Mark Speight & Diamond 9 to be honored at Baseball Luncheon May 25


The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame is adding to its biggest baseball celebration in years, as longtime Hiland Dairy Foods Sales Manager Mark Speight will be honored May 25 with the President’s Award and a group of former high school, college and pro baseball and softball standouts will be recognized with the Diamond 9 awards presented by B.J’s Trophy Shop.

President and Executive Director Jerald Andrews on Tuesday announced the additions to the lineup. That day, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame will host a 9 a.m. unveiling of a life-size statue of West Plains High School graduate and former Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Bill Virdon. The Hall of Fame then will induct five individuals at the Baseball Luncheon presented by the Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company, set for 11 a.m. at the University Plaza Convention Center in Springfield.

The Diamond 9 award recipients will be Doug Bennett (Hillcrest High School/University of Arkansas), Dan Bishop (Springfield Central High School/Baltimore Orioles/New York Yankees), Jack Funderburk (Southwest Baptist University), Chelsea King Goodin (Strafford High School/Drury University), Kellie Becher Kessler (Missouri State University), , Danny Powers (Carl Junction High School/University of Central Missouri/Minnesota Twins), Kyle Rapinchuk (Branson High School/College of the Ozarks), Stefanie Standley (Lamar High School/University of Missouri) and Michael Vincent (Hollister High School/John Brown University/Phillips University/Cincinnati Reds).

The inductees are Mark Bailey (Glendale High School/Missouri State University/Houston Astros), John Donaldson (Glasgow/Negro Leagues), former Westran High School softball coach and former Sturgeon High School baseball coach Kelly Odneal, Rob Rains (Kickapoo High School/St. Louis media) and Mark Stratton (Glendale High School/Drury University).

A sponsorship table of eight is $400 and includes recognition in the printed program and an autographed print. An individual ticket is $40, while a head table ticket is $100. Numerous other sponsorships, including congratulatory ads, are available, too. Call 417-889-3100.

Mark Speight – President’s Award

Now in his 36th year with Hiland Dairy Foods, Speight will receive the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame’s prestigious President’s Award. It is given to someone who promotes sports in the state as well as to an individual who promotes the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. A 1967 graduate of Branson High School and 1971 graduate of Missouri State University, Speight has been a longtime member of the Hall of Fame’s Board of Trustees as he has led Hiland Dairy in throwing its support behind numerous causes. He also has been a key figure in leading the company’s efforts that have helped fuel the success of the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper, a PGA Tour event. The PCCC has gifted more than $13.8 million to Ozarks children’s charities in the past 27 years. Speight has been the sales manager for more than 20 years at Hiland Dairy and has served as president or chairman on numerous boards in the area, including the Good Samaritan Boys Ranch, the Ozark Empire Grocers Association and the Springfield-Branson Restaurant Association. Speight, who will receive the Man of the Year award from the Ozark Empire Grocers Association, is retiring from Hiland Dairy in late April to spend more time with his wife, Sylvia, of 42 years, two sons and daughters-in-law and three grandchildren.

Diamond 9s presented by B.J.’s Trophy Shop

Doug Bennett – Hillcrest High School & University of Arkansas

A 1988 graduate of Hillcrest High School, Bennett helped the Hornets win two state championships for coach Dave Davis – the 1987 American Legion title and a 1988 title in MSHSAA. Bennett was an All-State pitcher his junior and senior seasons. He was part of the Team USA Juniors who won the 1989 World Championship and the 1990 Team USA Seniors who won the Goodwill Games. Bennett pitched three seasons for the Arkansas Razorbacks, helping them reach the 1989 College World Series and finishing No. 5 that season. He was a two-time All-Southwest Conference pick, a 10-game winner as a sophomore and was drafted twice, by the New York Mets (12th round, 1988) and Los Angeles Dodgers (fifth round, 1991), then pitched two years in the Dodgers’ farm system.

Dan Bishop – Springfield Central High School, Baltimore Orioles & New York Yankees

Bishop was a 1956 graduate of Springfield’s Central High School, where he played on its baseball teams three years and played for coach Ed Brammer on local American Legion teams. He went on to then-Southwest Missouri State University but left school to pursue his baseball dreams. Bishop was a catcher in the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees farm systems from 1957 to 1962, reaching two Triple-A affiliates, Vancouver of the Pacific Coast League and Miami of the International League. The 1959 season was his best, as he reached both Triple-A circuits and played in the All-Star Game in the Class C Northern League. He later played seven years on Springfield fastpitch softball teams sponsored by Barnes Store.

Jack Funderburk — Southwest Baptist University

Funderburk was a standout for the Bearcats baseball team and was captain from 1995 to 1997. He was an NCAA Division II preseason All-American his junior and senior years and a three-time ABCA All-Central Region, including two first team honors. Funderburk was a four-time All-Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) selection, including dual honors as catcher and designated hitter. He was the MIAA Freshman of the Year in 1994. In SBU’s career records, Funderburk is second in batting average (.382), home runs (28) and runs scored (150), plus is third in RBI (155) and tied for the third-most hits (221). Many of those statistics led the program for 10 to 15 years. He was a 1993 graduate of Medford, Oklahoma High School.

Chelsea King Goodin – Strafford High School & Drury University

A 2007 Stafford High School standout, Goodin was a three-time All-State selection, including twice as a second baseman and an outfielder, and also earned News-Leader All-Ozarks from 2004 to 2006. She also earned All-Mid-Lakes Conference and All-District teams in an era when Strafford reached two state semifinals, placing third her freshman year and second her junior year – and reached state quarterfinals in the other two seasons. In 2006, Goodin batted .453 and moved into the single-season state record books with the fourth-most singles (35) and second-most steals (56). She went on to play two seasons at Drury University.

Kellie Becher Kessler – Missouri State University

A pitcher who transferred from Johnson County (Kan.) Community College, Becher was a National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Midwest Region selection in 1994, when she also earned the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year. Her 47 wins are sixth-best in program history but were second-most when she graduated. In fact, she was 31-6 in 1994, when the Bears finished 38-13. Kessler also owns the program’s third-best earned run average (0.98), ranks fifth in complete games (57) and sixth in strikeouts (447). She also had 28 shutouts, third-best in program history. She graduated from Olathe South (Kan.) High School.

Danny Powers – Carl Junction High School, University of Central Missouri, Minnesota Twins

A 2001 Carl Junction High School graduate, Powers was a two-time All-State selection, earning the award as an outfielder his senior year and pitcher his junior year. He went on to star at the University of Central Missouri, earning the pitching victory in the 2003 NCAA Division II College World Series championship game. In 2005, he was the Player of the Year in D-II, Region and Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) and has since been inducted into the MIAA Hall of Fame. Powers pitched four seasons in the minor leagues, reaching Double-A in the Minnesota Twins organization. He is now the head coach of Neosho High School’s baseball program after coaching in Cassville and Liberal.

Kyle Rapinchuk – Branson High School & College of the Ozarks

A 2001 Branson High School graduate, Rapinchuk earned All-State as a catcher in 2001 as well as All-Central Ozark Conference and All-District. He went on to play at College of the Ozarks from 2002 to 2005, earning All-American honorable mention honors his freshman and senior seasons. Rapinchuk also was All-Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference all four years. At C of O, he set the single-season record for hits (79), finished with the second- and fourth-best single-season batting averages (.443, .422), plus tied for second-most RBI in a season (62) and second-most doubles (17) in a season.

Stefanie Standley – Lamar High School & University of Missouri

A 2002 Lamar High School graduate, Standley was a four-time All-State selection, the 2002 Gatorade Missouri Player of the Year and earned multiple All-Big 8 Conference and all-district honors. Between 1998 and the 2001 season, she set the state’s records for career steals (206), steals per game (2.64) and stolen bases attempted (210). Her best season was in the year 2000, when Standley was 65-for-65 on steal attempts, making her the state record holder in both single-season steals and steals percentage (1.000). At one time, she also had the second-most steals in a season (54 in 2001). Standley went on to play one season for the University of Missouri, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in 2006.

Michael Vincent – Hollister High School, John Brown University, Phillips University & Cincinnati Reds

A 1980 Hollister High School graduate, Vincent was a three-time All-Southwest Central League selection in both baseball and basketball and the conference MVP in both sports. The shortstop also won the Springfield American Legion triple crown in 1980 with a .440 batting average, 21 home runs and 91 RBI. He was part of John Brown University’s 1981 NAIA College World Series team and, after the program was discontinued, he transferred to Phillips University and became a two-time NAIA All-American as well as All-Sooner Athletic Conference and All-Area. He helped Battle Creek, Michigan win the Stan Musial World Series in 1984, then played in the Cincinnati Reds farm system through 1988, reaching Double-A. Vincent later helped Price Cutter-Coors to two Men’s Senior Baseball League national championships, and three Show-Me Games titles, plus helped the San Juan Red Sox win two Caribbean World Series.