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Midland County Sports Hall of Fame: Isenhart’s induction an honor to family, friends, fastpitch

Monday, May 1st, 2017

Midland Daily News
Joel Barnhart
Monday, May 1, 2017
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MIDLAND, Mich. – To those who knew him best, the late Leland “Lee” Isenhart was an unselfish man who loved fastpitch softball and worked tirelessly to grow the game in Midland.

With his upcoming induction into the Midland County Sports Hall of Fame in a May 13 ceremony at Dow Diamond, the humble man who spent his life dedicated to helping others will be honored in a way he never would have asked for, but certainly deserved.

“I think everyone in the softball community around town thinks this is well-deserved,” said Eric Isenhart, one of five children of Lee and the late Mary Jane Isenhart, who were married for 58 years. “My dad did a lot getting fastpitch softball here. He and Lefty (Bartos) did so much for the game to keep it alive in Midland.”

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Dow AC’s had strong influence with boys in Midland in 1940s and 1950s

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

MIDLAND, Mich. – Heroes. Superstars.And everyday citizens of Midland.
In the 1940s and 1950s, the Dow ACs men’s fastpitch softball team won two national championships and a world championship.

But the legendary players and coaches, like Clyde “Lefty” Dexter, Al Linde, and Jimmy Walsh, didn’t stop there.

Through coaching and mentoring youth, they also helped lay the groundwork for today’s flourishing sports community in Midland. Their fingerprints can be found in such organizations as Little League and Pee Wee football, and the ACs were a springboard for Midland becoming a town known for producing outstanding softball organizations such as McArdle’s and the Midland Explorers.

Bud Collins, 92, of Midland, was part of the very first Dow ACs (Athletic Club) team in 1941, just after The Dow Chemical Co. had taken over the former Chemical City Athletic Club team.

The Dow ACs – a program which also included a highly competitive basketball team that played its games in what is now Central Middle School – was the biggest thing in a long time to hit Midland, which Collins noted was still a rural community of fewer than 10,000 people in the early 1940s.

“With Midland being so small at that time, that was the biggest thing that could have happened (to the town),” said Collins, who played third base for the Dow ACs until about 1950, outside of the years that he served in the Navy in World War II. “We packed (Currie) Stadium for every game.”

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New elite men’s fastpitch team forming in Midland

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

“…What we’re looking at doing is something brand-new…There are kids out there who want to play (open fastpitch) and don’t have an avenue to play… – Gregg Sauve

By Dan Chalk chalk@mdn.net
Midland Daily News

MIDLAND, MICH – Gregg Sauve and Dave O’Keefe are excited about what lies ahead this summer, and for many years to come, in local men’s fastpitch softball.

The two longtime players and coaches have a vision for a new fastpitch organization that’s young, athletic, made up of local players, and built to last for a long time.

And that’s why they’ve organized a new elite men’s fastpitch team in Midland.

The new team, the “Midland Emerson ACes,” visit Midland Emerson ACes website will make its debut this summer. The team name was chosen to reflect Emerson Park, where the ACes will play their home games at Currie Stadium, and as a tribute to the Dow AC’s (Athletic Club), a dominant Midland fastpitch team in the 1940s and 1950s.

“The Dow AC’s were the first big fastpitch team in Midland,” Sauve noted. “(The team name) kind of ties it all together nicely.”

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Levy’s triple lifts Midland Explorers over Denmark Circle Tap Dukes

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Midland, MI – Explorers’ Dale Levy admits he had a nightmare game against Dean Holoien of the Saskatoon Diamondbacks on Monday, striking out three times.

But what a difference a day makes.

Levy drove in the only run Midland pitcher Don Scott would need as the Explorers defeated the Circle Tap Dukes 2-0 Tuesday afternoon to stay alive in the losers bracket in ISC World Tournament play.

All the scoring was done in the top-half of the first inning.

Lead off batter Dan Loney worked Diamondbacks’ Jeremy Manley for a walk. And Levy followed by drilling a triple, driving in Loney. Eddy Ketlehut followed with an RBI hit, and Scott had all the runs he would need.

“We had a big lump to swallow after last night,” Levy said, referring to Midland’s 4-2 loss to the Diamondbacks on a game-ending walk off homer. “We came back today and refocused.”

Scott (2-1) got a bit of redemption after taking the loss against the Diamondbacks on Colby Beierle’s walk off homer last night.

But today Scott – known as primarily a rise ball pitcher – changed his pitching tactics, relying more on his change-up to keep a solid-hitting Circle Tap off their stride.

Levy complimented Scott’s (three-hit) pitching, and said that with Scott and Grant Patterson, Midland has two of the better pitchers in the world tournament. But pitching alone won’t get it done, he said.

“We have to stay focused and get good quality at bats.”

The win moves Midland (2-1) on in the losers bracket where they will take on the winner of the Snappers / A1 Brewers game.

Midland Daily News providing fine coverage of ISC World Tournament

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

MIDLAND, MI – Fastpitch fans be sure to bookmark the Midland Daily News. Or check it out periodically. The local paper is doing a fine job covering the 2012 ISC World Tournament.

Midland Daily News Sports

Walk off homer sends Saskatoon Diamondback into ISC World Tournament quarterfinals

Monday, August 13th, 2012

MIDLAND, MI – Midland Explorers pitcher Don Scott probably wishes he could have one pitch back, a rise ball that hung invitingly over the outside corner to Saskatoon Diamondbacks Colby Beierle.

The right-side hitting Beierle took a big cut and drove the ball over the left field fence with one out and one aboard in the bottom of the seventh, giving the Diamondbacks a hardfought 4-2 walk-off victory Monday night.

“He was pitching me outside all night, and I took a (swing) at it, and it went,” said Beierle, who added that starting and finishing pitcher Dean Holoien pitched well in picking up the win.

The Canadian and veteran Holoien really had his hard stuff working, blistering Midland with a rise ball they had trouble catching up with. Holoien finished with 18 strikeouts, and gave up one earned run on six hits, and didn’t allow any walks.

For Midland, Grant Patterson started and gave up two earned runs on two hits in four innings, and struck out five. Scott in 2.2 innings allowed two earned runs on two hits, and got two strikeouts.

Dan Loney started Midland off in fine fashion by hitting a lead off home run to start the game. But Saskatoon answered back with a two-run homer by Brennan Pokoyoway to take a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Midland, however, tied the score in the fifth on Shea Bryant’s RBI single to right field.

The game looked like it would settle into a long affair with Scott and Holoien settling into a pitchers’ duel. But Beierle’s shot dampened the hometown fans hopes, and the host Explorers opportunity of advancing from 46 teams down to the final undefeated eight.

Saskatoon advances into the quarterfinals where they will meet the winner between the Jarvis Travelers and CR A1 Brewers, Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.

The Explorers must battle back through the losers bracket, starting with a 3 p.m. game on Tuesday against Circle Tap of Denmark, Wisc.

Midland Explorers prepping for ISC world tournament

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

By John Kennett for the Midland Daily News

MIDLAND, MI – With one International Softball Congress World Tournament already under their belts, plans are well underway for the 2012 ISC Men’s World Fastball Tournament.

Projected to pump $2.3 million into the local economy, the Midland Explorers host committee welcomes over 70 teams to Emerson Park on Aug. 11 for eight days of the best fast pitch softball in the world.

“I still say we were very fortunate because we got great community response from the fans that came out in 2010,” said Midland Explorers’ Host Committee CO-chair Kyle Beane. “The second time through is easier. It’s still a lot of hard work, but there are not as many surprises this time because we have a list to work from.”

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