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Bouley and Davis learning fastpitch the New Zealand way

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

TYLER BOULEY, left, and YUSEF DAVIS are playing fastpitch in New Zealand with the goal to improve their games for the upcoming 2017 North American fastpitch season. Courtesy Photo

NEW ZEALAND – It’s the off season for North American fastpitch and for most players, they’ve switched uniforms for a winter sport like basketball or hockey. Or they’re pumping iron at a fitness center muscling-up for the coming season.

Hitting, pitching, fielding? Not for a few months yet.

But not so for Yusef Davis and Tyler Bouley. These two young and budding stars – Davis, 22, and Bouley, 21 – shunned taking the winter off and instead boarded a plane for New Zealand.

All with the purpose of improving and pushing themselves to reach new heights in the sport they profess to love. As the saying goes, “to be the best you can be.”

Fastpitch is a pitcher’s game. Talented ones typically dominate hitters. So where better to improve one’s hitting than in pitching-rich New Zealand.

    TOUCH CHUCKERS

Bouley got a good feel for just how good these Kiwi hurlers are almost as soon as he landed.

“It has really helped my game because you don’t have to travel to (face) a quality pitcher,” said Bouley, who plays for Northcote Softball Club. “Every premiere team has a pitcher that either has competed at the (International Softball Congress World Tournament) or is capable of competing at the ISC. Two of the best I’ve faced so far are Bailey Hoani and Josh Pettett.”

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Hard throwing Stu Morrison inducted into the Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016
STUART MORRISON of Cloquet, Minn. pitched his way into the Minnesota Sports Federation Softball Hall of Fame by winning two state championships, one regional title and winning over 450 games with over 4,500 strikeouts in an 19 year career from 1963 to 1981. Courtesy Photo

STUART MORRISON of Cloquet, Minn. pitched his way into the Minnesota Sports Federation Softball Hall of Fame by winning two state championships, one regional title and winning over 450 games with over 4,500 strikeouts in an 19 year career from 1963 to 1981. Courtesy Photo

CLOQUET, Minn. – Softball backstops measure upwards of 20 feet high and wide. Even at those dimensions, corralling Stuart Morrison’s pitches often proved futile.

“When I first started pitching in 1963 there wasn’t a backstop in Minnesota that could hold me,” said Morrison with a laugh. “I didn’t know where the ball was going to go.”

Morrison started playing fastpitch as a sophomore in high school, only because he got cut from his high school baseball team. The Scanlon fire department invited him and several other young players to give fastpitch a try. Morrison did and was hooked.

    A PITCHER IS BORN

Although a good hitter, Morrison was intrigued by what he saw happening in the circle.

    “There was a good fastpitch league in Cloquet at the time,” he said. “I saw Craig Pollard pitching and I thought, ‘if he can do that, I’m going to give it a try.’”

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35th Annual Chopper’s Hollywood Tournament

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

WATERTOWN, Minn. – Chopper’s Hollywood Men’s Fastpitch Tournament is one of the longest running men’s fastpitch tournaments in Minnesota.

This weekend, July 12-13, marks the 35th consecutive year the popular tournament will be held at the Hollywood Sports Complex near Watertown.

Eight teams are competing in two pools, with a single elimination format on Sunday to crown a champion.

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Twin Cities fastpitch scene could use more Buzz Connors

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

…One girl told me, ‘if he plays slowpitch, I’m going to leave him.’” –George Connor

By BOB OTTO
botto3@verizon.net

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ST. PAUL, MINN – A dead arm was the best thing that ever happened to George “Buzz” Connor’s ball playing career.

Back in 1969, the then 36-year-old Connor’s baseball pitching arm went dead. He had nothing left overhand. The solution? Start whipping the ball underhand.

“My arm just went dead pitching baseball,” said Connor. “My catcher Hap Holmgren said, ‘you’re going to start throwing softball.’”

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