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Bill Hopeman put Hingham, Wisc. on the fastpitch map

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Since the late 1930s, hundreds of softball players have played fastpitch at the Hingham ballfields. Courtesy Photo

“I have skipped class reunions and some marriages because of ball. It was probably wrong, but nothing was more important than playing ball. I just loved the game.” – Bill Hopeman

HINGHAM, Wisc. – When he was six years old, Bill Hopeman got his first taste of fastpitch softball on Hingham’s grade school playground.

Swinging a bat, catching and throwing a softball soon became a passion. His favorite position?

“Anywhere they would let me play,” said Hopeman, who was younger than many of the school kids back in the early 1950s. “But mostly I played third base, shortstop and some first base.”

But over the ensuing years, “let me play,” became a plea of sorts to “please pitch for us,” as Hopeman switched from infielder to pitcher. An outstanding one at that – who many claim the best to hurl a softball in the Hingham fastpitch league.

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Hingham Athletic Association Starts Fastpitch Hall of Fame

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Since the late 1930s, fastpitch softball has been played in Hingham, Wisconsin. Courtesy Photo

HINGHAM, Wisc. – Hundreds of talented fastpitch players have graced the ballfield in Hingham for a very long time – actually, as far as anyone can recall, men’s fastpitch dates to the late 1930s in this little town (pop. 800) located 14 miles southwest of Sheboygan and Lake Michigan.

Much of the credit goes to the Hingham Athletic Association (HAA). Formed in 1938, the HAA provides a host of community events and recreational opportunities, including a men’s fastpitch league and tournament.

“There is a lot of history with the Hingham Athletic Association,” said Jerrod Dulmes, 36, who pitches and serves as Commissioner of the Hingham Men’s Fastpitch League. “It used to sponsor teams and now runs the league and tournament.”

This year, five teams will begin league play on May 16 through July 27, including 8th Street Ale Haus, Adell Co-op, Countryside Remodeling, Lakeland Chiropractic, and Lukens Excavating.

2017 Hingham Men’s Fastpitch League Schedule

Then after the league wraps up play, a most unique tournament takes place: a 10-day event that will be played during week nights, from July 31 to Aug. 10.

“We play two games every night in the tournament, Monday through Friday, and nothing on the weekend,” Dulmes said, adding that the league teams will all play, along with ball clubs possibly entering from Kenosha, Green Bay, Appleton and Milwaukee.

But something special will take place during the tournament. The HAA has formed a softball Hall of Fame, and the first inductees will be honored at the tournament.

“We will announce the hall of famers the final night of the tournament,” Dulmes said. “We have set up the HAA Hall of Fame to recognize volunteers, sponsors, players and umpires. And we’re asking the community to nominate people and to gather history of their involvement. We need highlights of what they have done.”

For more information on nominating a potential hall of famer, or to enter a team in the tournament, contact Jerrod Dulmes on Facebook, at 414-248-3330, or email,

Todd Lubkeman selected Wisconsin NAFA Pitcher of The Year

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

Todd Lubkeman has been the mainstay of the Willkomm Mobil pitching staff since 1992 and has helped the team achieve great success in NAFA World Series competition. In 2016 he was selected “Wisconsin NAFA Pitcher of The Year.” Photo By BOB OTTO

BRISTOL, Wisc. – Over 130 men’s softball teams play the fastpitch version in Wisconsin, and on those teams, the anchor is the pitcher. Without a pitcher, there is no fastpitch team.

And if a team has a hurler with talent that usually transpires into success.

For many years, Willkomm Mobil of Kenosha has been fortunate to have Todd Lubkeman anchoring its pitching staff. The big right-hander – about 6-foot-6, throws the ball hard with all the accompanying assortment of batter-baffling spinners – riser, curve, drop and change-up.

Over the years, Lubkeman has been as productive a pitcher as any Wisconsin has ever produced. 2016 was no exception.

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Willkomm Mobil finishes top-three in NAFA AA World Series

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

DES MOINES – Wisconsin has a well-deserved reputation for fielding competitive fastpitch teams. Willkomm Mobil is one of the many. And they proved it in the 2013 NAFA AA World Series by finishing third in a strong field of 14 teams.

And perhaps with a little luck Willkomm of Kenosha could have won the title. They started strong by winning Pool A with a 3-0 victory over McCuen’s Pub and 11-3 over the Bronx of Saskatchewan, Canada.

081013-Willkomm.Team.Photo.1web The 2013 Willkomm Mobil ball club includes Jerrod Dulmes, Jordan Dahlke, Mark Nelson, Todd Lubkeman, Bryan Balde, Jordan Ziemanski, Jeff Ryczek, Scott Beal, Pat Kuhlmeier, Dirk Daniels, Joe Melograno, and Jon Selchert. Photo By BOB OTTO

That gave Willcomm a No. 1 seed into the AA division final, where they knocked off Rooter’s Bar, 3-0, and CPI Classics 7-2.

But then they ran into some tough luck, losing to enventual champion Wilber Lime 1-0 in the winners bracket final, and finally being eliminated with another one-run loss to runner-up Palazzo’s Java House, 3-2.

Willkomm finished 4-2 overall and placed three players on the All-World team, and one of them will be inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame during next year’s World Series.

  • Jerrod Dulmes, .429 BA, 6 for 14
  • Mark Nelson, .421 BA, 8 for 19, 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 6 RBIs (Nelson also was 1-0 pitching with a 3-0 win over McQuen’s Pub, allowing three hits, six walks with nine strikeouts)
  • 2014 NAFA Hall of Fame inductee, Todd Lubkeman had a 3-2 record in 32 innings, allowing 19 hits, 11 runs, 8 earned for a 1.75 ERA, with 56 strikeouts
  • lubkeman.todd.willkomm.10web Todd Lubkeman will be inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame in 2014. Here he is seen pitching against Wilber Lime in which he lost 1-0, but only allowed one run on three hits, two walks, and four strikeouts. Photo By BOB OTTO