The 2022 MN Summer 1 Wall Bash was renamed this year in honor of the recent passing of local handballer Dr. Chris Foley – Chris most certainly left an impact in his wake, always the outspoken one amidst post-match pints, and the Minnesota handball community arrived in numbers throughout the weekend to show support during the event. Many of the usual suspects returned to the sponsorship banner this year, though a pointed tip of the cap is in order to Steve Johnson and MantleBuzz for logo, shirt, banner, and tabletop contributions; the shirt really does say it all (photos in text). Players enjoyed post-match pints all weekend from the comfort of their lawn chairs (and of course during consolation match time-outs) from BlackStack Brewing, again delivering a variety of top-notch releases from their taproom just up the street; EZ Eats Catering took hold of the food department as players also enjoyed fresh BBQ lunch on Saturday and Sunday.
Though the skies were a bit uncooperative yet again this year for the annual summer 1 wall big ball event in Minnesota, the running joke was that Chris Foley was sending his love down from above in the form of a prank to watch the tournament directors blow-torch the courts dry for the umpteenth time.
Continuing the trend of welcoming Big Ball talent from the 1 Wall mecca of the world, a new face made the trip to Minnesota from New York in none other than Josef “Gooch” Gotsch; from touch down to final departure, Joe had nothing but positive things to say about the hospitality and tournament spectacle in St. Paul. “It was a true honor and privilege to come out here, and to be taken care of the way I was from all of you is extremely heartwarming. Next year I’m coming with (more New Yorkers) for sure! I had a super time, and can’t wait to tell everyone back home how it was,” were Joe’s parting comments after departing for MSP airport.
All results can be found by searching for the 2022 MN Summer One Wall Bash inside BracketAce.com, but highlights include a showdown between local MN big ball star David Schiller and Joe Gotsch, both in the open singles and open doubles brackets. For the first time since the tournament’s inception, 1st place prize money went to a few locals as David Schiller and Erling Holdahl ousted a late game rally from Joe Gotsch and Chris Hanson to win the final 25-23. In the singles final, Gotsch showed impressive offensive play to keep Schiller out of the service box and take home the open title 25-15.
As this year marks the beginning of a special tribute to their father, tournament co-director Quinn Foley and his 3 older brothers continue to extend the invite to big ball enthusiasts from near and far to pay St. Paul a visit at summer’s end to play in the tournament – it is slated near the MN State Fair (one of the country’s biggest on record) for a reason! Final photo includes Chris’s wife, Janet, enjoying the weekend with a smile a mile wide. Until next year…Roll ‘Em Out!