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2018 Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame Information

Friday, September 21st, 2018

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – The Minnesota Sports Federation will host the 2018 Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame banquet at the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center, Nov. 2. The 2018 class includes 19 of the state’s all-time great slowpitch and fastpitch players.

***Click for Hall of Fame Ticket Order Form***

Reservations and hotel Information

Farmington (MN) Men’s Fastpitch Reunion Sunday

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018

CASTLE ROCK, Minn. – The Farmington Men’s Fastpitch League flourished for 54 years (1958-2011) in the town of Farmington, along with the popular Bobber Tournament, also held in Farmington that drew teams from Minnesota and neighboring states.

The league and tournament are no more, but the memories live on in the hearts and minds of those who played and were fans, and will be shared in a grand reunion, Sunday, Aug. 26 at the Castle Rock & Roll Bar and Grill in Castle Rock.

  • Be sure to attend and share your memories in what promises to be a great time.
  • Hennager men’s fastpitch softball team repeats as Minnesota state champs

    Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

    The Hennager Plumbing and Heating Men’s Fastpitch Softball Team repeated as Minnesota Class A Men’s  Fastpitch State Softball Champions, going 4-0 in last weekend’s tournament in Blaine, Minn. Team members include, front row, from left: Chris Bambenek, Minneapolis; Tyler Eickhoff, Fountain; Jake Dalton, Lake Crystal; Spencer Yackel, Rochester; Brent Meshke, Lake Crystal; and David Dewitz, Good Thunder. Back from, from left, is: Coach Blake Meshke, Lake Crystal; Brett Scheevel, Rochester; Ryan Scheevel, Rochester; Brandon Friedrichs, Lake Crystal; Derek Meshke, Brookings, S.D.; Josh Schroeder, Lake Crystal; and Robert Petersen, Pipestone. Photo By Sheryl Doering Meshke

    Walk-off home run wins repeat title for Lake Crystal ball club

    By Sheryl Doering Meshke
    Reporter / Photographer
    Aug. 5, 2018

    BLAINE, Minn. – The Hennager Plumbing and Heating Men’s Fastpitch Softball Team repeated as Minnesota Sports Federation Class A Men’s Fastpitch State Champions, going 4-0 this weekend at Aquatore Park in Blaine, Minn.

    As defending champs, the Hennager team — “Plumbers” — received a first-round bye. In the opening game, the hometown team defeated the Bombers of Fargo, N.D., 6-2. Brent Meshke of Lake Crystal, Minn., took the win, with five strikeouts. Collecting base hits were Jake Dalton, Lake Crystal, and Robert Petersen, Pipestone, Minn. Brent Meshke added a solo homer.

    Brent Meshke helped Hennager Plumbing and Heating of Lake Crystal win the 2018 Minnesota Men’s Class A State Fastpitch Championship, Aug. 5 in Blaine, Minn. Photo By Sheryl Doering Meshke

    Facing the St. Paul Pawns of St. Paul, Minn., the Hennager men won in a slugfest, 15-9. Brent Meshke and Ryan Scheevel, Rochester, Minn., shared duties on the mound. Collecting multiple hits for the Plumbers were Dalton; Brent Meshke; Petersen; Brandon Friedrichs, Lake Crystal; and Josh Schroeder, Lake Crystal. Petersen and Schroeder delivered home runs.

    Following a sixth-inning home run to tie the championship game, Josh Schroeder receives accolades from team members Jake Dalton, center, and Brent Meshke. Photo By Sheryl Doering Meshke

    To reach the championship game, the Plumbers defeated Minnesota Computers, St. Paul, 3-1, with Scheevel taking the win. He gave up six hits and struck out one. Dalton and Scheevel went two for four at the plate, with Scheevel securing a solo home run.

    In the championship game, the Plumbers defeated Striker’s Lanes of Baldwin, Wis., 6-4. Brent Meshke started in the circle. In the top of the first inning, the Strikers scored three runs. The Plumbers answered with three runs in the bottom of the first. Strikers scored again in the top of the fifth, to take a one-run lead.

    Scheevel relieved Brent Meshke in the sixth inning. In the bottom of the sixth, Schroeder hit a solo home run to tie the game, 4-4. With a final chance for the win in the bottom of the seventh inning, lead-off batter Dalton bunted for a single. Brent Meshke, in the third spot, hit a walk-off home run to win the title. Scheevel picked up the win.

    As Brent Meshke rounds third base, coach Blake Meshke gives a high five for the walk-off home run to win the state men’s fastpitch softball championship. Photo By Sheryl Doering Meshke

    Ryan Scheevel of Rochester, Minn. fires a pitch during the 2018 Minnesota Class A Men’s State Fastpitch Softball Tournament. Scheevel picked up the win in the championship game in a 6-4 victory over Striker’s Lanes. Photo By Sheryl Doering Meshke

    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

    By JOHN HARVEY
    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.

    POOL A / ISC RANKING

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

    POOL B / ISC RANKING

    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.

    SATURDAY SCHEDULE AT THE VILLAGE STADIUM

    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

    SATURDAY AT PIONEER PARK

    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

    SUNDAY PLAYOFFS AT THE VILLAGE STADIUM

    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
    cgdiethert@gmail.com

    Minnesota Men’s Fastpitch Pitcher Classification List

    Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

    Kevin Kammueller of Eagle Pack was a workhorse in the 2016 International Softball Congress (ISC) Legends tourament pitching five games and finishing 4-1 to earn All-Tournament honors. Kammueller is rated a Class B pitcher for 2017 according to the Minnesota Sports Federation. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2016 ISC Legends Tournament

    SOUTH ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Sports Federation rates men’s fastpitc pitchers according to their ability from D to B skill levels. The MSF has no pitchers rated at the Class A or Open level.

    Click to check out the Minnesota Fastpitch Pitcher Classification List

      MSF MEN’S FASTPITCH STATE TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
  • Class B & D, Aug. 4-6, Coon Rapids, Minn.
  • Class C, Aug. 11-13, North Mankato, Minn.
  • Modified Pitch, Aug. 26-27, Hollywood / New Germany, Minn.
  • A Step Back In Time: Scandia honors local Fastpitch Hall of Famer Wayne Erickson

    Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

    SOFTBALL CHAMPS – Scandia, Minn. defeated River Falls, Wisc. 8-6, in nine innings Sunday night, July 24, 1967, at Eau Claire’s Carson Park to win the first Open Softball Tournament. Members of the championship team were front row, left to right: Choc Junker, Tom Thompson, Barney Barnholdt, Jim Lindberg, Wayne Erickson and Joe Junker. Back row, George Lindgren, Dean Carlson, Dennis Lofboom, Greg Benson, Phil Anderson, Manager Don Seguin, and Dan Jacobson. Staff Photo / Eau Claire Leader

    SCANDIA, Minn. – For the thousands of batters who faced Wayne Erickson, it was most-often a frustrating and fruitless endeavor. But his teammates? They loved him. After all Erickson was a huge factor in helping Scandia win four state men’s fastpitch championships.

    And for Erickson’s great exploits for Scandia fastpitch, the city renamed its softball field (simply called “Scandia lighted ball field”) to Wayne Erickson Memorial Ball Park, in 2011.

    Erickson is the only Minnesota Sports Federation Softball Hall of Fame (1984) member to come from Scandia.

    In his youth, Erickson played baseball, but at age 16 he began pitching fastpitch for Scandia, and continued throwing for his hometown team for the next twenty years.

    FOUR TIMES CHAMPS

    Those attending the dedication remembered Wayne for his perfection of the art of pitching that helped take the Scandia team to four ASA Class A state championships in 1963, 1966, 1967 and 1968.

    “I’m one of four ball players from Scandia that got to play with and against Wayne Erickson in his prime,” Doniver Ahlm said. “Before playing with Wayne I played against him. I had the opportunity to strike out against every type of pitch he threw.”

    Click to continue reading “A Step Back In Time: Scandia honors local Fastpitch Hall of Famer Wayne Erickson”

    Bob Thurmes Relives Memories of Loesch’s Bar and Its Roster of Fastpitch Stars

    Friday, January 6th, 2017

    BOB THURMES circa 1970s when Thurmes played for The King and His Court that featured fabled pitcher Eddie Feigner, who barnstomed throughout the world for 55 years, before he died Feb. 9, 2007. Thurmes played for the four-man team in 1971 and again 1974-’75. Bob Thurmes / Courtesy Photo

    HASTINGS, Minn. – Bob Thurmes’ fastpitch travels have taken him far during a career that started as a teenager in the early 1960s and lasted until 1980. He played for such legendary teams as the Clearwater, Florida, Bombers – 10-time Amateur Softball Association national champions.

    And he played for the fabled King and His Court, one of the great barnstorming softball teams that featured the incomparable pitcher Eddie Feigner, who much like the Harlam Globetrotters thrilled fans with his skill and showmanship that included pitching behind his back, through his legs and even blindfolded.

    No doubt, Thurmes once pitched and played for some great fastpitch teams.

    But Thurmes, who grew up in Hastings, also pitched for Loesch’s Bar, the hometown team that won two Amateur Softball Association (ASA) Class A state championships in 1964 and ’65, along with second, third and fourth place finishes during the ball club’s reign from the early 1960s into the 1970s, when the team disbanded.

    NELSON AND LOESCH’S PUT HASTINGS ON FASTPITCH MAP

    Loesch’s featured primarily local talent. However, the team came into prominence when talented pitcher, Walt Nelson, moved to Hastings from Ohio in 1962.

    Nelson’s prowess soon made an impact in the Minnesota state fastpitch tournament.

    The powerful right-hander led the Hastings American Legion to runner-up in the 1962 state tournament, and in 1964 and 1965, he hurled Loesch’s Bar to back-to-back titles. Thurmes got a close-up look at Nelson in his formative years.

    “Walt Nelson was one of my fastpitch heroes,” said Thurmes. “I grew up across the street from Wilson Park and I would watch Loesch’s Bar play for years and beat the best teams from the Twin Cities (such as) Whitaker Buick and Al DeWall, 7-Up, and Peter’s Meats from Eau Claire.”

    Thurmes briefly teamed-up with Nelson to form one of the stronger pitching staffs in the state: a young, up-and-coming star, along with a proven veteran in his prime.

    STAR STUDDED ROSTER

    “I was a senior in high school when they took a look at me,” Thurmes said. “I was young and the first tournament I pitched for them in was in Rochester. Walt and I were the pitchers and in my first game, I went up against last year’s champs and we won 2-1 in 15 innings. The Amy brothers (Don and Dave) had at least six double plays. They were really great players.”

    Thurmes also got the nod when Loesch’s had to face Mankato, rated in the top-three of Minnesota elite teams with Dale Root in the circle, one of the up and coming young pitchers in the Midwest.

    “(The manager) asked Walt about me pitching and Walt said, ‘let the kid pitch,’” Thurmes said. “I went five innings and it was 0-0, but Root hit a two-run home run off me.”

    Thurmes says Loesch’s was loaded with talented ball players back in the 1960s, including the likes catcher Kurt Johnson, Don and Dave Amy, Kurt Thalburg, Jim Beattie, Pat Orman, Larry McNamara, Gene Hageman, Tom Swanson and Tom Niederkorn.

    “Niederkorn was a great player and ended up with Whitaker Buick,” Thurmes said, “and Swanson, a shortstop, was one of the best.”

    Marlin Boom’s passion and dedication earns passage into the Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame

    Thursday, December 15th, 2016

    BOOM FASTPITCH FAMILY: Marlin Boom, center, surrounded by his family, was inducted into the Minnesota Sports Federation Softball Hall of Fame on Oct. 29, 2016. Courtesy Photo.

    ELLSWORTH, Minn. – Fastpitch success has embraced brothers Chad and B.J. Boom in bountiful ways. They’ve played throughout the United States and traveled to foreign lands playing the game they love.

    Chad was selected All-World three-times in the ISC World Tournament. And in 2015, B.J. was inducted into the North American Fastpich Association Hall of Fame. It doesn’t get much better than that.

    But if you ask the brothers how this was all possible, they would answer in one word: “Dad”

    Dad would be Marlin Boom, whose passion for fastpitch matches anyone who ever stepped on a softball field.

    And he passed that passion on to his sons.

    “I can remember as a little boy Dad hitting me and Chad thousands of fly balls and grounders at Ellsworth ballpark,” said B.J., now 38 who started playing at 7. “I can remember all the time and effort he put in to being as good a player as he was. He was a visual example for me.”

    Click to continue reading “Marlin Boom’s passion and dedication earns passage into the Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame”

    Ultimate competitor Dan Nessler twice a Hall of Famer

    Sunday, December 11th, 2016
    DAN NESSLER of Happy Chef covers second base during the 1995 ISC World Tournament in which Happy Chef finished fifth. Nessler was selected an All-World player four times and was inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame in 2009. Photo By BOB OTTO

    DAN NESSLER of Happy Chef covers second base during the 1995 ISC World Tournament in which Happy Chef finished fifth. Nessler was selected an All-World player four times and was inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame in 2009. Photo By BOB OTTO

    MANKATO, Minn. – With a grunt and a leap, the pitcher hurls the softball from 46 feet, causing the violently spinning missile to jump or plunge a foot just before crossing home plate and slamming into the catcher’s mitt at 85 miles per hour.

    The degree of difficulty of hitting such a frustratingly elusive projectile?

    Nearly impossible for batsmen of modest ability. But for the very best, an improbability they handle with great aplomb.

    Mark Sorenson was one of the best, as was Bill Boyer, Shawn Rychcik and Colin Abbott. This esteemed class also includes Dan Nessler of Mankato, Minnesota.

    Nessler was a magician with the bat from the left-side batters box. He played small-ball as well as anyone, said pitcher Pete Sandman, a teammate with Nessler on the world championship Penn Corp teams of Sioux City, Iowa.

    “Dan was a great hitter,” said Sandman, who pitched for Penn Corp and later National Health Care Discount (NHCD) from 1981 to 1991. “He was smart, could slap, drag bunt, hit balls to left, center or right. He was gifted with the bat.”

      ACCLAIMED PLAYER AND LEADER

    With the likes of Sandman, Nessler, Sorenson and Boyer leading a stable of stars, Penn Corp / NHCD won four (1988, ’89, ’91, ’92) International Softball Congress World Tournament championships. During that reign, Nessler made ISC All-World twice.

    Interspersed in those Penn Corp years, Nessler also played for Happy Chef of Mankato, helping the team finish fifth in the 1995 ISC World Tournament, and claiming the ASA Class A National Championship the same year.

    During the Happy Chef years, Nessler earned two ISC All-World honors (1985, 1992), along with being selected ASA Second-Team, All-American.

    Nessler took over as player / manager in 1992. A post he held for 10 years. He was a leader and an example to the younger players, said former infielder Scott Christensen, a three-time ISC All-World player with Happy Chef.

    “He was always thinking about game situations and our strengths and what the other team might do,” said Christensen. “He was a very intelligent player who could anticipate and be in the right place to make a play. You can’t teach that. He could adapt (at bat) and bunt or hit the other way.”

    DAN NESSLER played in 16 ISC World Tournaments. In the four world tournaments in which he was selected All-World, he batted .407 with 15 runs and nine RBI. Photo By BOB OTTO / 1995 ISC World Tournament

    DAN NESSLER played in 16 ISC World Tournaments. In the four world tournaments in which he was selected All-World, he batted .407 with 15 runs and nine RBI. Photo By BOB OTTO / 1995 ISC World Tournament

    Click to continue reading “Ultimate competitor Dan Nessler twice a Hall of Famer”