KELSO - The 19th annual Kelso Klassic is set to showcase the best of Men's Fast Pitch softball this weekend at the Kelso City Park. Teams from Missouri, Illinois and Tennessee will make up the 14 team bracket with each team guaranteed 3 games. The Klassic as been the premier tournament in Missouri for the past several years and fans can get ready to enjoy another highly competitive affair.
Here is a brief summary of the entrants.
Guaranteed Air Freight from Vandalia, IL, is considered by many to be the early favorite this year.
The Freight finished 3rd in the Illinois Class A state tourney a year ago and has added some big names to the already strong lineup.
Dave Scott, the all time Klassic hits leader with 98, has put services to work for Vandalia, coming from Nokomis.
The lineup already features standouts Rich Well and Nick Casey to name a few.
They are also deep in pitching, adding Alan Meinhart, also coming from Nokomis, and will be backed up by Tim Summers.
Nokomis Bud Light was the tournament runner-up a year ago, losing to St. Louis Lafayette Pub, 1-0 in the title game. Although losing two standout performers to Vandalia, they still feature hitters like Brian Pesko, Bret Teutken and Randy Milleville.
Nokomis also reams strong in the pitching department with returnees Steve Mitchell, Mike Rappe, and Mike Reis. Nokomis finished 2nd in Illinois Class A in 2002.
The Wolfpack from Belleville, IL, is also a strong contender, finishing 5th in state tournament play last season.
The Memphis Dawgs put on a very strong showing in last years Klassic finishing 4th and returning to improve on that.
T-Town KC of Teutopolis, IL, is another notable club after finishing 8th at state in 2002.
Black Gold Fastpitch from Hermann, MO, is a perennial contender and returns to Kelso for another shot at the title. Black Schowe, Justin Strauser and Terry Coon are the big offensive threats. Eric Steinbeck and Allan Speckhals are the veteran aces.
Kelso has three entries this season. The Connection is a veteran ball club with Jeff Reinagel, Brian Drew, Larry Eftink and Ron Baker.
Pitching will be Jeff Schott, Russ Martin, and Ron LeGrand.
Kelso Fastpitch features Steve Schott Rick Dohogne and Ray Reinagel in the lineup. The pitching will be handled by Tom Jansen and Mark Spence.
Kelso Supply is a young ball club looking to improve against the veterans. Brandon Amick, John Wipfler, Jason Bickings and Michael O'Brien are offensive threats. Ryan Jenkins, Ryan Medlin and Bob Ressel will handle the pitching.
Other notable entries are Memphis-TN Pro-Men, Belleville Eager Beavers, Elkville Ward's Chrysler, and Lee's Sports.
Play begins Friday night at 8 p.m..
Action resumes Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. and semifinal games will wrap up the day's action at 7:30 and 9 p.m.
The championship game will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday.