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A Step Back In Time: All-American Bar ousts the Farm Tavern from 1981 ISC World Tournament

Friday, April 28th, 2017

PETER MEREDITH pitching for the USA Men’s National Team. Photo By BOB OTTO

Green Bay Press-Gazette
Aug. 23, 1981

SAGINAW, Mich. – The Farm Tavern of Madison lost to All-American Bar of St. Paul, Minn. 3-2 Saturday and was eliminated from the International Softball Congress (ISC) World Tournament.

The Farm was among the final six teams left in the 41-team tournament and finished with a 4-2 record. That equalled the best mark ever by a Wisconsin team.

(The Farm went on to win ISC World Tournament championships in 1997, 1999 and 2007.)

All-American Bar scored its three runs in the fifth.

Losing pitcher Peter Meredith walked Les Dittrich. He then gave up singles to Jim McDonald and Tim Egan before being replaced by left-hander Bob Moore.

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Looking forward to the 2016 ISC World Tournament

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016
Wonderful, nostalgic Phil Welch Stadium with its covered wooden bleachers in St. Joseph, Missouri, hosted the 2000 ISC World Tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

Wonderful, nostalgic Phil Welch Stadium with its covered wooden bleachers in St. Joseph, Missouri, hosted the 2000 ISC World Tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

MOLINE, Ill. – It’s been 17 years since I attented an ISC World Tournament, and that was at St. Joseph, Missouri in 2000 where the Decatur (IL) Pride won the championship by defeating the Broken Bow (Neb.) Travelers 2-1 at Phil Welch Stadium.

But after this long hiatus, I’ll be heading to Moline, Ill. and Green Valley Sports Complex to watch the final three days of the tournament as the best club teams the sport has to offer battle from Aug. 13-20 for the 2016 ISC World Championship.

The great Peter Meredith of Salt Lake City Larry Miller Toyota fires a pitch during the 2000 ISC World Tournament at Phil Welch Stadium in St. Joseph, Missouri. Meredith's ISC career extended from 1980-2001. He finished No. 2  all-time in world tournament victories with 60. Photo By BOB OTTO

The great Peter Meredith of Salt Lake City Larry Miller Toyota fires a pitch during the 2000 ISC World Tournament at Phil Welch Stadium in St. Joseph, Missouri. Meredith’s ISC career extended from 1980-2001. He finished No. 2 all-time in world tournament victories with 60. Photo By BOB OTTO

The players I once photographed have since left the game. No longer do White, Algar, Meredith, Rychcik, Abbot, Sorenson, Martin, Middleton, Boys, Zack, Wahl, Martie, Miljavac, Walford, Tangaroa, Schott, Seaman, Makea, Wallin and Wiebe…and so many other great stars of fastball of a bygone era thrill fans with their amazing talent.

But the current stars, of this new era are every bit as talented as the old guard. Stars such as Folkard, Jones, McCullough, Shailes, Kronk, Zechman, Mata, Cleary, Ellsworth, Ezekiel, Johnson and Mancha…will try with every ounce of their talent and toughness to win a world championship for their teams.

Let the games begin!

At the 2000 ISC World Tournament, a then young Billy Sizemore got St. Joseph Meierhoffer pitcher Chris Bigelow to autograph his softball. Bigelow (2-2, 0.88 ERA) helped St. Joseph finish fourth at 6-2 in the 48 team tournament.  Photo By BOB OTTO

At the 2000 ISC World Tournament, a then young Billy Sizemore got St. Joseph Meierhoffer pitcher Chris Bigelow to autograph his softball. Bigelow (2-2, 0.88 ERA) helped St. Joseph finish fourth at 6-2 in the 48 team tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

Darren Zack leads Gators to improbable 1995 ISC World Tournament championship

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

1995.ISC.Gators.2web The Toronto Gators raise their 1995 ISC World Tournament championship trophy. The team included Sponsor Jack Fireman, Brad Underwood, Bruce Casselman, Chuck Hendricks, Frank Cox, Darren Zack, Terry Wallin, Mark Bendehan, Bob Green, Brian Paton, Don Burnett, Terry Baytor (head coach), Bill Green, Ken Kivell, Ray Tilley, Craig Crawford, Rod Wetherell, Chris Baytor (bat boy), Brad Baker, Terry Challis, Chris Jones, Adam Smith, Todd Idenouye (asst. coach), Chick Kennedy, (asst. coach), and Bob Baird (trainer). Photo By BOB OTTO

SIOUX CITY, IOWA – There’s not a sane man that would have wagered that the Toronto, Ontario Gators would win the 1995 ISC World Tournament Championship after dropping their first game of the 48-team tournament, held Aug. 11-20, at Diamonds of Champions in Sioux City.

A 3-2 loss to the South Surrey BC Ravens and pitcher Dean Holoien, who held the Gators to five hits.

But then again, betting against pitcher Darren Zack can be a risky proposition. Zack proved the naysayers wrong in hurling his ball club to the title over the 10-day event. And what a performance he turned in. One that many fastpitch experts say will never be topped.

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Kragthorpe: Tourney celebrates Larry H. Miller’s love of softball

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

By Kurt Kragthorpe / Tribune Columnist
First Published Jul 10 2013 08:45 am • Last Updated Jul 10 2013 11:23 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – There’s a reason the number 9 is displayed on the banner honoring former Jazz owner Larry H. Miller in the rafters of EnergySolutions Arena. The same number adorns his locker in a corner of the room where the players dress.

It has nothing — or everything — to do with basketball. Long before the Jazz came into his life, Miller was obsessed with softball. And to understand Miller’s competitiveness and how that translates in a meaningful way to this upcoming Jazz season, you have to know his softball background. Continue reading

Someone to know: Dean Holoien, Canadian fastball star

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

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Dean Holoien pitching in the 2000 ISC World Tournament for the Edmonton (Alberta) Express had a 4-1 record in 35 1/3 innings with 64 strikeouts and a 1.39 ERA. He led the Express to ninth place in the 48-team tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

“Fastpitch softball was lucky to have him and I was grateful that I got a front row seat for a lot of years.” – Todd Martin about former teammate Dean Holoien

REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN – Dean Holoien knows where to give credit for his long and successful fastball career – his father Doug. If not for dad’s insistence that “it’s time to practice,” fastball may not have enjoyed the exploits of one of the sport’s greatest pitchers and hitters.

“I remember pitching in the yard to dad until the moon came out,” Dean Holoien said. “There were many times when I would have rather did other things, but he had me pitching. But I’m sure glad he did.”

Holoien retired after the 2012 season, finishing a 20-year fastball career at the elite level. His talent carried him far – throughout Canada and the United States playing for elite club teams – and on to the worldwide stage, competing in the International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championship.

His former teammate and pitcher, Todd Martin, knows Holoien well – since 1993 when they started playing together for the Camrose Merchants. Then they teamed up with the Farm Tavern of Madison, Wisconsin (2002 to 2004), and also played on Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team (1997-2009).

Martin says no one was any tougher or fierce a competitor in the circle than Holoien. His will to win and his hard spinning rise ball elevated him to the top of the sport. But adds Martin, with a bat in his hand, Holoien was a terror in the batter’s box as well.

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In 1998, Todd Martin, pitching for the Tampa Smokers of Florida was awarded the ISC World Tournament Most Outstanding Pitcher for leading the Smokers to the championship. In his career, Martin has been selected a Most Outstanding Pitcher three times. Photo By BOB OTTO

“He had a ton of huge hits over the course of his career,” said Martin, a three-time Most Valuable Pitcher in the ISC World Tournament. “Not many guys are capable of throwing a shutout and hitting a bomb to win a game 1-0. But that was Deano.”

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Best of the West and Santa Barbara, perfect partners for men’s fastpitch

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

BestOfWest.web

“The Best of the West bucks the trend of encouraging teams and (players) to play down and encourages them to play up and take on the best.” – Dave Blackburn, Best of the West tournament director for 13 years.

SANTA BARBARA, CALIF – Many open level men’s fastpitch tournaments have vanished in Southern California. But there’s one that continues to survive, and many would say thrive: The Best of the West.

Come the first weekend in June, the Best of the West will celebrate its 23rd consecutive year in offering a tournament for “all comers,” as former 13-year tournament director (1998-2010), Dave Blackburn would say. Ten teams entered last year, and Blackburn and current tournament director, Clyde Bennett, are expecting another strong field.

But first a little background.

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Five fastpitch pitching coaches? That’s overload

Friday, February 10th, 2012

YUCAIPA, CA – Every so often a fastpitch softball coach or parent will ask me “can you take a look at my pitcher and see what you think.”

That request always sends up red, warning flags. It has me suspecting that the coach or parent thinks there’s something wrong with their star pupil, and I can somehow work a miracle in one session.


Ty Stofflet, considered by many as greatest left-hander of all time.

Now, I’ve been around fastpitch softball since 1963; 34 years as a pitcher. My ability was mediocre at best. But I do consider myself a student of the circle. I’ve studied, photographed and written about some of the best in the men’s game: Michael White, Peter Meredith, Darren Zack, Ty Stofflet…

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