Minnesota ASA men’s fastpitch

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Fond memories of the Hollywood Store

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

WATERTOWN, Minn. – The name may have changed to Hollywood Sports Complex, but for many old timers it will forever be known as the Hollywood “Store.” Back in the 1960s and ‘70s, some of the fiercest men’s fastpitch battles in Minnesota were fought on the two ball diamonds at the Store, located near Watertown and about 40 miles west of Minneapolis.

In 1974 the Store underwent a name change to the Hollywood Sports Complex. And in 2008 this historic fastpitch site reached a rare milestone, celebrating its 50th anniversary of hosting men’s fastpitch softball leagues and tournaments.

The fastpitch tradition began in 1959 when Melvin and Esther Littel, who owned the Hollywood Store, started a team and joined a traveling league. And for many years, the Store hosted three league games every Sunday.

“The Store was a beacon for fastpitch on Sunday afternoons,” said Bruce Johnson, 58, who grew up in the area and began playing on the Store ball diamond as a 16-year-old. Johnson retired in the mid 1990s at age 44, but fond memories of the little ball diamond play on.

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Scandia, Minnesota: Small Town Once a Fastpitch Hotbed

Monday, June 30th, 2014

(originally written in 2002)

SCANDIA, Minn. – For Richard Quigley long summer days and nights at the ballpark were nothing unusual for him and his friends. In Scandia, Minnesota fastpitch softball was popular, the thing to do for young boys. If you didn’t play fastpitch in this small town of less than 100 people, you were left with little else to fill your time.

Rabid fans squeezed in and around the ball yard for the Tuesday and Thursday night league games. Play was intense. Every pitch, hit or error critical. Every game important.

Win the league and go to the state tournament. Lose and suffer through a long, cold winter rehashing the could have and should have beens.

“Scandia was a small town, 67 people when we moved there in 1966,” said Richard Quigley. “We grew up at the ball park. When we would get together for ball, it was always fastpitch. Every kid in town wanted to make the (men’s) team.”

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