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ASA Super Championships head to Twin Cities
By Don Bowman
Let’s Play Softball Columnist
A big-time slow pitch softball showcase is heading to the Twin Cities on August 22-24 when the ASA Men’s Super National Championships blaze into town! Some of the nation’s elite slow pitch clubs including Laservision, Norkap, Jean Shoppe, Long Haul, Sonnys, Team Combat, local favorite Xtreme/Miken and more are slated to play.
The action starts on Thursday, August 22 at Leonard H. Nieman Fields in Minneapolis, before culminating for semifinal (9/11 a.m.), and championship action (5 p.m.) at Midway Stadium in St. Paul, on Saturday August 24. The Saints will then follow up the colorful extravaganza with a big regular season tilt with the Gary Railcats! What a weekend for ball!
Long Haul Bomber Tour hits St. Paul
Another can’t-miss event during the August 22-24 blast at Midway Stadium is the 2013 Long Haul Bomber Tour Finals, post-game/pre-fireworks on Friday, August 23! Along with the “double dose” of fireworks, there will be a Michelob Light/Long Haul tailgate autograph meet-and-greet with the “Monsters Of The Midway” who take part in the tour finals!
Rip City, Moran’s Flooring win titles
Rip City of Iowa won the 2013 Men’s Open Fireman’s Tournament in Bloomington and Moran’s Flooring defeated Assault Softball in the finals of the Rice St. Tournament in St. Paul a few weeks ago.
Local umps to work ASA event
Local ASA “men in blue” chosen to umpire the ASA Super event in the Twin Cities later this month include Alonzo Antony, Paul Kramer, Scott Anderson and Tom Keller of Minnesota!
MN Masters White win world titles
The MN Masters White 60’s Major squad has won TWO World titles already this summer! In late June, the Masters White team won the ISF (International Softball Federation) world championship, defeating Superior/Turn Two of Virginia (26-time world champion) in the finals in Salem, Va. Then three weeks ago, they won five straight in the losers bracket to beat the New Jersey Hitmen in the finals of the SPA World Major Championships held in Dalton, Ga.
Merchants win SSUSA crown
The Minnesota Merchants, former ASA Open Class “A” national and world champions, won the SSUSA Midwest Championships Tournament in Shawnee Mission, Kan., last weekend. With the win, the club qualified for the Tournament of Champions Tournament in Winter Haven, Fla., come February!
Local senior clubs head to Colorado
Several local softball clubs are heading to the SSUSA Rocky Mountain National Qualifier in Aurora, Colo., the week of Aug 16. Aurora features one of the finest ballparks in America!
High Five wins ISA 65’s championship
The High Five Bar and Grill, won the 2013 ISA Mens 65’s Major Championship this past week in Columbus, Ind. In the win they had to overcome some stiff competition, not only with their opponents, but the weatherman, too! Congrats to Gary Uecker, Tony Udean and team!
Speaking of the High Five team, we wish senior slugger and great guy Chuck Raabe, the very best, as he is recovering!
Fastpitch coach Tom Nemo retires
Long-time head fastpitch coach Tom Nemo, most recently the head coach at East Ridge High School in Woodbury, is retiring! Tom, a very successful/popular coach at the varsity high school level for many years, is stepping down after a great run at Tartan, North St. Paul and East Ridge. We wish him and his family the best!
NAFA 16U Fastpitch champs crowned
The NAFA Girls 16U National Fast Pitch tourney was held July 25-28 at Rice Creek and Lexington Softball Complexes, with some great action on hand! In the finals of competitive 16 Gold bracket, the Sting topped Extreme Softball, on a last inning suicide squeeze play, 2-1! The Sting Association is run by highly successful softball coach Sean Hall of Lakeville North High.
In the 16B Silver bracket, the MN Magic (Woodbury) captured championship hardware in topping a very tough tournament field!
MN Prize 65’s win in Kansas
The MN Prize 65’s looked sharp in winning the TOC qualifier in Kansas a few weeks ago! The Prize look poised to win another world championship come September!
From the diamond to the ice
Former Wintz Trucking softball star Steve Rohlik (Maplewood), has been named the head coach for Ohio State University men’s hockey!
New field coming for Tommie softball
Division III fastpitch powerhouse the University of St. Thomas is getting a new field replacement in the very near future.
Thoughts go out to Wech, Korman
Let’s Play Softball and the slow pitch softball community would like to send their heartfelt prayers to the families of popular area softball stars Mike Wech and Billy Korman. We are thinking of you during these difficult times!
TC Bear hits Little Canada
Twin Mascot TC Bear was spotted hitting them hard and deep in a Little Canada league softball game just two weeks ago at Pioneer Park!
DeMarini leads Long Haul Bomber Tour
Heading into the Long Haul Bomber Tour finals later this month, Team DeMarini leads the race with 137 points, with Team Miken just behind with 130 points.
Sluggers representing the DeMarini team include Chris Larsen, Donovan Pokrak and Adam Rockoff, while leading the way for Miken is Denny Crine, Kevin Filby and Ed Vega. Many of these guys will be at Midway Stadium on August 23, hitting them so far and hard the trains won’t even be safe!
Grayhounds to defend world crown
Defending ISSA Major World Champions, the MN Grayhounds/Tasty Pizza/Moose on Monroe will defend their world title on August 9-11 in Rockford, Ill.
The Diamond Don Inbox
New reader Richard Cranium of Cottage Grove writes in: “Diamond Don, can an umpire, before the next pitch, correct himself on a call (say out or safe), after thinking about the play during a dead ball, and reverse himself to ‘make it right?’”
Good question Richard! Of course he can, who would want to “make it right?!” The problem is, some umpires don’t want to further embarrass themselves and some are even too “bullheaded’ to admit the mistake. Either way you get egg on your face, so why not clean it all up, and get it right?!
Little Canada softball update
There are still openings for the Little Canada men’s Tuesday and/or Wednesday D/E doubleheader slow pitch leagues. For more info, call 651-208-3909.
Speaking of Little Canada, the Canadian Days Co Rec Kittenball tourney, not many of them around, is slated for
August 3-4 at Spooner Park in Little Canada. Sixteen teams will participate!
Worth, Miken capture Let’s Play Softball bat contest titles
It was an excellent year for softball bats across the board for slow pitch and fast pitch enthusiasts! The nation’s top bat manufacturers – Combat, DeMarini, Easton, Miken, Mizuno, TPS, Worth and others – were on top of their game in 2013-14!
The Let’s Play Softball Bat Contest/Reviews were just completed, and the Worth and Miken softball companies should be proud, as they swept the contest, producing a great crop of bats in 2013!
In the slow pitch ASA bat competition, the Worth Legit Flex Fifty was the champion, what a beauty! With the Legit’s “Flex Fifty” technology, for increased flex, it had great pop, fine durability and was shooting rockets all over the park! With the ultra-thin handle and Power Core molding process, this bat was awesome, and priced at under $299! The runner-up was the Miken ASA Ultra!
The USSSA bat championship also goes to Worth for the Legit Jeff Hall Reload! Right out of the wrapper you could tell this bat was going to be special, with its “454” technology which gives you and extra two-inch sweet spot! Its end-load design is great for the extra power and long ball shots. The committee was impressed! Available in 26.5, 27.5 and 30 ounce models, congrats to the Worth Jeff Hall 454! Runner-up was the Miken Psycho!
Men’s “senior” leagues are popping up everywhere, now there is more competition than ever for senior bat supremacy! This year’s senior champ is the new Miken Ultra II Maxload Two Piece! Miken’s “E-Flex” Ultra Technology has really come through, providing you with one of the best senior bats ever made! Made in the USA, a two-piece composite and 1.21 rating, this baby can hit him hard and deep! Priced very well at around $200, get ‘em while you can!
The runner-up was the very much improved Worth Legit Senior 1.21! A close second, with its “HMF” tech, two-piece construction, the testing panel were drooling! This bat had GREAT pop, and also priced at a very reasonable $200!
The final contest was for fast pitch bats, and what an outstanding selection is available for fast pitch enthusiasts!
The 2013 fast pitch champ, you guessed it, the Worth Legit 2 Piece, hot, hot, hot! If you want to compete at the highest level, you have to get a Worth Legit, amazing! It’a a 100 percent composite, made in the USA, multi-layer composite core, whew, it blew the field away! Available in -9 and -10 models, grab one off the rack before they disappear! The fast pitch runner-up: the Xeno by Louisville Slugger.
Congrats and thank you, to all of the manufacturers who took part in this year’s contest!