The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

May 11, 2014

West fastpitch players prepare for summer of fun

Despite limited experience, duo chosen for USA junior team

A year ago, fastpitch softball wasn’t even on the radar of Mankato West senior Tyler Stoffel or junior Steven Nessler. They were baseball guys who played other high school sports during the fall and winter.

That began to change last June, however, when Steve’s dad, Dan Nessler, pulled a few strings and got his son invited to a USA junior men’s softball tryout camp at Midland, Mich. Dan is a former world class fastpitch player who now coaches the summer Mankato Pepper senior girls team.

Steven attended the tryout and thought “it went pretty well.” He was told they would let him know in February if he had made the team.

“It’s different trying to hit a fastpitch softball than it is a baseball,” Steven said. “I worked out with my dad ahead of time and thought I did OK.”

Two months later, it was Stoffel’s turn. He found out about a fastpitch team at the men’s national tournament at Caswell Park that was in need of a couple of players. He volunteered and ended up playing six games at shortstop for the team.

Before that tournament, Stoffel was told by USA fastpitch officials that they would be scouting the competition for potential players.

“It’s a lot different seeing that ball come in,” he said. “I don’t think I got a hit until my third or fourth game. It took me a good 15-20 at-bats before I felt I made the adjustment.”

In February, USA announced it’s final roster for the 19-under junior men’s team, and both Nessler and Stoffel were on it.

“I was pretty excited, I’m still excited,” Stoffel said. “It should be a lot of fun.”

Nessler said he was a little surprised, but not much.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
Outdoors

Latest auto racing news
Featured Ads
Live Moondogs coverage
Shane Frederick's Twitter updates
Chad Courrier's Sports Report
Latest NCAA basketball news
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
NDN Video
James Rodriguez Joins Real Madrid Kluwe: How can Tony Dungy advocate felons, not Michael Sam Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Bowlsby talks cheating in NCAA Clay Travis On Mettenberger Punch & "Dumbest Fanbase" - @TheBuzzeronFOX Morosi: Lee could be a tough sell Dareus fails conditioning test, Watkins lifts spirits English Captain Steven Gerrard Retires From International Soccer - @TheBuzzeronFOX How Will Wiggins Deal Impact Potential Love Trade? McIlroy wins British Open, Tiger finishes 69th 105-year-old woman throws first pitch A Stormtrooper and Chewbacca invade D-backs game Astros, Aiken fail to reach deal Could Rousey beat Mayweather? Rory McIlroy on pace to break British Open records Boomer: Lovie, Bucs to surpirse in 2014 British Open Round 2 in 60 Seconds Gasol: Money wasn't the priority The British Open in 60 Seconds Who SI's Michael Bamberger is Picking to Win at Royal Liverpool — And Why