MARSHALL - Marshall resident Kris Lembcke has grown up playing slow pitch softball and has become a dangerous threat at the plate over the years.
Lembcke was recently able to take advantage of his talents when he and other softball players from around the area had the opportunity to travel to Bangkok, Thailand and play in a tournament alongside natives of that country as well as players from other regions of Asia last November.
"It was definitely a great experience," Lembcke said. "Getting to see how players in other parts of the country play the game and see their customs and traditions was really interesting to me."
Marshall native Kris Lembcke swings at a pitch during a softball tournament in Bangkok, Thailand.
Lembcke was part of a team that was based in Shanghai, China called the "Shanghai Boozerz."
Lembcke and his teammates spent two weeks in Bangkok with one week being for "business" and one week being for "pleasure." The team took second overall in the tournament before taking a week-long vacation on the island of Phuket.
Lembcke returned on Thanksgiving Day this past year.
One of the main differences Lembcke noticed from playing slow-pitch softball on American soil was the arc of the pitch.
"American pitchers tend to have more of a flat pitch, whereas the pitchers over there tend to arc the ball more. Luckily, I didn't have as hard of time adjusting to that as some of the other guys did because some of the softball leagues around here are unlimited arc."
He definitely didn't have trouble adjusting. After making an out during his first plate appearance, he finished with a .925 (37-for-40) and was named to the all-tournament team.
Lembcke plays in numerous softball leagues during the season in-and-around Marshall and plays on a traveling team from Sioux Falls, S.D.
One of his teammates from the travel team, Jason Madsen, made the 24-hour flight with him over to Thailand to enjoy the experience.
Madsen admitted it definitely took some adjusting at first to the lifestyle.
"Just getting your body adjusted to the time difference was the toughest thing," Madsen said. "It's a 12-hour time difference. So, everything was different, which caused a bit of a culture shock. The food was a lot different, but it was a really cool experience."
The Bangkok tournament is one of the regions most popular and has the most bragging rights because it attracts the most teams. Both Madsen and Lembcke are hoping to be invited back to be play in the tournament this year and are open to other international play opportunities.