Sports Hall of Fame announces 2015 inductees.

November 28, 2014
Rod Beckman

Rod Beckman

LUDINGTON  — The Mason County Sports Hall of Fame announced its 11th class for induction with a six-member class that was great in a variety of fields. The class consists of Rod Beckman, Debbie Hineline Roberts, Carl Mayhand, Greg Melchert, Lee Snyder and Matt Urka.

“The fact that the talent we have in this group could very well have been elected in the first year is what amazes me,” hall president Vic Burwell said. “So many people felt that the talent in Mason County is limited. Here we are in the 11th class and this could have easily been our first class.

“We have an All-American runner, we have a multi-state champion gymnast, we have Ludington’s finest male athlete, a person who started a major fastpitch softball tournament and was so prominent, we have one of Mason County’s premier baseball players and the voice of Mason County sports for more than 40 years. What an outstanding class.”

Beckman had an all-state basketball career at Shelby and went on to play baseball at Oklahoma State, Muskegon Community College and three years in the minor league system for the Detroit Tigers. Afterward, though, he began a 40-plus year career broadcasting Ludington football and basketball, the lion’s share of which he did with partner Joe Holmes. In the summers, he played on the Custer VFW fastpitch softball team.

Hineline Roberts was one of the great standout gymnasts during Ludington’s dominance in the sport in the late 1970s. She was the first Oriole to win an all-around state championship and had five state titles in individual events during her sterling career. In three of her high school years, Hineline Roberts was an all-state pick.
Mayhand was an outstanding runner for Mason County Eastern, setting seven school records and was the holder of three records for all of Mason County. He won two state championships, one as the Class D state champion in cross country in 1980 and the other as the 400-meter state champ in track in 1983. He went on to be an All-American in junior college and won a scholarship to run at Auburn University.

Melchert had a standout career in baseball, wrestling and football at Mason County Central. He qualified for the state tournament in wrestling three times. In baseball, though, is where he shined. He turned a good run at Central into playing for Western Michigan University and eventually pitched in the Detroit Tigers minor league system. After returning home, he played for several teams in the glory days of fastpitch softball, including the famed Midland Explorers.
Snyder was a standout track athlete for Ludington High School. He earned great marks before his senior year at the regional level, but it was in 1954 that he shined. He single-handedly won a state runner-up finish for the Orioles based on a state title and new state record in the pole vault, a co-state title in the high jump, a runner-up finish in the low hurdles and third in the long jump.

Urka is best known as a major sponsor of fastpitch softball teams in Mason County, but he was involved in sports as a youth and young adult. A work-related accident cut down his on-field sports career, but he went on to develop one of the state’s biggest fastpitch softball tournaments for Memorial Day weekend, drawing top teams and players from around the state and the Midwest.

The Mason County Sports Hall of Fame is hosting its induction in two segments in June 2015. The unveiling of the Class of 2015 will be at noon at Historic White Pine Village followed by a banquet at Lincoln Hills Golf Club at 6 p.m. Tickets for the banquet will be made available at a later time.

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