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Firemenís, Frolics put on impressive shows


By Don Bowman


Once again two of Minnesotaís showcase softball events, the Bloomington Firemenís and Crystal Frolics, put on very impressive shows! The Firemenís event never ceases to amaze me, with the great crowds, big tournament fields and tremendous community support! Most of the concessions revenue go to area charities, thanks to the hard work of one of the best softball tournament directors in the country, Jeff Barnes!

Long Haul Trucking/Miken, led by hall of fame manager Gary Jost, fresh off a heart attack at the Smokies tournament in Tennessee the week before, put together a formidable cast to win it. Coming out of retirement to hurl for the Truckers was wily veteran Brad Augedahl out of Calendonia, now a corporate executive with the Miken Bat Company. Hitting Ďem long and far for Long Haul was none other than major star big JC Phelps, who now is a player rep for Louisville/TPS out of Kentucky. TCP/Easton and Kimís Barrel, two of the stateís entrants, finished second and third.

In womenís play, Larry Bigleowís Mud Cats, out of the Little Canada womenís open league, played with a lot grit in winning the 2009 Firemenís Womens Open division. In the championship win, the ĎCatsí defeated the highly rated MN Ice, also out of Little Canada, in an exciting championship final! The tourney championship was costly as the Mud Cats lost at least two players with season ending injuries.


Crystal Frolics fireworks

The Crystal Frolics, not to be outdone, had some fireworks of their own on July 23-26. This event features the best fireworks show in the state, a HUGE cash payout to the teams and some of the best softball played this side of the Ho Chi Minh River. Jim Wajda and his staff should be commended for all their hard work in keeping this awesome event going year to year!

Winning the 2009 menís open division were Letís Play Softball 2009 No. 1 rated, Easton/Hooters/Rockets ball club, coached by Rob Hortenbach. They had to overcome a very talented Outpost ball club in the finals, while a very good Blue Line team finished third. With the $2,000 championship check, it could mean a new paint job for team bus Shamu III and a fresh bottle of Captain Morgan in the bus lounge! The Rocketsí battle on Friday night vs. Hoffman was one of the best games of the season, as the Rockets prevailed in extra innings.

Minnesotaís best set for postseason

O&S Cattle/Povís and Showcase/Worth, two of Minnesotaís very best, both have chances of landing spots in two of the nationís top slow pitch postseason events. O&S has earned enough points to battle for the last spot in the Menís USSSA Major World Series in Florida, and will travel to the Last Chance Major NIT in Michigan this weekend! Showcase has been traveling the country gathering points as well to have a decent chance of playing in the USSSA Conference Championships later this fall. We wish them both the best of luck!


Vierling benefit slated for Aug. 29

The benefit for veteran umpire Kenny Vierling, who was seriously injured in an automobile accident several weeks back, is slated for Saturday, Aug. 29, at the Farmington American Legion. Music, food, drink and door prizes will be part of the fun. We hope to see you there! This event will go a long way to help pay for some of Kennyís medical expenses, and also with give us all a chance to do something special for one of the top umpires in the state and country.


ASA Menís 35+ Tourney this weekend

The ASA menís over-35 state tournament is slated for this weekend in Sauk Rapids! The MSF staff has worked hard in putting together a great turnout of teams for 2009 with 16 teams expected!


Fastpitch galore in the Twin Cities

The Twin Cities were loaded with top youth fastpitch talent from around country last weekend! Tournament host sites were White Bear Lake, Eagan and Shoreview.

In girls 10U class ĎAí play, the Mankato Peppers won going away with Centennial and Ankeny Gold finishing second and third, respectively. In 12U ĎAí play, first place went to Frozen Rope Fury, with the Omaha Quakes and Forest Lake finishing 2-3. In 14U, congrats to Forest Lake on winning the 2009 title, with runner up honors going to Mankato. In the 16U ĎAí division, the North St. Paul Polars were impressive, winning the title, with the MN Sparks and MN Ice rounding out the top three. Lastly, in 18U play, it was Spring Lake Park defeating Forest Lake in a thrilling championship final! Congratulations to all participants, and to tourney commissioner Larry Parker and staff for running one of the best fastpitch events in a long time

Rickerís wins Senior World Series

Congratulations to the Rickerís mens softball club out of Little Canada who won the Senior Softball World Series in Michigan on the 4thof July weekend! Rickerís defeated a team out of Ohio, best two of three in the 60ís Major Plus division finals.


WSL North American Championships

Itís not too late to sign up and play in one of the very best softball showcase events in the county, the World Softball Leagueís North American Championships in September in Panama Beach Florida! Itís a great vacation area, and an extremely nice location to end the softball season on a high note! For more information go to:, come and join the fun!


Hundreds raised for the troops

The MN Vets College Showcase tournament again raised hundreds of dollars worth of money and supplies to send to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan last month in White Bear Lake! Hats off to tournament director Gary Moos and his staff on putting together one of the best tournaments in the midwest! Among the tournament champions were: MN Vets in 16u and Diamond Devil in 18u.


Spots still open in Little Canada

Fall doubleheader league openings for menís and womenís teams are still available in Little Canada on Tuesday-Thursday evenings. For more information call: 651-766-4041. They will fill fast!


MN Masters take sixth

The MN Mastersí talented mens 60+ major ball club, finished a respectable 6th place at the SPA (Softball Players Association) National Championships in Dalton, Ga., this past weekend.


U-S-A! U-S-A!

The USA slow pitch major menís all stars defeated the Team Canada all stars 32-19, in a game televised by ESPN back on July 18th in Oklahoma City OK.


Lewicki signs with Diamond Auto

Well traveled pitcher Aaron Lewicki, aka Lew10, as parted ways with Hoffman softball, and has been signed by Diamond Auto.


12 state C teams set for USSSA Worlds

Speaking of menís class ĎCí softball, it looks like up to 12 state teams will be traveling to the USSSA ĎCí Worlds at Disney Florida in September. Look for a Minnesota team to win the 2010 world title!