Minnesota Fastpitch Softball Stars Entering Hall of Fame

Written by Bob on September 19th, 2018

SOUTH. ST. PAUL, Minn. – I’m very pleased to learn that three of the finest fastballers the state has ever produced are being inducted into the Minnesota Sports Federation Softball Hall of Fame that includes 19 slowpitch and fastpitch stars in this outstanding class of 2018.

As an 18-year-old the first really good team I pitched against was Loesch’s Bar of Hastings that was loaded with great fastpitch players, and none were better than pitcher WALT NELSON, and catcher, pitcher, infielder and outfielder TOM NIEDERKORN, who went on to star with famed Whitaker Buick of St. Paul.

Photo caption: Walt Nelson is pictured second from left, and Tom Niederkorn is first player far right. Courtesy Photo / Steve Nelson

Nelson and Niederkorn helped two Hastings’ ball clubs, including Loesch’s Bar, win two state ASA Class A state championships (and an overall title after beating the AA champion) as well as a runner-up, along with club tournament titles in Minnesota and neighboring states.

Also being inducted is JACK NORMAN of Lake Crystal, who I played with on the Lake Crystal Blues in 1974-’75. After his playing days, Norman became an outstanding manager, umpire and administrator.

Though Nelson has passed away, Congratulations to his family, friends and former teammates who share this honor on behalf of him. And congratulations to Tom and Jack for this well-deserved tribute in recognition of your outstanding fastpitch careers!

*** Visit Minnesota Sports Federation on Facebook.***

 

Comeback K-Club Claims NAFA World Series Title

Written by Bob on September 17th, 2018

MOSES LAKE, Wash. – Winning championships doesn’t come easy in any sport. And so it is in men’s fastpitch softball. Just ask the K-Club squad of Moses Lake, Washington.

For ten years K-Club has steadily grown into a respected ball club, winning or placing in the upper echelon of club tournaments throughout the northwest.

The 2018 season can be chalked up as a resounding success. K-Club’s 26-12 record includes two second-place finishes in the Newberg, Ore. and Mt. Vernon, Wash. tournaments. And in the prestigious North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) Seattle Invitational, K-Club claimed first place in the A-Major Division.

    Aiming High

But those tournaments were tune-ups of sorts. For the ultimate prize is winning a NAFA World Series championship – a destination K-Club has been aiming for ten long years.

And on Aug. 19 in Fargo, North Dakota, K-Club’s dream of a national championship was realized when they won five consecutive games to claim the 10-team, World Series AA-Division title.

“K-Club has progressively improved over the last nine years,” said co-manager Dan Kolda, who helped found the team with his sons Mike and Rickey. “We have had many successes, but the victory in the AA World Series, especially with all the comeback wins, has to be the most prestigious accomplishment for the program. The effort and contributions from each and every member of this team demonstrated what can be achieved when you have “heart!”

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2019 Pan American and European Maccabi Games – Men’s Fastpitch Softball

Written by Bob on September 1st, 2018

By Dakota “Koty” Marine
Communications Director Maccabi USA
P. 215.561.6900 x4156
F. 215.561.5470

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Are you interested in becoming a member of the United States Team that will compete at the 14th Pan American Maccabi Fast-Pitch Softball Games in Mexico City, Mexico, July 5-15, 2019, and the European Maccabi Games, July 29-August 7, 2019? Here’s the information!

Fastpitch Softball Contact
Open Men’s Softball Head Coach: Paul Rubin, azjazzcat@gmail.com

**Open (18-35) male only**
**Masters (35+) male only**

Application Information

If you do not fit the age categories, we would still like to connect with you! Please fill out this form so we can notify you if there are any changes for eligibility or for any future competitions that you can participate with us!

Visit Maccabi USA website
1511 Walnut Street, Suite 401
Philadelphia, PA 19102

maccabi@maccabiusa.com

P: 215.561.6900
F: 215.561.5470

 

Remembering Gunny Sproul

Written by Bob on August 31st, 2018


Gunnery Sergeant, Robert L. Sproul, a Marine’s Marine

YUCAIPA, CA – Every so often I reach up to the top shelf of my bookcase and pull out my Marine Corps graduation book. There were 72 of us in Platoon 1061 of the First Battalion. The pages are filled with pictures of smoothed faced men – boys really, ages 18, 19, 20 some as old as 23.

The pages show pictures of us climbing ropes, jumping across water ponds suspended in midair with our M14 rifles thrust out in front of us, on the parade deck marching to the deep-throated commands of a drill instructor, standing at attention during inspection, and on Sunday afternoon’s off, writing homesick letters to our worried mothers.


Gunnery Sergeant Robert L. Sproul is seated in the middle behind the Platoon 1061 banner.

Platoon 1061 was all gung ho in boot camp at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego in the summer of 1967. We felt destined to go to “Nam” and win the war against communism.

And we wanted Gunnery Sergeant Robert L. Sproul to lead us.

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2018 Raymond Angulo Memorial Tournament In Corona, Calif.

Written by Bob on August 31st, 2018

KEVIN CASTILLO races to first base during the championship game of the Raymond Angulo Memorial Men’s Fastpitch Tournament, Sept. 4, in Corona, Calif. Castillo managed and helped lead Patricia’s Mexican Restaurant to the title with a 4-0 record. Photo By BOB OTTO

CORONA – The annual Raymond Angulo Memorial serves as a fun, competitive tournament and also as a fundraiser that raises money for JoJo’s Circle of Friends, a non-profit organization that helps children with special needs.

Come out to Promenade ball park at 615 Richey St. in Corona and watch the action. The tournament is hosted by Major League Softball and the So. Cal Rebels Softball Organization and will be held Sept. 1-2.

 

Fastpitch Fun In Cancun

Written by Bob on August 21st, 2018

 

Farmington (MN) Men’s Fastpitch Reunion Sunday

Written by Bob on August 21st, 2018

CASTLE ROCK, Minn. – The Farmington Men’s Fastpitch League flourished for 54 years (1958-2011) in the town of Farmington, along with the popular Bobber Tournament, also held in Farmington that drew teams from Minnesota and neighboring states.

The league and tournament are no more, but the memories live on in the hearts and minds of those who played and were fans, and will be shared in a grand reunion, Sunday, Aug. 26 at the Castle Rock & Roll Bar and Grill in Castle Rock.

  • Be sure to attend and share your memories in what promises to be a great time.
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    Farmington Men’s Fastpitch League Hosts Reunion To Remember The Good Times

    Written by Bob on August 21st, 2018


    PAUL HARRINGTON, who coaches the Farmington High School girls’ softball team and directed the men’s city league, shows former Farmington High school pitcher Ashley Betzold how to throw the rise ball. Ashley’s father, Daren Betzold, was a top pitcher in the Farmington league for 25 years (1976 – 2001). Contributed photo.

    FARMINGTON, Minn. – For 54 years (1958-2011) men’s fastpitch softball was played in Farmington. The list of teams and sponsors, players, managers and umpires would as the saying goes, “stretch for an arm’s length.”

    Though the historic Farmington Men’s Fastpitch League and Bobber Men’s Fastpitch Tournament are no more, that doesn’t mean they’re forgotten. And on Aug. 26, a reunion will be held to reminisce about those great times at the Castle Rock & Roll Bar & Grill in Castle Rock.

    Of those 54 years, Paul Harrington directed the Farmington league 37 years (1975-2011). He was just 19 when he took the reins after the league director suddenly resigned in the middle of the season.

    The league and tournament evolved over the years to become two of the strongest entities in Minnesota fastpitch history.

    League teams claimed state championships in 1992 and ’99, along with Castle Rock and Morelli’s of St. Paul who are believed to have also won titles, while playing the league season in Farmington.

    “Breaking the door down and winning a state championship in 1992 is a big memory for me,” said Harrington. “But knowing our league teams were always in the mix afterwards with other state championships and high finishes, and giving our league respect and recognition was very fulfilling as a league director.”

    Click to continue reading “Farmington Men’s Fastpitch League Hosts Reunion To Remember The Good Times”

     

    New York Gremlins advance to championship game in the ISC World Tournament

    Written by Bob on August 17th, 2018

    Andrew Kirkpatrick pitched a six-hitter to lead the New York Gremlins in a 6-1 win over the Circle Tap Dukes of Denmark, Wis. in the winners bracket final of the 2018 ISC World Tournament at Peter Hallman Ball Yard, Friday night. Photo by BOB OTTO / 2016 ISC World tournament

    KITCHENER, ON, CANADA – The Circle Tap Dukes roughed up Andrew Kirkpatrick for two hits and a run in the first inning to get off to a good start in the winners bracket final of the ISC World Tournament on Friday. But the tall left-hander from Australia said “no more,” and he meant it in shutting out the Dukes over the final six innings to lead the Gremlins to a 6-1 victory at Peter Hallman Ball Yard, Friday night.

    Kirkpatrick’s teammates gave him plenty of support with the bats by putting a five-spot on the board in the second, highlighted by Zenon Winters two-run homer and Jerome Raemaki’s three-run shot.

    Kirkpatrick helped his cause in the fifth with his bat by drilling a run-scoring double, and then marched back into the circle and let his arm do the rest of the work by shutting down the Dukes powerful bats in order in the sixth and seventh with three ground balls and three strikeouts. He gave up six hits, walked one and struck out 11.

    The win improves the Gremlins ace to 4-0 in the World Tournament. In 25 innings, Kirkpatrick as given up just five runs on 15 hits for an ERA of 1.40, along with four walks and 33 strikeouts. As well as he’s pitched, Kirkpatrick has been prolific swinging the bat in the No. 4 spot, driving in six runs on 5-of-11 safeties for a .455 average.

    Zenon Winters has been a huge contributor as well. He leads the Gremlins with seven RBI, and is also batting at a .455 clip.

    The Gremlins, fresh from winning the ASA Major National Championship (third consecutive), move into Saturday night’s finale where they await the survivor climbing out of the losers bracket.

    Dropped into the losers bracket, Circle Tap (4-1) still poses a threat for the title as the Dukes need only win one game to have another shot at the Gremlins.

    Also in the hunt are the Kitchener Hallman Twins (5-1) who meet the defending champion and No. 1 ranked Hill United Chiefs (4-1) at 11 a.m. Saturday. The winner then takes on the Dukes in the final losers bracket game at 1:30 for the right to meet the Gremlins in the 7 p.m. 72nd edition of the World Tournament.

  • To watch the games live, click on ISC / YouTube.
  • For team standings, results, statistics and more, click on ISC Pointstreak.
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    Godoy Hurls Circle Tap Dukes Past Hill United Chiefs in ISC World Tournament Semis

    Written by Bob on August 16th, 2018

    KITCHENER, ON, CANADA – If the Hill United Chiefs are going to repeat as ISC World Tournament champions, they’re going to have to do it the hard way. Through the losers bracket. The Circle Tap Dukes and pitcher Roman Godoy saw to that by stinging the Chiefs, 3-1, in the semifinals at Peter Hallman Ball Yard late Thursday night.

    The win moves Circle Tap (4-0) into Friday nights winners bracket final, while Hill United (3-1) must win three games to reach Saturday’s title game.

    Godoy hurled a dandy, and has won all four games for the Denmark, Wis. ball club. His outing against the ISC’s No. 1 ranked Chiefs was his best so far as he allowed five hits, walked four and struck out seven. His only blemish was a bases-loaded walk to Mark Johnson that forced in the Chiefs lone run in the fourth inning. But Godoy escaped disaster by getting Shane Boland on a screaming line drive to first baseman Blair Ezekiel, and James Todhunter to ground out to end the inning.

    Manuel Godoy quickly pulled the Dukes even in the bottom of the fourth by blasting an Adam Folkard rise ball deep over the right-field fence. Then in the sixth, Godoy (2-for-3) got the best of Folkard again with a lead-off single, followed by Folkard issuing back-to-back walks to load the bases.

    Folkard struck out Zane Vanlieshout for the first out, but then walked Leonardo Latasia to force in the go-ahead run. With the bases still full, Guillermo Patat lifted a fly ball deep enough to centerfield to bring home pinch runner, Julian Fernandez, with the third run. Folkard (3-1) allowed just three hits with 13 strikeouts and six walks.

    Boland gave Hill United a glimmer of hope when he led off the seventh by beating out a high chopper in front of the plate. But Godoy bore down, striking out Todhunter, getting Ezekiel to hit into a force out at second base, and finishing off the Chiefs by striking out Nicolas Carril to end the game.

     
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