Minnesota men’s fastpitch

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A Step Back In Time: Johnny Vollmer in Farewell at Softball Park

Friday, July 28th, 2017

The late, great JOHNNY VOLLMER is considered one of Minnesota’s all-time great fastpitch softball pitchers. He is shown here in 1942 just before he was inducted into the army. Vollmer was inducted into the Minnesota Sports Federation Softball Hall of Fame in 1982. Minneapolis Star Photo / May 4, 1942

The Minneapolis Star
May 4, 1942

(I remember as a kid in the early 1960s listening to the ‘old timers’ talking about Minnesota’s great pitchers, and Johnny Vollmer was one of their favorite subjects.)

MINNEAPOLIS – Johnny Vollmer, with his old batterymate, Shorty Mathes behind the plate, says goodbye for a while to Minneapolis softball fans tonight at Parade Stadium when his Fort Snelling soldiers play the Grain Belts (brewery) in the unofficial opening of the 1942 season.

Vollmer, the great snapball artist, was inducted at Snelling along with Mathes, last week.

The game is booked for 8:30 p.m. and will go on despite slightly chilly weather. Pregame ceremonies involving a Fort Snelling Color Guard and bugler will begin at 7:45 p.m.

Opposing Vollmer on the Grain Belt mound is Ed Kronfeld, who last year hurled the Rothschild’s to the National Division championship. Proceeds go to the Fort Snelling athletic fund. ­

Johnny Vollmer returned from his military service and reestablished himself as one of Minnesota’s all-time great fastpitch pitchers (slingshot style) and was inducted into the Minnesota Sports Federation Softball Hall of Fame in 1982, along with his catcher, Shorty Mathes.

Top Ranked Teams Battle For Tin Cup Challenge Championship

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Eight International Softball Congress (ISC) top-rated teams will battle for the THE TIN CUP CLASSIC Men’s Fastpitch Tournament at The Village Sports Bar At The Stadium, White Bear Lake, Minn., July 28-30. Courtesy Photo / Christopher Diethert

By Christopher Diethert
Tin Cup Fastpitch

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The field is set and eight of the finest men’s fastpitch teams from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas and North Dakota will battle in the Tin Cup Men’s Challenge Fastpitch Tournament at The Village Sports Bar At The Stadium in White Bear Lake, Minn. July 28-30.

The tournament features a full slate of games Friday night and Saturday in pool play format with the playoffs on Sunday. Five of the eight teams are ranked in the top-20 by the International Softball Congress.


No. 6 / Circle Tap Dukes, Denmark, Wisc.
No. 15 / Ostrander Norsemen Fastpitch, Ostrander, Minn.
Topeka Toros, Kansas
Rice Lake Orangemen, Wis.


No. 8 / Bloomington Stix, Bloomington, Ill.
No. 11 / Kegel Black Knights, Fargo, No. Dak.
No. 13 / Tin Cup, St. Paul, Minn.
Jamo’s Fastpitch, St. Paul, Minn.

The tournament opens Friday night with two games on tap. At 7 p.m., Ostrander Norsemen square off against the Rice Lake Orangemen, and in the nightcap, host Tin Cup battles Jamo’s at 9 p.m.


9 a.m. – Circle Tap Dukes vs. Rice Lake
11 a.m. – Circle Tap Dukes vs. Ostrander Norsemen
1 p.m. – Topeka Toros vs. Ostrander Norsemen
3 p.m. – Topeka Toros vs. Rice Lake Orangemen
5 p.m. – Tin Cup vs. Kegel Black Knights
** 7 p.m. – Ceremony for 1976 All-American Bar (1976 ISC World Tournament Champions)
7:30 p.m. – Tin Cup vs. Bloomington Stix
9:30 p.m. – Circle Tap Dukes vs. Topeka Toros


11 a.m. – Jamo’s Fastpitch vs. Kegel Black Knights
1 p.m. – Bloomington Stix vs. Kegel Black Knights
3 p.m. – Bloomington Stix vs. Jamo’s Fastpitch


10 a.m. – A1 vs. B2
12 p.m. – A2 vs. B1
2 p.m. – Championship

** Tie breakers decides by head-to-head and runs allowed **

Contact Information

Christopher Diethert

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.


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.’”

Click to continue reading “Hard throwing Stu Morrison inducted into the Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame”

Getting the great “Nellie” into the Minnesota Sports Federation Softball Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016


HASTINGS, Minn. – When I was 17 years old in 1967, I pitched against one of Minnesota’s all-time best pitchers, Walt “Nellie” Nelson of Hastings, Minn. Nellie pitched Loesch’s Bar of Hastings to back-to-back state championships in 1964 and ’65; a second place in ’62, and fourth in ’66. (See related story: Remembering my idol, Walt “Nellie” Nelson

When my good friend Craig Brown was nominated and subquently inducted into the Hall of Fame, Oct. 29, I thought: surely Nellie must have been inducted. But in searching through the Minnesota Sports Federation Hall of Fame records, I found he was not.

So, I contacted the Hastings Star Gazette newspaper to run a brief asking anyone connected with that team to contact me. Low and behold, Steve Nelson, Nellie’s son called me. He had some sad news, though. His father passed away in 2003 at the age of 72.

But on the bright side, we are on a mission to get Nellie inducted into the MSF Hall of Fame in the next round of induction in 2018. Fortunately, some of the Losche’s guys he played with are still with us: Tom Niederkorn, Tom Swanson, Gene Hageman, and Don Amy, among others.

So, they are going to help piece together a resume of Nellie’s career.

What I’m asking is, if any of you Minnesota fastpitch players on this group played in the era of the early 1960s to 1972 when Walt Nelson retired, and you remember playing with or against him, and can furnish information of a particular game or tournament or league in which you recall his skill, please contact me. Email: botto3@verizon.net.

Unfortunately, career records are not kept for many players, so it will take recalling “memories” of Nellie for a chance to get him inducted. We’ve got two years to get this done, but as we sadly know, we are losing more and more of us older guys as the years pass by. And then, of course, the history of a player or team is lost forever.

That’s why I’m stressing the urgency to do this as quickly as possible. Thank you.

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.


  • 23-Under Pool Bracket
  • Statistics For All Divisions
  • Weather and rain information: 888-852-1115
  • NAFA A-Major Division World Series underway

    Friday, August 12th, 2016

    NORTH MANKATO, Minn. – A heavy overnight rain at Caswell Park couldn’t stop the start of the 2016 NAFA World Series, A-Major Division on Thursday.

    The fields were in great playing condition for the 20 teams competing in the tournament that continues through Sunday with the championship scheduled for noon.


  • Sawdust City (WI) 7, Northwest Braves 2
    WP Grady Wold, 67 mph; LP Bill Carson 69; Brett Klozuski 60; Shayne Arndt 66
  • Elanco Blackhawks 12, Strikers Lanes (WI) 9
    WP Dave Stokes 67; Todd Smoker 70; LP Dan Ducharme 62; Larry Cushman 59
  • Boise RiverDogs (ID) 9, Hustle Hogs (IL) 6
    WP Shane Alder 69; LP Fabio Silvestre 70
  • Wizards of Oz (KS) 9, Blues Fastpitch (MI) 5
    WP Ray Foster 64; LP Ryan Nichols 68
  • RM Kurtz (PA) 7, Young Thunder (MO) 0
    WP Derek Martin 68; LP Craig Lewis 59
  • Weezer Fastpitch (KS) 4, Bowen Fastpitch 1
    WP Joe McCall 63; LP Nick Siebenlist 71
  • K-Club (WA) 2, Omaha Primetime 1
    WP Dave Drotzman 70; LP Lane Bender 68
  • For bracket results, visit A-Major World Series

    Freeport State Bank Claims Minnesota Men’s Fastpitch State Championship

    Sunday, August 7th, 2016

    Freeport State Bank.1lr

    Freeport State Bank from front row left to right, Dan Toenyan, Kevin Welle, Mike Mayers, Travis Atkinson and Craig Timp. Back row from left, Adam Moorman, Tyler Thomes, Cody Imdieke, Joe Hennen, Jonathan Linn and Glen Van Drehle.

    NORTH MANKATO, Minn. – No words are sweeter music to a fastpitch team, or so difficult to earn as the right to proudly proclaim: “We are state champions!”

    Freeport State Bank gained that right with a hard-fought 6-5 victory over Corvuso Meats / Heimy’s Place of New Germany in the Minnesota Sports Federation Class D Men’s State Tournament.

    State Bank rolled through the tournament’s nine-team field to finish with a 5-1 record at Caswell Park in North Mankato on July 31.

    “I have been playing in the state tournament for 15 years, and our pitcher (Joe Hennen) has been going for probably 20 years and we’ve never won,” said co-manager and outfielder Craig Timp. “This is so awesome.”

    Click to continue reading “Freeport State Bank Claims Minnesota Men’s Fastpitch State Championship”

    Final SCIFL Alliance Tournament in Santa Fe Springs

    Tuesday, July 12th, 2016


    From Jesse Ortiz / SCIFL President

    SANTA FE SPRINGS, Calif. – The final Alliance tournament of the year will be held on July 30-31, 2016 at Little Lake Park, CA. Teams interested in participating need to reply via-email at scifastpitch@gmail.com by Sunday, July 17, 2016.

    Once the fields are paid additional adjustments will not be allowed, so if you want to participate make sure to reply by email before the deadline.

    Let’s finish the year strong and try to get as many teams as possible to participate. This will help prepare teams going to the NAFA World Series at Caswell Park in Mankato and North Mankato, Minnesota, Aug. 11-21.

    Jesse Ortiz
    SCIFL President

    Explosive Fargo Bombers Take Hollywood Sports Complex Men’s Fastpitch Tournament

    Sunday, July 10th, 2016

    BombersMVPsMeshke.3lr Jace Holm, left, was selected the Most Valuable Player and Brent Meshke was named to the All-Tournament team for helping the Fargo Bombers win the Hollywood Sports Complex Men’s Fastpitch Tournament, June 9-10. Photo 2015 NAFA World Series / By Sheryl Meshke, Lake Crystal, Minn.

    Courtesy of Mike Groch / Rice Lake Orangemen

    WATERTOWN, Minn. – The Fargo Bombers went 6-0 to claim the Hollywood Sports Complex Men’s Fastpitch Tournament. The Bombers defeated Minnesota Computers, Rice Lake Orangemen and Lens Auto in pool play Saturday. Then on Sunday in the single elimination playoffs, Fargo beat Dawson, Rice Lake and Odin to claim the championship.

      THE MVP
  • Most Valuable Player, Jace Holm, Fargo Bombers
  • Brian Waldvogel, Minnesota Computers
  • Joe Ganther, Len’s Auto
  • Nick Leach, Len’s Auto
  • John Hohenstein, Odin, Minn.
  • Brent Meshke, Odin, Minn.
  • Dan Gallagher, PBI
  • Jerry Ball, PBI
  • Mike Groch, Rice Lake, Wisc.
  • Bryce Ducharme, Rice Lake, Wisc.
  • Brent Rohlik, RFG
  • Chad Feikema, RFG
  • Justin Jager, Dawson
  • Great weekend and hats off to the staff at the Hollywood Sports Complex for putting on a great tournament atmosphere and dealing with the puddles of water on the fields Sunday. Saturday was perfect but the fields got poured on saturday night and sunday morning.

    Mike Groch
    White Glove Cleaning

    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.



  • 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
    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