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Ultimate competitor Dan Nessler twice a Hall of Famer

Sunday, December 11th, 2016
DAN NESSLER of Happy Chef covers second base during the 1995 ISC World Tournament in which Happy Chef finished fifth. Nessler was selected an All-World player four times and was inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame in 2009. Photo By BOB OTTO

DAN NESSLER of Happy Chef covers second base during the 1995 ISC World Tournament in which Happy Chef finished fifth. Nessler was selected an All-World player four times and was inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame in 2009. Photo By BOB OTTO

MANKATO, Minn. – With a grunt and a leap, the pitcher hurls the softball from 46 feet, causing the violently spinning missile to jump or plunge a foot just before crossing home plate and slamming into the catcher’s mitt at 85 miles per hour.

The degree of difficulty of hitting such a frustratingly elusive projectile?

Nearly impossible for batsmen of modest ability. But for the very best, an improbability they handle with great aplomb.

Mark Sorenson was one of the best, as was Bill Boyer, Shawn Rychcik and Colin Abbott. This esteemed class also includes Dan Nessler of Mankato, Minnesota.

Nessler was a magician with the bat from the left-side batters box. He played small-ball as well as anyone, said pitcher Pete Sandman, a teammate with Nessler on the world championship Penn Corp teams of Sioux City, Iowa.

“Dan was a great hitter,” said Sandman, who pitched for Penn Corp and later National Health Care Discount (NHCD) from 1981 to 1991. “He was smart, could slap, drag bunt, hit balls to left, center or right. He was gifted with the bat.”

    ACCLAIMED PLAYER AND LEADER

With the likes of Sandman, Nessler, Sorenson and Boyer leading a stable of stars, Penn Corp / NHCD won four (1988, ’89, ’91, ’92) International Softball Congress World Tournament championships. During that reign, Nessler made ISC All-World twice.

Interspersed in those Penn Corp years, Nessler also played for Happy Chef of Mankato, helping the team finish fifth in the 1995 ISC World Tournament, and claiming the ASA Class A National Championship the same year.

During the Happy Chef years, Nessler earned two ISC All-World honors (1985, 1992), along with being selected ASA Second-Team, All-American.

Nessler took over as player / manager in 1992. A post he held for 10 years. He was a leader and an example to the younger players, said former infielder Scott Christensen, a three-time ISC All-World player with Happy Chef.

“He was always thinking about game situations and our strengths and what the other team might do,” said Christensen. “He was a very intelligent player who could anticipate and be in the right place to make a play. You can’t teach that. He could adapt (at bat) and bunt or hit the other way.”

DAN NESSLER played in 16 ISC World Tournaments. In the four world tournaments in which he was selected All-World, he batted .407 with 15 runs and nine RBI. Photo By BOB OTTO / 1995 ISC World Tournament

DAN NESSLER played in 16 ISC World Tournaments. In the four world tournaments in which he was selected All-World, he batted .407 with 15 runs and nine RBI. Photo By BOB OTTO / 1995 ISC World Tournament

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Check out photos of Taft Buzzards NAFA A-Division World Series Champions

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016
The Buzzards of Taft, Calif. won the 2016 NAFA A-Division World Series at Caswell Park in North Mankato, Minn., Aug. 17-21, 2016. Photo Courtesy of SCIFL

The Buzzards of Taft, Calif. won the 2016 NAFA A-Division World Series at Caswell Park in North Mankato, Minn., Aug. 17-21, 2016. Photo Courtesy of SCIFL

NORTH MANKATO, Minn. – The Buzzards of Taft, Calif. won the 2016 NAFA A-Division World Series with a 6-0 record, Aug. 17-21. Several of the team members were selected to the All-World Team.

To view the photos, click: So. Calif. Independent Fastpitch League Photo Gallery

Check out results of NAFA World Series in North Mankato

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

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NORTH MANKATO, Minn. – Three divisions of the North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) are battling for championships, Sunday, in the final day of the World Series at Caswell Park in North Mankato.

Click on the links for results

  • AA Division
  • A Division
  • 23-Under Division
  • Important links to the 2016 NAFA World Series

    Monday, August 15th, 2016
    Caswell Park in North Mankato, Minnesota is hosting the 2016 NAFA World Series, Aug. 11-21.

    Caswell Park in North Mankato, Minnesota is hosting the 2016 NAFA World Series, Aug. 11-21.

    NORTH MANKATO, Minn. – Want to know who’s winning? Who’s leading the tournament in pitching, hitting, and fielding?

      For all things concerning the NAFA World Series at Caswell Park in North Mankato, visit these important links

  • World Series Divisions
  • Playnafa Results and Stats
  • NAFA Website
  • Caswell Park
  • Caswell Park Sports
  • Thank You,
    Benjie Hedgecock
    NAFA Executive Director
    503-559-5398
    Nafafastpitch@gmail.com

    Minnesota’s Hennager Plumbing and Heating vying for a NAFA World Series Championship

    Sunday, August 14th, 2016

    NAFA.A.MajorRoster1lr Twenty teams started the NAFA World Series A-Major Division, but only four remain, with undefeated Hennager Plumbing and Heating of Lake Crystal, Minnesota in contention for the championship.

    NORTH MANKATO, Minn. – The mantra for Hennager Plumbing and Heating of Lake Crystal, Minn. probably goes something like this: “One more boys, one more and the championship is ours!”

    Click to continue reading “Minnesota’s Hennager Plumbing and Heating vying for a NAFA World Series Championship”

    Check out Playnafa for 2016 NAFA World Series stats

    Saturday, August 13th, 2016

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    NORTH MANKATO, Minn.Playnafa.org is providing the stats for the 2016 NAFA World Series being held at Caswell Park in North Mankato, Aug. 11-20.

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    NAFA World Series is showcase for men’s softball

    Saturday, August 13th, 2016

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    By Shane Frederick sfrederick@mankatofreepress.com

    MANKATO, Minn. – As mayor of Mankato, Eric Anderson is happy to have the North American Fastpitch Association World Series back in the area.

    As a softball player, however, he’s thrilled.

    “The thing I personally like is it gives people a chance to come up here and see the game played,” Anderson said before taking the field for the Pub 500 team’s second game of the tournament Friday afternoon. “There’s an added benefit that a lot of people have come here and are staying in the area, but as the (men’s) game shows signs of dying out, people can come out and see some good fastpitch softball.”

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    Follow The 2016 NAFA World Series Team Results, Stats And More

    Friday, August 12th, 2016
    Cory Wertz fires a pitch during the A1 Rockies game with the BC A's. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Cory Wertz, who will be pitching for the Beaumont (CA) Coyotes in the 2016 NAFA World Series, fires a pitch during the A1 Rockies game with the BC A’s in a So. Calif. Independent Fastpitch League game. Photo By BOB OTTO

    NORTH MANKATO, Minn. – The NAFA World Series has over 90 teams playing for division championships at Caswell Park in North Mankato, Aug. 11-21, in what promises to be a most competitive event with teams competing from throught the United States and Canada.

    FOLLOW THE RESULTS

  • 23-Under Pool Bracket
  • Statistics For All Divisions
  • Weather and rain information: 888-852-1115
  • NAFA A-Major Division World Series underway

    Friday, August 12th, 2016

    NORTH MANKATO, Minn. – A heavy overnight rain at Caswell Park couldn’t stop the start of the 2016 NAFA World Series, A-Major Division on Thursday.

    The fields were in great playing condition for the 20 teams competing in the tournament that continues through Sunday with the championship scheduled for noon.

    TEAMS / SCORES / PITCHERS SPEEDS of SOME FIRST-ROUND GAMES

  • Sawdust City (WI) 7, Northwest Braves 2
    WP Grady Wold, 67 mph; LP Bill Carson 69; Brett Klozuski 60; Shayne Arndt 66
  • Elanco Blackhawks 12, Strikers Lanes (WI) 9
    WP Dave Stokes 67; Todd Smoker 70; LP Dan Ducharme 62; Larry Cushman 59
  • Boise RiverDogs (ID) 9, Hustle Hogs (IL) 6
    WP Shane Alder 69; LP Fabio Silvestre 70
  • Wizards of Oz (KS) 9, Blues Fastpitch (MI) 5
    WP Ray Foster 64; LP Ryan Nichols 68
  • RM Kurtz (PA) 7, Young Thunder (MO) 0
    WP Derek Martin 68; LP Craig Lewis 59
  • Weezer Fastpitch (KS) 4, Bowen Fastpitch 1
    WP Joe McCall 63; LP Nick Siebenlist 71
  • K-Club (WA) 2, Omaha Primetime 1
    WP Dave Drotzman 70; LP Lane Bender 68
  • For bracket results, visit A-Major World Series

    Freeport State Bank Claims Minnesota Men’s Fastpitch State Championship

    Sunday, August 7th, 2016

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    Freeport State Bank from front row left to right, Dan Toenyan, Kevin Welle, Mike Mayers, Travis Atkinson and Craig Timp. Back row from left, Adam Moorman, Tyler Thomes, Cody Imdieke, Joe Hennen, Jonathan Linn and Glen Van Drehle.

    NORTH MANKATO, Minn. – No words are sweeter music to a fastpitch team, or so difficult to earn as the right to proudly proclaim: “We are state champions!”

    Freeport State Bank gained that right with a hard-fought 6-5 victory over Corvuso Meats / Heimy’s Place of New Germany in the Minnesota Sports Federation Class D Men’s State Tournament.

    State Bank rolled through the tournament’s nine-team field to finish with a 5-1 record at Caswell Park in North Mankato on July 31.

    “I have been playing in the state tournament for 15 years, and our pitcher (Joe Hennen) has been going for probably 20 years and we’ve never won,” said co-manager and outfielder Craig Timp. “This is so awesome.”

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