The E.B. Krantz Memorial Softball Tournament will take place in Lafayette August 3 - 5, a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It’s an NSA sanctioned tournament, in honor of a man beloved to many locals.
Part of the tournament will take place at the field that was dedicated in E.B. Krantz’s honor during his lifetime, located at Central Elementary. “The smaller field is the one that E.B. was so instrumental in getting started,” said Anthony Pedigo, Assistant Director of the tournament and President of the local rec league. Tournament players will face off on the Harvey George field, the E.B. Krantz field, and if there is overflow, the softball fields over at Macon County High School. The tournament will begin in the early evening on the Friday,and finish with elimination games on Sunday.
Pedigo said that they were expecting at least four local teams, with a large handful of others interested, and around 19 teams from surrounding counties. “They’re all guaranteed to play at least three games,” said Pedigo.
Chris Ballou is the tournament director and Pedigo has assisted him. “If it wasn’t for them,” said Krantz’s daughter Denise Krantz Hesson, “this would have been a fiasco.”
Ballou and Hesson shared warm memories of Krantz, and Ballou provided a brief biography he’d written for the day that the E.B. Krantz field was dedicated:
“Mr. Krantz, affectionately known to hundreds of past and present ballplayers, coaches, and fans only as “E.B.”, was born in 1935. For those of you who can ‘do the math’, that will answer the first question on many fans’ lips when they see E.B. stroll onto the infield this year to yell, “Play Ball” once again. He’s been married to Mrs. Alta Davis Krantz for forty-nine years now, and their children are Teresa, Sheila, Denise, and Eric. Forty-nine years as an umpire’s wife would require the patience of Job. E.B. has been blessed to see his great grandchildren play the game that he’s labored in for so long. Mr. Krantz taught in the Macon County School system for forty-two years, and still teaches as a substitute today.
“E.B. Krantz began umpiring softball games while Harry S. Truman was still President of the United States, of which there were still only forty-eight; back before Elvis wore blue suede shoes, or Edsels rolled off of the Detroit assembly lines. During the Korean War era, Private 1st Class E.B. Krantz was called upon by his fellow Marines, during a break in their duties, to umpire a friendly game of softball. During the game, a certain Marine Captain took exception to a call that the Private had made concerning a play he was involved in. After the Captain “gently” tried to persuade the rookie umpire to change his call, the Private was applauded by a Marine Colonel in the opposing team’s grandstand. The call stood and the rest is history.
“In the early 1970’s, adult slow-pitch softball caught fire in the Lafayette and middle Tennessee area and E.B. was there to make the calls. He got involved with the newly formed Youth Softball League in 1976, even serving as League President for a year. Alongside volunteers such as Harold Maynard, Bill Speck, Glenn Ray, Harvey George, Linda Toney, H.L. Bergdorf, and many others, E.B. worked to make the Youth League a success for both boys and girls. When the boys division dropped out and the girls switched from slow to fast-pitch in the mid 1990’s, E.B. just donned a few more pads, strapped on the shin guards and kept right on going. Since then, he’s gained accreditation in so many different umpiring organizations in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia that his resume’ reads like alphabet soup. As a T.S.S.A.A. umpire, he’s called high school and junior high games; as an N.C.A.A. umpire, he’s called college level games; and as an I.S.A., N.S.A., A.S.A., or U.S.S.S.A. umpire (take your pick), he’s called many, many recreational league games”
E.B. Krantz passed away just a little over a month ago, at the age of 77. Proceeds from this tournament will go to fund the college scholarship that has been set up in Krantz’s honor.