Kenny Eriksen knows softball.

And Eriksen can talk, and walk it.Actually, Kenny can't help it. He's New York-born. He's street-wise smart. He has always had to back up what he said.

He loves fastpitch softball, so much, that people wonder if he sleeps with his Larry H. Miller Toyota uniform on.

He talks the game he loves - fastpitch softball.

Eriksen is just elated that he is healthy for the International Softball Congress World Tournament, which begins Saturday in Sioux City, Iowa. Last year, he was hit by a pitch, sustaining a fractured right arm in the Ottawa, Canada, playing in the Canadian Cup Challenge.

This year, Eriksen is ready.

And his Miller Toyota teammates are elated, too. He keeps the team loose, with his off-beat antics, humor, and stories. But also, as a player, he can play anywhere in the lineup, except being a pitcher. He is a team leader.

"You don't realize how frustrating it was to be at the ISC Tournament, and not be able to play last year," explained Eriksen. "I want to help our club anyway I can. I'm just excited to be playing again for Miller Toyota.

"It's a real class organization. They really respect the game. That's big with me. You know, last year, when I was hurt, they didn't have to fly me to the ISC Tournament just to be a pinch-runner. But they did. That's class."

Eriksen, who has played for three other teams, including the Clearwater Bombers, which finished fourth in the 1992 ISC in Salt Lake City, has been been playing the outfield and designated-hitter this year.

His bat improved, after a slow start, with a .320 average.

Eriksen was recruited to play at the University of South Florida by Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts (Phildelphia Phillies), who was the baseball coach.

" `Rob' was great to play for, because he was such a great people person," explained Eriksen, who played at USF from 1981 through 1984.

"I was going to be the hitting instructor for him, after spending a little stint out of baseball. When I came back to USF to work on my master's degree, the assistant women's fastpitch coaching position was open.

"The women's coach offered me more money and of course, the opportunity to work on my master's degree, so I took the position. I'm still the assistant coach."

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

ISC World Tournament

Utah Area Teams

Saturday Schedule

All Games MDT

7:45 a.m. - Page Brake vs. Grafton, West Virgina

9:30 a.m. - Pleasant Grove (Wallbangers) vs. Ravens, South Surrey, B.C.

Also: Aurora, Ill. vs. Marathon, Wis.

Sunday Schedule

11 a.m. - Miller Toyota vs. TBD