Softball and baseballís favorite newspaper since 1987
Golden Gophers off to good start!
By Don Bowman
Hallelujah! Itís been 20 years since the weatherman has been this nice, this early, to softball/baseball players!
The University of Minnesota Golden Gopher softball team has enjoyed the great start to the season as well, as they have jumped out to a 21-10 record so far this season.
After spending several weeks and a lot money on fuel and lodging for pre-season tourneys in such places as Las Vegas, North Carolina, Florida, Idaho and Arizona, the U finally settled down into the Big Ten regular season.
They went 1-2 to open the season on the road vs. Illinois, then came home and took two out of three from the Cornhuskers of Nebraska by scores of 8-5, 14-4, before losing 5-4 in extra innings on April 1.
Statistically, the Gophers are led by sophomore pitcher Sarah Moulton of Eagan (15-8, 1.12 ERA), Kaitlyn Richardson (.433), and slugger Kari Dorle of North St. Paul (6 HR, 30 RBI). The Gophers have a solid team this year, and should make a run at the Big Ten playoffs!
Big softball tourneys coming soon
Several big softball tourneys are slated early for this spring including: the Polar Fast Pitch Classic (North St. Paul) on April 27-28, the Tartan Fast Pitch Invitational, the Capitol City Slow Pitch Tourney (St. Paul) on May 12-13 and the Mosquitoland SPA Senior Qualifier on May 17-20 in Little Canada.
The Polar Classic will feature some of the top heavyweight high school fastpitch teams in the state including: Eagan, Burnsville, North St. Paul, New Life Academy and more!
The Mosquitoland will include some of the top menís senior slow pitch teams, including world champions: MN Masters, MN Merchants, MN Grayhounds and more! For entry info for the Mosquitoland, call 651-208-3909.
Pheiffer takes over Minnesota ASA
Minnesota ASA is under new leadership with Dan Pheiffer taking over the reins from long-time MN ASA guru Perry Coonce. Dan looks to make some big changes in ASA programming beginning in the spring of 2012. Perry will still be involved in some local ASA postseason events this year, and we wish him the very best of luck for all his years of contributing to ASA programming!
Nordcap/Easton wins in Las Vegas
The first big USSSA Major NIT of the season on March 30-April 1 in Las Vegas, the Sin City Classic, was won by Nordcap/Easton. The Sin City Classic featured 32 teams, led by pre-tourney favorites Laservision and Team Combat Softball. In the end, however, both Laservision and Team Combat finished a dismal 2-2, leaving both team scratching their heads for answers.
The game of the tournament was in the semis where Sonnyís of Wyoming put 13 runs up on the board in the bottom of the seventh to knock off Laservision. Local product Anthony Dress plays for tourney champion Nordcap.
Minnesota senior teams capture titles
Since our last issue came out, several MN senior teams had great 2011-12 post season national/world championship tournament runs. Among them: MN Masters White/60ís won the Las Vegas Sr. Championships and the SSUSA World Tournament of Champions Ö the MN Grayhounds/Miken/Tanel 55ís won the ISSA World Championships and the ISSA World Tournament of Champions in January of 2012 Ö and the Jimmyís/Ancell 55ís finished runner-up at the 2011 SSUSA Worlds as well.
Mark your calendars
Dates to put it in the book:
ē May 4-6, Corkyís Earlybird Classic (Owatonna): Already full and will feature some of the best teams in the Midwest!
ē June 15-17: 30th†Annual Dudley/Bud/Easton Major NIT iwith best sluggers in the land coming to town! The Dudley is now taking registrations. Contact tourney director Warren Bellm before it fills!
Support your local softball facilities
Private softball facilities (bar/field complexes) have gone through some tough times recently. I hope people that have mocked them will learn that we were/are lucky to have them! With SRO, Diamonds and Povís bars closing in recent years, a few of them are still making a valiant effort to provide some fun and recreation, still providing softball leagues. While BeBops (Blaine) is still hosting league play and a full slate of tourney action as is the Stadium in White Bear, keep your ears open for more announcements/ads soon about SRO and Povsís sites providing league/tourney play as well in the very near future.
Dome sweet dome
Area dome facilities provided a lot of service to area ball teams this past winter! Among the most popular facilities providing league and workout time to the locals were: the beautiful new dome in Vadnais Heights, the Edina Dome and the new U of M recreational facilities dome near Siebert Field in Minneapolis.