Westport’s Backus inducted to state Hall of Fame
Westport’s Jeb Backus was one of six inductees to the 2019 Hall of Fame class for USA Softball of Connecticut (formally CT ASA).
Backus, who started playing softball for Sonny’s of Westport at the age of 16 while at Staples High School where he was a star baseball and football player, was joined by Tim Roussin of Meriden, Joe Keenan of St. Petersburg, FL (played out of Ansonia), Deborah Frouge of Bethany, Dave Manente of Seymour and Glen Cantin of Thomaston at induction ceremonies.
After graduation, while attending Flagler College in Florida on a baseball scholarship, he continued to play for Sonny’s.
During Backus’ 11 years with Sonny’s (1980-1990), in addition to dominating high profile local leagues, they won five State Championships, including four Class A titles from 1986-1990. Three of those were consecutive (1988-1990), a feat which had only been done once before by Gartenhaus Cafe. Backus pitched in all four of those championship games and went 13 for 14 while driving in 17 runs.
In 1991 Backus joined Class A/ Major Midas Touch/ ACR/ Worth of Fairfield where he was the leadoff hitter. He pitched for them while also playing second base and all four outfield positions. That team placed third in the 1991 Class A Nationals and earned top 15 finishes in the 1992 and 1993 Major Nationals. The 1992 squad beat the defending Major National Champion Riverside Paving.
From 1996 to 2004 Backus played at the Over 35 (Fly Juice and Heritage Carpentry of Norwalk) and at the Class B (St. Ann’s of Norwalk) levels, where he continued to excel as both a veteran leader and a top player, adding five more State Championships.
Included in Backus’ nominating documentation were several recommendations coming from other Hall of Famers attesting to his more than adequate qualifications for induction.
Backus finished his 25 year softball career in 2004 with a batting average exceeding .625. He earned more than 900 pitching wins. His teams earned more than 40 ASA titles at the local, state and regional levels and qualified to play in 19 National Tournaments.
He was Flagler’s starting center fielder from 1985 thru 1987, earning All-District, All-Region and All-American honors in 1987. In 2004 he was one of the first inductees into Flagler’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
Backus is now a head coach for Westport Travel Baseball and Softball and is the junior varsity softball coach at Staples. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Westport Little League as Director of Field Operations.
He currently lives in Westport with his son Tripp and daughter Jillian.