ramkota for Dave’s induction, along with Dave’s wife Deb, his children Mat and Michelle, his two grandchildren, Cael and Taylor.

Also among the faces in the crowd that night were his mother Connie and his sister Virgie — fitting, since it was in the Coronado home in Manderson that Dave developed his love and passion for baseball and softball.

Coronado graduated from Manderson-Hyattville High School in 1977.   That was also the year that his coaching career began.

“My sister’s team from Basin needed a coach and I volunteered,” he said. “The state fast-pitch tournament was in Greybull that year, and at the time, there was no age limit on playing.

“My high school English teacher played. Virgie was our pitcher and she threw pretty hard. My other sister Sandy played third for us. We were out in two games that year. I really didn’t know much about coaching then, but I had fun.”

His career as a softball player began a year later. It was as a member of a co-ed, slow-pitch team at Northwest College. That team did well, winning the college championship on campus and a junior college tournament in Sheridan.

Since then, Coronado has spent part of every summer on a diamond. His resume includes being a member of three state championship teams: the 1984 Smith Cattle Company men’s fast-pitch team (Leo Hoflund, Rick Kober and Bobby Hallcroft were teammates), the 2001 Eskimo Joe’s men’s slow-pitch D3 team, and the 2001 Thermopolis Merchants co-ed D3 team.

As a player, Coronado played fast-pitch in Greybull from 1979 through 1987 and men’s and co-ed in Greybull and Worland from 1980 through 2005.

Coronado quit playing competitively in 2011, which was the year he and his wife Deb moved to Worland, where they now reside.

“I wanted to play until I was 50 and I made it,” he laughed.

Now he focuses his energy on coaching. With help from a good group of assistants, he manages Worland’s U12 and U14 girls’ fast-pitch teams.

His sports bio lists includes 20 years of head coaching experience, five years coaching girls fast-pitch 14 and under in Greybull and Worland, 14 years of coaching baseball including T-ball, Little League, Babe Ruth and Legion in Greybull, and 20 years of coaching men’s, women’s and co-ed slow-pitch teams in Greybull.

Coronado said he was humbled by the Hall of Fame induction, which “came out of the blue. A lot of people in our area, let alone throughout the state, should be nominated,” he said. “They did just as much as I did.”

So what’s been the best part of his softball journey?

“That would have to be the relationships that I’ve formed along the way,” he said. “I’m blessed and lucky. Blessed to have a loving, supportive family. Lucky to play and coach a sport I loved with many great teammates, and to have enjoyed some great times.”