Missouri men’s fastpitch

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Remembering softball’s glory days in St. Joseph

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

ST. JOSEPH, MO – Nice summer and fall evenings stir up memories for many St. Joseph residents of the days when fastpitch softball was king in the city.

On summer evenings during its heyday from the 1950s through the 1980s, places like Walnut Park and Drake Field were packed with fans locally and from abroad.

They came out to see their local fastpitch stars: Tim Reynolds, Herb “Rumpy” Lucas, Charlie Pusateri, Gilbert “Jeep” Kirby and Bill McKinney.

Teams were sponsored by businesses like the Morris Plan, Polsky Motors and Walnut Products.

Ed Christgen remembered when his father, Ken, got the whole family involved in the sport. It was in 1966 when car dealer David Polsky asked his father to sponsor a team.

“We started then with just one team, and by the early ’70s our family or our company was sponsoring seven teams,” Christgen said.

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Bowen (Ill) Fastpitch takes title at Black Gold Fastpitch Softball Classic

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Bowen Fastpitch manager Rocco Ramsey celebrates after his team pulled out a 7-6 walk-off win over Rude Pac of So. Calif. in the semifinals of the 2014 NAFA A-Division World Series Photo By BOB OTTO

By MATT BENZ
Black Gold Fastpitch

NEW HAVEN, MO – For the third time in the last four years Black Gold finished second in their own men’s fastpitch softball tournament, held June 24-25 at New Haven City Park in New Haven, Missouri.

Bowen Fastpitch of Bowen, Illinois was led by pitcher and leadoff hitter Julian Fernandez who pitched 19 scoreless innings to lead his ball club to the title.

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16th Annual Black Gold Fastpitch Softball Classic in New Haven, Missouri

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

ERIC STEINBECK will see a lot of pitching duty for Black Gold in the Black Gold Softball Tournament, June 24-25, in New Haven. Courtesy Photo By Kyle Quick / Quick News Now

By MATT BENZ
Black Gold Fastpitch

NEW HAVEN, Mo. – The annual Black Gold Fastpitch Softball Classic Tournament returns to New Haven City Park on Saturday June 24 and Sunday June 25.

An annual men’s fastpitch tournament in the area dates back to the 1960s.

The Black Gold team is comprised mainly of players originating from Hermann, New Haven, Union, and Washington.

Eric Steinbeck, Terry Coon, Cullen Speckhals, and Matt Benz are some of the long-time players, with recent area high school baseball standouts such as Jake Murphy, Jake Johnson, and Ben Held joining the team in recent years.

THREE STATES COMPETING

Teams from Kansas, Illinois, and all parts of Missouri will battle it out in a round-robin format with two pools on Saturday, then single elimination tournament Saturday night and Sunday.

“The Black Gold Classic is known for featuring good pitching and a very balanced field of teams,” said manager Eric Steinbeck. “We look forward to seeing everyone out at the ballpark.”

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15th Annual Black Gold Fastpitch Softball Classic to be held in New Haven

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

EricSteinbeckBlackGold1lr Eric Steinbeck will be one of the top pitchers in the Black Gold Fastpitch Softball Classic, June 25-26.

By MATT BENZ / Press Release

NEW HAVEN, MO – The annual Black Gold Softball Tournament returns to New Haven City Park on Saturday June 25 and Sunday June 26. An annual men’s fastpitch tournament in the area dates back to the 1960s.

The Black Gold team is comprised mainly of players originating from Hermann, New Haven, Union, and Washington. Eric Steinbeck, Terry Coon, Cullen Speckhals, and Matt Benz are some of the long-time players, with recent area high school baseball standouts such as Jake Murphy, Jake Johnson, and Ben Held joining the team in recent years.

Teams from Kansas, Illinois, and all parts of Missouri will battle it out in a round-robin format with two 4-team pools on Saturday. The top three teams from each pool advance to a single elimination tournament on Sunday.

Black Gold plays at 10 a.m., 3 p.m., and 6 p.m. on Lions Field. Sunday’s single elimination games starting at 9 a.m. on both fields. The championship game starts at 1:30 p.m.

Action starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday with two games. On Lions Field, Black Gold takes on the Tribe from St. Charles; while on Bock Field, speedy Kelso Fastpitch of Kelso, MO takes on two time defending champion Pinckneyville, IL Falcons.

Boonville, MO Fastpitch and the Wizards of Oz from Silver Lake, Kansas return to the Classic this year, while new entry Bowen, IL Fastpitch and the Belleville, IL Stallions round out the field.

Black Gold recently finished 2-2 in the prestigious Kelso Klassic tournament last weekend.

For the second year in a row there will be a mens’ fastpitch softball reunion held at the pavilion near Lions Field starting at 2 p.m. Saturday. Seventy former players from all over Missouri attended last year. All former players and fans from the state of Missouri are invited.

“The Black Gold Classic is known for featuring strong pitching and a very balanced field of teams,” said manager Eric Steinbeck. “We look forward to seeing everyone out at the ballpark.”

Full concession stand along with BBQ pork steaks, burgers, hot dogs, and the ever popular popsicles will be available both days.

For more information on the tournament contact Eric Steinbeck (314-640-6432) or Matt Benz (314-560-4839). For more information on the reunion contact Pete Purschke (636-583-3377).

Attached is a schedule for this weekend’s Black Gold Classic.

2016 BLACK GOLD CLASSIC Pools and Bracket

Stepping back in time with ISC Hall of Fame pitcher Alan Colglazier

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Colglazier97ISC WT Alan Colglazier pitching for the Colorado Ravens of Englewood in the 1997 ISC World Tournament in Victoria, BC, Canada. Photo By BOB OTTO

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The storyline goes something like this. A younger brother tags along to watch his older brothers play fastpitch. The team happens to be short a player one night.

“Hey, you want to play?” the younger brother is asked.

Alan Colglazier thought they’d never ask.

And as the saying goes, the rest is all history. And what a history it has been for the 62 year old, right-handed pitcher from Colorado.

“I had two older brothers, Sid a catcher, and Norm a first basemen,” said Colglazier. “I was always going along to watch them play. One day they were short a player and I filled in for them. I played in a junior league during the summers starting around age 14; just neighborhood kids putting a team together.”

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Men’s fastpitch developmental league popular in Springfield, Missouri

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Springfield.Artisan.FP.1web The Springfield Artisan Construction team sponsored by Missouri Hall of Fame pitcher, Charley Slavens, finished 13th in the 2013 NAFA World Series A Division with a 4-2 record. The team includes three members who are trying to expand men’s fastpitch in Springfield by starting a fall developmental league. The three men are Danny Brown, top row, first player on left; Donovan Nelson, top row, second player from right, and Ken Franck, top row, third player from right. Courtesy photo.

SPRINGFIELD, MO – First came the talk, then came the idea, followed by the most important part: a Plan of Action.

At the 2013 NAFA World Series, Donovan Nelson and Danny Brown started talking, basically posing a question among themselves: “How can we expand men’s fastpitch in Springfield?”

From that conversation, Nelson, Brown and Ken Franck organized the Springfield Men’s Fastpitch Fall Developmental League that played its games at Players Complex, owned by men’s fastpitch advocate Jeff Barnes.

The league has been a resounding success, attracting 30 new players between the ages of 22 to 30. Along with 10 former and eight current players stepping forth to form four teams.

And from the feedback, the newcomers have taken a liking to the sport.

“Positive reaction is all that I’ve heard,” said Brown, who is retired from playing, but continues to co-manage a men’s fastpitch team with his brother, Berrah Brown. “Most new players have always wanted to play men’s fastpitch, yet they either have no connection in getting picked up as a player, or simply there is just not enough pitching to offer them a team to play on.”

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How Mexican-Americans In Kansas Built A Community Around Softball

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

By ZACK LEWANDOWSKI / Kansas City Public Media

KANSAS – Mexican-American fast-pitch softball is a tradition that runs deep in Kansas and Missouri. For decades, families have passed on the tradition of playing baseball or softball, but the legacy has been poorly documented.

The game was originally introduced to Mexican immigrants in Kansas and Missouri in an attempt to shed them of their cultural identity. But, that didn’t happen. The sport did nothing but help define and unite a new community.

THE EXPERIENCE

It’s a hot Tuesday evening in Kansas City, Kan., and a game of local fast-pitch softball is about to begin between two local Mexican-American teams: The Locos and The Angels.

Around 20 people are gathered on the bleachers and everyone seems to know everyone. Locos and Angels players exchange handshakes and laughs, first names are replaced with nicknames and the dugouts are never quiet.

The Angels wear carnelian red jerseys. The team has been around since the 1960s, back when the game drew a larger crowd and younger players were more common. The Angels are made up of several amateur athletes. Some have years of college-level experience. A few have even made minor league baseball teams.

As the game begins, it’s clear that this is a quick sport. The infield is closer in than baseball, the base paths are shorter and infielders have much less time to get a runner out. The result is a fast-paced game where balls zip around the infield.

The Angels have seen their share of success in fast-pitch softball. In 2009, they won a national fast-pitch tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D. They were the first Hispanic team to win that tournament as part of the North American Fast-Pitch Association.

But for the Angels, one tournament in Newton, Kan. means a little more than the rest.

A HISTORIC TOURNAMENT

“It’s basically like our own little world series,” says Angels’ pitcher Louis Vaca, referring to the Newton Mexican-American Fast-Pitch Softball Tournament.

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