Circle Tap hosts Boys of Summer tourney

July 12, 2013

Denmark, WI


ORIGINAL STORY  by Andrew Pekarek

Trevor Ethier of the Saskatoon Diamondbacks pitches against the Minnesota Angels in the Boys of Summer fast pitch softball tournament championship game at the Circle Tap baseball diamond in Denmark, Wisconsin. File/Press-Gazette Media

John Miller wanted to be on a fastpitch softball team.

So when he bought the Circle Tap bar in Denmark in 1967, one of the first things he did was build a softball diamond to ensure teams would come his way.

The task facing Darren Derricks, the current owner of Circle Tap, and other men’s fastpitch enthusiasts today is building awareness for the game to ensure it continues with the area’s younger generation.

“That is the biggest problem we’re having right now,” said Derricks, who is hosting the 14th annual Boys of Summer fastpitch softball tournament, which begins tonight and ends with Sunday’s championship game at 2 p.m. Tournament games will also be held at Maribel Lions Park.

Eleven of the 12 elite men’s squads competing are ranked by the International Softball Congress and the winner will earn a spot in the 2014 ISC World Tournament.

The New York Gremlins are tied for second and managed by Denny Bruckert, who led Circle Tap to the 2006 Amateur Softball Association national championship.

While there’s obvious familiarity and lots of young talent among the teams coming from seven states and one Canadian team to compete this weekend, the same can’t necessarily be said about the fastpitch game at the local level.

“I think most of the kids don’t even know it’s out there,” said Mark Miller, John’s son, who owns The Bar of Appleton.

“You can play fastpitch softball in addition to baseball or slowpitch or whatever they’re doing. We’re just trying to make kids aware of it, then getting them to play and then sticking with it.”

Following in the footsteps of his father, Mark Miller has a long history with helping sponsor fastpitch teams, including The Bar Buzz and the Circle Tap Dukes that are playing this weekend.

The three Wisconsin teams competing in this year’s Boys of Summer tournament are the most in-state squads it has had in about five or six years, according to Derricks, who due in part to the tough economy wasn’t able to sponsor a Circle Tap team for three years until bringing it back last year with the help of Miller and Andy Dufeck.


Patsy's pitcher Adam Folkhard, of New York, leaps through the air as he delievers a pitch in the second inning during the Boys of Summer championship game against the BB Gremlins from Broken Bow, Neb., at Circle Tap in Denmark on Sunday, July 13, 2008. File/Press-Gazette Media