K-Club fastpitch, father and sons building a quality ball club and lasting memories

Written by Bob on January 30th, 2012

“I enjoy pitching and playing with my sons. It brings tears to my eyes realizing it. It’s a wonderful experience…,” – Dan Kolda


The K-Club: Back Row from left, Ryan Welsh, Randy Bitterman, Jeff Hannan, Chayce Christensen, Carlos Gonzalez, Scott Schmidt, Rick Kolda. Front Row from left, Joe McCormick, Duey Christensen, Jerry Sanders Jr, Mike Kolda and Dan Kolda.
Contributed Photo By Mike Kolda

MOSES LAKE, WA – Pitcher Dan Kolda has enjoyed his share of success on the fastpitch softball diamond. The 55-year-old is an Amateur Softball Association (ASA) All-American. He’s won ASA and North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) national championships. He’s also pitched in four International Softball Congress (ISC) World Tournaments.

And he beat one of the greatest fastpitch teams ever assembled in the history of the sport: The Guanella Brothers of Santa Rosa, Calif. (2-0) in the 1986 ASA Major National Championship.

In his still active 38-year career, he’s amassed a treasure trove of fond memories. But none will compare with the memories he’s building right now: playing with his three sons, Michael Kolda, Rickey Kolda and stepson Ryan Welsh on a ball club aptly named – the K-Club – K standing for Kolda, of course.

“It will rank up there in my career,” said Kolda. “I had this idea that it would be fun to have a team with the boys, but it was Mike that put the program together and built it.”

Dan Kolda carries the pitching load for the K-Club

The K-Club is based out of Seattle as a tournament team. It has come long way since 2009 when Dan and his sons started the team. After posting a losing record its first year, the ball club has rapidly improved. In 2010 and 2011, the K-Club finished fifth and fourth respectively in the ASA Class C National Tournament.

While dad carries the pitching load as K-Club’s No. 1 chucker, Rickey’s behind the plate, calling the signals and spotting the glove for his dad’s riser, drop and change up.

Rickey has his share of favorite times catching his dad. Last summer he caught his dad while pitching for a team from Wenatchee against the fabled King And His Court. And there was the game in the 2010 ASA Class C National Tournament when he caught his dad in a 1-0 victory over Mock Ford of Grants Pass, Ore.

“It was our first-ever win in the ASA nationals and the opening game,” Rickey said. “Dad threw a two-hitter and I caught. In the first inning, Mike led off with a slap double and got to third base on a passed ball and scored on a passed ball. Dad gave up only two hits. He threw every game and I caught every game, and we finished 2-2 for fifth place.”

Rickey loves catching his dad. But he has a greater goal in mind – ultimately he wants to share equal time toeing the rubber. Nearly every day he’s pitching against a block wall working on his pitches, working on his control, striving for the time when he’ll be on the rubber as much as his dad.


Rickey Kolda is fast becoming an accomplished pitcher through hard work and dedication.

“He taught me the basics, and I use what works for me,” Rickey said. “He’s always in my ear from the dugout when I’m pitching, and he keeps me focused.”

The 30-year-old has reached the point where Mike figures he’s earned more time in the circle.

“Rickey has made leaps and bounds in his pitching,” said Mike, 27, who began playing fastpitch at 17. “He’s beaten some good teams, and he’s definitely our number two pitcher. He’s starting to get the recognition that he’s earned.”

Dan and his boys live hundreds of miles apart. Dan in Vacaville, Calif.; Rickey in Silverdale, Wash., and Mike in Moses Lake, Wash. Even though there’s this great distance between them, Dan seldom misses any of the four to six tournaments the K-Club plays in – primarily in Washington.

LONG-DISTANCE PITCHER
When a tournament rolls around, he’s on a plane for a weekend of pitching. He doesn’t care that he once pitched Open and Class A softball, and now is pitching at the Class C level. He just appreciates those weekends of ball playing that he can spend time with his sons. He knows it won’t last forever.

“I enjoy pitching and playing with my sons,” he said. “It brings tears to my eyes realizing it. It’s a wonderful experience. There will come a day when I retire and I’ll value the time I’ve played with my kids. We’re having a great time, and I hope it can go on.”

Dan says he’s proud of his three sons. Proud that they love the game as he does. Proud of their individual skills. But he didn’t exactly push them on to a softball field. He saw the sport withering away, and he worried that his boys wouldn’t get the same enjoyment as he did in the heyday of fastpitch.

“It’s sad, but it’s not like it was in the 1960s and ‘70s,” he said. “I deliberately restrained myself from encouraging them to play.”

BOYS DON’T LISTEN TO DAD
Though dad tried to rein in their enthusiasm for a dying sport, there was no stopping them, Mike says. Tagging along with dad to his league and tournament games as youngsters, the boys saw how he loved the sport; saw the enjoyment he got. And it rubbed off on them.

“Dad said, ‘don’t play this sport,’” Mike said with a chuckle. “But I grew up around it as a little boy, so I knew I was going to play it. We (K-Club) have to travel a lot, and it’s not like it was (in dad’s younger days), but we were going to play.”

Dan’s three boys have taken to the sport as he has. And each one has developed into a special talent.

Rickey, who began playing at 18, can play every position except shortstop and second base. In the past two ASA Class C national tournaments, he’s a two-time All-American – as is Ryan and his dad.

“Rickey’s on the threshold of becoming a quality pitcher,” Dan said. “I’d like to see him pitch more. He has the tools, but needs to throw more. As a catcher, he’s a field general back there. He’s got a strong arm and I’m confident with his pitch calling. He’s as good as any catcher I’ve pitched to, and I’ve thrown to some great ones.”

Ryan, says Dan, has developed into an outstanding shortstop.

“He has pro type baseball talent and hits over .300 with power,” Dan said. “He’s a great ball player and could play at the (ASA) A or Open level if he saw the pitching.”

Mike is probably the workhorse of the three. He not only plays, but he’s the K-Club manager. Running the ball club was made easier because while he was in high school he helped his dad coach the school’s girls’ softball team. So when he stepped into the leadership role, he had the experience of working as his dad’s assistant coach.


Mike Kolda manages the ball club and plays first or second, and bats at the top of the lineup.

As a ball player, Mike’s speed from the left side makes him a prodigious slapper who can get on base or advance a runner. And once runners reach scoring position, “he turns around to the right side to drive in runs,” Rickey said.

Dan says that coaching with his son at the high school level is another special memory. That experience has helped Mike become the leader of the ball club. “As a manager, Mike has matured and is doing a wonderful job,” Dan said. “I’m impressed how he handles the team. (As a slapper with speed) he’s become prolific, a thorn in teams’ sides.”

MOM HAS TALENT TOO
Now if you think that Mike and Rickey got their talent from their father’s genes, you’d only be half right. The boys’ mother, Lori Adams, is a pretty fair athlete in her own right. She’s a fourth-degree black belt in Judo and won a bronze medal in the Olympic Festival. And she was invited to try out for the U.S. Olympic Judo team in 1986.

So if athletic ability has been passed on, credit goes to both mom and dad, Mike says.

And he’s quick to add that the K-Club has athletic ability other than that of just the Kolda’s.

As a tournament team, it has talented players from throughout the Seattle and northwest area. There’s Joe McCormick, who has been with the ball club for four years; along with Jeff Hannan, Randy Bitterman and Kenney Cave, all three-year K-Club players. Two-year members include Chayce Christensen, Carlos Gonzalez, Scott Schmidt, and Jerry Sanders Jr.

Plans are already underway for 2012 and include hosting their own tournament at Moses Lake (May 12 to 13), and a trip to Topeka, Kansas for the NAFA World Series where K-Club will play in the A-Major Division, Aug. 9 to 12.


Rickey Kolda behind the plate ready to catch one of his dad’s pitches.

Rickey says the ball club is eager for the challenge after their successful foray in the ASA nationals.

“The more we looked at NAFA and the quality of the 35 to 40 teams (in the A-Major Division), it was a no-brainer,” he said. “We know we’re a pretty good team and we’ve done well (in ASA nationals), and teams around here who have gone to NAFA love the way they rate teams and pitchers, especially.”

Regardless whether or not K-Club wins a NAFA World Series championship or even places well, the three sons have something that they will always cherish: time on the softball diamond with their dad.

“It’s priceless to play with him,” Mike said, “and one day it will be a great memory.”

18 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jimmy Moore says:

    Really good article. Happy for all of them. Fastpitch softball truly is a great family game.

  2. Jerry Sanders Sr. says:

    The Koldas and Welchs are a great goup of people. When Dan drives the whole family up from Cali. they fill the stand with more fans than any other team has. I coached Rick & Mike on the Seattle Nighthawks 23/U Men’s Team with Gary May and had the pleasure of playing with Dan on Charlie Bendock’s 50 & over team and can tell you without hesitation that it was an enjoyable experience. Good luck in the 2012 season.

  3. Bob, what a well written article. On behalf of the myself, my Dad, Rick and the entire K-Club, we very humbly thank you for the recognition.

  4. Bob says:

    Mike, you are very welcome. I enjoyed talking with and getting to know you, Rickey and your dad. And it was a pleasure to write about the family and K-Club. Keep up the great work for fastpitch.

  5. Rickey Kolda says:

    Bob, once again you have out done yourself. We are very appreciative that you took the time and interest to put together a story on our ballclub and family. We are very excited to spread the word of the article and have been getting really good comments from everone that reads it. You are a true ambassador to the game and everyone that plays the game thanks you for the work you do. Thanks again from all of us.

  6. Davie mac says:

    good to see you guy’s keeping fastpitch going in the North west

  7. Mike Trotter says:

    Great article. Have had the pleasure of getting to know the Kolda’s and will miss them when it’s my time. This is a very good ball club.

  8. Rickey Kolda says:

    Bob, once again you have out done yourself. We are very appreciative that you took the time and interest to put together a story on our ballclub and family. We are very excited to spread the word of the article and have been getting really good comments from everone that reads it. You are a true ambassador to the game and everyone that plays the game thanks you for the work you do. .

  9. Rickey Kolda says:

    Trotter, I still havent had the priveledge of catching you. We need to hook up soon before its too late. Take care.

  10. Rickey Kolda says:

    Bob you have outdone yourself again. We are very appreciative that you took the time and interest to put together a story on our ballclub and family.You are a true ambassador to the game and everyone that plays the game thanks you for the work you do.

  11. Rickey Kolda says:

    We are very appreciative that you took the time and interest to put together a story on our ballclub and family.You are a true ambassador to the game and everyone that plays the game thanks you for the work you do.

  12. frank says:

    good article. otto has good ariticle.good to see some famular names still following game. jimmy moore the best of the 80s and early 90s. mike t. has seen them all

  13. Art Grosse says:

    Grandma Ann and I are very proud of
    our grandsons and their dad and are
    sure that our great grandson Riley
    will follow in Rickey’s and his
    grandpa’s footsteps.

  14. Rickey Kolda says:

    Very well writen article Bob. We are very appreciative that you took the time and interest to put together a story on our ballclub and family. You are a true ambassador to the game and everyone that plays the game thanks you for the work you do.

  15. Mike Moreno says:

    Pretty cool, The only thing they’re missing is Ted & Paul Kolda who were truly the MVP’s in the family!! P/S Isnt about time for Danny to take up Golf?? HA! Good Luck Guys!!

  16. Jessica Moreno says:

    This is incredible. The last time I saw “Mikey” was over 15 years ago, and he wasn’t even 5 feet tall. Great to see that Both Rickey and Mike have grown up in their father’s foot steps. Reminds me of the good ol days when we would watch the Nissan team as kids. Our dads were like giants. Dan could pitch faster than the wind (letting out a few grunts here and there to get it over the plate. Great to see that both Rickey and Mikey stuck to their original little league positions. Rickey caught and Mikey played either first or second and they were both so clutch in those spots! Great job guys!

  17. Bob says:

    Thank you Rickey, and I hope to meet the Kolda’s sometime, somewhere at a ball park. Best of luck with your tournament and the season.

  18. Ed Monroe says:

    Rickey and Mike you may not remember me, but I remember both of you tossing the tennis ball around the dugouts.. ha.. and it looks like ol’ man is still the class act he was all those years I was fortunate enough to play behind him. Great Article I enjoyed reading it, brought back some great memories.. Keep it alive guys and all the best in everything that you do.

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