The St. Charles County Amateur Sports Hall of Fame hosted its 38th Annual Awards Banquet on Saturday, March 18, 2023. The banquet was held at the American Legion in St. Charles. Close to 300 people were in attendance, supporting the 20 inductees into the hall of fame. The evening included award presentations, dinner, drinks and dancing. Bill Schnarre was the master of ceremonies and introduced the deserving athletes who were inducted into the St. Charles County Amateur Sports Hall of Fame. The outstanding Senior Athletes winners were chosen for their accomplishments over the past four years at their respective schools – Josie Villard and Ronan Hardwicke - Christian High School, Brooke Cattoor - Fort Zumwalt South High School, Nash Kell - St. Dominic High School, Kate Cooper - Wentzville Timberland High School and Ernie Brakensiek has been pitching horseshoes for 55-plus years in organized leagues, starting in 1962 with the St. Charles Warren County Traveling League. Ernie has taken 1st place 19 times in multiple leagues and received a high average and The Sportsmanship Award four times. He is a charter member of the New Melle Horseshoe Club, a lifetime member of Quail Ridge Horseshoe Club, and a 30-year member of the NHPA/MOHPA. Ernie is a tough competitor, with a high regard for sportsmanship. Ernie is a willing volunteer and a gentleman on and off the courts. Aidan Hernandez - Francis Howell High School.
Front Row (L-R): Mike Schulte, Bill Matthews, Ernie Brankensiek, Don Gillette, Aidan Hernandez, Kate Cooper, Josie Villard, Brooke Cattoor, Paul Clem, and Dan Drury.
Back Row (L-R): Jerry Kohrs, Todd Joerling, Gale Fridley, Ronan Hardwicke, Nash Kell, Angie Goettel, Phyllis Schneider and Jeff Kaiser.
The following athletes were inducted into the Hall of Fame for their accomplishments and contributions to their sport.
Ernie Brakensiek has been pitching horseshoes for 55-plus years in organized leagues, starting in 1962 with the St. Charles Warren County Traveling League. Ernie has taken 1st place 19 times in multiple leagues and received a high average and The Sportsmanship Award four times. He is a charter member of the New Melle Horseshoe Club, a lifetime member of Quail Ridge Horseshoe Club, and a 30-year member of the NHPA/MOHPA. Ernie is a tough competitor, with a high regard for sportsmanship. Ernie is a willing volunteer and a gentleman on and off the courts.
Slow-Pitch Softball (New Category for 2023)
Todd Joerling met slow-pitch softball in 1982. The teams he was fortunate to play for enabled Todd to attain the following softball achievements, 15 National Championships, 32 Time All-World or All-American, Three Time National Tournament MVP, 8 Time National Tournament Batting Champion, One Time National Tournament Home Run Champion, 3 Time Gold Glove and numerous NIT All-Tournament teams. With a career .720 batting average, Todd made Supreme Softball's 1st Team 7 out of 8 years. With this induction, Todd is a member of twelve Halls of Fame! Todd has coached youth sports for the past 20 years while a member of New Melle Sports & Rec, serving as President for the past 12 years. Todd is the most decorated slow-pitch softball player to ever come out of St. Charles County, but nothing compares to the friendships he has made through the game of softball.
William (Bill) Mathews is largely responsible for the St. Charles County Slow Pitch Softball, an established organization that began over 50 years ago, thanks to Bill. In 1972, Bill joined the United States Slow Pitch Softball Association (USSSA) and started developing softball leagues in St. Charles County. Bill is the founding father of slow-pitch softball in St. Charles County. He expanded his knowledge and love of softball throughout the state and at the national level. Those who played or umpired a slow-pitch game are forever grateful to Bill for his insight into this wonderful game a half-century ago.
Danny Schneider (Posthumously) – Before organized Slow Pitch Softball Leagues in St. Charles County, there were the informal “Beer Ball” Leagues of the 1960s. “Beer Ball” Leagues played weekend games at Elm Point and North End Parks. The competing teams shared a keg of beer, with the losers buying the keg. Danny Schneider organized many of these social events. Over time, slow-pitch softball became a family affair for the Schneider Family. Playing and/or coaching with his kids brought Danny the most joy. Sadly, Danny passed away in 2012 after surviving many years with a heart transplant. Danny's wife, Phyllis, accepted his induction plaque.
Gale Fridley began playing baseball as a youngster in the 1950s and was a standout pitcher and first baseman for the St. Charles Pirates. Gale's skills on the ball field made him a much sought-after player. Gale ended his career with the Lutheran Men's Club finishing with a .310-batting average. He was instrumental in winning league and tournament championships for his teams, and he also enjoyed helping young players improve their hitting and fielding skills.
Jeff Keiser has been involved in St. Charles County sports for over 50 years, having played, coached, or umpired. Jeff's hard-playing style of baseball combined with a competitive spirit made him an essential part of six championship teams. His love of baseball is evident as he considers his most significant accomplishment passing along all he has taught young players he has coached.
Jerry Kohrs has been a staple for nearly 50 years in the sport of Dart Ball in St. Charles County. He played for the Thursday Church League and the St. Charles City Dart Ball League. Jerry carried a Dart Ball average of over .400 during his long and celebrated career. The highlight of Jerry's City League All-Star performances came in the 2007-2008 league year. His stellar performance of 12 hits in 17 at-bats and 10 RBIs attributed to him being named City Dart Ball League's National League All-Star MVP. Jerry was also a member of two City League championship teams. Jerry spent many years playing Dart Ball and has always stood out in the game and for his sportsmanship.
Mike Schulte has played Dart Ball for over 30 years in St. Charles County, serving as captain for each of his teams. He is a 4-time all-star and played on seven American League championship teams. Mike has also won three championships. In 1994, he became the Secretary, a position he still holds. Mike is a true ambassador of the St. Charles County Dart Ball. The league has been lucky to have him as a player and secretary. It is dedication like his that helps to keep the league strong.
Angie Goettel started bowling when she was five years old. She joined her first league when she was nine and averaged 110. She had nine 300 games and five 800 series, with a high of 817. Angie has a ten-year composite average of 218, a twenty-two-year composite average of 212, and a high average of 225 in 2006. Angie is a lefty that threw the ball hard and was given the nickname “Rocket,” which she still has today. She is one of the most accomplished bowlers and best team players, always giving 100%. She is a tough competitor, a true champion and a class act on and off the lanes.
Paul Clem started bowling in 1966 at 24, averaging 123 in his first season. Just three years later, his average was 196. In 1973, Paul bowled a high series of 743, the highest recorded score at Plaza Lanes since it opened 12 years earlier. Paul has 8 – perfect games, 8 – 800 series, a high series of 845 and a high single-season average of 221. Paul worked with Brunswick Corp., coaching and teaching the game he loves. He is a tough competitor and is well-respected by his peers.
Dan Drury began playing baseball early and continued through High School, American Legion, College, and five years in a men's league for the St. Louis Printers. After baseball, it was ten years of slow-pitch softball. In early 2000, he began a career in fast-pitch softball, joining Ken Bell's team at C&H park and then McNair Park. Soon he played about six tournaments a year with the team "The Tribe." Years later, wishing to expand the local league and promote the game of Fast Pitch Softball, he formed the team he plays on today with his son, brother, and nephew.
The Awards Banquet not only gave praise to the inductees but allowed them the opportunity to tell their families, friends and teammates that they were instrumental in helping them succeed. A common theme in most of the speeches that night were that the athletes are thankful for the friendships they have forged and will cherish the memories they made together. With nearly 300 in attendance this class of indcuctees had a considerable group of supporters, it was one of the largest crowds ever. Congratulations to the 2023 Inductees into the St. Charles County Amateur Sports Hall of Fame.