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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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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).

The big-time tournament in small town Havre, Montana

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

evans.wirtzbergers.1web Russell Evans, back row middle, with grandson Danny Wirtzberger, front left, great grandson Tripp, grandson Patch Wirtzberger (holding Montana State ASA Championship trophy), and son Gary. Contributed Photo

HAVRE, Mont. – In 1968 Russell Evans and a few fastpitch promoters came up with an idea to raise scholarship money by bringing some of the best men’s fastpitch talent in the world to Havre.

They hosted an international tournament that drew some of the best teams from Canada and the U.S. It turned out to be a huge success, lasting nearly 25 years until the mid-1990s.

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

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

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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Start spreading the news about men’s fastpitch

Friday, February 1st, 2013


YUCAIPA, CALIF – Where was the news coverage?

The AAU Men’s International Fastpitch Tournament in Lake Buena Vista, Florida is one of the most popular and prestigious tournaments in all of men’s fastpitch. This year (Jan. 24-27) featured teams from Canada, the U.S., South America, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.

When the round robins and playoffs had been sorted out, the Hill United Chiefs of Ontario, Canada, and the Gremlins of New York advanced to the championship game with Hill United taking a 2-0 victory.

However, when I searched for details about the game, I came away disappointed.

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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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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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It’s all about the challenge for Midland Explorers Frank Cox

Thursday, March 18th, 2010


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CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI, CANADA – When Frank Cox toes the rubber and stares in at his catcher’s glove, this is what a batter sees from 46-feet away:

A 6-foot-2, 245 pound, menacing, right-handed windmiller with one goal in mind. Send the batter back where he came from – the bench.

If Cox’s eyes were a neon sign, they’d probably flash, “get ready batter, it’s just you and me.”

The 39-year-old Cox has played fastball for 25 years, for one compelling reason – the challenge.

“That’s why I play, for the challenge of it,” Cox said. “I want to pitch against the best. The Patsy’s (Broken Bow) and Kitcheners (Rivershark Twins) are the ones you want to play against.”

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