Softball and baseballís favorite newspaper since 1987

Long winter is over Ö letís play ball!


By Don Bowman


Where is global warming when you need it! With the longest/coldest/snowiest winter in recent memory, softball and baseball enthusiasts are chomping at the bit to get rolling! Look for all league and most tourneys to be starting as scheduled however!



Gophers swept at home

The Golden Gophers womenís fastpitch team was swept by the Ohio State Buckeyes, 10-0 and 7-5 in their first games of the year on their home turf of Cowles Stadium. In game one, the Buckeyes made quick work of the locals winning 10 zip using the run rule.

In game two, however, the Golden Gophers put up a great battle, leading 5-1 heading into the sixth inning. However thatís where things went down the toilet, as the Gophers gave up six runs in the sixth, including a two-run home run to Megan Colleta, and lost 7-5. The Gophers are now 24-17 overall, and 2-4 in the Big Ten.

Freshman pitcher Sara Moulton (Eagan, Minn.) seems to be the real deal, and has been named the conference Freshman Pitcher Of The Week twice so far this season.

Another shining star has been sophomore catcher Kari Dorle (North St. Paul), who is batting over .300 and leads the team in home runs with six.


GTL Cartel wins Sin City Classic

GTL Cartel/Demarini won the first USSSA Major slow pitch event of the season in knocking off Team Combat/Laservision 35-20 in the finals of the Sin City Classic in Las Vegas this past weekend.

Red Wing native Geno Buck was brilliant, and was tabbed tourney MVP, while teammate Anthony Dress, another Minnesotan, also was named to the all-tournament squad.

Team Combat, finishing second in this one, was led by Oakdale native/slugger Scott Brown, who also received all-tourney honors. His team is loaded this year, and should make a big run for the world title this year as well!


Fastpitch tourneys coming to NSP

North St. Paul will be home to some of the areaís top high school fastpitch tourneys again this April. In addition to 9th/B/JV tourneys on April 9 and 16, the stateís top high school varsity fastpitch teams will play April 29-30 at McKnight Field in North St. Paul. Among Minnesotaís top powerhouses expected to participate are: Eagan, Hastings, North St. Paul, Lakeville North, Centennial, Jefferson, Stillwater and more! Several western Wisconsin area teams also will cross the border to play as well.


Corkyís Earlybird set for May 6-8

The 2011 Corkyís Earlybird ASA Slow Pitch Classic, a softball spectacle, will take place May 6-8 in Owatonna, and has been filled for weeks! If you want to get an early peek at some of the top adult slowpitch teams in the state, this tournament is always a lot of fun!


Senior Minnesota teams win rings

Two area senior menís slow pitch softball teams won rings in the last several months. In February, the MN Masters menís 60ís major squad defeated the MN Prize 60ís club in the finals of the SSUSA Tournament of Champions tournament held in Winter Haven, Fla. Congratulations to both squads on a GREAT tournament! This winter, the Florida weather was much more pleasing than last year, where temperatures only reached the 40ís!

Also grabbing jewelry were the MN Grayhounds, who won the 2010 ISSSA World Championship in Manassas, Va., this past August (the last LPS issue had gone to press). The Hounds topped the High Street Bucs out of Maryland in the in 55 Major finals by a 30-21 score to capture their sixth world title.


Little Canada league disbands

Womenís competitive slow pitch took a small step backwards this spring, when the Tuesday night competitive league in Little Canada disbanded this year. For the last several years, this league boasted some of the top teams in the nation, and was regarded as the best league in the Midwest. The league included past world champions, and several teams that have won state titles in womenís Class D, C, B and Open divisions. A few of the teams have sprinkled around the metro area, with a couple of teams merging to form a competitive womenís Class B club. More on that in our next issue!


Softball community loses two

LPS condolences go out to the family and friends of Jerry Zahn (Bloomington) and Roger Claussen (Maplewood), who passed away this past month. Zahn was long-time ASA and high school umpire in the Bloomington area, while Claussen sponsored many local softball teams through the years through his Keller Lake Lounge and Beartown pubs in the east metro. Both were GREAT guys and will be sadly missed!


New coaches named

Several successful veteran high school coaches were named new coaches at different area schools this spring. Among them: Ron Snaza goes from Hill-Murray to St. Paul Johnson, while former Johnson skipper Bob Horner joins the coaching staff at East Ridge. Tom Nemo leaves the coaching staff at North St. Paul to head up the up and coming East Ridge program, while former Park head coach Charlie Whitbred, was named to the coaching staff at North St. Paul. Also, former U of M co-head coach Julie Standering, was tabbed as the new head coach for Roseville. The MSHSL will have to blow up its directory and start from scratch after all these moves!


New USSSA bat rules coming

Looks like the USSSA will be changing bat specifications beginning around 2013. Like the ASA, both associations review bat standards each and every year for safety purposes. Itís suggested you check on each associationís website as to what bats are legal or not legal, for the league you play in each year!

Often these associations grandfather certain models in, which is great, but you donít want to invest in something thatís not going to be legal. Itís suggested†† to do some research first!


Mosquitoland set for May 19-22

The 15thannual Mosquitoland Classic, the popular senior menís slow pitch national qualifier, will again be held May 19-22 at Pioneer Park in Little Canada. Divisions offered again will be: menís 50ís, 55ís, 60ís, 65ís, 70ís and new this year, a menís 75+ bracket! Classifications will be open to menís A through Major +. Nearly 25 teams played last year! For registration info, call 651-490-0045.