Mankato men’s fastpitch

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Wonderful discovery of the green Band Box fastpitch jacket

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Over the 53 years I’ve been involved with fastpitch softball as a player, writer and photographer, I’ve collected a sizeable number of jackets. These are my favorites. From left, the photographer jacket the ISC issued me in 1996; the St. James, Minn. Band Box jacket I received in 1976 when I pitched for the team; the 1996 ISC commissioner’s jacket, my Yucaipa jacket of 1983, and I’m wearing my NAFA apparel from the 2017 World Series. But the green Band Box jacket is my prized fastpitch possession. Photo By NANETTE OTTO

YUCAIPA, Calif. – My wife has been on a cleaning binge of late. She’s pulling boxes off shelves, inspecting the contents, and more often than not tossing most of the things on the pile designated “yard sale stuff.”

Yesterday, she asked me to haul down from the rafters in the garage a large, heavy, blue toter. I followed her orders without complaint. As long as I’m free of decision making, I’m OK with her mission to unclutter our lives.

So I did as I was ordered and set the toter on the garage floor. I didn’t bother to open it. My job was finished.

Well, later in the day after she had opened the toter, she came back into the house and said:

“Bob, you better come and look at this stuff.”

Click to continue reading “Wonderful discovery of the green Band Box fastpitch jacket”

For the Olson’s and Duluth, a thriving time of men’s fastpitch

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

1988 ASA NATIONAL CHAMPION DULUTH STEWART TAYLOR PRINTING. Top from left: Dick Olson Manager, Jim Olson, Randy Hill, Mike Thomas, Brian Langeland, Corey Thomas, Paul Friesen, Brad Emanuel and Tom Olson. Bottom from left: Jerry Strange, Mike Morrissey, Bill Olson, Clay Kerr and Casey Frank. Team helper Mitch. Courtesy Photo

DULUTH, Minn. – Once upon a time a man could stand in the center of Minnesota and point to the east, west, north or south and as surely as the sun rises and sets, men’s fastpitch was being played in most cities and small towns of the state’s 87 counties.

That was the thriving times of the 1960s to 1980s.

Owatonna, St Paul, Minneapolis and Mankato? Booming. Winona and Rochester? Hot beds.

Scandia, Hastings, Red Wing, Lake Crystal, Wanamingo, St. James and Geneva? Teeming with teams, leagues and tournaments.

And up in the northern reaches of the state snuggled up to the western shore of Lake Superior, the game in Duluth was at its peak. That was back when Bill Olson started playing in 1973, barely a teenager.

“I started at 13 at Ordean Jr. High School,” said Olson, 56. “That was when they had fastpitch in the junior high schools. There were a lot of good teams in my era.”

Click to continue reading “For the Olson’s and Duluth, a thriving time of men’s fastpitch”

Follow The 2016 NAFA World Series Team Results, Stats And More

Friday, August 12th, 2016
Cory Wertz fires a pitch during the A1 Rockies game with the BC A's. Photo By BOB OTTO

Cory Wertz, who will be pitching for the Beaumont (CA) Coyotes in the 2016 NAFA World Series, fires a pitch during the A1 Rockies game with the BC A’s in a So. Calif. Independent Fastpitch League game. Photo By BOB OTTO

NORTH MANKATO, Minn. – The NAFA World Series has over 90 teams playing for division championships at Caswell Park in North Mankato, Aug. 11-21, in what promises to be a most competitive event with teams competing from throught the United States and Canada.

FOLLOW THE RESULTS

  • 23-Under Pool Bracket
  • Statistics For All Divisions
  • Weather and rain information: 888-852-1115
  • The Natural heads into the NAFA Hall of Fame

    Saturday, July 30th, 2016


    Trevor Knight will be inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame at ceremonies during the 2016 NAFA World Series in North Mankato and Mankato, Minnesota.

    OLYMPIA, Wash – Pat Bucknell has managed and coached his share of teams and players over his long career in men’s fastpitch. He has won NAFA World Series championships with some very fine athletes in his stable.

    One of the finest? Shortstop and third baseman Trevor Knight of Olympia, Washington.

    “He was a natural,” said Bucknell, “one heck of a ball player. If he had chosen, I think he could have played pro ball. He was that good.”

    Just how good?

    Click to continue reading “The Natural heads into the NAFA Hall of Fame”

    Memories of 1970s Mankato State Men’s Intramural Fastpitch League

    Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

    1998-StPaulHofF.1lr

    1998 St. Paul Oldtimers Fastpitch Hall of Fame Inductees
    Front row, from left, Gene Berglund, Jerry O’Connor Jr., George “Buzz” Connor, Jack Clemens, Kathleen Gallagher Schmidt. Back row, from left, Russell Hansen, Norm Thurmer, Whitey Schaffer, Randy Walker, Dan Gallagher and Pat Gallagher.

    MANKATO, Minn. – In the fall of 1972, I enrolled at Mankato State University in Mankato, Minnesota (since changed to Minnesota State University).

    I didn’t know at the time, but I was about to meet and compete against some of the best young fastpitch pitching talent in the state and upper midwest.

    Starting their college educational journey with me at the time were Craig Brown, Bob Chicos, Dave Cummings and Randy Walker. We were all in our early 20s and very passionate about our chosen sport.

    Click to continue reading “Memories of 1970s Mankato State Men’s Intramural Fastpitch League”

    NAFA Announces 2016 Hall of Fame Inductees

    Tuesday, July 5th, 2016
    The North American Fastpitch Association offers World Series tournaments for all caliber of players - from age 23-Under to Masters, 65-over. Visit www.nafafastpitch.com for information to register your team.

    The North American Fastpitch Association offers World Series tournaments for all caliber of players – from age 23-Under to Masters, 65-over. Visit www.nafafastpitch.com for information to register your team.

    DAYTON, OR – The North American Fastpitch Association announced that eight individuals – six players, one umpire and a coach / sponsor – will be inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame at ceremonies held at various World Series during the 2016 season.

    2016 HALL OF FAME MEMBERS

    Umpire

  • Steve Komoroski, Wisc.
  • Coach / Sponsor

  • Doug Smith, New Jersey
  • Players

  • Kyle Goslee, Minn.
  • Chad Osterman, Minn.
  • Colin McKenzie, BC, Canada
  • Trevor Knight, Wash.
  • Duane Clarkson, Manitoba, Canada
  • Mario Pereira, Calif.
  • The 2016 NAFA World Series

  • Open World Series, Fife (Seattle), Wash., July 22-24
  • Boys Youth, Vassar, Mich., July 30-31
  • AA-Major, Quad Cities, IA/IL, Aug. 19-21
  • A-Major, Mankato / North Mankato, Minn., Aug. 11-14
  • Wood Bat Nationals Upper Midwest, Mankato / North Mankato, Aug. 12-14
  • Wood Bat Nationals Lower Midwest, Newton, KS, July 30-31
  • Wood Bat Nationals West, Albuquerque, NM, Aug. 27-28
  • A and AA Divsions, Mankato / North Mankato, Aug. 18-21
  • 23-Under, Mankato / North Mankato, Aug. 19-21
  • Masters East, Niagara Falls, NY, Aug. 26-28
  • Masters Midwest, Quad Cities, Sept. 9-11
  • Masters West, Carson City, NV, Sept. 16-18
  • NAFA CONTACT INFORMATION
    Benjie Hedgecock, Executive Director
    email: Nafafastpitch@gmail.com
    cell: 503-559-5398
    work: 503-864-4487
    fax: 503-864-3939
    P.O. Box 566
    Dayton, OR 97114

    NAFA hosting 23-Under Young Men’s World Series

    Tuesday, February 9th, 2016
    The North American Fastpitch Association offers World Series tournaments for all caliber of players - from age 23-Under to Masters, 65-over. Visit www.nafafastpitch.com for information to register your team.

    The North American Fastpitch Association offers World Series tournaments for all caliber of players – from age 23-Under to Masters, 65-over. Visit www.nafafastpitch.com for information to register your team.

    DAYTON, Ore. – The North American Fastpitch Association 23-Under Division World Series will be held Aug. 19-21 at the end of each night (so that there is no conflict of games times) during the Men’s “A” & “AA” World Series in the Mankato / North Mankato, Minnesota.

    DETAILS

  • Four-game guarantee
  • Entry fee $250
  • Text or call NAFA Executive Director, Benjie Hedgecock, for more info at Nafafastpitch@gmail.com, or 503-559-5398

    Plan now for 2016 NAFA World Series

    Tuesday, December 15th, 2015
    The North American Fastpitch Association offers World Series tournaments for all caliber of players - from age 23-Under to Masters, 65-over. Visit www.nafafastpitch.com for information to register your team.

    The North American Fastpitch Association offers World Series tournaments for all caliber of players – from age 23-Under to Masters, 65-over. Visit www.nafafastpitch.com for information to register your team.

    By BENJIE HEDGECOCK / NAFA Executive Director

    DAYTON, OR – The NAFA World Series is just seven months away. Start planning to enter your team in one of the nine divisions offered by the organization that serves approximately 150 men’s, junior men’s and masters teams.

      Mark Your Calendar
  • “Open” World Series & West Championships( “A”, “AA”) will be July 22-24 in Seattle (Fife), Washington
  • “A-Major” Aug. 11-14 in Mankato & North Mankato, Minnesota
  • “AA-Major” Aug. 10-12 in Mankato & North Mankato, Minnesota
  • Wood Bat Nationals Upper Midwest Aug. 13-14 in Mankato & North Mankato, Minnesota
  • NAFA.cover Fastpitch softball: hitting, pitching, running and fielding – much like baseball except fastpitch does it underhanded and much faster! Many of NAFA’s top players come from Canada, United States, Mexico, Japan, Europe and South America.

      Mark Your Calendar
  • “A” Aug. 18-21 in Mankato & North Mankato, Minnesota
  • “AA” Aug. 19-21 in Mankato & North Mankato, Minnesota
  • 23-Under Aug. 19-21 in Mankato, Minnesota
  • Masters East Sept. 9-11
  • Masters West Sept. 16-18 in Carson City, Nevada
  • Visit NAFA website for up to date information.

    Benjie Hedgecock
    Nafafastpitch@gmail.com
    503-559-5398 cell
    503-864-4487 home
    503-864-3939 fax

    Happy Chef in Mankato for sale, full of fastpitch softball memories

    Tuesday, August 25th, 2015
    Leroy Jolstad was a mainstay for the Mankato Happy Chef men's fastpitch softball team.

    Leroy Jolstad was a mainstay for the Mankato Happy Chef men’s fastpitch softball team.

    By Patrick Reusse AUGUST 23, 2015 — 3:38PM

    MANKATO, Minn. – The Happy Chef restaurant and adjoining property are for sale. It’s the original and surviving restaurant from a collection of 63 that were once operated in the Midwest by the Fredrick brothers.

    “We’re still in business,” said Tom Fredrick, 81. “We’re going to stay in business.”

    Mention Happy Chef and many people think of the towering, round Happy Chef figure that stood in front of numerous restaurants — and remains smiling today next to Hwy. 169 as you enter Mankato. Mention Happy Chef to others and they think of something else near extinction: men’s fastpitch softball.

    There was a group of fast-pitchers that played out of Mankato starting in the late 1960s. They played Class AA (major) fastpitch through 1990. You could bring in players from anywhere and pay outsiders, if necessary.

    The team had a variety of sponsors in the 1970s. Happy Chef took over sponsorship for the Class AA team from 1980 through 1990, and then for five more years with a Class A team.

    “You could never work with a better sponsor than Tom,” said Marley Lloyd, an outstanding center fielder and promoter for Happy Chef. “We could fly to national tournaments while other teams took a bus.”

    Continue reading in StarTribune

    New Image shuts down opposition to claim ASA Class A National Championship

    Monday, September 3rd, 2012

    NO. MANKATO, MN – New Image of Montfort, Wisconsin won five straight games and outscored its opponents 26-1 to finish undefeated with a 5-0 record in the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) Men’s Class A National Championship, Sept. 1-2, in North Mankato, Minnesota.

    Thirteen teams played in the double elimination tournament at Caswell Park, ASA Fastpitch Men’s Nationals in No. Mankato.

    The Montfort, Wisconsin ball club topped off its undefeated run by defeating the Sioux Falls Sox (SD) 2-1 in the championship game to claim the title.

    The Sox lost 1-0 to Bac Pride (IL) in the semi-finals of the winner’s bracket, and then battled back into the championship with three consecutive wins: 5-1 over Odin (MN); held off Goring Lawn Care (MN), 5-3, and then knocked off Bac Pride in a rematch, 5-2, for the right to face off with New Image in the final.

    New Image defeated the Topeka (KS) Toros 7-0 in its opening game, and then downed Point Blank (WI), 2-0, Dekalb (IL), 7-0, Bac Pride, 8-0, and then the Sox 2-1.

    The Final Four
    1. New Image 5-0
    2. Sioux Falls Sox 4-2
    3. Bac Pride 3-2
    4. Goring Lawn Care 3-2

    No all-tournament or most valuable player and pitcher selections have been placed on the ASA website yet, but keep checking ASA Class A National Championship Results for information.