K-Club Invitational draws top Northwest teams

Written by Bob on May 29th, 2014

paul.lauzier Paul Lauzier Athletic Complex, Moses Lake, Wash, will be the site of the 2014 K-Club Invitational Men’s Fastpitch Tournament.
See tournament flier: ML Flyer ’14

MOSES LAKE, Wash. – Moses Lake lies about halfway between Seattle and Spokane off the 90 Interstate. Most people have never heard of Moses Lake, and have no reason to go to Moses Lake.

But there’s at least one exception. Men’s fastpitch softball. In particular the annual K-Club Invitational Men’s Fastpitch Tournament.

Since the tournament began in 2012, spearheaded by the Kolda family – father Dan and sons Rickey and Mike – teams from the greater Northwest have become quite familiar with Moses Lake, and have taken a liking to the tournament.

And this year is no exception. K-Club manager and tournament director Mike Kolda with the help of his brother and father have planned a tournament featuring seven of the best teams from Washington, Idaho, and Montana.

The tournament takes place June 7 – 8 at the Paul Lauzier Athletic Complex. Entered are K-Club, Moses Lake; Boise, Idaho RiverDogs; JRW & Associates, Yakima, Wash.; Northwest Naturals, Yakima; Press Box, Missoula, MT; Interbay Door, Seattle; and Cleon’s Auto Repair, Spanaway, Wash.

A few of these teams are coming off impressive performances in 2013. The RiverDogs won the ASA Class C Western National Tournament, while K-Club took third and also won the prestigious Seattle Invitational.

    A Preview of The 2014 K-Club Invitational Ball Clubs.
    K-CLUB

K-Club finished 19-12 in 2013, with pitcher Rickey Kolda finishing 9-5, and also spending time catching his father. K-Club – now in its sixth season – had five top-three tournament finishes in 2013.

They took second in the Portland Rose Cup and Mt. Vernon Invitational; third in their own tournament as well as third in the ASA Class C national. And will be returning to the Seattle Invitational as defending champions.

Mike Kolda said his ball club will be returning to all those tournaments (except the ASA nationals), as well as playing in the NAFA A-Major World Series in Moline, Ill, in August.

“We went two years a go (to the NAFA World Series) and took second in a field of about 25 to 30 teams,” he said. “We enjoyed the competition and number of teams at the NAFA A-Major.”

Ten players return from the 2013 squad, including veterans Randy Bitterman, Kenney Cave, Carlos Gonzalez (2013 RBI leader), and the Kolda’s.

And there’s also Chayce Christensen. Just 19, Christensen is just as comfortable playing in the infield as well as the outfield, and he led the team last year in runs scored and batting average, said Mike Kolda.

Also being counted on is Michael Tyacke, 33, who catches and plays the outfield. Tyacke was the Most Valuable Player of the 2013 Seattle Invitational. Others being counted on are third baseman Jim Decater, catcher Bill Price, and right-handed pitcher, Jason Wright, new to the ball club.

    PRESS BOX, MISSOULA

Managed by pitcher Frank Hendrix, Press Box finished second in the 2013 ASA Montana State Tournament, and returns to Moses Lake for a third crack at the championship. Key players to watch are outfielder Will Hendrix, infielder and catcher Tony Davis, and James Lester, the team’s most experienced hitter and outfielder.

“It is a relatively young mix of guys, a new mix,” said Frank Hendrix by email about his team that finished 2-3 in the Las Vegas Road Trip tournament in April. “It’s a team that should have some fun.”


To pull off a winning record at Moses Lake, manager Mark Seward, will be counting on pitcher Shayne Ardnt to hold the opposing bats down. This is the inaugural appearance for the Yakima team. Seward adds that he’s expecting big production from Tim Roinestad, who comes over from JRW & Associates.

“I just (want) the new guys to have fun and enjoy the greatest game I’ve ever been a part of,” Seward said.

    INTERBAY DOOR

The team is managed by Charlie Bendock and plays in nearly every tournament in the Northwest. Interbay Door is comprised of primarily masters-aged players averaging about age 60. But for tournaments, Bendock brings in some younger players, some of which are sons of the fathers on the ball club.

In 2013, Interbay finished fourth (3-3) at Moses Lake, but also played in tournaments in Yakima, Portland, Mt. Vernon, and Seattle.

Interbay is a regular at the annual NAFA Masters World Series tournaments. And last year took third in the 50-Over; fourth in the 55-Over, and third in the 60-Over.

Toeing the rubber for Interbay is Steve Thompson. The 62-year-old is all that you can ask for in a pitcher, Bendock said.

“He’s always a tenacious competitor who sets the tone for our team play,” added Bendock. “He lifts the level of play of his teammates, and he has all the pitches and good control. He’s still competing at a Hall of Fame level.”

But now and then pitchers need help. Coming to Thompson’s defense is shortstop Scott Budnick. A good hitter with power, “he anchors our infield at whatever position he plays, and has soft hands, quick release, and always comes ready to play,” Bendock said.

Another anchor for Interbay and a team leader is Andy Watson.

“Everyone plays better and is more confident when Andy is on the field,” Bendock said. “If it’s a critical situation, Andy will call the team together, and I always know he’s giving the right advice to assure the team we will get through it.”

    JRW & ASSOCIATES

The ball club is sponsored and managed by Jim Williamson, a NAFA founder and a 1999 NAFA Hall of Fame member, who has been in fastpitch over 50 years as a player, coach and sponsor. JRW has earned its share of success over the years, and is off to a good start in 2014 by finishing second in the international Road Trip VII Tournament, held in Las Vegas in April.

Led by Mike Koentopp’s seven RBIs and .381 batting average, JRW finished second with a 6-2 record. Jason Grow with a .474 BA and 4 RBIs and 5 runs, along with Joey Robbins’ .333 BA, 4 RBIs and 5 runs were also key offensive contributors.

But Robbins doesn’t just hit the ball. He spins it up and down pretty well, too. He led the pitching staff with a 4-1 record in 28 2/3 innings, striking out 36, walking only five, and finishing with a 3.66 ERA.

In order to win at Moses Lake, Williamson is counting on a roster that includes Tim Fisher, Tony Cox, Cody Wagner, Craig Snyder, Sean McCauley, Steve Sebesta, Troy Grow, Brett Richards, Michael Campo, and Craig Snyder.

    CLEON’S AUTO REPAIR

The Spanaway, Wash. team is managed by Gary May, Kyle Sherwood and Mike Loder. The team is returning to the Moses Lake tourney and counting on Sherwood, Loder and Jim McElroy as key contributors.

alder.shane.1web Shane Alder, pitching in the 2010 NAFA World Series, will be counted upon to give the Boise RiverDogs an opportunity to win the K-Club Invitational Tournament.

    BOISE RIVERDOGS

One of the most recognized names in all of men’s fastpitch, the RiverDogs have helped stage a tremendous rebirth of fastpitch in Idaho. Led by the father-son duo of manager Greg Alder and his son Shane, the team’s top pitcher, the RiverDogs won the ASA Class C Western Nationals in 2013 and finished second in the 2010 NAFA World Series.

Shane Alder, Sam Christensen and Jamie Kubena were selected to the 2010 NAFA A-Major All-World team.

And earlier this year, the RiverDogs were inducted as a team into the Idaho ASA Hall of Fame for, as the inscription on the plaque read:

“for many years of dedicated service to Idaho ASA.”

This will be the first trip for the Boise team to the K-Club Invitational. Other key players include catcher Jamie Kubena and shortstop Dane McGrady.

1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Rick Kolda says:

    Thanks Bob but to just clear up 1 thing, K-Club was 19-12 last year. Sorry for the inaccurate information. Good luck to all those coming to Moses Lake, see you on the field.

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