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Step Back In Time: Keg Bar Captures Prairie Du Chien Title

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

La Crosse Tribune
June 6, 1972

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wisc. – The Keg Bar fastpitch softball team downed four straight opponents, including S&H of La Crosse to take the Prairie du Chien Minor Tournament title over the weekend.

The Keg plundered three unknowns before facing S&H in the championship, rapping the La Crosse Classic League foes 8-4 for the crown.

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Fastpitch softball sees resurgence in La Crosse

Sunday, June 26th, 2016
NAFA Hall of Fame member, Bud Olson, is helping lead the effort to train young athletes to become fast-pitch pitchers in order to reestablish a competitive men's fastpitch program in LaCrosse. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2014 NAFA World Series

NAFA Hall of Fame member, Bud Olson, is helping lead the effort to train young athletes to become fast-pitch pitchers in order to reestablish a competitive men’s fastpitch program in LaCrosse. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2014 NAFA World Series

By Nick Tabbert / WXOW.COM, LA CROSSE

La Crosse, WI (WXOW) – Fifteen years ago, fastpitch softball was a dying sport in La Crosse.

Now, thanks to the efforts of local enthusiasts, the game is trending upward once again, drawing the interest of players young and old.

Fran Formanek, a longtime supporter of the game, said the Dairyland Men’s Fastpitch League had to fold in the late 1990s due to low participation.

This season, there are 10 teams in the league, including a team sponsored by Animal House of La Crosse.

“We just feel there’s a real passion for the game here and there’s a lot of great athletes that are interested I believe in playing,” Formanek said. “If we can start getting some people involved in it, we think we can re-build the league and also become a national power throughout the United States like we were back in the 70s and 60s and 50s.”

A big part of the game is pitching. Both Formanek and Animal House’s team manager Bud Olson believe the resurgence relies on the arms of young pitchers.

“We know there’s a lot of good athletes in this town. What we do need to do is we need to develop pitchers,” he said.

Olson said his goal is to find a group of players just out of high school and develop them into competitive pitchers, a process that could take up to three years.

The North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) will hold its state qualifier tournament at La Crosse’s Erickson Park from July 22-24. Olson said there will be a reunion for former fastpitch players on Saturday, July 23. Players are encouraged to wear their old jerseys to receive free admission.

For more information about the NAFA state qualifier tournament and Wisconsin men’s fastpitch visit: Wisconsin Fastpitch

Orangemen win first ever 36th Annual Rice Lake Aquafest Invitational Title

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

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By RONN KOPP / NAFA President and Tournament Director

RICE LAKE, Wisc. – After falling to Bol’s Lanes of Baldwin 3-2 in the winners bracket final, the Rice Lake Orangemen bounced back to bounce La Crosse Athletics 10-2 and then defeated Bol’s twice in championship play 7-6 and 2-1 in 9 innings to capture the championship of the 10-team 36th annual Rice Lake Aquafest Invitational men’s fastpitch tournament.

It was the first Aquafest championship for the Orangemen, the only team to have played in all 36 tourneys.

The Orangemen opened tournament play with a 6-2 victory over Sawdust City of Eau Claire, followed with a 2-0 win over Ostrander, Minnesota, and a 7-0 win over Morelli’s of St. Paul before coming up a run short in their first encounter with defending NAFA state A division champion Bol’s Lanes.

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