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A1 Bombers and J&B Painting merger creates super team with big goal

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

The J&B BOMBERS defeated the Northeast Naturals, 11-0, in the championship game of the 2017 Las Vegas Road Trip X, AA/AA-Major tournament at Sunset Park in las Vegas, Sunday, April 9. The team includes co-sponsors and managers Bob Berger and Jerry Zimmerman; players Eli Salazar, Cameron Schiller, Tyler Dudley, Freddy Carmona, Jorge Segura, Pat Burns, Tony Mancha, Blake Hunter, Tyler McGaughey, Mike Hoadley, Derrick Kennedy, Kris Walushka, Jesse Palacios, Mark Aranda, Gil Saenz, Devon McCullough and Bryan Erwin. Photo By BOB OTTO

LAS VEGAS – Both Jerry Zimmerman and Bob Berger look back with pride on the accomplishments of their respective ball clubs during the 2016 season.

Zimmerman’s A1 Bombers of Saskatoon, SK, CA finished fifth (4-2) in the ISC World Tournament, while Berger’s J&B Painting club of Agoura Hills, Calif. took 11th (2-2). And just a year prior, they finished third and fifth respectively.

Adding to those accolades, the Bombers also took second (5-2) in the 2016 ASA Men’s Major National Championship.

And during the regular season, both teams were ranked in the top-ten by the ISC.

Very good ball clubs? Certainly. Great? Close, but not quite.

While both were competitive, capable of and often beating the best in the game, neither had quite the firepower to grasp the brass rings – which in men’s fastpitch equate to winning the ISC world tournament and ASA major national championship.

So, if you come close but can’t quite win those titles, what can be done? Merge. Exactly what the two men decided to do.

By combining forces, they significantly raise the odds of winning those two coveted championships. And it appears they’ve created a ball club – the J&B Bombers – that must be considered one of the favorites to win it all.

Zimmerman and Berger left no doubt about their expectations.

“We’re going to win the world,” Berger said, “win everything. That’s our goal.”

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ISC appoints player representatives

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

FINDLAY, Ohio – The International Softball Congress has appointed a new slate of 12 player representatives.

“We want to thank all of these individuals who have stepped forward to be a voice for the players in the game,” said ISC President Dean Oscar.

ISC Player Representatives

  • Brad Pender – Canada East
  • Chris Diethert – US Central
  • Eric Fogel – US East
  • Jon Gwizadala – US East
  • Justin Schofield – Atlantic Canada
  • Kris Walushka – Canada West
  • Matt McLaren – Canada East
  • Nick Santos – US West
  • Scott Galenza – Canada West
  • Tyler Dudley – US East
  • Sisco Sabate – International
  • Zennon Winters – International
  • **See the full story at iscfastpitch.com**

    Stepping Back In Time: Tim McGuire numbers among the best for Bloomington Beer Nuts

    Monday, April 3rd, 2017

    TIM McGUIRE had a successful pitching career with the Bloomington (IL) Beer Nuts, a major-caliber team from Bloomington, Illinois. Photo / The Pantograph

    “I was wild as all get out. I might strike out 10, but I would walk 15 or 16.” – Tim McGuire

    By RANDY KINDRED
    Pantograph staff
    June 25, 1986

    BLOOMINGTON, IL – The numbers don’t lie. A 22-3 record, 1.01 earned run average, 175 strikeouts and only 14 walks in 151 innings.

    Without question, they add up to the best start of Tim McGuire’s softball pitching career. That, he says, is what worries him.

    “The book on me is I usually throw better in July and August (than May and June),” the Bloomington Beer Nuts right-hander told a reporter at O’Neil Park, his home away from home.

    Click to continue reading “Stepping Back In Time: Tim McGuire numbers among the best for Bloomington Beer Nuts”

    Kitchener to host 2018 ISC World Tournament

    Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

    KITCHENER, ONTARIO, CA – Located east of Toronto and just north of the United States border, Kitchener is an excellent and easily reachable destination for any event – including the International Softball Congress (ISC) World Tournament.

    And in 2018, Kitchener for a FIFTH time will host fastpitch softball’s most competitive event: The ISC World Tournament. Kitchener hosted the event in 2002, 2006, 2007, and 2014.

    See breaking story in The Record by Christine Rivet: World fastball tournament returns to Kitchener in 2018

    Typically, upwards of 40 or more teams battle for the opportunity to be crowned, “world champions of fastball.” Top teams are filled with talented ball players from the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, Dominican Republic, and last but not least – Canada.

    So plan ahead to attend this prestigeous men’s fastpitch tournament, and stayed tuned for more information as it unfolds.

    ASA Meet May Top the World

    Sunday, February 12th, 2017

    TY STOFFLET pitched for several national championship teams, including 1979 York (Pa.) Barbells. Photo By BOB OTTO / 1991 ASA Masters National Championship

    By Bob McGinn / Green Bay Press-Gazette
    Aug. 14, 1979

    GREEN BAY, Wisc. – The ISC World Tournament. The fastpitch softball faithful in the Fox Valley speak of it in almost reverential tones.

    It conjures up images, always, of a week or two on the West Coast, in places like Sun City, Ariz., Long Beach, or even Bakersfield, Calif., where this summer’s version of the International Softball Congress’s national tournament is scheduled to begin Friday.

    Click to continue reading “ASA Meet May Top the World”

    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”

    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”

    A Step Back In Time: Scandia honors local Fastpitch Hall of Famer Wayne Erickson

    Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

    SOFTBALL CHAMPS – Scandia, Minn. defeated River Falls, Wisc. 8-6, in nine innings Sunday night, July 24, 1967, at Eau Claire’s Carson Park to win the first Open Softball Tournament. Members of the championship team were front row, left to right: Choc Junker, Tom Thompson, Barney Barnholdt, Jim Lindberg, Wayne Erickson and Joe Junker. Back row, George Lindgren, Dean Carlson, Dennis Lofboom, Greg Benson, Phil Anderson, Manager Don Seguin, and Dan Jacobson. Staff Photo / Eau Claire Leader

    SCANDIA, Minn. – For the thousands of batters who faced Wayne Erickson, it was most-often a frustrating and fruitless endeavor. But his teammates? They loved him. After all Erickson was a huge factor in helping Scandia win four state men’s fastpitch championships.

    And for Erickson’s great exploits for Scandia fastpitch, the city renamed its softball field (simply called “Scandia lighted ball field”) to Wayne Erickson Memorial Ball Park, in 2011.

    Erickson is the only Minnesota Sports Federation Softball Hall of Fame (1984) member to come from Scandia.

    In his youth, Erickson played baseball, but at age 16 he began pitching fastpitch for Scandia, and continued throwing for his hometown team for the next twenty years.

    FOUR TIMES CHAMPS

    Those attending the dedication remembered Wayne for his perfection of the art of pitching that helped take the Scandia team to four ASA Class A state championships in 1963, 1966, 1967 and 1968.

    “I’m one of four ball players from Scandia that got to play with and against Wayne Erickson in his prime,” Doniver Ahlm said. “Before playing with Wayne I played against him. I had the opportunity to strike out against every type of pitch he threw.”

    Click to continue reading “A Step Back In Time: Scandia honors local Fastpitch Hall of Famer Wayne Erickson”

    ISC announces developmental tournaments in Michigan for July 21-23, 2017

    Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

    By Joe Todd
    ISC VP Communications
    Ingersoll, Ontario
    ftode739@rogers.com

    December 13, 2016

    Saginaw, MI – The International Softball Congress is pleased to announce that it will be sponsoring three boys fastpitch softball championship tournaments on the weekend of July 21-23 in Saginaw, Michigan.

    The ISC Developmental Championship Tournaments in the U14, U16 and U18 age groups marks a return for the ISC in sponsoring stand-alone youth events separate from the annual ISC World Tournament.

    “With the outstanding boy’s fastpitch programs in Munger and Vasser, as well as the history of successful ISC developmental tournaments in Frankenmuth, this is the ideal area to hold these tournaments,” says ISC Executive Director Larry Fisher.

    Saginaw is 10-15 minutes from Frankenmuth and was the host of the 1981 ISC World Tournament.

    “We’ve selected this weekend because there’s minimal conflict with any of the Ontario provincial events in these age groups, so we’d really like to see Ontario teams come and compete for an ISC championship,” added Fisher.

    More information will be forthcoming as the committee of Tom Stasik, Del Benson, Don Petro and Pete Bouvy work out the details in the coming weeks.

    The ISC is also planning a U21 Championship as part of the 2017 ISC World Tournament being held in Grand Rapids, MI., August 12-19.

    For additional information, please contact:

    Larry Fisher
    ISC Executive Director
    Findlay, OH
    iscfastpitch@gmail.com

    Will to win boosts Craig Brown into Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame

    Saturday, November 26th, 2016
    Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame members, Dan Nessler, left, and Craig Brown, who were inducted in 2016, and Jeff Nessler, Dan's brother, who was inducted in 2004. Courtesy Photo

    Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame members, Dan Nessler, left, and Craig Brown, who were inducted in 2016, and Jeff Nessler, Dan’s brother, who was inducted in 2004. Courtesy Photo

    St. James, Minn. – His speed wind-milling a softball? Average. His spin to make it rise, drop or curve? Good but not great. His physical stature? Not imposing.

    Craig Brown may not have had all the physical tools to become a great fastpitch pitcher. But what Brown did have speaks to the internal rather than the external.

    Call it what you may: guts, drive, intense desire. As his former teammates would attest, Brown possessed the one quality all great athletes have: a relentless will to win.

    No one knew Brown any better than Dennis Johnson, St. James’ softball statistician, historian, and devoted fan of the town’s fastpitch teams.

    “He was an intense competitor,” said Johnson, who holds memberships in the International Softball Congress and Minnesota Softball Federation hall of fames. “He wanted to prove that he could beat the good teams and prove his skeptics wrong. That motivated him. He just hated to lose.”

    Click to continue reading “Will to win boosts Craig Brown into Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame”