LaCrosse Men’s Fastpitch

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2017 Wisconsin NAFA Men’s Fastpitch State Tournament

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

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.

Click to continue reading “Todd Lubkeman selected Wisconsin NAFA Pitcher of The Year”

Fastpitch softball sees resurgence in La Crosse

Sunday, June 26th, 2016
NAFA Hall of Fame member, Bud Olson, is helping lead the effort to train young athletes to become fast-pitch pitchers in order to reestablish a competitive men's fastpitch program in LaCrosse. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2014 NAFA World Series

NAFA Hall of Fame member, Bud Olson, is helping lead the effort to train young athletes to become fast-pitch pitchers in order to reestablish a competitive men’s fastpitch program in LaCrosse. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2014 NAFA World Series

By Nick Tabbert / WXOW.COM, LA CROSSE

La Crosse, WI (WXOW) – Fifteen years ago, fastpitch softball was a dying sport in La Crosse.

Now, thanks to the efforts of local enthusiasts, the game is trending upward once again, drawing the interest of players young and old.

Fran Formanek, a longtime supporter of the game, said the Dairyland Men’s Fastpitch League had to fold in the late 1990s due to low participation.

This season, there are 10 teams in the league, including a team sponsored by Animal House of La Crosse.

“We just feel there’s a real passion for the game here and there’s a lot of great athletes that are interested I believe in playing,” Formanek said. “If we can start getting some people involved in it, we think we can re-build the league and also become a national power throughout the United States like we were back in the 70s and 60s and 50s.”

A big part of the game is pitching. Both Formanek and Animal House’s team manager Bud Olson believe the resurgence relies on the arms of young pitchers.

“We know there’s a lot of good athletes in this town. What we do need to do is we need to develop pitchers,” he said.

Olson said his goal is to find a group of players just out of high school and develop them into competitive pitchers, a process that could take up to three years.

The North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) will hold its state qualifier tournament at La Crosse’s Erickson Park from July 22-24. Olson said there will be a reunion for former fastpitch players on Saturday, July 23. Players are encouraged to wear their old jerseys to receive free admission.

For more information about the NAFA state qualifier tournament and Wisconsin men’s fastpitch visit: Wisconsin Fastpitch