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Blanche Even



Perhaps South Dakota's greatest women's fastpitch player, Even starred at shortstop for Sioux Falls teams KIHO and Locke Auto Electric during the 1950s and '60s. She was a member of 13 state championship teams and earned all-state honors 11 times. She retired in 1974. "She could play shortstop for any men's team," Locke coach Ike Hoover said in a 1992 Argus Leader story. "She was the best there ever was at that position."

Even was born in Humboldt in 1929. Her family moved to Sioux Falls in 1937. She graduated from Cathedral High School in 1947. There were no sporting events for girls in high school during the 1940s, so Even's extracurricular activities included being a majorette for the school "Pep Squad."

She grew up around ballplayers. Her father and five brothers all played baseball. "I was always playing catch with my brothers," recalled Even, the youngest of eight children. "There weren't any teams for girls in Sioux Falls, so I'd always tag along with them."

After graduation, Even worked at Crescent Electric Supply for two years. She joined Electric Construction Company in 1951, working there and with the later renamed retail division, Mahlander's Appliance & Lighting Company, for 44 years, retiring in 1995.

Even started playing league softball when she was 21. She played for 24 years. Even's teams went to two national tournaments, the first one in 1953 in Toronto and the second in 1967 in Stratford, Conn. In 1962 Even was sidelined with a broken ankle while sliding into third base. However this did not halt her involvement with the team. She continued with coaching duties and was back at shortstop the following year. In 1973 Even was inducted into the South Dakota Fastpitch Association Hall of Fame.






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