Someone to know: Greg McQuinn, Missouri boy’s fastpitch

Written by Bob on April 20th, 2010

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MARYVILLE, MO – By day Greg McQuinn sells the green and yellow, by night and on the weekends, he wears it. And so do his four boys.

McQuinn is co-owner and general manager of Northwest Implement, a John Deere dealership in Maryville. The dealership is well known among Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska farmers.

But in fastpitch softball, it has quite a reputation as well.

In the 2009 ASA Boy’s National Tournament, Northwest Implement won the age 16-under division national championship. And over the past few years, McQuinn’s teams have notched a couple of seconds in other age divisions as well.

McQuinn started sponsoring and coaching boy’s fastpitch six years a go. All because of his sons and their friends. Kyle, 22, Brett, 21, Ryan, 18, and Troy, 17 have a fondness for fastpitch. And McQuinn has made sure his boys have teams to play on.

“I’ll keep helping them as long as they want to keep playing,” said McQuinn, 47.

But it wasn’t the ASA that got the boys into fastpitch. Missouri is the only state that offers a boy’s (fall) high school fastpitch program. And the McQuinn boys all played the sport at Jefferson High in Conception Junction. A small town in the northwest corner of the state.

The Jefferson Eagles have quite a fastpitch history, winning five consecutive state championships from 2002-2007. The Eagles slipped a bit, finishing third in 2008, and second in 2009.

The high school program has funneled many boys into men’s fastpitch. Pitching, a key position in the sport, gets a boost from the high school program, said McQuinn.

“Developing pitching starts in about the sixth or seventh grade,” said McQuinn, who is also the school board president of Jefferson High School.

Northwest Implement plays about a 40-game summer schedule. They play in the men’s league in St. Joseph and in weekend tournaments. This weekend the team travels to Kansas City where McQuinn’s young fastballers will mix it up with the men’s teams.

But that’s OK. Competing against the men toughens up the young players, who range in age from 19 to 22.

“You learn more playing against the older guys,” said Kyle, the team’s second baseman. The tournaments are fun. You get to play three or four games a day and it’s faster pace than baseball.”

Greg McQuinn has asked some of Missouri’s veteran pitchers to help his young club in tournament play on occasion. Both Doug Middleton and Brandon Craig have pitched for the youngsters and left quite an impression.

“Doug Middleton pitched in a men’s tournament for our 18-under team three years ago,” Greg McQuinn said. “The kids were pretty impressed. They could see what they could become.”

The influence veterans such as Craig and Middleton have on young, developing pitchers is immense, added McQuinn.

“In high school many of the pitchers just throw hard,” he said. “So it’s important that the veterans help them learn the different pitches and teach them to mix it up a little bit.”

Come August, McQuinn will send his Northwest Implement teams to Rolla, site of the 2010 ASA Boy’s National Tournament. McQuinn will enter three teams in the 16, 18, and 23-under divisions.

He’s pleased that Rolla is hosting the event, but he hopes the distance isn’t a problem for others.

“We would go any where it’s held,” he said. “But I hope it’s not too far for the northern teams from South Dakota and Minnesota.”

Those two states, along with Missouri, send the most teams to the boy’s national tournaments. And without them, numbers could be a problem.

But regardless, McQuinn will continue sponsoring and coaching boy’s fastpitch. As long as his young players are dedicated to the sport, so is he. Kyle attends the University of Missouri in Columbia. Despite a busy college schedule, he seldom misses a league game.

“Kyle drives three hours from Columbia to St. Joseph (about 190 miles one way) for league games that last about an hour and fifteen minutes,” Greg McQuinn said. “As long as the boys are dedicated like that, I’ll keep going.”

(McQuinn is the brother-in-law of Eric Lewis, the athletic director and boy’s softball coach at Winston High School. Lewis married McQuinn’s sister Deanna. Lewis also has two sons that he coaches on his Northwest Royals 10-under and 12-under boy’s teams. Last year the Royals won the 10-under ASA Boy’s National Championship. Lewis and McQuinn are leaders in the drive to save male fastpitch by forming boy’s teams.)

For more great fastpitch news, visit these websites:
Al’s Fastball
Fastpitch West
International Softball Congress
North American Fastpitch Association
2010 ISC World Tournament, Midland, Mich.

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