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Gophers softball coach Jessica Allister: ‘We’re going to prove them wrong.’

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

By BRIAN MURPHY / brianmurphy@pioneerpress.com
Published: May 17, 2017

TWIN CITIES, Minn. – The suddenly No. 1-ranked Gophers softball team was so certain it would be among the 16 schools to host an NCAA regional this weekend that travel plans were nonexistent — until Sunday night’s selection committee snub.

“Shame on us for assuming anything,” Minnesota coach Jessica Allister said Wednesday.

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For more NCAA softball coverage, visit: ESPN

Casey salutes its fast-pitch softball heritage with museum

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

BOB FALLSTROM – Herald & Review Community News Editor
Originally published Sep 9, 2008

DECATUR, IL – The wonderful world of fast-pitch softball was remembered at the Casey Popcorn Festival over Labor Day weekend,

Fast-pitch softball was my favorite during 40 years of sports reporting. I was hooked as a skinny lad of 10 while chasing foul balls at the airport diamond in Dixon, my hometown. I received 10 cents for outmaneuvering several other boys to corral the foul ball and return it.

This was while my uncle was playing in a league game. He was a big guy, a catcher. They called him Fatty.

Read Fallstroms’ story about Casey Softball Museum and Hall of Honor

Boys high school softball vanishes after 24 years in Northwest Missouri

Monday, 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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Ballpark notebook at the Ray Angulo Memorial Tournament

Sunday, September 4th, 2016
Beaumont Coyotes' Richard Soriano beats out an infield single in a 10-2 win over Those Guys of Long Beach in the Raymond Angulo Memorial Men's Fastpitch Tournament, Saturday, at Promenade Park in Corona. Photo By BOB OTTO

Beaumont Coyotes’ Richard Soriano beats out an infield single in a 10-2 win over Those Guys of Long Beach in the Raymond Angulo Memorial Men’s Fastpitch Tournament, Saturday, at Promenade Park in Corona. Photo By BOB OTTO

CORONA, Calif. – I had never been to a fastpitch game at the Promenade Park Softball Fields in Corona until Saturday. What a great facility. Groomed infields, lush grass, back-to-back backstops for fans to walk from one game to another, plenty of shade for mom’s toting along young children, and a playground for kids bored with watching dad or grandpa play.

David Valdivia, Jr. has taken over much of running the Beaumont Coyotes from his dad, and he’s doing a great job. The young Coyotes are fresh off taking 4th in the NAFA A-Division World Series in North Mankato, Minnesota.

…Valdivia said timely hitting, “top to bottom of the order, and sometimes one then the other, and our 16 players, everybody stepped up,” said Valdivia. This was the first trip to a NAFA World Series for the Coyotes and Valdivia gave NAFA and Caswell Park a thumbs-up.

“It was a great tournament,” he said. “We definitely want to go back next year. We found out we can hang with those teams.”

Click to continue reading “Ballpark notebook at the Ray Angulo Memorial Tournament”

In the spotlight, Toronto Gators Brad Rona 2016 ISC World Tournament MVP

Monday, August 22nd, 2016
HAPPY GATORS - Brad Rona is congratulated by his Toronto Gators teammates after he hit a two-run home run off New York Gremlins' Andrew Kirkpatrick that led to a 3-1 victory in the 2016 ISC World Tournament at Green Valley Sports Complex in Moline, IL. Photo By BOB OTTO

HAPPY GATORS – Brad Rona is congratulated by his Toronto Gators teammates after he hit a two-run home run off New York Gremlins’ Andrew Kirkpatrick that led to a 3-1 victory in the 2016 ISC World Tournament at Green Valley Sports Complex in Moline, IL. Photo By BOB OTTO

MOLINE, IL – When New Zealand native Brad Rona squares up on a softball with his powerful swing, it will go a long, long way.

Rona hit a home run off New York Gremlins Andrew Kirkpatrick that flew over the fence in left-centerfield about 300 feet that led to the Toronto Gators, 3-1, victory, moving the Gators into the winner’s bracket final.

BRAD RONA of the Toronto Gators, 2016 ISC World Tournament Champions. Photo By BOB OTTO

BRAD RONA of the Toronto Gators, 2016 ISC World Tournament Champions. Photo By BOB OTTO

The Gators went on to win the World Tournament by dethroning two-time defending champion Hill United Chiefs of Ontario, Canada.

And Rona was named first-team All-World and selected the Cleo Goyette Most Valuable Player for his .385 average (5-for-13), 3 home runs and 5 RBI.

Rona has been selected All-World seven times (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016), but 2016 marks the first time he received the MVP honor.

New Hamburg Mustangs rally to take ISC Under-21 World Tournament Championship

Sunday, August 21st, 2016
THE GRAND PRIZE - The New Hamburg Mustangs of New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada, defeated the Alvinston Jr. Indians, 8-7, to claim the ISC Under-21 World Tournament Championship at Green Valley Sports Complex, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016. Accepting the trophy from ISC Regional Commissioner, Robert Gray are, from left, Nick Penner, coach Dwight Brenneman, and Isaiah Whetstone. Photo By BOB OTTO

THE GRAND PRIZE – The New Hamburg Mustangs of New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada, defeated the Alvinston Jr. Indians, 8-7, to claim the ISC Under-21 World Tournament Championship at Green Valley Sports Complex, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016. Accepting the trophy from ISC Regional Commissioner, Robert Gray are, from left, Nick Penner, coach Dwight Brenneman, and Isaiah Whetstone. Photo By BOB OTTO

MOLINE, IL – The New Hamburg Mustangs were down and about out. But then came the big break that turned the game around in their favor: miscues.

Trailing 7-1 in the sixth inning, the Mustangs seized upon two errors, a passed ball and a walk, coupled with five hits to rally and beat the Alvinston Jr. Indians, 8-7, and claim the ISC Under-21 World Tournament Championship, at Green Valley Sports Complex, Saturday.

The Mustangs of New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada finished 5-0 in the four-team tournament. The Indians from Alvinston, Ontario, Canada took second at 3-2, with the Mariners of East Rapids, Mich. taking third, and Richville, Mich. fourth.

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St. Joseph, Missouri Still Alive In Men’s Fastpitch

Saturday, August 20th, 2016
John Younger, left, and his Son Brian Younger of St. Joseph, Missouri were at the ISC World Tournament in Moline, Il. John Younger, 68, still enjoys playing fastpitch in a league in St. Joseph. Photo By BOB OTTO

John Younger, left, and his Son Brian Younger of St. Joseph, Missouri were at the ISC World Tournament in Moline, Il. John Younger, 68, still enjoys playing fastpitch in a league in St. Joseph. Photo By BOB OTTO

ST. JOSEPH, MO – John Younger has played a lot of fastpitch in his 68 years, and he still does. In the St. Joseph League.

Amazingly, the league has been going since 1934, said Younger, and he’s been playing in it since 1955. That’s a long history for Younger and the league he loves playing in.

While fastpitch has died out in many towns and cities, the St. Joseph League continues to survive year after year.

Click to continue reading “St. Joseph, Missouri Still Alive In Men’s Fastpitch”

Remembering and saying goodbye to my brother

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

I life well lived, but one we wish could have lasted much longer. Goodbye brother Bill.

Bill Otto obituary

Minnesota Sports Federation Class B Men’s State Fastpitch Championship narrows down to two

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

NORTH MANKATO, Minn. – After dropping its first game, Jordan Realty of West St. Paul has won four consecutive games to advance to the title game of the Minnesota Sports Federation (MSF) Class B State Championship, where the realty team will take on undefeated Hennager Plumbing (2-0) of Lake Crystal at Caswell Park in North Mankato.

In the double-elimation format, if Hennager wins, they claim the title. If Jordan wins a second, winner-take-all game will follow.

MSFstatBchampionship.1.lr

Those Were The Days: Featuring pitcher Neal Chadwick

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015
Neal Chadwick of the Page Brake mens' fastpitch team, Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo By BOB OTTO / 1995 ISC World Tournament

Neal Chadwick of the Page Brake mens’ fastpitch team, Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo By BOB OTTO / 1995 ISC World Tournament

SALT LAKE CITY – One of Utah’s all-time best pitchers was Neal Chadwick who pitched for Page Brake of Salt Lake City for many years including 1995 in the ISC World Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa.

The big right-hander had a 1-1 record in 15 1/3 innings, while allowing 11 hits, 4 earned runs, 3 walks. He also struck out 20 batters from Grafton, WV; Class Walls, Whiteford, MD; and H.I.S. of Houston.