CUSHING, Wisc. – Wisconsin is dotted with many rural, small towns surrounded by farm fields, forests and pastures. One such small town located in this idyllic setting in the northwest part of the state is Cushing.
Cushing folks, numbering about 700 or so, have quite a few outdoor activities to choose from: they can hike, they can camp, they can boat, and they can hunt and fish.
And for the more competitively inclined, they can play men’s fastpitch softball.
Cushing might be small in population, but it’s big in softball, with no less than four teams – Dugout Bar and Grill, Suzy Q’s, the Tigers, and the Heat – playing fastpitch.
LONEY AND DIETMEIER KEEP THE TRADITION GOING
And for over 20 years, Cushing has drawn teams from near and far for its Memorial weekend tournament. The past 12 years Dugout has hosted the tournament, led by tournament directors Steve Loney and Les Dietmeier.
This year’s tourney – the 12th Annual Dugout Memorial Weekend Tournament – drew nine teams from Wisconsin and Minnesota, with Tin Cup of St. Paul, Minnesota taking the title over instate-rival Ostrander.
So how has Cushing preserved its fastpitch roots, while the sport fades away in many larger towns and cities throughout the country?
“We all grew up playing fastpitch, or the younger kids dad’s played, or they are still playing,” said Dietmeier, who plays for Dugout.