Who were the Texacos?

The Texacos’ “Big Three” pitching staff in 1970 (above) celebrate just after winning the state championship in Richmond. From left are John Rice, Leonard Rock and James Ashburn. Members of the Kilmarnock/Lancaster Texacos fast pitch softball team will gather at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at Dream Fields, 1385 Irvington Road, Kilmarnock, to observe the 60th anniversary of the team’s beginning.
by Carroll Lee Ashburn

As the years fly by and new generations of people grow up here or move here, the word Texacos has been largely forgotten.

Many have never heard of “The Kilmarnock/Lancaster” fast pitch men’s softball team that entertained thousands from 1957 until 1972.

With a humble beginning on an old baseball diamond in Ottoman, the team went on to be a softball powerhouse, known throughout the Eastern Seaboard as one of Virginia’s elite fast pitch softball teams. Behind the pitching of “The Big Three,” John Rice, James Ashburn and Leonard Rock, who won almost 300 games between them, then throw on Wesley Ashburn and Roy Pugh, who added another 80, the Texacos accumulated over 500 victories in their 16 seasons of softball.

The Texacos joined the 1960 Lancaster County men’s softball league in 1960 and won every game before going independent the next year where they won 35 out of 50 games played, and they were on their way, winning over 40 games during two different seasons and finishing eight times with only single digit losses. They finished with 516 wins, 162 losses and 5 ties.

On Saturday, April 22, the “Legendary Texacos” will get together for their 60th anniversary reunion at Dream Fields in Kilmarnock to replay many of those games and share stories, which will likely be greatly exaggerated.