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Larry Miller Toyota and the Farm Tavern: none better in men’s fast pitch

Sunday, January 4th, 2015
The Farm Tavern scores its only run in the second inning of a 3-1 loss to Larry Miller Toyota of Salt Lake City. Photo By BOB OTTO

The Farm Tavern scores its only run in the second inning of a 3-1 loss to Larry Miller Toyota of Salt Lake City. Photo By BOB OTTO

SIOUX CITY, IOWA – In the 1995 ISC World Tournament at Diamonds of Champions in Sioux City, Iowa, Larry Miller Toyota of Salt Lake City and the Farm Tavern of Madison, Wisc. met in the semi-finals with Larry Miller besting Rod Peterson’s club, 3-1, to advance to the winner’s bracket final of the 48-team double elimination tournament.

Larry Miller then beat the hometown Gateway 2000 Soos, 5-2, to move into the championship game undefeated at 5-0.

But as many of you know, Darren Zack and the Toronto Gators came charging back through the losers bracket to defeat Larry Miller twice, 8-0, and 3-0, with Zack getting both wins, pushing his record-setting pitching totals to 10-0 (along with setting several other pitching records).

Rod Peterson and the Farm Tavern’s legacy begins at 1996 ISC World Tournament

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

1996.ISC.Dahlman.HR.1web
Boyd Dahlman drilled a home run that helped the Farm Tavern defeat Broken Bow, Neb. Qualigraph, 5-4, in the quarterfinals of the 1996 ISC World Tournament and is greeted by his teammates as he crosses home plate. Photo By BOB OTTO

KIMBERLY, WISC. – The big question at the 1996 ISC World Tournament: Would this be the year that Rod Peterson and his Farm Tavern ball club of Madison would finally win a world championship?

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Brian Martie to be inducted into ASA softball Hall of Fame

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

By Randy Kindred / Pantagraph.com

BLOOMINGTON, Ind — In the late 1980s and early 1990s, when men’s major fastpitch softball had a presence on the Bloomington-Normal sports scene, Brian Martie was at the core of its success.

His nearly 20 years as a standout infielder included two stints with the Bloomington Hearts. Martie’s potent bat headed some impressive lineups, and tonight, he will be in good company again.

The Bloomington resident is among 10 people to be inducted into the Amateur Softball Association National Hall of Fame at Myrtle Beach, S.C.

“It’s overwhelming,” Martie said Tuesday while waiting to catch a connecting flight. “There are so many awesome people I got a chance to meet and get to know (through softball).

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Paul Algar still has the fire

Sunday, October 30th, 2011


Paul Algar pitching in the 2011 California Classic. Photo By Bob Otto

LEXINGTON, IL – Some 30 years a go, Paul Algar journeyed from his New Zealand homeland for the fastball-playing shores of the United States. Just 17 at the time in 1982, he was fast making a name for himself as one of the best young pitchers in the world.

But let’s back up for a moment.

Before Paul came along, his older brother Loren was already an established pitcher, and his dad, Ray, was a pretty fair first baseman on the ball diamonds of Wellington and Melrose.

Father and brother had set a path that young Paul eagerly followed. And one that ultimately landed him a seat in the International Softball Congress Hall of Fame.

“Watching my brother pitch, I wanted to follow in his footsteps,” said Algar, 47, adding that Loren is 11 years older. “I would practice on the sidelines while Loren pitched.”

And Paul practiced and practiced, and practiced some more, says his dad, Ray.

“Ever since he was a kid, he practiced hard by himself,” Ray Algar said. “He would gather a whole bunch of balls and throw at targets on a wall. He would spend two to three hours and then come home for a soft drink and then back to his pitching.”

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Todd Budke, from the bleachers to the ISC Hall of Fame

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

LANCASTER, CA – Back in the early 1990s, Todd Budke sat in the bleachers at a Palmdale city league game dressed in attire more befitting a day at the beach than on the ball diamond. Then came the call. A team on the field was short a player.

“You want to play?” the manager asked him.

Budke thought, hey, why not.

“They pulled me out of the stands and I was wearing shorts and flip-flops,” Budke says with a chuckle. “The first batter was a slapper and he hit me with the ball. I had three at bats and did put the ball in play, so they asked me back.”

From that less than stellar start, Budke went on to become one of the most feared and respected hitters in International Softball Congress (ISC) World Tournament history.

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The Farm Tavern’s Rod Peterson, he’s a good farmer

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011


Rod Peterson, sponsor and manager of the Farm Tavern men’s fastpitch team.
By BOB OTTO / 1999 ISC World Tournament

MADISON, WI – Rod Peterson sponsored and managed the Farm Tavern men’s fastpitch softball team from 1975 to 2008. He didn’t saddle his ballplayers with a long list of rules – primarily just one: Be a team player.

Players who could abide by that simple rule received the ultimate compliment from Peterson, who farms 800 acres of corn and soybeans near Madison: that of, “he’s a good farmer.”

“If we had a bad apple, we got rid of him,” Peterson said. “Guys had to fit in. Our personalities all flowed together. We had quite a few players who were good farmers.”

Those good farmers won several national championships for Peterson. Including three International Softball Congress (ISC) World Tournament titles in 1997, ’99 and 2007.

From 1996 to 2008, The Farm finished among the top four in 12 of 13 ISC World Tournaments. Peterson’s Farm also won three Amateur Softball Association (ASA) national titles, along with six runner-up finishes.

For his contributions to the ISC, Peterson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994. And in ceremonies later this year, he along with Brian Martie, a former Farm Tavern star, will be inducted into the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) Hall of Fame.

For six years, Canadian pitcher Todd Martin toed the rubber for Peterson. He says he stayed with the Farm because of Peterson and the kind of man he is.


Todd Martin, left, and Colin Abbott were two of the finest players to wear the Farm Tavern uniform.

“Rod is one of my favorite people that I’ve ever met on this earth,” Martin said. “He has the biggest heart in the game. It’s because of Rod that I kept coming back. You wanted to win for him and not embarrass the uniform. He had a great bunch (of players). You had to fit the mold and be ‘farm material.’”

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