And There is New Grass On The Field!
Somewhere! Not in most of Wisconsin however. This edition of The Fastpitch Bulletin comes on the heels of an earlier email sent out today to all head coaches in the state and an example posted on this website with a game summary report written by Co-Head Coach Tom Lampe of Westosha Central.
Consider this an invitation to recap all your games like Tom does or in any way you wish to do. Just type them up and send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org then all I have to do is copy and paste. I read everything that comes in and may correct a typo etc. for you in the summary. I encourage you to take advantage of opportunity to promote your players, your program and your area of the state. This is the 20th year of doing these Bulletins. Every Bulletin I have ever written since 2013 is archived on this site. You can find them all just going back to the beginning by clicking on the page numbers at the bottom of the news pages. There are lots of situations, stories about crazy plays that have taken place, observations from hundreds and maybe thousands of games played over the years. I have a group of friends who are constantly pleading with me to keep adding more content. They seem to be hungry for more all the time. I type pretty fast and enjoy doing it.
In August I was at the ISC Mens' World Tournament at Circle Tap and in Denmark, Wisconsin. I summarized every game played within four different events played in Denmark, at Circle Tap and over in Tisch Mills. I did every game. Those reports and my observations are on the pages of this website.
In the early days the website was fastpitchchronicle.com but since 2012 I've teamed up with the wissports.net crew to keep track of the things going on in the state. If you go to the wissports.net site and click on softball then click on the coaches honor roll link that link takes your directly to this website where you actually view the lists. You should know that I collect no money from wissports.net nor do I collect any google ad revenue. The stuff I do is simply due to my lifelong interest and involvement in this game as a kid growing up watching my father and uncles play in the Madison Major League and in weekend tournaments. Later at the age of 14 I started playing in the mens' league in Poynette and continued to play throughout the next five decades with teams in Portage, Madison, Galesville, Hixton, Montford, Dubuque, LaCrosse, Janesville . This site and the other things I do is my way of giving back to the game.
Below this paragraph are a couple examples of pre-season team previews we did last spring. Look them over and use them as sort of a template or idea of what you could do to promote your players and your program. There are people yearning for more fastpitch information.
Division 4 – Enrollment this year is 224 – Sectional 4 at Mineral Point
Conference – Capitol South (along with Belleville, Cambridge, New Glarus, Marshall, and Waterloo)
Head Coach – Dennis Wood – 17th Year – Assistant Coach is Scott Wood
Wisconsin Heights head coach Dennis Wood is in the midst of his second stint as head coach of the Vanguards. This spring with mark the 17th season overall for him. Wisconsin Heights has watched their enrollment drop dramatically over the years from right around 400 to an enrollment of 224 this schools year. That limits the number of kids that are available and Wisconsin Heights the softball program has had to battle a huge emphasis on club volleyball in recent years. Still, Wood resurrected the program so much so that in truth the nickname for Wisconsin Height softball ought to be the Phoenix. When Dennis took over the program for the second time it followed a year when there was not a softball team at the school. If memory serves me correctly he recruited 11 girls that first year. Within another year he had them hustling and playing well. Now, some of the Vanguard players have been playing on various area summer teams and getting more experience and better by the year. At least two of this year’s standouts spent time with one of the Poynette summer teams. Wood welcomes back two all-conference pitchers in Tayler Kraemer and Kelsie Drager. Catcher Miranda Keith, another returning all-conference player returns and will anchor the duties behind the plate. Jada Wood holds down the second base position and has been an all-conference selection two years running and Kourtney Mercer is the other returnee who was named all-conference last season. Only one starter graduated from last year’s team that finished second behind Marshall in the Capitol South. With solid strength “in the circle” and a stalwart catcher the Vanguards promise to be a load for every team they tangle with. Wood says that the experience the girls have will surely be one of their strengths. “We will work on some continuity,” and see how the pieces fall into place,” said the coach.
Publisher’s Note: I often get asked why the Vanguard school name is Wisconsin Heights. In the fall of 1964 the school districts of Mazomanie and Black Earth were able to set aside some rivalries and build a new high school halfway between the two communities along Highway 14. The name Wisconsin Heights was tagged as a suitable one because Battle of Wisconsin Heights during the Sauk Indian war took place near there. Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia.( The location of the battle is confirmed in the Township (Exterior) Notes of U.S. Deputy Surveyor John H. Mullet. The range line (between Roxbury (Section 19 of T9N, R7E) and Mazomanie (Section 24 of T9N, R6E) was surveyed on October 23, 1832, just three months after the battle. Because of this record, there is contemporary and sworn proof of the battle site's location.)
So there you have it.
Division 4 – Enrollment this school year is 161 Sectional 3 at Markesan
Conference –Marawood North (along with Chequamegon ,Phillips, Prentice and Rib Lake)
Head Coach – Craig Diedrich – 19th Year – (258-113) 9 conference titles, 6 regional titles
Assistant Coaches: Chris Czech, Emily Czech, Dean Frick and Stafani Karl
Softball has been strong since the day Craig Diedrich took charge of the program. A successful men’s fastpitch player himself, Diedrich brought a level of knowledge and understanding that a career in the men’s game could provide. His teams have won nine conference titles and six regional titles which means the Blue Jays have competed at the sectional level six times. They are always searching for that first time in a Final Four. Ask any coach that has to compete with Athens and they will tell you that basic fastpitch fundamentals are always a strength as are the position players on the defensive side of the game. Pitching is always a work in progress at most schools and Athens is no exception. The one exception to that exception is that Diedrich is great at getting work inside the circle to progress and improve. When the ranking committee convened at Chula Vista and was listing Division 4 teams for the watch list I quickly mentioned Athens only to get a couple answers surrounding the pitching circle. We didn’t list Athens initially but we have added them after I made a few more phone calls and emails. The Blue Jays return four Marawood North All-Conference performers this season. Kenadi Diedrich, Carley Lipinski, Shawna Belter and Paula Lira will lead the Blue Jays into and through the season. Kenadi Diedrich also was a post season all-district selection. My contacts tell me that Allison Wolf is another Blue Jay to be reckoned with by all their opponents. When Coach Diedrich looks at the Marawood North Conference he believes that his team will again be in the thick of things. He also sees Phillips and Chequamegon as tough conference foes. At the sectional level the Blue Jays will have to contend with always tough Pacelli, a team based out of Stevens Point. The bottom line? Look for the Blue Jays to be right in the thick of things all season long. After-all, a quick look at the Athens page on the WIAA School Directory lists their nickname as the Fighting Blue Jays.
Pubisher’s Note: I witnessed a battle between a Blue Jay and a Hairy Woodpecker at our suet feeder outside our breakfast nook window last week on one of those cold, cold days. It was a feather busting show but in the end the woodpecker flew off, only to land in a tree in the yard -- whooped by that Fighting Blue Jay!
Todd Breuer, former head coach at Weyauwega-Fremont won 198 games there including three trips to the Final Four, taking second place in 2003 in Division 3. He led the team back to the state tournament the next year in Division 4. He is now the head coach at River Ridge. I have added him to the 150 wins list but will surely announce his 200th win early in the upcoming season. Congratulations Todd.
That's it for tonight. Have a great tomorrow. And as always --
Keep it Rising!