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The Fastpitch Bulletin, Volume 20, Number 3 for 2/11/20

02/11/2020, 10:00pm CST
By Bob Tomlinson

Some more WIAA Softball History for you tonight!

First NCAA Fastpitch Championships were played in Omaha in 1982, f7 years after the WIAA had it's first state tournament in Madison

Good Evening Fastpitch Fans,

The collegiate softball season opened on the weekend with some interesting results. I normally browse around to a few collegiate team websites and also follow quite a few on twitter. 

At the WFSCA clinic over the weekend I met some new young coaches. I talked about a few in last night's bulletin. Tonight I am going to talk about one more. She is Sarah Sorenson who hails from Chippewa Falls where she played for CHI-Hi under the tutelage of Jared Faherty. She then moved on to UW-River Falls where she was a middle infielder. After graduation with a degree in elementary education she accepted a teaching offer with the Madison Metropolitan School District. She teaches at Van Hise Elementary which is just a bit south and west of the Hilldale Mall off University Avenue. During our buzz session we covered lots of topics. It is usually a mini clinic right there at the table with all of us exchanging ideas, technique etc. Sarah was an assistant softball coach at Madison Memorial, a school that at one time under the tutelage of Hall of Fame coach Bob Sulser the Spartans were a tough opponent. They advanced to the state tournament in '94 and '94 making the Final Four in those years. Sulser later went on to continue coach at Turner in Beloit and most recently at Edgewood in Madison where he turned that program around in just two years. Sarah in the meantime has left Memorial and took the head coaching position at Madison West, a school that laid claim to the first ever WIAA State Softball championship at Olbrich Park in Madison. During our chats Sarah asked the older male coaches at the table why there are not more female coaches when there are so many girls' sports and girls playing them. My friend Brian, a coach heading into his 27th year or so of coaching answered the question with "tongue in cheek" to begin with then started listed some possible reason. I then chimed in with some historical reasons.

In 1976 when the WIAA instituted the girls' softball plan it was after a survey of all the athletic directors and principals statewide. As a matter of fact those people had to cast a vote to determine whether Wisconsin would be a slow pitch state or a fastpitch state. I remember the vote well. It was the mid 70s and that found me playing major mens' fastpitch a couple nights per week and every weekend Memorial Day through Labor Day. Our principal asked me how he should vote. Should he vote for slow pitch or fastpitch. Since I was a fastpitch man I urged him to vote for the fastpitch version and that won out. In those days there was not an NCAA women's fastpitch program. What was there was slow pitch. If you don't believe that do a little research. The women were playing slpw pitch but it was not an NCAA sport. 

When I started with the Poynette program in 1979 there were no collegiate softball teams. The women played during the summer for club teams. Those summer teams were amazing though. The womens' ASA Major National drew thousands of fans. 

Not until my fourth year with the Poynette Program did the NCAA run a national championship tournament series. Check out the table below. Not until the Hall of Fame Stadium was built at ASA Headquarters in Oklahoma City did the National Tournament move there. That was in 1995.

Here is the table of champions and Runner-Ups

YEAR CHAMPION (RECORD) COACH SCORE RUNNER-UP SITE
2019 *UCLA (56-6) Kelly Inouye-Perez 5-4 Oklahoma Oklahoma City
2018 *Florida State (58-12) Lonni Alameda 8-3 Washington Oklahoma City
2017 *Oklahoma (61-9) Patty Gasso 5-4 Florida Oklahoma City
2016 Oklahoma (57-8) Patty Gasso 2-1 Auburn Oklahoma City
2015 Florida (60-7) Tim Walton 4-1 Michigan Oklahoma City
2014 *Florida (55-12) Tim Walton 6-3 Alabama Oklahoma City
2013 *Oklahoma (57-4) Patty Gasso 4-0 Tennessee Oklahoma City
2012 Alabama (60-8) Patrick Murphy 5-4 Oklahoma Oklahoma City
2011 *Arizona State (60-6) Clint Myers 7-2 Florida Oklahoma City
2010 *UCLA (50-11) Kelly Inouye-Perez 15-9 Arizona Oklahoma City
2009 Washington (51-12) Heather Tarr 3-2 Florida Oklahoma City
2008 *Arizona State (66-5) Clint Myers 11-0 Texas A&M Oklahoma City
2007 Arizona (50-14-1) Mike Candrea 5-0 Tennessee Oklahoma City
2006 Arizona (54-11) Mike Candrea 5-0 Northwestern Oklahoma City
2005 Michigan (65-7) Carol Hutchins 4-1 UCLA Oklahoma City
2004 UCLA (47-9) Sue Enquist 3-1 California Oklahoma City
2003 UCLA (54-7) Sue Enquist 1-0 California Oklahoma City
2002 California (56-19) Diane Ninemire 6-0 Arizona Oklahoma City
2001 *Arizona (65-4) Mike Candrea 1-0 UCLA Oklahoma City
2000 *Oklahoma (66-8) Patty Gasso 3-1 UCLA Oklahoma City
1999 *UCLA (63-6) Sue Enquist 3-2 Washington Oklahoma City
1998 Fresno State (52-11) Margie Wright 1-0 Arizona Oklahoma City
1997 Arizona (61-5) Mike Candrea 10-2 UCLA Oklahoma City
1996 *Arizona (58-9) Mike Candrea 6-4 Washington Columbus, Ga.
1995 *#UCLA (50-6) Sharron Backus 4-2 Arizona Oklahoma City
1994 *Arizona (64-3) Mike Candrea 2-0 Cal State Northridge Oklahoma City
1993 Arizona (44-8) Mike Candrea 1-0 UCLA Oklahoma City
1992 *UCLA (54-2) Sharron Backus 2-0 Arizona Oklahoma City
1991 Arizona (56-16) Mike Candrea 5-1 UCLA Oklahoma City
1990 UCLA (62-7) Sharron Backus 2-0 Fresno State Oklahoma City
1989 *UCLA (48-4) Sharron Backus 1-0 Fresno State Sunnyvale, Calif.
1988 UCLA (53-8) Sharron Backus 3-0 Fresno State Sunnyvale, Calif.
1987 Texas A&M (56-8) Bob Brock 4-1 UCLA Omaha, Neb.
1986 *Cal State Fullerton (57-9-1) Judi Garman 3-0 Texas A&M Omaha, Neb.
1985 UCLA (41-9) Sharron Backus 2-1 Nebraska Omaha, Neb.
1984 UCLA (45-6-1) Sharron Backus 1-0 Texas A&M Omaha, Neb.
1983 Texas A&M (41-11) Bob Brock 2-0 Cal State Fullerton Omaha, Neb.
1982 *UCLA (33-7-2) Sharron Backus 2-0 Fresno State Omaha, Neb.

Here is a Wikipedia story about the AIAW Collegiate Slow Pitch Championships,

1983 National Collegiate Slow-pitch Softball Championship

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The 1983 National Collegiate Women's Slow-pitch Softball Championship was held in Graham, North Carolina, near Raleigh, on May 5-7. This was the first year after the demise of the AIAW, which had conducted the previous two national title tournaments in 1981 and 1982. The Amateur Softball Association stepped in to fill the void by organizing the 1983 tournament and another in 1984. Those four years were the only time that major college slow-pitch teams competed for national collegiate titles, although small NAIA schools and junior colleges also conducted their own slow-pitch championships into the 1990s. The AIAW had lost its struggle with the NCAA, which vanquished the women's collegiate athletic organization after a year of dual crowning of champions in women's sports. Although the NCAA began sponsoring fast-pitch softball in 1982, it opted not to organize slow-pitch.

The number of female coaches in softball is increasing but mostly at the assistant coach level. It took a couple of decades for high school players to move on and play in college then return to the game as coaches. In my years in Poynette within the softball program (now entering the 42nd year) I have had five former players return and assist the program. We just today added a sixth one and will also add a seventh one as a part time coach this year. One of those assistants moved on and became the head softball coach at a neighboring school. Last night's bulletin ran an incomplete  list of female coaches who have taken their teams to the state tournament but that list was head coaches only. There were many other female head coaches who led their charges to Waukesha and Madison but did not make it to the title game. I gleaned last night's information from the 2019 WIAA State Tournament program. I'd like to compile a list of all the female head coaches who have reached the Final Four or in Division 1 the state quarter final which is part of the D! state tournament. Lauri Grundahl of DeForest is one of those. Sue Stoltenberg of Wausaukee has led her team to the state tournament at least twice and perhaps all four times the Rangers have been there. Send me the names of more female coaches both head and assistants who have been there over the years.

On another note: Kevin Knudson the former head coach at Barneveld and very successful one took over the legendary Oakfield program last season and led them to the sectional final. With the victories the Oaks garnered last season his record is now 279-56 so I have added his name to the 250 win milepost on the Coaches Honor Roll List for career wins. 

That's a wrap on tonight's Bulletin.
Keep it Rising! 
Bob

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