Inductees Marie Wadlow, the first woman elected to the National Softball Hall of Fame, was one of the most talented and fierce competitors to appear on the Greater Peoria sports scene.
Her softball pitching career started in 1929 in St. Louis and ended in 1950 with the Caterpillar Dieselettes. It was a truly amazing one.
Her all-time record was 341 wins against 51 losses and in her seven years with Caterpillar she won 103 games while losing just 18.
Chuck McCord, the long-time manager of the Dieselettes, called Wadlow "one of the greatest competitors I've seen anywhere."
One of her biggest thrills on the mound actually came in a game she lost. "We had a 17 inning 1-0 loss to the Phoenix Ramblers in 1950," she recalled many years ago. "That gave us third place in the national tournament at San Antonio."
Wadlow, who passed away in 1979, was elected to the National ASA Hall of Fame in 1957 and is also a member of the Illinois State Softball Hall of Fame and the St. Louis Hall of Fame.
Marie Wadlow, the first woman elected to the National Softball Hall of Fame, was one of the most talented and fierce competitors to appear on the Greater Peoria sports scene.
Paula Buscher was a 3-sport star during her high prep career at Peoria Richwoods High School, excelling in volleyball, basketball and softball. A two-time all-conference performer in basketball, Buscher was captain of the 1981 Knights squad that finished second in the IHSA Class AA state tournament, and she also earned all-conference softball honors while earning the distinction of Richwoods Senior Athlete of the Year in 1981. Buscher began her collegiate playing career at Illinois Central College, where she played both baskteball and softball for Hall of Fame coach Lorene Ramsey. A member of ICC's 1982 NJCAA national championship softball team, Buscher also helped the Cougars women's basketball team to a pair of top-five NJCAA national tournament finishes in 1982 (fifth) and 1983 (third). She was captain of the 1983 squad, earning all-tourney honors at both the Region IV and national tournaments. Buscher continued her collegiate career at Missouri State University, where she also played both basketball and softball. The basketball team's leader in assists during both her seasons at Missouri State, Buscher finished with 264 career assists. She also led the Bears in steals (41) and free throw percentage (.818) during the 1983-84 campaign. A first-team All-Gateway Conference shortstop and a member of the NFCA All-Midwest Region second team in 1986, Buscher led the Bears wtih 25 RBI's during her senior season on the diamond. As a junior in 1984, Buscher led the Bears with 42 hits, eight doubles, six triples and three home runs. Bradley University's head coach for 12 seasons from 2000-12, Buscher has been a women's basketball collegiate head coach for 18 seasons overall. She currently is in her third year as the women's basketball head coach at SIU Edwardsville.