Ken Schonning

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Farmington Men’s Fastpitch League Hosts Reunion To Remember The Good Times

Saturday, May 26th, 2018


PAUL HARRINGTON, who coaches the Farmington High School girls’ softball team and directed the men’s city league, shows former Farmington High school pitcher Ashley Betzold how to throw the rise ball. Ashley’s father, Daren Betzold, was a top pitcher in the Farmington league for 25 years (1976 – 2001). Contributed photo.

FARMINGTON, Minn. – For 54 years (1958-2011) men’s fastpitch softball was played in Farmington. The list of teams and sponsors, players, managers and umpires would as the saying goes, “stretch for an arm’s length.”

Though the historic Farmington Men’s Fastpitch League and Bobber Men’s Fastpitch Tournament are no more, that doesn’t mean they’re forgotten. And on Aug. 26, a reunion will be held to reminisce about those great times at the Castle Rock & Roll Bar & Grill in Castle Rock.

Of those 54 years, Paul Harrington directed the Farmington league 37 years (1975-2011). He was just 19 when he took the reins after the league director suddenly resigned in the middle of the season.

The league and tournament evolved over the years to become two of the strongest entities in Minnesota fastpitch history.

League teams claimed state championships in 1992 and ’99, along with Castle Rock and Morelli’s of St. Paul who are believed to have also won titles, while playing the league season in Farmington.

“Breaking the door down and winning a state championship in 1992 is a big memory for me,” said Harrington. “But knowing our league teams were always in the mix afterwards with other state championships and high finishes, and giving our league respect and recognition was very fulfilling as a league director.”

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Castle Rock’s Sunday surge stars in Hollywood

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

2014-CastleRock
The Castle Rock men’s fastpitch team of Castle Rock, Minn. Photo courtesy of Ken Schonning.

CASTLE ROCK, Minn. – On Saturday the results weren’t favorable, but come Sunday Castle Rock did a complete turnaround to win the Class C Division of the 10th Annual Hollywood Days Tournament.

Held at the Hollywood Sports Complex near Watertown, the tournament had 10 teams entered. After finishing 1-2 on Saturday and scoring just seven runs, Castle Rock qualified for Sunday’s C Division playoffs.

And that’s when the bats started heating up. Castle Rock outscored three opponents by a 32-14 margin starting with a 7-0 victory over Hollywood; followed by knocking off a tough Minnesota Computers / Scandia Fastpitch team, 11-5.

That set up a championship matchup with St. Paul Pawns, who beat Dawson 8-1 to advance. Castle Rock didn’t let their hot bats cool off, and erupted for a 14-9 win that improves the team’s record to 10-6.

The key to the ball club’s success, said manager and catcher Ken Schonning, is getting all his ball players together. When he’s got a full squad, they can cause some damage.

“We had all our players at the tournament,” said Schonning, who has managed the team for 36 of its 49 years. “We needed our sticks because we knew the Pawns are a good hitting team.”

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