Scandia men’s fastpitch

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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.”

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For the Olson’s and Duluth, a thriving time of men’s fastpitch

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

1988 ASA NATIONAL CHAMPION DULUTH STEWART TAYLOR PRINTING. Top from left: Dick Olson Manager, Jim Olson, Randy Hill, Mike Thomas, Brian Langeland, Corey Thomas, Paul Friesen, Brad Emanuel and Tom Olson. Bottom from left: Jerry Strange, Mike Morrissey, Bill Olson, Clay Kerr and Casey Frank. Team helper Mitch. Courtesy Photo

DULUTH, Minn. – Once upon a time a man could stand in the center of Minnesota and point to the east, west, north or south and as surely as the sun rises and sets, men’s fastpitch was being played in most cities and small towns of the state’s 87 counties.

That was the thriving times of the 1960s to 1980s.

Owatonna, St Paul, Minneapolis and Mankato? Booming. Winona and Rochester? Hot beds.

Scandia, Hastings, Red Wing, Lake Crystal, Wanamingo, St. James and Geneva? Teeming with teams, leagues and tournaments.

And up in the northern reaches of the state snuggled up to the western shore of Lake Superior, the game in Duluth was at its peak. That was back when Bill Olson started playing in 1973, barely a teenager.

“I started at 13 at Ordean Jr. High School,” said Olson, 56. “That was when they had fastpitch in the junior high schools. There were a lot of good teams in my era.”

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Scandia, Minnesota: Small Town Once a Fastpitch Hotbed

Monday, June 30th, 2014

(originally written in 2002)

SCANDIA, Minn. – For Richard Quigley long summer days and nights at the ballpark were nothing unusual for him and his friends. In Scandia, Minnesota fastpitch softball was popular, the thing to do for young boys. If you didn’t play fastpitch in this small town of less than 100 people, you were left with little else to fill your time.

Rabid fans squeezed in and around the ball yard for the Tuesday and Thursday night league games. Play was intense. Every pitch, hit or error critical. Every game important.

Win the league and go to the state tournament. Lose and suffer through a long, cold winter rehashing the could have and should have beens.

“Scandia was a small town, 67 people when we moved there in 1966,” said Richard Quigley. “We grew up at the ball park. When we would get together for ball, it was always fastpitch. Every kid in town wanted to make the (men’s) team.”

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Richard Quigley’s back in the fastpitch game

Monday, June 30th, 2014

SCANDIA, Minn – Richard Quigley had a belly full of fastpitch. It was time to get out. Time to relax at his cabin on summer weekends after 20 years of crisscrossing Minnesota and Wisconsin from one softball field to the next. So he swore off fastpitch in 1994, vowing never to return.

Or so he thought.

But one man wasn’t letting him get away so easily, and was determined to “un-retire” the 54-year-old Quigley.

“Greg ‘Chopper’ Lammers called me non-stop,” said Quigley with a chuckle.

And finally in 2012, Chopper’s persistence wore down Quigley’s resistance. He convinced Quigley to “fill in” at a league game because he was short of players.

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