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About Us

An Idea

In the spring of 1998, Austin Bat Boys' founder Ted Burton placed a personals ad in the Austin Chronicle, searching for gay softball players interested in forming a competitive team. The Bat Boys made history on May 24, 1998, when they took the field as Austin's first competitive gay softball team. The Bat Boys have been competing in Austin's City Softball League ever since. Approximately 40 men, both straight and gay, have played for the Austin Bat Boys during their history, helping build one of the most successful gay men's team in any sport in the city's history.

Joining in

During Texas Gay Pride of 2001 the Bat Boys had a table to gather information on those who were interested in playing or forming another team. In June 2001 David Derbonne formed the Austin Hornets and in spring 2002 Jeremy Wasinger formed the Big Bad Woofs. The Woofs placed 2nd in Houston's Lone Star Classic tournament's D Division in 2003. In the summer of 2003, the Southern Stars, Austin Thunder, and Austin Shockers were added, and we finally had enough teams for our own league night.

2003 - A Challenge

In October 2003, the Austin Bat Boys challenged the morning sports jockeys at KVET 1300 "The Zone" to a charity game after anchors Bucky Godboltz and Erin Hogan announced on the air that gay men can't play softball. For weeks, Bucky and Erin promoted the game and doubted the athletic abilities of gay men. They challenged listeners to show up and help them defend their "straighthood" and downplayed the Bat Boys' promise of bringing more fans to the game.

"The Zone" boys were shocked when 1,000 screaming fans showed up at Krieg Fields on a Sunday night to support the Bat Boys. Police were called out to help with crowd and traffic control. An all-star KVET team, which included listeners recruited during weeks of on-air promotions, was simply no match for the Bat Boys. The Bat Boys blasted KVET 14-4 and raised nearly $2,000 for charity. KVET immediately called for a rematch.

In November of 2003, the Stars, Thunder, Big Bad Woofs, and Shockers played in our first championship night. The Shockers won the first multi-team championship - a precursor to Softball Austin.

2004 - A League of our own

Softball Austin officially formed in October of 2004, and Hall of Famer Ted Burton was elected as the new league's first commissioner. Travis County Sheriff Margo Frasier threw out the first pitch for the inaugural game. The new league quickly welcomed several new teams and many new players. Debbie Barrera brought her team, the Mullets, from the city league to join Softball Austin. Another team, the Sting, was formed by Bat Boys' pitcher Richard Benavidez. They joined the Other Team, Peppermint Patties, and MPS Closers to round out a very competitive D Division. Meanwhile, the Thunder, Woofs, Shockers, and Stars competed in the C Division with the Bat Boys as our lone B Division team.

2005 - And then there were twelve

Now with twelve teams, Softball Austin league was accepted as a member of NAGAAA (National American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance). We held our first sanctioned tournament over Labor Day weekend. The first "Texas Shootout" was a great success, as 20 teams from throughout Texas and Oklahoma competed. Austin Thunder placed 3rd in the C Division. The fall season saw the creation of the Austin Power, coached by Ram Rangel of the Bat Boys. 

2006 - Continued growth

In 2006 the Softball Austin Board of Directors authorized a playoff for the C and D Divisions. The playoff champion would receive a bid to the NAGAAA World Series in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Katz's All-Nighters (formerly the Sting) took home the first place trophy and the bid to the Fort Lauderdale GSWS alongside the Bat Boys who received an automatic bid.

2016 - Austin Hosts the NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series

In 2016, Softball Austin, along with the help of the City of Austin, hosted over 5,000 players and fans for the 2016 NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series. This week long tournament is where NAGAAA member cities send their best teams to compete to see who is the best in the nation. During this week, Austin was hit with heavy rainstorms that flooded the fields. Dedicated volunteers from Austin and other member cities helped restore the fields each day to make them playable so the GSWS could be completed. Softball Austin was proud to be named "The Best LGBTQ Sports League" by the Austin Chronicle.

2020 - Unprecedented times

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, public events were canceled in the City of Austin for all of 2020 and the first half of 2021. Many in our community, like our nation and the world, lost loved ones, dealt with economic challenges, and struggled with isolation. When our spring season was canceled, Softball Austin had grown to an unprecedented 32 teams, and by the time softball returned, in the summer of 2021, that number was reduced to 22. 

Today - Rebuilding

Softball Austin is continuing to grow our league. Our 2023 Spring Season began with 26 teams - many with completely full rosters (20 players). Our future is bright, thanks to each and every one of our 450+ players, managers, coaches, our sponsors, and our countless volunteers and fans.

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