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12 Teams to compete in 40th Rice Lake Aquafest Invitational men’s fastpitch tournament

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

To watch some of the finest teams and players in Wisconsin and Minnesota, be sure to take in the action at the 40th Rice Lake Invitational Men’s Fastpitch Tournament in Rice Lake, Wisc., June 8-10. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2014 NAFA World Series

By RONN KOPP
NAFA President / Wisconsin Fastpitch Media

RICE LAKE, Wisc. – Eight teams from Wisconsin and four from Minnesota make up the roster of teams for the 40th Rice Lake Invitational Men’s Fastpitch Tournament to be held June 8-10, once again as part of the city’s Aquafest celebration.

Defending champion Odin Fastpitch of Odin, Minnesota is returning as is, after a one year hiatus, St. Paul Tin Cup Tornado, winners in 2015 and 2016.

Other Minnesota entries are Len’s Automotive of St. Paul, third place finishers a year ago prior to finishing the season as class A champions of the North American Fastpitch Association, as well as Pate Bonding of West St. Paul, Aquafest champions in 2002, 2003, and 2005.

Wisconsin entries include Striker’s Lanes of Baldwin, Dugout Bar and Grill and the Cushing Tigers of Cushing, Silver Star Nutrition of La Crosse, The Stoneyard and The Bar Blues of Madison, and The Bar of Rice Lake.

Also returning is the Rice Lake Orangemen, the only team to have played in all 39 previous events. The Orangemen, runner-up in 2017, won their only Aquafest title in 2014.

Play begins Friday evening at Rice Lake’s Tate Park with the Cushing Tigers taking on Striker’s Lanes at 7:30 p.m. and the two Rice Lake sponsored teams, The Bar and the Orangemen, battling it out at 9:00 p.m.

Play continues all day Saturday with opening games at 10:00 a.m. and Sunday starting at 9:00 a.m. The event concludes late Sunday afternoon.

  • Visit Wisconsin Fastpitch for more informationa about men’s fastpitch softball in the state.
  • Click on NAFA for information about the North American Fastpitch Association.
  • Rice Lake, Wisc. Men’s Fastpitch Tournament Bracket

    Friday, June 9th, 2017

    RICE LAKE, Wisc. – The nine teams are poised at the starting line and at 8 Friday night the host Rice Lake Orangemen will square off with Strikers Lane of Baldwin to kick off the 39th Annual Rice Lake Men’s Invitational Fastpitch Tournament at Tate Park.

    THE BRACKET


    Bracket Courtesy of Jess Chevrette

    2017 Annual Rice Lake Invitational in Rice Lake, Wisconsin

    Friday, June 2nd, 2017

    By RONN KOPP
    NAFA President

    RICE LAKE, Wisc. – The 39th Annual Rice Lake Invitational Men’s Fastpitch Tournament will be held June 9-11 at Fred Tate Memorial Park in Rice Lake.

      TOURNAMENT DETAILS
  • Team Classifications: NAFA “AA,” “A-Major,” and “A”
  • Tournament Size: 12 Teams (The first 12 to submit complete entries, including roster)
  • Tournament Format: NAFA 3-game guarantee
  • Entry Fee: $225 payable to Rice Lake Orangemen Fastpitch
  • **Send separate check for $35 to “Wisconsin NAFA” if year 2017 NAFA team registration is desired. This is not required for Invitational entry.**

  • Rosters: Teams may list a maximum of 18 players on their roster. Rosters MUST be on the attached form and completely filled out, and MUST be submitted along with the tournament entry fee for entry to be accepted.
  • AWARDS (Based on 12 team field)

    • 1st place $600 sponsor’s expense money plus trophy
    • 2nd $450 sponsor’s expense money plus trophy
    • 3rd $300 sponsor’s expense money plus trophy
    • 4th $150 sponsor’s expense money plus trophy
    • Individual trophies to tournament MVP and All-Tournament team selections
    • MAIL CHECKS TO

      Rice Lake Orangemen
      Post Office Box 202
      Rice Lake, WI 54868

      2017 TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR
      Loren Lathrop, Phone 608-422-5781 or 608-228-2430

    Bud Olson helps foster the revival of men’s fastpitch in La Crosse

    Monday, March 20th, 2017

    BUD OLSON, NAFA Hall of Fame member (2014), is helping lead the effort to revive men’s fastpitch in LaCrosse, Wisc. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2014 NAFA World Series

    LA CROSSE, Wisc. – Some call them diehards. Some call them loyalists. Some call them movers and shakers. They’re the backbone of any worthy cause who roll up their sleeves and get the job done.

    And when it comes to men’s fastpitch, Ronn Kopp, Loren Lathrop and Bud Olson fit those labels perfectly.

    While many have long since given up, these three men continue the mission to revive the sport in Wisconsin. Maybe that’s why the state is the North American Fastpitch Association’s (NAFA) leader in team registration within the organization.

    Kopp is the NAFA president and Lathrop a vice president. Both have been with the organization since its inception in 1993. They run NAFA Wisconsin affairs, conduct tournaments and leagues, and help run one of the most successful national tournaments in the sport: the NAFA World Series.

    No doubt, they are true warriors.

    Though Olson isn’t a NAFA official, he’s leading an admirable effort to revive fastpitch in the La Crosse area: he runs a team, he recruits younger players and helps form leagues, he encourages city officials to support fastpitch, and he will be hosting the NAFA state tournament for the next three years.

    If every state had this type of commitment, the sport would be in much better shape.

    Olson grew up on a Wisconsin farm, attended a country school where he began playing fastpitch in first grade. At 14 he was playing in a 4-H league. By 15 his burgeoning talent landed him a spot on the Sioux Creek Farmers team in a men’s league.

    “I got my first hit when I was 10 against Bob Davis one of the top pitchers in the Barron County traveling League,” said Olson. “I made Chetek’s traveling team as a 16-year-old shortstop. When our 4-H team entered the Sand Creek Sunday Night league, I was playing four nights a week.”

    Click to continue reading “Bud Olson helps foster the revival of men’s fastpitch in La Crosse”

    Umpiring friends head to NAFA World Series one last time for special honor

    Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

    OAKCREEK, Wisc. – The miles to league games and tournaments add up into the thousands, the games into the hundreds. And the pay doesn’t make them rich.

    For fastpitch umpires, that’s the price they pay to officiate the game they love. And Wisconsin umpires Steve Komoroski and Tom Ueberroth, certainly have a soft spot in their hearts for the game of fastpitch softball.

    The two good friends started umpiring together about 1996, figures Ueberroth, 58. They’ve officiated the girls and women’s side from college division I to high school and tournaments.

    ST CLAIR THE CATALYST

    But they’ve umpired the men’s side as well, mainly with the North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) in Wisconsin and at the NAFA World Series.

    “Henry St. Clair (the late, former NAFA UIC) got me started in men’s fastpitch about 20 years a go,” said Komoroski. “You don’t make much money, but I love it.”

    Click to continue reading “Umpiring friends head to NAFA World Series one last time for special honor”

    Tin Cup of St. Paul Repeats As Rice Lake Invitational Tournament Champions

    Thursday, June 16th, 2016

    MinnCompBouley.371lrTyler Bouley of Tin Cup was selected to the all-tournament team at the Rice Lake Invitational Tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2014 NAFA World Series

    By RONN KOPP / NAFA President

    RICE LAKE, Wisc. – After falling 7-5 to Ostrander Images in the winner’s bracket final, defending champion Tin Cup of Saint Paul posted four wins in a row including a pair against the same Ostrander squad, 4-1 and 5-1, in the championship series to capture the top spot in the 38th annual Rice Lake Invitational Men’s Fastpitch Tournament held in conjunction with the city’s Aquafest celebration. It was the second straight Invitational crown for Tin Cup.

    The champs opened with a 6-0 win over Striker’s Lanes of Baldwin followed by a 6-2 triumph over the host team Rice Lake Orangemen to advance to their first confrontation with Ostrander. A 13-0 whitewashing of Odin Fastpitch of southwestern Minnesota paved the way for the championship rematch with Ostrander Images.

    The Images of southeastern Minnesota opened tourney play with a 13-6 triumph over Odin and a 9-8 win over Meister Dairy of Muscoda, Wisconsin to reach the winner’s final versus Tin Cup.

    Odin Fastpitch claimed third place honors and Striker’s Lanes finished fourth.

    The local Orangemen opened the tournament with a 8-0 win over Ben’s Northern Bar-Eagle Strategies of Luck and followed with a 10-1 victory over Len’s Automotive of Saint Paul. After the 6-2 loss to Tin Cup an 11-2 defeat at the hands of Odin Fastpitch eliminated the Rice Lake squad from further play.

    Also taking part in the tourney were Wisconsin entries Animal House of La Crosse, C.J.’s Bar-Pleasantville Lions of Whitehall, and Dugout Bar & Grill of Cushing. A 12th team, 18-year entry Sawdust City of Eau Claire, withdrew just prior to the start of the event.

    ORDER OF FINISH

    1. Tin Cup, St. Paul MN 5-1
    2. Ostrander Images, Ostrander MN 3-3
    3. Odin Fastpitch, Odin MN 5-2
    4. Striker’s Lanes, Baldwin WI 4-2
    5. Orangemen, Rice Lake WI 2-2
    Meister Dairy, Muscoda WI 1-2
    7. Animal House, La Crosse WI 1-3
    Dugout Bar & Grill, Cushing WI 1-3
    9. C.J.’s Bar-Pleasantville Lions, Whitehall WI 2-2
    Len’s Automotive, St. Paul MN 1-3
    11. Ben’s Northern Bar-Eagle Strategies, Luck WI 0-3

    GAME BY GAME RESULTS

    1. C.J.’s Bar-Pleasantville Lions 3, Dugout Bar and Grill 2
    2. Orangemen 8, Ben’s Northern Bar-Eagle Strategies 0
    3. Striker’s Lanes 6, Animal House 2
    4. Ostrander Images 13, Odin Fastpitch 6
    5. Meister Dairy 11, C.J.’s Bar-Pleasantville Lions 8
    6. Orangemen 10, Len’s Automotive 1
    7. Tin Cup 6, Striker’s Lanes 0
    8. Odin Fastpitch 7, Ben’s Northern Bar-Eagle Strategies 6
    9. C.J.’s Bar-Pleasantville Lions 11, Animal House 3
    10. Len’s Automotive 7, Dugout Bar and Grill 0 (forfeit)
    11. Animal House 5, Ben’s Northern Bar-Eagle Strategies 4
    12. Striker’s Lanes 7, Len’s Automotive 6
    13. Dugout Bar and Grill 7, C.J.’s Bar-Pleasantville Lions 6
    14. Odin Fastpitch 2, Len’s Automotive 1
    15. Striker’s Lanes 7, Animal House 1
    16. Odin Fastpitch 5, Dugout Bar and Grill 4
    17. Ostrander Images 9, Meister Dairy 8
    18. Tin Cup 6, Orangemen 2
    19. Striker’s Lanes 8, Meister Dairy 4
    20. Odin Fastpitch 11, Orangemen 2
    21. Ostrander Images 7, Tin Cup 5
    22. Odin Fastpitch 5, Striker’s Lanes 2
    23. Tin Cup 13, Odin Fastpitch 0
    24. Tin Cup 4, Ostrander Images 1
    25. Tin Cup 5, Ostrander Images 1

    ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
    PITCHER – Justin Davis, Odin Fastpitch
    PITCHER – Grady Wold, Stiker’s Lanes
    CATCHER – Tyler Bouley, Tin Cup
    CATCHER – Travis Thompson, Orangemen
    INFIELD – Sam Nieman, Tin Cup
    INFIELD – Brandon Meiners, Ostrander Images
    INFIELD – Luke King, Ostrander Images
    INFIELD – Brandon Friedrichs, Odin Fastpitch
    INFIELD – Mike Groch, Rice Lake Orangemen
    OUTFIELD – Brett Legler, Ostrander Images
    OUTFIELD – Mark Mohar, Odin Fastpitch
    OUTFIELD – Miles Helgeson, Striker’s Lanes
    OUTFIELD – J.W. Dachel, Bol’s Lanes
    DESIGNATED BATTER – Hepa Monk, Tin Cup
    UTILITY – Matt Stuhr, Rice Lake Orangemen
    MOST VALUABLE PLAYER – Pita Rona (pitcher-centerfielder), Tin Cup
    Ronn Kopp – ronnkopp@charter.net

    12 TEAMS TO COMPETE IN 38th RICE LAKE AQUAFEST INVITATIONAL MEN’S FASTPITCH TOURNAMENT

    Saturday, June 11th, 2016

    rice.lake.8web Men’s fastpitch action takes place at the 38th Annual Rice Lake Invitational Men’s Fastpitch Tournament, June 10-12, in Rice Lake, Wisc. Photo By BOB OTTO

    By RONN KOPP / NAFA President

    RICE LAKE, Wisc. – Eight teams from Wisconsin and four from Minnesota make up the roster of teams for the 38th Rice Lake Invitational Men’s Fastpitch Tournament to be held June 10-12, once again as part of the city’s Aquafest celebration.

    Defending champion Tin Cup of St. Paul returns as does last year’s runner-up Ostrander Images of Ostrander, Minnesota. Len’s Automotive of St. Paul is once again in the tourney field while Odin Fastpitch of Odin, Minnesota makes its initial Aquafest Tournament appearance.

    The Rice Lake Orangemen, the only team to have played in all 37 previous events, will once again serve as host team.

    Other Wisconsin entries include Saw Dust City of Eau Claire, Animal House La Crosse, Striker’s Lanes of Baldwin, C.J.’s Bar-Pleasantville Lions of the Whitehall-Pleasantville area, Dugout Bar and Grill of Cushing, Ben’s Northern Bar of Luck, and 2015 NAFA class A national runner-up Meister’s Dairy of Muscoda.

    Play begins Friday evening at Rice Lake’s Tate Park with games at 7:30 and 9:00 p.m. and continues all day Saturday with opening games at 9:30 a.m. and Sunday starting at 9:00 a.m. The event concludes early Sunday evening.

    Ronn Kopp
    ronnkopp@charter.net

    For the love of the game

    Monday, June 15th, 2015
    Loren Lathrop has served as NAFA Vice President of The Midwest since 1993, and 37 years as the tournament director of the Rice Lake Invitational Men's Fastpitch Tournament.

    Loren Lathrop has served as NAFA Vice President of The Midwest since 1993, and 37 years as the tournament director of the Rice Lake Invitational Men’s Fastpitch Tournament.

    Rice Lake man has devoted much of his life to men’s and boys’ fastpitch, raising the sport to new levels in Wisconsin, nationally and internationally.

    RICE LAKE, Wisc. – Loren Lathrop has been described as tenacious and passionate, a crusader and a promoter. When it comes to fastpitch softball, those attributes fit Lathrop perfectly.

    For over 50 of his 71 years, Lathrop has been at the forefront of men’s fastpitch in his home state of Wisconsin and on the international scene with the North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA).

    “He is tenacious in promoting men’s fastpitch,” said NAFA President Ronn Kopp, allied with Lathrop in revitalizing the sport in Wisconsin. “He spends whatever time it takes to make Wisconsin NAFA events the highest quality ever. His willingness to make phone call after phone call recruiting teams to sanctioned tournaments is remarkable.”

    Click to continue reading “For the love of the game”

    Injuries can’t keep Bryan Lathrop out of the circle

    Friday, June 12th, 2015
    Bryan Lathrop pitching in the 2013 NAFA World Series for the Rice Lake, Wisc. Orangemen. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Bryan Lathrop pitching in the 2013 NAFA World Series for the Rice Lake, Wisc. Orangemen. Photo By BOB OTTO

    DeForest, Wisc. – No one would blame fastpitch pitcher Bryan Lathrop if he up and quit the game. He’s had his share of injuries. Last year, he was sidelined the entire season from hip surgery. He’s also got an ankle that nags him now and then.

    But over Memorial Day weekend at the Dugout tournament in Cushing, he took a shot to the head from a softball hit so hard that it knocked him flat and out of the game and rushed to the hospital.

    “I took a direct blow on the left side (head) and had a hell of a concussion,” he said. “I didn’t even see the ball or have time to get the glove up. I want to keep playing, but my body might be telling me otherwise.”

    Click to continue reading “Injuries can’t keep Bryan Lathrop out of the circle”

    2015 Hank St. Clair Memorial Wisconsin State Championship Tournament

    Sunday, May 31st, 2015

    hank.stclair The late Hank St. Clair, NAFA Hall of Fame UIC

    LA CROSSE, Wisc. – The 23rd Annual Wisconsin NAFA State Championship Tournament will be held July 24-26 at Erickson Park, 2324 Thompson St., La Crosse.

    TOURNAMENT FORMAT
    NAFA “A Major” and “A” – Combined Tournament Format: 3 Game Guarantee

    ENTRY FEE
    $250 (Add an additional $35 if team is not NAFA registered for this year)

    PAYOUTS (based on 14 team minimum)
    $500 First Place
    $350 Second
    $250 Third
    $100 Fourth

    ROSTERS
    Teams may list a maximum of 18 players on their roster.

    SEND ENTRY FEE AND ROSTER TO:
    Wisconsin NAFA
    Post Office Box 202
    Rice Lake, WI 54868

    FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
    Tournament Director, Loren Lathrop (608) 228-2430
    Wisconsin State Director, Ronn Kopp (715)651-5961