The authority for sports coverage in the Fredericksburg region.
Recreation: No shortage of Killingers in Hall
BY NATHAN WARTERS
Eric Killinger has spent the last couple days fine-tuning his speech for his induction into the Central Virginia ASA Softball Hall of Fame on Saturday. He’s nervous because he doesn’t want to forget anybody.
Killinger’s standout career is a testament to the people who have supported him, and he wants to make sure everybody gets recognized.
“I’m just trying to make sure I thank everyone, because to me that’s what it’s all about,” said Killinger, who is joining a rare fraternity of Fredericksburg-area softball players in the Richmond-based Hall. That group includes Killinger’s father, Leroy, who was inducted in 1995.
“To me, that’s the reason I’m going in is family support,” Killinger added. “That’s what’s important.”
To be in the Hall of Fame with his father is a special accomplishment for Killinger. The two played together for more than a decade early in Eric’s career, and now they will forever be enshrined in the Hall for their career accomplishments.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” said Killinger, a regional vice president for a local printing company.
Leroy Killinger, 73, will be among the 18 family members and friends on hand to see Killinger’s Hall of Fame induction Saturday in Glen Allen. A record turnout of 331 guests is expected for the ceremony.
“Oh my goodness, it’s incredible. It’s what I’ve been waiting for,” Leroy Killinger said.
The younger Killinger, 46, became passionate about softball as a child traveling the tournament circuit with his dad. He was a batboy for his father’s team when he was 6 and started playing competitively at 16.
He played baseball and football at Stafford High School and was a baseball standout at Longwood, but he always preferred softball to baseball.
“Softball is more action-packed than baseball. An average game of softball lasts an hour and 15 minutes. Baseball games usually take longer than three hours,” Killinger said. “To me, it’s more fun than playing baseball.”
Killinger, who still plays regularly, has accomplished a lot in his 27-year career. He has won a Class B ASA National Championship, three Regional titles, 13 state titles and the ASA World’s Largest Tournament twice. He has received All-Tournament team or Most Valuable Player honors 19 times.
“Eric is the son that every father wants. As a ballplayer, he puts it all on the line,” Leroy Killinger said. “I’m a proud dad to have him in the Hall of Fame.”
When Eric Killinger is inducted Saturday, he and his father will be one of only three father–son duos in the Hall of Fame.
The first was the late Bill Lenzi and his son Billy, both Fredericksburg-area residents who at one time played on the same team as Killinger and his dad.
Billy Lenzi, a close friend of Killinger, was inducted last year and he is expected to be on hand to see his friend join the elite fraternity.
Killinger said he’d like to keep his career going as long as he can still physically play and have fun. He says he couldn’t have had such a great career without the support of his wife, Lisa, and daughters Hope and MacKenzie, both standout athletes themselves.
And of course, he couldn’t have done it without his father’s influence. After all, softball is all about family for Killinger.
Nathan Warters: 540/374-5442