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Top Ranked Teams Battle For Tin Cup Challenge Championship

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Eight International Softball Congress (ISC) top-rated teams will battle for the THE TIN CUP CLASSIC Men’s Fastpitch Tournament at The Village Sports Bar At The Stadium, White Bear Lake, Minn., July 28-30. Courtesy Photo / Christopher Diethert

By Christopher Diethert
Tin Cup Fastpitch

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The field is set and eight of the finest men’s fastpitch teams from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas and North Dakota will battle in the Tin Cup Men’s Challenge Fastpitch Tournament at The Village Sports Bar At The Stadium in White Bear Lake, Minn. July 28-30.

The tournament features a full slate of games Friday night and Saturday in pool play format with the playoffs on Sunday. Five of the eight teams are ranked in the top-20 by the International Softball Congress.

POOL A / ISC RANKING

No. 6 / Circle Tap Dukes, Denmark, Wisc.
No. 15 / Ostrander Norsemen Fastpitch, Ostrander, Minn.
Topeka Toros, Kansas
Rice Lake Orangemen, Wis.

POOL B / ISC RANKING

No. 8 / Bloomington Stix, Bloomington, Ill.
No. 11 / Kegel Black Knights, Fargo, No. Dak.
No. 13 / Tin Cup, St. Paul, Minn.
Jamo’s Fastpitch, St. Paul, Minn.

The tournament opens Friday night with two games on tap. At 7 p.m., Ostrander Norsemen square off against the Rice Lake Orangemen, and in the nightcap, host Tin Cup battles Jamo’s at 9 p.m.

SATURDAY SCHEDULE AT THE VILLAGE STADIUM

9 a.m. – Circle Tap Dukes vs. Rice Lake
11 a.m. – Circle Tap Dukes vs. Ostrander Norsemen
1 p.m. – Topeka Toros vs. Ostrander Norsemen
3 p.m. – Topeka Toros vs. Rice Lake Orangemen
5 p.m. – Tin Cup vs. Kegel Black Knights
** 7 p.m. – Ceremony for 1976 All-American Bar (1976 ISC World Tournament Champions)
7:30 p.m. – Tin Cup vs. Bloomington Stix
9:30 p.m. – Circle Tap Dukes vs. Topeka Toros

SATURDAY AT PIONEER PARK

11 a.m. – Jamo’s Fastpitch vs. Kegel Black Knights
1 p.m. – Bloomington Stix vs. Kegel Black Knights
3 p.m. – Bloomington Stix vs. Jamo’s Fastpitch

SUNDAY PLAYOFFS AT THE VILLAGE STADIUM

10 a.m. – A1 vs. B2
12 p.m. – A2 vs. B1
2 p.m. – Championship

** Tie breakers decides by head-to-head and runs allowed **

Contact Information

Christopher Diethert
cgdiethert@gmail.com

Twin Cities Fastpitch Softball’s Best

Monday, June 19th, 2017

In 1962, AL DEWALL was pitching for St. Paul Whitaker Buick at the age of 22. Photo Courtesy / Jeff Collins

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL – In 1984, men’s fastpitch was still robust and thriving in the Twin Cities, featuring several of Minnesota’s top teams and ‘players to watch’ as featured in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

  • All-American Bar, St. Paul: pitchers Don Olson, Al DeWall and Bob Moore; shortstop Jerry O’Connor; outfielders Jim O’Neill and Bill Saatzer, and first baseman Jim McDonald.
  • St. Paul Merchants: pitcher Dave Levity, catcher Jeff Shie and outfielders John Urman and Jerry Booth
  • E.K. Lamont’s, St. Paul: pitchers Stan Busman and Tom Rubbelke and outfielders Mark Conway and Tom Wolfe.
  • Lake Elmo State Bank, Lake Elmo: shortstop Dan Eichten and infielder Jerry Smith.
  • Halek’s Bar, Minneapolis: pitcher Dave Bakke, shortstop Mike Peterson, outfielder Howie Schaber.
  • Nirico Construction, Minneapolis: pitcher Dave Meyer.
  • A Step Back In Time: ‘Expatriate’ Tolzin stops Jets as St. Paul wins 1976 ISC crown

    Monday, January 30th, 2017

    ST. PAUL ALL-AMERICAN BAR won the 1976 ISC World Tournament held in Long Beach, Calif. St. Paul became the first and only Minnesota team to win an ISC World Tournament title. Photo / Courtesy ISC Guide Bood

    BY DOUG IVES
    Staff writer / Long Beach Press-Telegram
    Aug. 1976

    LONG BEACH, Calif. – A year ago Darwin Tolzin was the pride of the Lakewood Jets’ pitching staff and on his way to stardom.

    His all-American (All-World) recognition came early Monday morning, but in an ironic turn of events. The Jets were the victims.

    At the close of last season, the 35-year-old right-hander was transferred to Minnesota by the National Weather Service. He had to accept the move or lose a promotion.

    Just coming of age as a pitcher – he started when he was 29 – Tolzin hooked up with St. Paul and was the No. 2 pitcher when the team qualified to play in the International Softball Congress World Tournament at Blair Field in Long Beach.

    No. 2 became No. 1 Sunday night and Monday morning as Tolzin shut out his former teammates in a doubleheader to give St. Paul its first-ever ISC title, achieved the hard way by winning four games in a 24-hour span.

    Click to continue reading “A Step Back In Time: ‘Expatriate’ Tolzin stops Jets as St. Paul wins 1976 ISC crown”

    Dutch Elbers helped drive St. Paul to fastpitch greatness

    Saturday, January 28th, 2017

    Ben Maloney, left, Ed Mathias, and Dutch Elbers hold the 1963 ASA Northern Regional Tournament championship trophy.

    ST. PAUL, Minn. – Strong armed, with a lanky athletic build, Dries (Dutch) Elbers mostly likely could have stared at baseball, but fortunately for fastpitch softball, he never got the chance.

    “My dad played baseball, but he steered me into softball,” said Elbers. “I have never played a game of baseball in my life.”

    Elbers, who grew up in Steen in southwestern Minnesota, began playing fastpitch in the 4-H League in 1945 as a 15-year-old. It wasn’t long, though, that he graduated from the boys’ league into the Steen men’s league.

    Steen might have been small in numbers with its 185 citizens, but they and the farm families surrounding the little village located 25 miles east of Sioux Falls, kept the six team-league healthy with numbers and talent.

    “As kids, we wanted to get a uniform and play with the big boys,” Elbers said. Soon enough Elbers would be playing with the ‘big boys’ of fastpitch – worldwide.

    Click to continue reading “Dutch Elbers helped drive St. Paul to fastpitch greatness”

    A Step Back In Time: St. Paul Stroh’s Gatsby’s Tournament features life in the fast land

    Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

    BOB MOORE, left, and TOM RUBBELKE of the 1987 St. Paul Stroh’s Gatsby’s team as they prepare for the Stroh’s Gatsby’s Invitational, organized by manager Jim Rubbelke. Several of the nation’s top-ten ranked teams participated including Penn Corp, Sioux City, Iowa; Farm Tavern, Madison, Wisc.; Teleconnect, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and All-Car, Antigo, Wisc.

    By Perry Coonce / Minnesota Sports Federation State Commissioner
    Minneapolis Star Tribune
    Aug. 2, 1987

    ST. PAUL, Minn. – World class fastpitch talent will be on display today at St. Paul’s Dunning Complex for the Stroh’s Gatsby’s Invitational.

    The quantity of men’s fastpitch teams in Minnesota has diminished in recent years, but the quality hasn’t, according to tournament organizer Jim Rubbelke.

    “We have some of the finest players in the world in Minnesota and are only hurt by the lack of pitchers, and the fact that very few are being developed,” said Rubbelke.

    Click to continue reading “A Step Back In Time: St. Paul Stroh’s Gatsby’s Tournament features life in the fast land”

    Al DeWall the greatest pitcher of Minnesota’s Golden Age

    Friday, January 6th, 2017

    ST. PAUL ALL-AMERICAN BAR won the 1976 ISC World Tournament with pitcher Al DeWall leading the way with five victories. DeWall, pictured in the last row, third from left, was selected the tournament’s Most Valuable Pitcher. Courtesy Photo

    ST. PAUL, Minn. – The decades of the 1950s through the 1980s are considered the Golden Age of Minnesota men’s Fastpitch.

    The Golden Age saw many outstanding teams rise to power such as St. Paul’s Belmont Club, New Bar and Clover Club, Mankato Happy Chef, St. James James Gang, Duluth and Scandia.

    But none rose to power like St. Paul’s Whitaker Buick (1962 – 1973) and All-American Bar (1976 – 1986). Basically the same roster, just a change of sponsorship.

    Between the two teams they appeared in 14 ISC World Tournaments and several ASA Major National Tournaments. In 1976 All-American Bar won the world tournament, beating the Lakewood, Calif. Jets twice, 5-2 and 6-0, to take the title.

      STARS A PLENTY

    “It was unbelievable playing for Whitaker Buick,” said Mike Payton, the team’s centerfielder in the 1960s and 70s. “Back then you didn’t play a qualifier and go to the nationals like now. You had to win six or seven games (state and regional playoffs) and it was single elimination.”

    Click to continue reading “Al DeWall the greatest pitcher of Minnesota’s Golden Age”

    Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame missing some great players

    Thursday, October 9th, 2014

    Jolstad.Leroy.3web The great LeRoy Jolstad was inducted into the Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame in 2008.

    YUCAIPA, Calif. – I searched three times and still couldn’t find Walt “Nellie” Nelson’s name anywhere on the hallowed list.

    A list that includes some of the greatest men’s players and contributors in the history of Minnesota men’s fastpitch softball.

    The Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame.

    The 2014 Hall of Fame induction takes place Nov. 1 at the Rochester International Event Center.

    But Walt “Nellie” Nelson’s accomplishments in the pitching circle won’t be recognized at the event. To me, that’s a shame.

    Click to continue reading “Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame missing some great players”

    St. Paul fastpitch great Jim Rubbelke looks back on the good times

    Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

    “During warm ups, the umpire gave DeWall the ball. It was a DeBeer day ball. It was like handing Al an ice-cold beer. You knew he was going to have a good night.” – St. Paul manager Jim Rubbelke on Al DeWall pitching against the Long Beach Nitehawks in the opening game of the 1976 ISC World Tournament.

    ST. PAUL, Minn. – A smile spreads across Jim Rubbelke’s face when he looks back upon his years in the fastpitch game.

    Now, 63, and retired from fastpitch since 1990, Rubbelke’s received some of the highest honors in the sport: He managed for 19 years, and led a team to an ISC World Championship in 1976. He played for 13 years and was an ASA All American.

    He’s a member of the St. Paul and Minnesota Softball Hall of Fames. And he’s about to enter another.

    In August he joins the greatest of the greats when he gets inducted into the International Softball Congress Hall of Fame during the 2003 ISC World Tournament in Kimberly, Wisconsin. Rubbelke recently agreed to a Question and Answer session looking back upon his 32-years in fastpitch softball.

    Click to continue reading “St. Paul fastpitch great Jim Rubbelke looks back on the good times”