Great photos by Maddy Flanagan of the ISF Junior Men’s World Championship

Written by Bob on July 30th, 2014

If you want to see a visual story of how the young and talented age 19-Under junior men play the game of fastpitch, then check out Maddy Flanagan’s gallery of the 2014 ISF Junior Men’s World Championship.

Maddy’s ISF Photos. Great work by a talented photographer.

 

Greg Alder, great Boise pitcher gives back to the game

Written by Bob on July 30th, 2014

BOISE, Idaho – For many fastpitch players, once their careers are over the bat and ball, glove and spikes either get thrown in the closet or sold at a garage sale. And then it’s off to the golf course or some other leisurely pursuit.

Not so with Greg Alder.

He’s as involved with men’s fastpitch today as a manager and coach as he was back in his heyday as a pitcher.

    A STEP BACK IN TIME

But first let’s take a trip back in time with the 62-year-old Alder from his teenage years to his heyday as one of the country’s best pitchers.

“At 15 my dad (Larry Sr.) got me started playing the outfield,” says Alder, adding that four generations of Alders have played fastpitch. “In my first game as a pitcher at 17, I hit three guys in the head and struck out three in the Boise League.”

Well, it seems the league didn’t take to having a young and wild, hard throwing right-hander in its midst. They didn’t want any part of him. So his dad lined up the team to play against Idaho State Penitentiary ball clubs.

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Outstanding teams in the 2014 NAFA AA & AA-Major Divisions

Written by Bob on July 30th, 2014

nafa.ws.illustration.3Abw The 2014 NAFA World Series runs from Aug. 7-17 with five divisions of teams competing for championships at the Quad Cities of Illinois & Iowa. visit the NAFA Fastpitch for complete tournament information.

QUAD CITIES – Well, it’s nine days and counting before the top divisional teams – the AA & AA-Major’s – take to the ball diamonds at Green Valley Sports Complex and Rock Island Campbell Sports Complex to kick off the 2014 NAFA World Series in the fastpitch mecca of the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa.

I don’t know many of the teams or players personally, but I’m going to make a few predictions based upon past results and what I know about the teams. (See Printable Pool Play Bracket: AA : AA-M Pool Play)

Pool A: Maple Farm Equipment Bronx, Saskatchewan, Canada: 2013 A-Major champion. The question: Can they make the jump up in division and compete in the tough AA & AA-Major? I think so.

Pool B: Kelso Fastpitch of Kelso, Missouri. I appreciate the way this team has stuck together with a mostly local roster from the small town of Kelso (pop. about 600), located along the Missouri and Illinois border. This year marked the 30th Annual Kelso Klassic Tournament. (See photo gallery.

Pool C: Got to go with Topeka Toros. Always give everyone problems – from ISC to NAFA. Doesn’t seem to matter what division their opponent is rated, the Toros just pick up the sticks and gloves and say, “let’s get it on!”

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Someone to Know: NAFA Hall of Famer, Rod Engle

Written by Bob on July 29th, 2014

BEDFORD, Penn. – Rod Engle will be inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame at the 2014 World Series in the Quad Cities of Illinois / Iowa during ceremonies between Aug. 7-17. Let’s get to know a little about his fastpitch career.

How many years have you been involved in fastpitch? I have been involved with fast pitch off and on for 40 plus years.

What levels (divisions) have you played at? I have been involved at all levels and have played in ASA, NAFA, & NSA.

What different age groups (Masters, NAFA World Series, 23-Under, etc.) have you been involved with? I have been a part of championship teams, young teams just starting out, a member of state championships and regional championships with multiple teams, and national championship teams.

How long have you managed teams and what titles have you held? I have managed for 30 seasons, been president of the Mid-Atlantic Fastpitch Travel League, an ASA Board Member, and former director for NAFA.

What are some teams you’ve coached? For a five year period, I coached Pendu Fastpitch as a NAFA participating team, and the Bedford Rays as an ASA team; all at the same time.

Any special memories? The most fun was when the two teams played each other in the Mid-Atlantic Fastpitch Travel League and I coached from third base for BOTH teams.

You’ve since retired, but any involvement in the sport? I continue to sponsor the Bedford Rays Fastpitch team.

 

2014 NAFA World Series Teams Listed By Class

Written by Bob on July 29th, 2014

DAYTON, Ore. – Please review the teams that will be competing for championships in their respective divisions at the 2014 NAFA World Series, Aug. 7-17, in the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa.

Printable PDF file: 2014 Teams By Div

2014 Teams By Div

 

ATTENTION: NAFA World Series 23-Under Division Coaches

Written by Bob on July 29th, 2014

Print

DAYTON, Ore. – The start times for the NAFA World Series, 23-Under Division, Aug. 15-17, is being prepared, and information can be found on the NAFA website.

    Please review the following requirements
  • Email us back that you are coming.
  • Mail Your $250 entry fee to NAFA, PO Box 566, Dayton, Ore. 97114.
  • Reserve your motel rooms today at one of these hotels. Please call and reserve your rooms today.
    • Teams Committed

    1) Waseda University Maroon, Japan

    2) Kegel Knights Jr’s, North / South Dakota and Minnesota

    3) Young Buck’s, California (Clyde Bennett)

    4) Nebraska 23U, Nebraska (Ross Martin)

    Click to continue reading “ATTENTION: NAFA World Series 23-Under Division Coaches”

     

    Former ISC Executive Director and Hall of Fame member Milton Stark passes away

    Written by Bob on July 26th, 2014

    2013-Stark_Taft_HoF.1web

    Eight distinguished Taft Union High School graduates were inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame Saturday night at a banquet held in the Mullen Gymnasium. From left, they are Ben McEnroe and Evelyn Dykes accepting for the late Dr. Ben Dykes (Class of 1940), John T. Howe (Class of 1953), Larry Peahl (Class of 1953), Bill Black (Class of 1943), Lee Roy Kelly (Class of 1960), Milt Stark (Class of 1950), second from right and Dick Walsh (Class of 1956). Inductee Tracy Rogers (Class of 1985) was unable to attend. They join 47 others enshrined in the Hall of Fame since its inception in 2007.

    READ: Taft Union High School Hall of Fame adds eight distinguished alumni

    Milton Dale Stark
    April 28, 1932 – July 24, 2014

    Milton Dale Stark, 82, class of 1950 died from congestive heart failure Thursday, July 24, 2014 peacefully at home in Anaheim. He was born in Fellows on April 28, 1932 to Ernest and Ruth Stark.

    Milt left Taft after graduating from Taft College in 1956. He then graduated from Whittier College in 1958. He taught English and coached for 30 years at Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights.

    Through years of military, collegiate and recreational competition, Milt began to compile one of the most powerful resumes in the history of fast-pitch softball as a catcher. He was a member of the famed Long Beach Nitehawks and was an All-World catcher in 1966 and 1968.

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    NAFA unveils 2014 World Series logo (and it’s pretty cool!)

    Written by Bob on July 25th, 2014

    Print

    DAYTON, Ore. – The 2014 NAFA logo was created and designed by Fine Designs, Inc. of Seattle.

    Wonderful job. Very creative. Very cool!

     

    Wanderoos, Wisc. Men’s Fastpitch Tournament

    Written by Bob on July 25th, 2014

    WANDEROOS, Wisc. – The Wanderoos Men’s Fastpitch tournament will be held Aug. 1-3 with the prize payoff based on 10 teams entering.

    But what a substantial payoff!

    1st Place $1,000
    2nd Place $400
    3rd Place $300

      THE DETAILS
  • Entry fee $225
  • Courtesy runners
  • Orange base
  • seven-run rule after five innings
  • International tie-breaker rule after 10 innings
  • NO carry-ons
  • Food & refreshments sold at the ball park
    • CONTACT

    Mike (715) 338-7158

     

    Will to win drove Craig Brown to become one of Minnesota’s all-time great fastpitch pitchers

    Written by Bob on July 24th, 2014

    1982-Craig Brown.1web Craig Brown, a left-handed pitcher from St. James, Minn. carved out a great pitching career for the James Gang of St. James, and Mankato Happy Chef. Photo BY BOB OTTO / 1982 St. James Dennis Johnson Field

    SEMINOLE, FLORIDA – His speed was good, but not great. The movement on his pitches likewise.

    But as for his intestinal fortitude, his work ethic, his will to win? Now that was great.

    Craig Brown threw a fast-pitched softball in the 75 mph range. That wouldn’t put him in the high velocity class with ISC Hall of Famers Peter Meredith, Darren Zack and Michael White.

    Or even with Minnesota Hall of Fame pitchers Leroy Jolstad, Al DeWall or Dale Root. All these aforementioned pitchers threw in the high 70s to 80s mph.

      BIG TIME GAMER

    But the left-handed “Brownie” as he was known in his playing days, certainly is in the same class when it comes to the bottom line:

    Winning.

    He was all about that in his 27-year career. A career that began as a 12 year old in 1960 and ended in 1987 at the still young pitching age of 39.

    During that span, he didn’t stray too far from his roots in St. James, Minn., where he grew up pitching at Memorial Park for the Merchants and VFW.

    And later at the peak of his career, for the best team ever to come from the small town of 5,000 – the James Gang.

    Comprised of mostly locally grown athletes, the James Gang was one of the best “small town” teams ever to play in the ISC and ASA Major divisions.

      TOUGH LEFTY AND RIGHTY COMBO

    With lefty Brown and right-handed Charlie Engler toeing the rubber, the James Gang was always a threat to win state and regional tournaments. And they were always a threat in the ISC World Tournament and the ASA Major National Tournament.

    No big-budgeted team dared take Engler or Brown lightly or the duo would knock them off their lofty perch.

    St. James native Dennis Johnson watched Brown mature as a skinny 12-year-old into one of the state’s all-time great hurlers.

    “Craig wasn’t scared of anybody,” said Johnson, who helped direct the state ISC travel league for about 20 years, and is an ISC Hall of Fame member. “And he had that change-up as his big pitch. It gave a lot of teams trouble, especially home-run hitting teams.”

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