The success of Pierce County women's fastpitch in the 1940s and 1950s depended on several factors, not the least of which was the financial backing of such team sponsors as Baskett Lumber Company.

Frank Baskett, who owned the company, decided to put his support�both in money and time�behind a handful of Midland Junior High School girls who wanted to play fastpitch softball.

Baskett's stepdaughter, Anna Jean Greer, and her young teenage friends had been bitten by the fastpitch �bug� while playing the game at school. She asked Baskett to put a team together in 1948 and he did just that, managing and sponsoring the group.

The Baskett Lumber teams, known as the Lumberettes, were organized mostly after John Deuel�s successful 1946 Midland Tiger team. Deuel had also formed a team made up of Midland Junior High students, including one of the area�s greatest players in John's own daughter, Esther.

Greer remembers that the team �uniform� was quite simple that first season�a yellowish-colored sweatshirt with the word �Lumberettes� on the front and Baskett Lumber Company on the back. The players generally wore jeans when they practiced and played. Frank Baskett, with Anna in tow, went to a sporting goods store and purchased most of the team�s equipment.

Members of that first Baskett Lumber team were Greer, June Joringdahl, Lola Lenzi, Janet Kohler, Beverly Corrigan, Pat Cannon, Beverly Marude, Marilyn Crossman, Joanne Kilkup, Barbara Hanson, Joann Olsen, Joyce Snyder and Dorothy Peterson. Greer was the team�s pitcher, Olsen was her catcher, and Lenzi played shortstop.

The junior high schoolgirls played most of their games against teams made up of women at least several years their senior. �We did pretty good, but we were pretty green,� recalls Greer. In addition to playing against a host of good local squads, the Lumberettes also traveled to places like Bremerton to play games.

In the next four years, Baskett Lumber Company remained a sponsor, and the uniforms got better and the play improved. The early Baskett Lumber teams developed into the Pacific Mutual Fuelerettes, and many of the girls from those early Baskett teams later played for other women�s teams as the sport grew in popularity.

Esther Deuel, who had developed as a fastpitch standout in the Midland area in the early and mid 1940s before starring on several teams in the late 40s, returned to coach the later Baskett Lumber-sponsored team.

The original Lumberettes were just an example of the interest in and sponsorship of girls and women�s softball offered by Frank Baskett and Baskett Lumber Company. Pierce County women�s fastpitch benefited greatly from the support.