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39th Annual Rice Lake, Wisconsin Men’s Fastpitch Invitational a highlight of Aquafest celebration

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017


Rice Lake Orangemen pitcher Nicolas Siebenlist delivers a pitch to catcher Travis Thompson during the Jack Grafmeier Tournament in Kimberly, Wisc., June 4. The Orangemen return to action in the Rice Lake Invitational Tournament, June 9-10, seeking to win the championship in the ball club’s 39th appearance in the event that features teams from Wisconsin, Minnesota and Kansas. Photo By SHAWNTELLE DAWES

RICE LAKE, Wisc. – Six teams from Wisconsin, two from Minnesota, and one from Kansas make up the roster of teams for the 39th Rice Lake Invitational Men’s Fastpitch Tournament to be held June 9-11, once again as part of the city’s Aquafest celebration.

2016 defending champion Tin Cup of St. Paul and runner-up Ostrander Norsemen of Ostrander, Minnesota are not entered in this year’s meet.

Wisconsin entries include Striker’s Lanes of Baldwin, Dugout Bar and Grill and Cushing Tigers of Cushing, Ben’s Northern Bar-Deer’s Food Locker of Luck, The Stoneyard of Appleton, and the Rice Lake Orangemen, the only team to have played in all 38 previous events.

Len’s Automotive of St. Paul and last year’s third-place finisher, Odin Fastpitch, are the two Gopher State entries.

The Kansas entry is Wizard of Oz from Silver Lake, a perennial entry in national fastpitch competition of the North American Fastpitch Association.

  • Play begins Friday evening at Rice Lake’s Tate Park with one game, that at 8:00 p.m., and continues all day Saturday with opening games at 10:00 a.m. and Sunday starting at 9:00 a.m. The event concludes early Sunday evening.
  • For the love of the game

    Monday, June 15th, 2015
    Loren Lathrop has served as NAFA Vice President of The Midwest since 1993, and 37 years as the tournament director of the Rice Lake Invitational Men's Fastpitch Tournament.

    Loren Lathrop has served as NAFA Vice President of The Midwest since 1993, and 37 years as the tournament director of the Rice Lake Invitational Men’s Fastpitch Tournament.

    Rice Lake man has devoted much of his life to men’s and boys’ fastpitch, raising the sport to new levels in Wisconsin, nationally and internationally.

    RICE LAKE, Wisc. – Loren Lathrop has been described as tenacious and passionate, a crusader and a promoter. When it comes to fastpitch softball, those attributes fit Lathrop perfectly.

    For over 50 of his 71 years, Lathrop has been at the forefront of men’s fastpitch in his home state of Wisconsin and on the international scene with the North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA).

    “He is tenacious in promoting men’s fastpitch,” said NAFA President Ronn Kopp, allied with Lathrop in revitalizing the sport in Wisconsin. “He spends whatever time it takes to make Wisconsin NAFA events the highest quality ever. His willingness to make phone call after phone call recruiting teams to sanctioned tournaments is remarkable.”

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    34th Annual Rice Lake Invitational men’s fastpitch tournament

    Saturday, May 5th, 2012

    WHAT: 34th Annual RICE LAKE INVITATIONAL MEN’S FASTPITCH TOURNAMENT

    WHEN: June 15-17, 2012

    WHERE: Tate and Clanton Parks, Rice Lake WI

    WHO: Team Classifications: NAFA “AA,” “A-Major,” and “A”

    HOW MANY TEAMS: Tournament Size: 16 Teams (The first 16 to submit complete entries, including roster)

    TOURNAMENT FORMAT: NAFA 3-game guarantee

    COST: Entry fee is $200 payable to Rice Lake Orangemen Fastpitch (Send separate check for $35 to “Wisconsin NAFA” if year 2012 NAFA team registration is desired. This is not required for Invitational entry.)

    Rosters: Teams may list a maximum of 18 players on their roster. Rosters MUST be on the attached form and completely filled out, and MUST be submitted along with the tournament entry fee for entry to be accepted

    AWARDS: (Based on 16 team field):

    1st $600 sponsor’s expense money plus trophy
    2nd $450 sponsor’s expense money plus trophy
    3rd $350 sponsor’s expense money plus trophy
    4th $250 sponsor’s expense money plus trophy

    Individual trophies to tournament MVP and All-Tournament team selections

    TOURNAMENT SPONSOR: Proceeds from this tournament go to the Rice Lake Orangemen Fastpitch Club. Competing teams are asked to please patronize the concession stands and not carry in refreshments.

    Liability: The Rice Lake Orangemen Fastpitch Club and the City of Rice Lake will not be responsible for injuries and/or thefts. Submitting of tournament entry will be considered acknowledgement of this fact.

    Ronn Kopp, a driving force in Rice Lake boy’s and men’s fastpitch

    Thursday, June 11th, 2009

    By Bob Otto / Freelance Writer
    botto3@verizon.net

    RICE LAKE, WI – Six decades ago Ronn Kopp stood behind the backstop at a softball diamond mesmerized as a softball was whipped underhand toward home plate. He was hooked. And Kopp is still hooked on the fastpitch game that he’s devoted so much of his life to.

    “I was five or six years old and went to the ballpark and I’ve just kept hanging around,” he said. “Back then every neighborhood had a team. The crowds filled the bleachers and it was standing room around the fences.”

    It’s not quite that way in Rice Lake anymore, yet this little town of 8,320 in northwest Wisconsin, just might be one of the remaining hot spots for men and boy’s fastpitch in the country.

    Rice Lake’s Tate Park is busy four nights a week with men and boys fastpitch. The city boasts 12 men’s teams and four boy’s teams. And that’s not to speak of the 10 to 12 women’s fastpitch teams who also call Tate Park home.

    And much of the success of Rice Lake fastpitch points directly to Kopp. The 64-year-old is the city’s Director of Park, Recreation, and Cemetery Department – a position he’s held for 34 years. And as a fan, former player, and as recreation director, fastpitch is near the top of his agenda.

    “He is really involved,” said Bill Matheny, who has served as vice president of the boy’s league for 15 years, and three years as president. “He starts talking softball in January and doesn’t stop until October. Ronn’s a softball guy. He loves fastpitch and is very dedicated.”

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    The Loews: A fastpitch softball family

    Thursday, June 11th, 2009

    By Bob Otto
    Freelance Writer / Photographer
    botto3@verizon.net

    RICE LAKE, WI – If you’re looking for the Loew family, they won’t be too hard to find. Just swing by Tate Park or the high school softball field and one, two, or perhaps all six boys and their dad can be found pitching, catching, or hitting a softball.

    And only fastpitch style. You won’t catch this clan playing slowpitch.

    Gary Loew – the father of Travis, 32, Tristan, 30, Mike, 22, Mark, 20, Max, 17, and Morgan 15 – proudly states: “We are a fastpitch softball family.”

    This family of athletes, love, live, and breathe fastpitch softball in this town of 8,320 in the northwest part of Wisconsin. A state revered for it’s legacy in men’s and boy’s fastpitch softball.

    And the boys have dad and their mother Debbie along with the Rice Lake – Cameron Boy’s Fastpitch Softball League to thank for launching and nurturing their fastpitch careers.

    Gary Loew began playing in the boy’s league when he was 9. But he figured that was a bit late to start his boys in the sport. So he launched their careers at the tender ages of 3, 4, and 5. And for 26 years, Gary Loew has coached his boys and hundreds of others in the league.

    Currently he has 15-year-old Morgan pitching for his Red’s team that Morgan says carries a 3-1 record in the early going.

    “If it wasn’t for my dad or the league, I would have to look for somewhere else to pitch,” Morgan said. “With my older brothers playing, I have shoes to fill. I’m lucky to have a brother like Max to work with me.”

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