Steven Nessler

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Ultimate competitor Dan Nessler twice a Hall of Famer

Sunday, December 11th, 2016
DAN NESSLER of Happy Chef covers second base during the 1995 ISC World Tournament in which Happy Chef finished fifth. Nessler was selected an All-World player four times and was inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame in 2009. Photo By BOB OTTO

DAN NESSLER of Happy Chef covers second base during the 1995 ISC World Tournament in which Happy Chef finished fifth. Nessler was selected an All-World player four times and was inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame in 2009. Photo By BOB OTTO

MANKATO, Minn. – With a grunt and a leap, the pitcher hurls the softball from 46 feet, causing the violently spinning missile to jump or plunge a foot just before crossing home plate and slamming into the catcher’s mitt at 85 miles per hour.

The degree of difficulty of hitting such a frustratingly elusive projectile?

Nearly impossible for batsmen of modest ability. But for the very best, an improbability they handle with great aplomb.

Mark Sorenson was one of the best, as was Bill Boyer, Shawn Rychcik and Colin Abbott. This esteemed class also includes Dan Nessler of Mankato, Minnesota.

Nessler was a magician with the bat from the left-side batters box. He played small-ball as well as anyone, said pitcher Pete Sandman, a teammate with Nessler on the world championship Penn Corp teams of Sioux City, Iowa.

“Dan was a great hitter,” said Sandman, who pitched for Penn Corp and later National Health Care Discount (NHCD) from 1981 to 1991. “He was smart, could slap, drag bunt, hit balls to left, center or right. He was gifted with the bat.”

    ACCLAIMED PLAYER AND LEADER

With the likes of Sandman, Nessler, Sorenson and Boyer leading a stable of stars, Penn Corp / NHCD won four (1988, ’89, ’91, ’92) International Softball Congress World Tournament championships. During that reign, Nessler made ISC All-World twice.

Interspersed in those Penn Corp years, Nessler also played for Happy Chef of Mankato, helping the team finish fifth in the 1995 ISC World Tournament, and claiming the ASA Class A National Championship the same year.

During the Happy Chef years, Nessler earned two ISC All-World honors (1985, 1992), along with being selected ASA Second-Team, All-American.

Nessler took over as player / manager in 1992. A post he held for 10 years. He was a leader and an example to the younger players, said former infielder Scott Christensen, a three-time ISC All-World player with Happy Chef.

“He was always thinking about game situations and our strengths and what the other team might do,” said Christensen. “He was a very intelligent player who could anticipate and be in the right place to make a play. You can’t teach that. He could adapt (at bat) and bunt or hit the other way.”

DAN NESSLER played in 16 ISC World Tournaments. In the four world tournaments in which he was selected All-World, he batted .407 with 15 runs and nine RBI. Photo By BOB OTTO / 1995 ISC World Tournament

DAN NESSLER played in 16 ISC World Tournaments. In the four world tournaments in which he was selected All-World, he batted .407 with 15 runs and nine RBI. Photo By BOB OTTO / 1995 ISC World Tournament

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Clutch Hits And Solid Pitching Lift Team USA Past Australia

Thursday, July 28th, 2016
Jonathan Broadbear delivered the game-winning hit in leading the USA Softball Junior Men's National Team to a 4-3 victory over Australia, Wednesday, at Emerson Park in Midland, Mich.

Jonathan Broadbear delivered the game-winning hit in leading the USA Softball Junior Men’s National Team to a 4-3 victory over Australia, Wednesday, at Emerson Park in Midland, Mich.

MIDLAND, Mich. – Jonathan Broadbear was struggling with the bat, no doubt, getting just one hit in his last 13 trips to the plate. But it’s not what you did in the past that counts, but what you do NOW. Especially in a game-winning situation.

And did Broadbear ever come up clutch for Team USA late Wednesday night.

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USA! USA! USA!

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

By Jim Rueda / Mankato Free Press
jrueda@mankatofreepress.com

MANKATO, Minn. – It’s not your typical summer job. In fact, it’s not even a paid position.

But for three south-central Minnesota natives, it’s a unique opportunity.

Steve Nessler of Mankato, Jeff Lewis of Amboy and Isaac Hormann of Norwood Young America have been named to the USA Men’s Junior (under-19) fastpitch team which begins play at the International Softball Federation World Championships later this month.

Steve Nessler’s dad, Dan Nessler, who was recently named the head coach of the Bethany Lutheran women’s softball program, will serve as an assistant coach for the team.

“I’m excited,” said Lewis, the youngest of the three players at 17. “My dad was a big fastpitch player and so was my brother, so I’ve been around it my whole life. I look at this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

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Team USA bounces back against Czech Republic in ISF Junior Men’s World Championship

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

USASoftball
WHITEHORSE, YUKON, CA – Team USA’s Phillip Zimmerman needed just a few hours rest and he was ready to toe the pitching rubber again.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound right-hander shook off a disappointing 4-1 loss to New Zealand in mid-afternoon and came back in the night cap to pitch another seven strong innings to lead Team USA to an 8-4 victory over the Czech Republic on Saturday.

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