Check out photos of Taft Buzzards NAFA A-Division World Series Champions

Written by Bob on September 13th, 2016
The Buzzards of Taft, Calif. won the 2016 NAFA A-Division World Series at Caswell Park in North Mankato, Minn., Aug. 17-21, 2016. Photo Courtesy of SCIFL

The Buzzards of Taft, Calif. won the 2016 NAFA A-Division World Series at Caswell Park in North Mankato, Minn., Aug. 17-21, 2016. Photo Courtesy of SCIFL

NORTH MANKATO, Minn. – The Buzzards of Taft, Calif. won the 2016 NAFA A-Division World Series with a 6-0 record, Aug. 17-21. Several of the team members were selected to the All-World Team.

To view the photos, click: So. Calif. Independent Fastpitch League Photo Gallery

 

Nicholas Mercer: The violence of throwing a softball

Written by Bob on September 13th, 2016
FIVE-TIME ISC TOP PITCHER - Adam Folkard has won five ISC Most Outstanding Pitcher awards, and has led Australia to titles in the ISF and WBSC World Championships. In 2016, he pitched the Hill United Chiefs of Ontario, Canada to runner-up in the ISC World Tournament and was named an All-World pitcher for a eighth time.  His 4-1 record gives him 39 wins all-time in ISC World Tournament play. Photo By BOB OTTO

FIVE-TIME ISC TOP PITCHER – Adam Folkard has won five ISC Most Outstanding Pitcher awards, and has led Australia to titles in the ISF and WBSC World Championships. In 2016, he pitched the Hill United Chiefs of Ontario, Canada to runner-up in the ISC World Tournament and was named an All-World pitcher for a eighth time. His 4-1 record gives him 39 wins all-time in ISC World Tournament play. Photo By BOB OTTO

The Telegram Sports
By Nicholas Mercer
Sept. 12, 2016

ST. JOHNS, NL – Seeing high-level fastpitch softball play out on a computer screen over a webcast doesn’t do the game justice.

Nor does it allow the average fan to appreciate just what goes into throwing the softball very hard at the plate.

When you’re watching the game 20-feet from the pitching rubber, it’s easy to see the webcast sells the act incredibly short.

A hush falls over the crowd as the pitcher takes his signs from the catcher. They’re counting on seeing something great with every pitch.

That sense of anticipation only heightens when the pitcher rocks back before leaping towards the plate and uncoiling a ball that travels at ungodly speeds.

Continue Reading in The Telegram

 

Raymond Angulo Memorial tournament benefits children with special needs

Written by Bob on September 8th, 2016
The 16th Annual Raymond Angulo Memorial Men's Fastpitch Tournament and JoJo's Circle of Friends, held a tournament and fundraiser, Sept. 3-4, at Promenade Park in Corona to raise funds for children with special needs. Photo By BOB OTTO

The 16th Annual Raymond Angulo Memorial Men’s Fastpitch Tournament and JoJo’s Circle of Friends, held a tournament and fundraiser, Sept. 3-4, at Promenade Park in Corona to raise funds for children with special needs. Photo By BOB OTTO

CORONA, Calif. – Nine teams came to play fastpitch softball to determine a champion, but the real winners were JoJo and his many friends.

The 16th Annual Raymond Angulo Memorial Men’s Fastpitch Tournament has been raising funds for JoJo’s Circle of Friends, a non-profit organization that helps children with special needs.

The organization was originally established for Joseph (JoJo) Angulo, born with cerebral Palsy, and who is the grandson of the late Raymond Angulo, who passed away in 2000.

But now other children with special needs benefit as well.

“At first we started raising funds for JoJo’s needs,” said Ernie Marez, Raymond Angulo’s son-in-law and the tournament director. “But now funds are raised for special needs children where JoJo attends school and other special needs children and their families in need of special equipment.”

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In The Spotlight: Kevin Castillo, USA National Team and ISC All-World player

Written by Bob on September 7th, 2016
KEVIN CASTILLO of the Vancouver BC A's earned All-World honors at the 2016 ISC World Tournament; his second such award, as he was named All-World in 2015, too. Photo By BOB OTTO

KEVIN CASTILLO of the Vancouver BC A’s earned All-World honors at the 2016 ISC World Tournament; his second such award, as he was named All-World in 2015, too. Photo By BOB OTTO

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Kevin Castillo had a successful 2016 fastpitch season, both with his Long Beach team, Those Guys, and the Vancouver BC Athletics, his club team that finished in the top tier at the ISC World Tournament in Moline, Illinois.

  • ISC performance earns Castillo high tournament honors:
  • He was selected a Second-Team, All-World infielder for helping the Athletics finish fourth in the 36-team field of the best club teams from the U.S. and Canada.

    Click to continue reading “In The Spotlight: Kevin Castillo, USA National Team and ISC All-World player”

     

    All ages needed on the fastpitch ball diamond, even Boomers

    Written by Bob on September 7th, 2016
    THREE BOOMERS STILL HANGING AROUND THE BALL PARK - You can find some pretty good company at the ball field as I did at the Raymond Angulo Memorial Fastpitch Tournament in Corona, Sept. 3-4. No better friends than Dave Meltz, 66, left, myself (age unknown), and Neil Jones, 64. Both Dave and Neil are still pitching fastpitch, primarily for masters teams, but they don't hesitate to butt heads with the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s kids and grandkids. I, of much sounder mind, retired 16 years a go much to the delight and relief of my teammates. Photo By Ginni Jones, Neil's wife / Sept. 3, 2016

    THREE BOOMERS STILL HANGING AROUND THE BALL PARK – You can find some pretty good company at the ball field as I did at the Raymond Angulo Memorial Fastpitch Tournament in Corona, Sept. 3-4. No better friends than Dave Meltz, 66, left, myself, 68, and Neil Jones, 64.Photo By Ginni Jones, Neil’s wife / Sept. 3, 2016

    CORONA, Calif. – Both Dave Meltz and Neil Jones are still pitching fastpitch, primarily for masters teams in So. Calif. In the 1970s, they battled each other in Wisconsin, where both grew up before Dave settled in So. Calif., and Neil in Las Vegas.

    Now they square off in various masters tournaments and in the So. Calif. Independent Fastpitch League (SCIFL) Masters Division.

    Click to continue reading “All ages needed on the fastpitch ball diamond, even Boomers”

     

    Neil Jones builds his Field of Dreams and his passion grows

    Written by Bob on September 6th, 2016
    Dave Meltz, left, and Neil and Ginni Jones were at the 2016 Raymond Angulo Men's Memorial Fastpitch Tournament, Sept. 3-4. Meltz pitched for Redline, while Neil Jones pitched and played the infield for Streamline 55-Older Masters team. The three are long-time friends who once lived in Wisconsin, but now Meltz lives in So. Calif., and the Jones's live in Las Vegas. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Dave Meltz, left, and Neil and Ginni Jones were at the 2016 Raymond Angulo Men’s Memorial Fastpitch Tournament, Sept. 3-4. Meltz pitched for Redline, while Neil Jones pitched and played the infield for Streamline 55-Older Masters team. The three are long-time friends who once lived in Wisconsin, but now Meltz lives in So. Calif., and the Jones’s live in Las Vegas. Photo By BOB OTTO

    LAS VEGAS – There are sports buffs who will do just about anything to satisfy their particular passion. Neil Jones is one of them.

    Back in the early 1970s while a student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Jones happened by a softball diamond, saw some guys playing fastpitch, and thought, “this looks like fun.” So he joined a team and started playing. And he’s never stopped.

    In fact, several years later, he went into business and bought a tavern – the Diamond Inn – in Deerfield, just outside of Madison.

    He could have continued driving the 21 miles to Madison to play fastpitch. But he had a better idea: Build his own ball diamond at the inn.

    “I wanted my field of dreams,” said Jones.

    Click to continue reading “Neil Jones builds his Field of Dreams and his passion grows”

     

    Boys high school softball vanishes after 24 years in Northwest Missouri

    Written by Bob on September 5th, 2016

    News-Pres NOW.com
    By Cody Thorn / St. Joseph News-Press

    ST. JOSEPH, MO – For the better part of a quarter century, Northwest Missouri offered a unique experience for student-athletes that attended smaller schools.

    In many of the rural farming towns that lay between larger towns, football wasn’t offered, so each fall, the boys from those towns hit the diamond to play boys fastpitch softball.

    During the fall of 1992, the sport became sanctioned by the Missouri State High School Activities Association and state championships were awarded. For 24 years, a total of 11 different towns throughout the area laid claim to winning a state title.

    Jefferson defeated Winston 1-0 in the 2015 state championship game, and that turned out to be the final game played in the sport.

    One year shy of the 25th anniversary of the sport, it vanished due to various reasons this fall.

    Now, former standout athletes at those schools have moved onto other sports, but the legacy built over the years will live on with trophies, softballs with players signatures, and team photos taken over the years at the state tournament sites.

    “The best athletes at these small farm towns would play softball. It was just expected,” said former Winston coach Eric Lewis. “Likely, the basketball coach was coaching the team, so they went out and played softball.

    “It is very disappointing. I grew up playing high school fastpitch and I played with my father and I coached my sons and several of these young boys. I’ve been taking them to youth softball tournaments across the country.”

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    Enjoy Maddy Flanagan’s photos of the Raymond Angulo Memorial Tournament

    Written by Bob on September 5th, 2016
    A close play at second base between the Beaumont Coyotes and Those Guys of Long Beach. Photo By MADDY FLANAGAN

    A close play at second base between the Beaumont Coyotes and Those Guys of Long Beach. Photo By MADDY FLANAGAN

    CORONA, Calif. – Maddy and Jim Flanagan of fastpitchwest attended the Raymond Angulo Memorial Men’s Fastpitch Tournament, Jim pitching for Those Guys and Maddy photographing the tournament taking some amazing action and candid photos.

    Check out Maddy’s photo gallery at 2016 Angulo Tournament and enjoy the tournament through Maddy’s lens.

     

    Those Were The Days: Lake Crystal, Minnesota Wins the 1979 ASA Class A State Championship

    Written by Bob on September 5th, 2016

    In 1974, Ric and Ron Jones of Lake Crystal formed a men’s fastpitch team called the Lake Crystal Blues. That was 42 years a go. Six years after forming and renamed RR&R, the ball club won a state championship. Since then, Lake Crystal fastpitch teams have won boys’ and young men’s national championships. And more recently under the banner of Hennager Plumbing, claimed a 2016 NAFA A-Major World Series championship, and in 2015 a second state championship.

    Let’s roll back the tape to 1979 and relive the memory of that first state championship.

    1974 LAKE CRYSTAL BLUES - Founded by brothers Ric and Ron Jones, the Blues played in the New Ulm League and in this photo competed in the New Ulm tournament finishing runner-up. At bat is pitcher Bob Chicos, while on deck is Bob Otto. Photo By NANETTE OTTO

    1974 LAKE CRYSTAL BLUES – Founded by brothers Ric and Ron Jones, the Blues played in the New Ulm League and in this photo competed in the New Ulm tournament finishing runner-up. At bat is pitcher Bob Chicos, while on deck is Bob Otto, who was fortunate to play for the team for two years. Photo By NANETTE OTTO

    SOUTH ST. PAUL, Minn. – Lake Crystal RR&R won five straight games to capture the 1979 state ASA Class A fastpitch championship.

    Lake Crystal defeated Hollywood Bar of Rochester, 3-1, defending champion Odin, 7-5, Mr. D’s of Duluth, 3-0, and Zup’s of Silver Bay, 4-2, and Hudrlik’s Furniture of Owatonna, 6-2.

    Steve Roth paced the Lake Crystal tournament attack with nine hits in 16 trips to the plate for 11 RBI and five runs scored.

    Jim Engles picked up three wins, hurling Lake Crystal past Hollywood Bar, Mr. D’s and Hudrlik’s. Bob Chicos also pitched two victories, and Wayne Hohenstein came on in relief to earn two saves.

    Click to continue reading “Those Were The Days: Lake Crystal, Minnesota Wins the 1979 ASA Class A State Championship”

     

    In The Spotlight: Corona fastpitch legend, Jim “Chayo” Rodriguez

    Written by Bob on September 5th, 2016
    FRIENDS - These three gentlemen and fast friends have been around fastpitch for over 60 years each. From left, Jim "Chayo" Rodriguez, Alfonso Lechuga and John Maciel. Photo By BOB OTTO

    FRIENDS – These three gentlemen and fast friends have been around fastpitch for over 60 years each. From left, Jim “Chayo” Rodriguez, Alfonso Lechuga and John Maciel. Photo By BOB OTTO

    CORONA, Calif. – In 1941, 14-year-old Jim “Chayo” Rodriguez trotted on to a softball field and for nearly 40 years his prolific bat, tenacious defense and fierce desire to win, led his teams to league and tournament victories.

    Rodriguez not only played fastpitch softball, but baseball as well on the ball diamonds of Corona, Riverside, Colton and San Bernardino.

    Though he loved playing both sports – often five nights a week and in tournaments on the weekend – he finally settled for fastpitch.

      ALL THE SKILLS FOR FASTPITCH

    The game required quick feet, a sure-handed glove and fast, accurate throws from his third base spot. And at the plate, Rodriguez’ quick, compact swing was ideally suited for a sport in which the pitcher throws 80-mph rise balls and drops from 46 feet.

    Rodriguez played for several top-caliber fastpitch teams including Barto’s Washer, Wink’s Café and Lindy’s Red Devils.

    In those days, fastpitch at Corona’s City Park drew hundreds of fans. The competition was fierce with many businesses, restaurants and taverns sponsoring teams.

    But finally, the rigors of the game wore down his legs and throwing arm, convincing him it was time to retire. Though his bat argued otherwise.

    “I retired at 50 from playing even though I could still hit,” said Rodriguez, who at 86, still loves the game and seldom misses any men or girls’ fastpitch in or around his hometown of Corona.

    Click to continue reading “In The Spotlight: Corona fastpitch legend, Jim “Chayo” Rodriguez”

     
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