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Wisconsin’s Circle Tap loaded with foreign talent

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

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Matt Palazzo from Iowa who will be wearing the Circle Tap uniform after spending last season with the California A’s. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2013 California Classic

DENMARK, WISC – Arguably Wisconsin is one of the healthier states when it comes to men’s fastpitch softball. I think I’ll get agreement on that. So when I see that Circle Tap’s 2014 ISC roster has only five Wisconsin players listed, it makes you wonder: Can’t U.S. teams find talented position players any more?

Importing foreign pitchers from Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Venezuela, I get that; we don’t have an abundance of Open-caliber pitchers in the states. But POSITION players? Has the sport fallen on such hard times that we can’t find talented infielders, outfielders and catchers?

I counted and Circle Tap has three Australians, three Argentinians, one Venezuelan, and one player each from Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Washington. So, from a 17-player roster just five are from Wisconsin.

Now, I’m not picking on Circle Tap. The way the sport is today, you have to do whatever it takes to win an ISC World Tournament. Over the past three decades, the annual half dozen or so teams that have a legitimate chance of winning the World Tournament have been going the import route – but in the past it was primarily for pitching.

So the bigger question and dilemma: How can men’s fastpitch possibly revive itself in the U.S. if we can’t even entice young talented infielders, outfielders and catchers to our sport?

The 2014 Circle Tap Dukes of Denmark, Wisc.

Justin Colombo Kimberly, WI
Jim Corbett Green Bay, WI
Tom Crouch DeKalb, IL
Chris DeLarwelle Denmark, WI
Joel Goodall Australia
Lucas Goring Apple Valley, MN
Bryan Hansen Denmark, WI
Todd Malnory Menasha, WI
Chris Miljavac St. Joseph, MO
Bruno Motroni Argentina
Matt Palazzo Des Moines, IA
Fernando Petric Argentina
Juan Potolucchio Argentina
Pat Sagdal Richland, WA
Ryan Sinclair Australia
Erick Urbaneja Venezuela
Lewis Weldon Australia

Dean Kane
CT Fastpitch
ct16@greenbaynet.com

Circle Tap seeks to repeat in NAFA Open

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

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Ten of the world’s top teams will battle for the championship in the NAFA Open – Holm Classic men’s fastpitch tournament at Fargo’s Lindenwood Park, June 14-16.

“We are happy to be a part of it and we look to repeat. Anything less, well it will be a kick in the pants.” – Circle Tap field manager Chad Huebner

FARGO, ND – The Circle Tap Dukes of Denmark, Wisconsin won the 2012 NAFA Open World Series championship. And they’re back again seeking a repeat in the NAFA Open – Holm Classic Tournament in Fargo, June 14 to 16.

Circle Tap comes into the tournament with a talented ball club ranked No. 8 in the world of men’s fastpitch softball.

Dukes field manager Chad Huebner knows that a high ranking and the title of “defending champs” might earn you respect for what you’ve done in the past.

But lofty rankings and past honors mean little in the here-and-now. Not when nine hungry and talented, championship-seeking ball clubs want to rip that crown off your head.

“Being the (NAFA Open) champs from 2012 (5-1), comes with a target on our backs,” said Huebner. “So we will have to get hot and stay hot with consistency in our pitching and hitting, and we will have to play stellar defense.”

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Someone to Know: Nicolas Bitter, West St. Paul, Minnesota Angels

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

PARANA, ARGENTINA – There’s a fastpitch pipeline that’s bringing some of South America’s best players north to the United States. High among them is Nicolas Bittor, who spent the 2011 season with the West St. Paul, Minnesota Angels.

Bittor had a terrific ISC World Tournament in helping the Angels finish fourth – the highest finish in the World Tournament for a Minnesota team since 1981 when St. Paul All-American Bar finished fourth.

That South American pipeline?

For the Angels, it winds its way down to Parana, Argentina…

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