Shutting Down Ottoinfocus

Written by Bob on November 15th, 2017

YUCAIPA, Calif. – I want to thank all who have visited and contributed to my blog over the years by sending me story ideas, press releases, tournament and league information, fliers and photos. I humbly thank you for your support.

I have enjoyed writing, photographing and blogging about the great game of men’s fastpitch softball, but other interests on my “bucket list” are demanding attention, so on Dec. 1, I will be shutting down the blog.

However, I encourage my loyal supporters to send your fastpitch news to Al Doran’s
alsfastball.com and Jim Flanagan’s
fastpitchwest.com.

As many of you already know, both websites do a wonderful job of promoting and getting the word out about our great game.

And for Facebook followers, “Those Were The Days (of) Men’s Fastpitch Softball,” does a terrific service in reliving fastpitch days of yore for us oldtimers.

Thank you,
Bob Otto

 

Iowa Men’s Fastpitch Hall of Fame holds 2017 induction ceremony

Written by Bob on November 1st, 2017

AMES, Iowa – Many of Iowa’s greatest fastpitch players and umpires were inducted into the sport’s 2017 Hall of Fame class on Oct. 15, including:

  • Stan Wisnieski, umpire
  • Bill Clark, umpire (posthumously)
  • Jason Darling
  • Matt Darling
  • Dale Lassen
  • Tom Owen
  • Scott Petersen
  • Jerry Schneekloth
  • Mike Stickney
  • Michael White
  • To read each Hall of Fame members biography, click on 2017 Iowa Men’s Softball Hall of Fame Class

     

    Softball is ‘back where it belongs’ according to Canada coach Mark Smith

    Written by Bob on November 1st, 2017

    CANADA WILL BE AMONG THE MEDAL FAVOURITES IN THE WOMEN’S SOFTBALL AT TOKYO 2020, AND THEIR COACH MARK SMITH – A WORLD CHAMPION AS A PLAYER – BELIEVES THAT JAPAN IS THE PERFECT PLACE FOR THE SPORT TO ENJOY AN OLYMPIC RENAISSANCE.

    Ottawa, ON – Softball is ‘back where it belongs’ according to Canada coach Mark Smith.

    “I think Tokyo will put on an absolutely phenomenal show for softball,” said Mark Smith, coach of the Canada women’s team. “Japan is the ideal place to profile the intensity of this great game. Last year I was at the Tokyo Dome for a match between Japan and USA, and there were 31,000 fans, all absolutely loving it.

    Smith is a softball veteran. He has experienced the dizzying highs of winning a world championship gold as a player for Canada’s men’s side in 1992, and two world championship bronze medals as a coach of the women (2010 and 2016). He also had to face the disappointment of seeing the sport lose its Olympic status.

    “It’s funny, when you’re in the middle of your career as a player and win a big title, you don’t really appreciate it – you’re naive enough to think you’re going to be doing it again next time around,” he said.

    Click to continue reading “Softball is ‘back where it belongs’ according to Canada coach Mark Smith”

     

    Eight teams competing for 2017 NAFA Wood Bat World Series

    Written by Bob on October 20th, 2017

    LAS VEGAS – Eight teams will battle for the title of NAFA Wood Bat World Series champion at Shadow Rock Softball Complex in Las Vegas, Nev., Oct. 21-22.

    Games start Saturday morning at 9 with the championship scheduled for Sunday at 2:15.

    2017 NAFA WOOD BAT WORLD SERIES BRACKET

    2017 NAFA Wood Bat World Series

     

    Casa Trejo Bombers honor late patriarch by taking second in NAFA Masters World Series

    Written by Bob on October 17th, 2017

    The Casa Trejo Bombers of Calimesa, Calif. finished second in the 2017 North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) World Series in Carson City, Nevada, Sept. 15. From bottom left, Sergio Marquez, Donovan Reyes, Marlon Campbell, Alberto Ramirez, Eddie Arnal, Albert Garcia and Joaquin Juarez. Top row from left, Leo Saldana, Juan Valencia, Ralph Roybal, Gabriel Marquez, Herlan Yeomans, Shawn Campa, Carlos Vasquez, Randy Clay and Ricardo Valenzuela. Courtesy Casa Trejo Bombers

    YUCAIPA, Calif. – Casa Trejo restaurant is known throughout much of Southern California for serving fine Mexican food. Oh, and one other thing: it supports championship caliber men’s fastpitch softball.

    Ralph Trejo, Sr., opened the restaurant over 20 years ago and soon after he began sponsoring men’s fastpitch teams. Success was immediate with some pretty lofty accomplishments over the years.

    In 2007, the Casa Trejo So. Calif. Bombers finished second in the prestigious International Softball Congress (ISC) World Tournament in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

    Now 10 years later, the Bombers once again achieved an incredible accomplishment on the national stage by taking runner-up in the eight-team Silver Division of the North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) Masters World Series in Carson City, Nevada on Sept. 15.

    SEASON DEVOTED TO PATRIARCH

    Ralph Trejo, Sr. sponsored men’s fastpitch softball teams for over 40 years. Trejo passed away in 2016. His Casa Trejo Bombers ball club dedicated the 2017 season to his legacy and finished it superbly by taking second place in the North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) Masters World Series in Carson City, Nevada, Sept. 15. Courtesy Photo

    But Trejo, the patriarch of the team, died nearly a year ago. However, his passing motivated the Bombers to make this season special in honor of Trejo’s devotion to the sport and to his team.

    “Ralph Sr. has sponsored our master’s (age 40-over) team for about ten years,” said manager Ralph Roybal. “We dedicated the season to Ralph. Bringing home some hardware meant everything to us.”

    For many teams, once the sponsor is gone, the team folds. But not so with the Bombers. Trejo’s daughter, Ruth Trejo-Garcia, continues running the restaurant, and sponsoring the team. Just as her father would have wanted.

    “It’s the love of the game that he had, and wanting to keep it going for him,” said Trejo-Garcia. “My dad would have been excited about the guys winning, but he would have expected it. He always expected the best from his guys.”

    Click to continue reading “Casa Trejo Bombers honor late patriarch by taking second in NAFA Masters World Series”

     

    Mission accomplished as USA men medal in the Pan American Fastpitch Championship

    Written by Bob on September 28th, 2017

    2017 USA SOFTBALL National Team that won the Bronze Medal at the 2017 Pan American Fastpitch Championship in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Sept. 15-24 The team bottom row from left, Kevin Castillo, Duane Weiler, Jenner Christiansen, Yusef Davis, Jr., Tyler Dudley, Jonathan Lynch, Cameron Schiller and Nick Mullins. Top row from left, Bruce Sidel, Joel Cooley, Jeff Nowaczyk, Greg Hicks, Alfonso Malaguti, Tony Mancha, Chase Turner, Gregg Leather, Travis Nevin, Chris Seben, Erick Ochoa, Ray Gutierrez and Nick McCurry. USA Softball Photo

    SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – The USA Softball Men’s National Team embarked on a mission heading into the Pan American Fastpitch Championship, Sept. 15-24, in Santo Domingo: play outstanding softball and earn a medal.

    Mission accomplished.

    On the final day of play, on a late Sunday afternoon, 15 USA players and three coaches were all smiles as bronze medals were slipped over their heads, the reward for finishing third among 16 of the best men’s fastpitch softball teams in the world.

    “The feeling I got was so amazing when I got the bronze medal,” said Yusef Davis, Jr., who earned his first selection to the national team and finished with a .429 batting average. “It was awesome to represent my country and wear those three letters (USA) across my chest. It’s an experience I’ll never forget.”

    JEFF NOWACZYK proudly displays his Bronze Medal and the trophy during the awards presentation at the 2017 Pan American Fastpitch Championship in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Sept. 15-24. USA Softball photo

    Team USA finished with a 5-2 record in Pool A, 1-2 in the playoffs. Among their victories, were impressive decisions over Dominican Republic and Cuba, along with beating tournament favorite Canada in the playoffs.

    Gregg Leather, appointed head coach after Denny Bruckert resigned in August due to health reasons, praised his ball club for its fine performance.

    “I am tremendously proud of this team and what we accomplished,” said Leather in a USA Softball press release. “We came into this tournament with some goals; to get double life in our pool, win a medal, and be on top of the podium receiving a medal. We came up short on the last goal, but are very happy with the Bronze Medal we did earn.”

    Click to continue reading “Mission accomplished as USA men medal in the Pan American Fastpitch Championship”

     

    Venezuela, Pan American Champion

    Written by Bob on September 25th, 2017

    SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Venezuela was crowned the two-time Pan American champions after beating Argentina in the final by 9-2 in six innings, Sunday, Sept. 24.

    Venezuela had to win three consecutive games on Sunday to claim the title. The runner up was Argentina, while USA finished in third place. Besides, Cuba defeated Canada by 3-2 and clinched the last ticket to Lima 2019 Pan American Games.

    Venezuela and Argentina decided again the Pan American Championship, in South American decisive game, after that final played in Parana in 2014. And Venezuela defeated Argentina one more time to retain the continental title.

    Click to continue reading “Venezuela, Pan American Champion”

     

    Wonderful discovery of the green Band Box fastpitch jacket

    Written by Bob on September 21st, 2017

    Over the 53 years I’ve been involved with fastpitch softball as a player, writer and photographer, I’ve collected a sizeable number of jackets. These are my favorites. From left, the photographer jacket the ISC issued me in 1996; the St. James, Minn. Band Box jacket I received in 1976 when I pitched for the team; the 1996 ISC commissioner’s jacket, my Yucaipa jacket of 1983, and I’m wearing my NAFA apparel from the 2017 World Series. But the green Band Box jacket is my prized fastpitch possession. Photo By NANETTE OTTO

    YUCAIPA, Calif. – My wife has been on a cleaning binge of late. She’s pulling boxes off shelves, inspecting the contents, and more often than not tossing most of the things on the pile designated “yard sale stuff.”

    Yesterday, she asked me to haul down from the rafters in the garage a large, heavy, blue toter. I followed her orders without complaint. As long as I’m free of decision making, I’m OK with her mission to unclutter our lives.

    So I did as I was ordered and set the toter on the garage floor. I didn’t bother to open it. My job was finished.

    Well, later in the day after she had opened the toter, she came back into the house and said:

    “Bob, you better come and look at this stuff.”

    Click to continue reading “Wonderful discovery of the green Band Box fastpitch jacket”

     

    USA Men’s National Fastpitch Team putting up impressive stats

    Written by Bob on September 21st, 2017

    SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Team USA has finished pool play in the X WBSC Pan American Fastpitch Championships with a 5-2 record, which gives the Americans
    second place in the pool.

    It was an important accomplishment, as Team USA secured a double life in the playoffs that begin Sept. 22 and conclude with the championship scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 24.

    Many of you fastpitch fans are “stats” conscious, so to check out how our American boys are doing at bat, pitching and fielding, just click on to Team USA Pool Play Statistics

     

    USA Clinches Second, Meets Canada In Pan American Fastpitch Playoffs

    Written by Bob on September 21st, 2017

    With two consecutive victories over Cuba and Puerto Rico, the United States clinched second place in Pool A of the 2017 WBSC X Pan American Fastpitch Championship, Wednesday, Sept. 20. Team USA will now meet Canada, which went undefeated at 7-0 to finish first in Pool B. Courtesy Photo WBSC

    World Baseball Softball Confederation press release

    SANTO DOMINGO, DR — The round robin has finished at the X Men’s Softball Pan American Championship held in the Dominican Republic and the playoffs were set with the eight teams to compete for the five spots for Lima 2019 Pan American Games.

      USA CLINCHES SECOND

    Venezuela ended unbeaten in Pool A and clinch first place in the standings, followed by USA, Cuba and Colombia. These three teams finished with the same record of 5-2, but the US team earned the second place by the tie-breaker criteria.

      CANADA UNDEFEATED MEETS USA

    On the other hand, Canada claimed first place in Pool B with no losses, followed by Argentina, Mexico and Guatemala.

    This way, the payoffs will begin on Friday with two historic rivalries between Venezuela and Argentina, and Canada versus USA.

    Click to continue reading “USA Clinches Second, Meets Canada In Pan American Fastpitch Playoffs”

     
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