Wisconsin NAFA

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2017 Wisconsin NAFA Men’s Fastpitch State Tournament

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

Todd Lubkeman selected Wisconsin NAFA Pitcher of The Year

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

Todd Lubkeman has been the mainstay of the Willkomm Mobil pitching staff since 1992 and has helped the team achieve great success in NAFA World Series competition. In 2016 he was selected “Wisconsin NAFA Pitcher of The Year.” Photo By BOB OTTO

BRISTOL, Wisc. – Over 130 men’s softball teams play the fastpitch version in Wisconsin, and on those teams, the anchor is the pitcher. Without a pitcher, there is no fastpitch team.

And if a team has a hurler with talent that usually transpires into success.

For many years, Willkomm Mobil of Kenosha has been fortunate to have Todd Lubkeman anchoring its pitching staff. The big right-hander – about 6-foot-6, throws the ball hard with all the accompanying assortment of batter-baffling spinners – riser, curve, drop and change-up.

Over the years, Lubkeman has been as productive a pitcher as any Wisconsin has ever produced. 2016 was no exception.

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Animal House of LaCrosse plans busy fastpitch season

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

LaCrosse, Wisc. – From May to August, Animal House ball players had best set aside most of their weekends. Because they will be playing a lot of fastpitch softball.

BUD OLSON has arranged a busy schedule with 12 tournaments slated – highlighted by a grand finale come August in the NAFA World Series.

Animal House will be traveling a bit to neighboring Minnesota and Illinois. Why the out-of-state excursions?

“Fastpitch has gotten to the point that neighboring states need to come together to make quality tournaments happen,” said Olson, 71. “simply put, ‘if we expect to take, we better be ready to give.'”

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Wisconsin Fastpitch Legend Passes Away

Monday, February 27th, 2017

JOHN “SPORTY” SALSMAN was an icon in men’s fastpitch softball in Wisconsin and the United States. Courtesy Photo

GALESVILLE — John J. “Sporty” Salsman, 96, of Galesville passed away Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, at Grand View Care Center, Blair.

John was born Aug. 28, 1920, to William and Lilly (Van Vleet) Salsman. He was raised in Galesville and graduated from Galesville High School. At the age of 17, he joined the Army Air Corps.

On April 20, 1948, he married Vivian Bortle at the Centerville Methodist Church.

John flew P51s in World War II and many other aircraft in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. John was an avid outdoorsman. He trapped and hunted up to the age of 92, shooting his last trophy buck with a crossbow at the age of 91.

He loved all sports and coached both men and girls softball teams. John also enjoyed watching high school sporting events. John’s accomplishments are too many to list in this obituary. He will be deeply missed.

Survivors are his children, Renee Page, Patricia Sleeter, Robert “Buck” (Karen) Salsman, David (Sandra) Salsman; his grandchildren, Jamie Page, Stacy (Rudy)Perez, Kelly Sleeter, John Salsman, Jacob Salsman, Angela (Shawn) Himebauch, Aaron Salsman, Dan Salsman; and his great-grandchildren, Christian Perez, Taylor Himebauch, Brandyn Himebauch and Jayde Himebauch.

His wife, Vivian, preceded him in death.

A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, at Mill Road Banquet Center, 20020 Mill Road, Galesville, with the Rev. Anna Sorenson officiating. A celebration of life will immediately follow the service until 6 p.m.

Burial will be at a later date with military rites in the Trempealeau Public Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to the G-E-T High School Athletic Department.

Zwickey Funeral Homes, Galesville Chapel, assisted the family.

A Step Back In Time: John Ernster, Unknown to celebrity in 5 years

Monday, January 16th, 2017

GREEN TERRACE ASA ALL-AMERICANS, from left, pitcher John Ernster; third baseman Doug Sauer; catcher Loren Benz, and first baseman Dick Teubner.

Green Terrace of Winona became the first Minnesota team to play in the inaugural ASA Class A Men’s Fastpitch National Tournament in 1975, taking second place with an 8-2 record. In 1988, Stewart Taylor of Duluth won the national title followed by Happy Chef of Mankato in 1995.

By BRUCE CLOSWAY / Sports Writer
Winona Daily News
(originally printed Sept. 3, 1975)

WINONA, Minn. – If anyone is considering doing a biographical study of a sports personality from in or around Winona, John Ernster has certainly qualified himself as a worthy subject.

And if choosing an appropriate title becomes a problem, how about, “You’ve Come A Long Way, John,” or “From Obscurity to National Acclaim In Five-Short Years.”

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Umpiring friends head to NAFA World Series one last time for special honor

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

OAKCREEK, Wisc. – The miles to league games and tournaments add up into the thousands, the games into the hundreds. And the pay doesn’t make them rich.

For fastpitch umpires, that’s the price they pay to officiate the game they love. And Wisconsin umpires Steve Komoroski and Tom Ueberroth, certainly have a soft spot in their hearts for the game of fastpitch softball.

The two good friends started umpiring together about 1996, figures Ueberroth, 58. They’ve officiated the girls and women’s side from college division I to high school and tournaments.

ST CLAIR THE CATALYST

But they’ve umpired the men’s side as well, mainly with the North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) in Wisconsin and at the NAFA World Series.

“Henry St. Clair (the late, former NAFA UIC) got me started in men’s fastpitch about 20 years a go,” said Komoroski. “You don’t make much money, but I love it.”

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Long Lost Milltown, Wisconsin Men’s Fastpitch Tournament Undergoes A Revival

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016
Men's fastpitch tournaments are held In Canada, Mexico and throughout much of the United States, including once again in Milltown, Wisconsin after a 26 year absence. Photo By BOB OTTO

Men’s fastpitch tournaments are held In Canada, Mexico and throughout much of the United States, including once again in Milltown, Wisconsin after a 26 year absence. Photo By BOB OTTO

MILLTOWN, Wisc. – When Cullen Hanson was six years old the Milltown men’s fastpitch tournament folded. That was 26 years a go. Hanson thought about that long drought and he began wondering: could the tournament be revived?

If he had asked skeptics, they’d have fed him the standard fare – “it’s too late, men’s fastpitch has one foot in the grave and it’s gasping for air. Don’t waste your time trying.”

But that kind of ‘stinkin-thinkin’ isn’t in 32-year-old Hanson’s fastpitch makeup. After all, his dad Scott Hanson played, his uncles played, and he grew to love the game as much as they did.

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38th Annual RICE LAKE INVITATIONAL MEN’S FASTPITCH TOURNAMENT

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Bowen vs Rude Pac.39web

  • Dates:
  • June 10-12, 2016

  • Location:
  • Fred Tate Memorial Park Rice Lake WI

  • Announcement:
  • Tournament Director Loren A. “Fab” Lathrop has announced that the Rice Lake Invitational Men’s Fastpitch Tournament has been moved one week ahead of its traditional Fathers Day weekend and will again be part of the city’s Aquafest celebration.

    Ronn Kopp – ronnkopp@charter.net
    Wisconsin NAFA

    Willkomm Mobil, all about fun, family and winning

    Sunday, September 13th, 2015
    Todd Lubkeman has been the mainstay of the Willkomm Mobil pitching staff and has helped the team achieve great success in NAFA World Series competition. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Todd Lubkeman has been the mainstay of the Willkomm Mobil pitching staff and has helped the team achieve great success in NAFA World Series competition. Photo By BOB OTTO

    KENOSHA, Wisc. – Chances are if you’re traveling in southeastern Wisconsin, you will happen upon Willkomm’s Mobil and one of it’s several Mobil service stations and restaurants.

    The company’s reputation is excellent; it’s service and products great.

    And if you’re into men’s fastpitch, somewhere, sometime on ball diamonds throughout the Midwest, you’ve most likely seen or played against a very fine team branded with Willkomm Mobil on its jerseys.

      PROUD TO WEAR THE UNIFORM

    It all began when owner Jerry Willkomm agreed to sponsor the team in 1992, and it carries on yet today, 24 years later, with no plans on folding.

    “Jerry Willkomm and the entire Willkomm Mobil company has been awesome,” said Willkomm general manager and player, Mark Nelson. “He has sponsored the team since 1992, and had sponsored other fastpitch teams before that. He’s a great person to play for, comes to games when he is in the area, and supports us 100-percent. The team takes pride in wearing the name on and off the field.”

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    Suzy Q’s hosting men’s fastpitch tournament in August

    Thursday, July 30th, 2015

    CUSHING, Wisc. – Suzy Q’s Men’s Fastpitch Tournament will be held Aug. 21-23 in Cushing, which is located along the Wisconsin and Minnesota border northeast of Minneapolis. The small village is big in men’s fastpitch and is home to four men’s teams. All the tournaments held here are well run and popular, so enter your team while there’s an opening.

    2015CushingTourney