KIMBERLY — In the world of men’s fastpitch softball Montfort’s boys of summer are making quite a name for themselves around the state of Wisconsin.
Two weekends ago at the Wisconsin North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) State Championships in Kimberly, Tower Junction — a team comprised of mostly most Iowa–Grant graduates — won a second consecutive Class A state title.
Tower went a perfect 4–0 in the three-day tournament and defeated Appleton’s J&D Tube 4–1 in the championship game on Sunday, July 1 to claim its second straight state crown, a year after winning the 2011 title with a 4–1 record.
After a first-round bye in the 10-team, three-game guarantee tournament Tower opened its state title defense Saturday morning with a not-so-easy, come-from-behind 8–6 victory over Siebert’s Pub near Kenosha.
Tower survived six errors and six unearned runs in a two-inning span and eventually won in its final at-bat with a three-run sixth inning rally that was capped by second baseman John Novinskie’s two-run homer.
The comeback win kept Tower in the winner’s bracket and helped it avoid being sent to the loser’s bracket and possibility of having to win at least seven more games to win the title.
Tower’s jumped out to an early 5–0 lead, but four errors in the top of the fourth inning allowed four unearned runs to score, and two more errors in the fifth enabled Siebert’s to grab a 6–5 lead.
Outfielder Treye Dennison singled to lead off the sixth and moved to second on catcher Travis Halverson’s sacrifice bunt.
First baseman Ryan Allen double off the wall in right field to drive home Dennison and the tying run, right before Novinskie launched the game-winning homer over the left field fence.
Manager/pitcher Isaac Campbell picked up the win for Tower.
In the semifinals Tower Junction and veteran ace Ricky McMannes survived a 14-inning marathon with a 2–1 victory over Green Bay’s Dykstra Engineering. McMannes struck out 14 and allowed just one run in the 14-inning complete game.
Allen hit a solo homer in the fifth to tie the game.
Novinskie again had the game-winning hit, a two-out RBI single in the top of the 14th inning that plate Halverson, who doubled to lead off the inning.
In the winner’s bracket championship Tower cruised to an easy 9–2, seven-run rule five-inning victory over eventual runner-up J&D Tube.
Novinskie had and RBI double in the top of the first and designated hitter Kevin Speth added a three-run jack as Tower jumped out to a 4–0 lead before J&D even came to bat.
Campbell picked up his second win of the tournament allowing just two runs in five innings of work.
In the championship Tower fell behind 1–0 in the second inning, but scored twice in the third and never trailed again.
Outfielder Kyle Reimenapp single to start the rally and Dennison and Halverson strung together back-to-back RBIs singles.
Tower added a run in the sixth when third baseman Dustin Bollant reached on a error and moved to second on an Allen single and later scored on shortstop Matt Anderson’s RBI ground out.
Allen singled home Dennison in the seventh to provide the final margin of victory.
“We played well and had a lot of fun,” said Campbell. “It was a fun weekend.”
Tower Junction’s state championship team included: Campbell (from Rewey), McMannes (Highland), Halverson (Monfort), Allen (Livingston), Novinskie (Monfort), Bollant (Monfort), Anderson (Muscoda), Reimenapp (Monfort), Dennison (Linden), Speath (Livingston), outfielder Dustin Rickard (Linden), outfielder Chris Pease (Preston).
Tower Junction regulars Cody Zoha (Monfort) and Luke Sander (Monfort) were unable to attend the state tournament.
Tower Junction is 26–4 so far this year and in addition to winning the Class A State Tournament, won the Wauzeka Memorial Day Weekend Tournament and the Boscobel Fastpitch Hall of Fame Tournament June 9–11. Tower also finished second at tournaments in Monfort, Mineral Point and Livingston.
The team has a handful of tournaments remaining on this year’s schedule, including the NAFA Class A National Tournament in Topeka, Kan. Aug. 16–19. Fifty teams are already registered for the four-game guarantee tournament.
“We are looking forward to having a good time and hopefully improve upon last year’s fifth-place finish,” said Campbell.