Mens & Boys Fastpitch Softball

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Successful season earns Yusef Davis a spot on USA Softball’s Pan American fastpitch team

Friday, September 1st, 2017

Possessing speed, quick hands, an aggressive style and commitment to the game, YUSEF DAVIS, JR., 23, of Long Beach, Calif. is well on his way to becoming a star in men’s fastpitch. Here he is seen playing for CR Bartels Farms of Portland, Ore. that won the NAFA AA-Major World Series, Aug. 11, 2017. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

LONG BEACH, Calif. – During the week, Yusef Davis, Jr. can be found near his Long Beach home either in the gym, at the batting cages, or engaged in any kind of sweat-filled labor that will help improve his fastpitch softball skills.

During most weekends, however, he’s anywhere but home.

A search could find him in fastpitch havens such as Wisconsin, New York, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania or Michigan competing in high-caliber fastpitch tournaments.

Only 23 and in his fourth year playing fastpitch, the demand for his talents just keeps on growing.

    TWO GREAT TOURNAMENTS

Prime examples: During the NAFA World Series, he was in Fargo, North Dakota helping CR Bartel Farms, Portland, Ore. win the AA-Major World Series.

And soon after the championship game ended, he was off to Grand Rapids, Michigan to join his Bear Bottom Haymakers of Ephrata, Penn. for the most exclusive of open-caliber tournaments – the International Softball Congress World Tournament.

Those two tournaments were exhilarating for Davis, who possesses great speed both in the outfield and at the plate, and who is rapidly becoming recognized as one of the up-and-coming young stars of the game.

“The experience playing in the ISC and NAFA was breathtaking,” said Davis, who throws and bats left-sided. “Once you realize you’re on the same ballfield as some of the best players in the world, you just can’t help but be proud and humbled.”

CR Bartels swept through the NAFA AA-Major undefeated at 5-0, and the Bear Bottom Haymakers finished ninth in the 24-team ISC World Tournament at 4-2.

Bear Bottom Haymakers manager, Merlin High, was pleased how Davis played the entire year and at the ISC World Tournament for his squad.

“He’s a great defensive player, one of the best who ever played for me,” said High. “His speed is unmatched by anyone in the game, and he’s a good hitter too with some of those hits coming from his speed beating out ground balls. He’s a great teammate, upbeat and positive. I’m hoping he comes back with us next year.”

    SWEAT & TOIL TO BE BETTER

Though he played well and had a successful season, Davis acknowledges that there are areas that need improvement.

“If I could improve in two areas, it would be pitch selection when I’m in the batter’s box,” he said, “and getting even better jumps on the ball in the outfield. During the off season, I’m going to hit the batting cages even more and work on the fundamentals of hitting, and keep working on my slapping and bunting.”

But the off-season workouts will have to wait for he has one very important and prestigious tournament remaining: The World Baseball Softball Confederation X Pan American Fastpitch Championship in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Sept. 15-24.

    PROUD FATHER, SEASONED MENTOR

When Davis got the word that he had been selected to the 15-man roster, he was ecstatic, and he called the one person he knew would be delighted about this honor.

“I called my dad and told him I had made the team,” Davis said. “I know it meant a lot to him. And it means so much for me to represent my country in the sport I have so much passion about.”

Leading up to the Pan Am games, Davis will be consulting with a veteran of USA Softball: Kevin Castillo, who is a teammate of Davis on Those Guys and Patricia’s Mexican restaurant ball clubs from Long Beach.

Castillo, and his father, Paul Castillo, were instrumental in bringing Davis into the sport and nurturing his development.

“Kevin’s always pushing me to be better,” Davis said, “I’ve gotten a lot of help from him on hitting lessons and strategy on defense. Just the confidence he gives me to play at my best is what’s so meaningful.”

    REACHING HIGH, SETTING GOALS

Though he’s still learning, growing, and going through the trials and successes that the sport both challenges and rewards, Davis has set some short-range and long-range goals as well.

In the immediate future, he wants to help USA Softball win the Pan American games, and then if it can be arranged, he would like to take a second trip to New Zealand for a season of “down-under” fastpitch with the Waitakere Bears.

And as for long-range?

“I would love to run softball clinics and coach kids and work with outfielders,” Davis said. “I would like to travel the world playing ball and make as many memories and impact as many young athletes to take the right path as I can – teach one, reach one.”

2017 USA SOFTBALL PAN AMERICAN ROSTER
Kevin Castillo
Jenner Christenson
Joel Cooley
Yusef Davis
Tyler Dudley
Derrick Kennedy
Jonathan Lynch
Tony Mancha
Nick Mullins
Travis Nevin
Jeff Nowacyzk
Erick Ochoa
Cameron Schiller
Chase Turner
Duane Weiler

COACHING STAFF
Gregg Leather, Head Coach
Greg Hicks, Assistant Coach
Nick McCurry
Assistant Coach

A Look Back In Time: Happy Chef in Mankato for sale, full of fastpitch softball memories

Friday, September 1st, 2017

The late Leroy Jolstad was a pitching mainstay for Mankato Happy Chef men’s fastpitch team.

By Patrick Reusse / August 23, 2015
StarTribune

MANKATO – The Happy Chef restaurant and adjoining property are for sale. It’s the original and surviving restaurant from a collection of 63 that were once operated in the Midwest by the Fredrick brothers.

“We’re still in business,” said Tom Fredrick, 81. “We’re going to stay in business.”

Mention Happy Chef and many people think of the towering, round Happy Chef figure that stood in front of numerous restaurants — and remains smiling today next to Hwy. 169 as you enter Mankato.

Mention Happy Chef to others and they think of something else near extinction: men’s fastpitch softball.

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Men’s Fastpitch Softball returns to Pipestone

Friday, September 1st, 2017

Scarlett’s of Sioux Falls, So. Dak., won the 2017 Pipestone Men’s Fastpitch Tournament. Photo / The Pipestone County Star

“You need pitching, though. You have to develop the pitchers, that’s the biggest thing. You can get the players, but you have to have the pitching to go along with the rest.” – Pipestone Parks & Recreation Director, and fastpitch player Robert Petersen

By KEVIN KYLE
Pipestone County Star
July 19, 2017

PIPESTONE, Minn. – Men’s fast pitch softball made a brief return to town Saturday and Sunday, as a pair of clubs from Minnesota and two teams from South Dakota squared off in a tournament at Harmon Park in Pipestone.

For most of the younger spectators, the Pipestone Fastpitch Softball Tournament offered a first glimpse of men competing in a sport that Pipestone Area High School has been so successful playing the last 15 years.
Many of their parents, however, recall the heyday of the sport in town in the 1980s and early 90s.

“We haven’t had this here for a long time,” said Pipestone Parks & Recreation Director Robert Petersen, who also plays with the Hennagar’s Plumbing & Heating team out of Lake Crystal. “We used to have a 16-team league here called the Tri-County League, and we had teams from Pipestone, Holland, Woodstock, Ruthton, Leota and Edgerton… played two nights a week. Each town would have a tournament on a weekend, but now it’s really a dying sport around here.”

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Raymond Angulo Memorial Men’s Fastpitch Tournament Supports Special Needs Children

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

CORONA, Calif. – Ten of Southern California’s top men’s fastpitch softball teams take to the ball diamonds Sept. 2-3, at Promenade Park Softball Field in Corona.

The tournament will feature some outstanding fastpitch action as it embarks on its 17th year. But it’s purpose is far greater than providing a venue for skilled athletes to showcase their ball playing abilities.

The Raymond Angulo Memorial Men’s Fastpitch Tournament raises money for JoJo’s Circle of Friends, a non-profit organization that helps children with special needs.

The organization was originally established to support Joseph (JoJo) Angulo, born with cerebral Palsy, and who is the grandson of the late Raymond Angulo, one of Corona’s all-time best pitchers, who passed away in 2000.

But over the years, JoJo’s Circle of Friends has reached out to benefit many more children with special needs.

“Raymond’s wife, Antonia and his son Joe Angulo feel blessed and grateful that his memory lives on in the tournament and fundraiser that helps these special needs children,” said Ernie Marez, tournament director.

During the Labor Day weekend tournament, raffles, prizes, and sales from food booths, and other activities will raise needed funds for the organization’s planned events.

  • To learn more about the organization, visit: Facebook / JoJos Circle of Friends.
    • 2017 TEAMS
  • Patricia’s Mexican Restaurant, Long Beach (2016 defending champs)
  • Warriors
  • Some Guys
  • Streamline Cable
  • Corona Chicanos
  • Bad Medicine
  • Beaumont Coyotes
  • Bandits
  • Pala Braves
  • Redline
  • Al Doran, a pioneer in men’s fastball

    Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

    “Al Doran literally changed the game of fastball when he got involved. He became the focal point for fastball news. The game has never been the same since.” – Blair Setford

    Alsfastball.1sblr Photo By Rosanne Allan / ISC Streaming Producer / Canadian Fastball & American Softball

    RICHMOND HILL, ONTARIO – In the world of fastball, Al Doran is known as a visionary, a game changer, a technology expert. And if you were to fix a title on him, “Friend of Fastball,” fits pretty well.

    For he certainly has been that and more; especially to the International Softball Congress (ISC) and legions of fastball fans worldwide.

    His ball diamond exploits won’t win him much fame. He played fastball as a teenager and adult, and he coached boys and girls’ fastball in Toronto.

    But off the field?

    That’s where he’s made his mark. Doran has nearly 50 years of experience in the design, development and application of computer-based information systems.

      SPREADING THE FASTBALL WORD

    Back in 1995, he saw that fastball had a major problem: It had very little Internet presence. So he took his professional expertise, turned to fastball and basically said: let me help you broadcast fastball news and market this wonderful sport on the Internet.

    “I decided to do something because no one in the media, with the exception of Bob Tomlinson and his Fastpitch Chronicle was talking about the sport,” said Doran. “But the Chronicle often took months to get to subscribers and by then a tournament in your own town could be over, and almost no one knew about it.”

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    NAFA holds annual meeting at World Series in Fargo

    Friday, August 25th, 2017

    FARGO – During the 2017 North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) World Series, the organization held its national meeting with Executive Director Benjie Hedgecock calling the meeting to order.

    Clark Evans took minutes and lunch was served by the Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau.

      ROLL CALL

    Executive Committee members present were Benjie Hedgecock, Loren Lathrop, Mike Watson (by telephone), Jon kegel, Mike Oehlke, Rich Quigley, Kris Russom and Clark Evans.

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    Masters Tourney Wraps Up SCIFL Season

    Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

    By Jesse Ortiz
    SCIFL President / Commissioner
    661-510-8928

    SANTA FE Srings, Calif. – The So. Calif. Independent Fastpitch League will be hosting its final Masters Tournament (40-over) of the year on August 26-27, 2017 at Little Lake Park, Santa Fe Springs, CA.

    *** Click on SCIFL Masters Tournament to see the ten tournament teams ***

    This tournament will simulate the format used at the World Series in Carson City, but it will be modified just a bit. It will start off with a two-game round robin followed by the beginning of the tournament where the winner will go into the Gold bracket and the team who lost will go into the silver bracket.

    The entry fee will be $330.

    Teams interested in participating in the event need to contact the tournament director, Jesse Ortiz, at scifastpitch@gmail.com by Saturday, August 12, 2017 so the fields can be paid on Monday, August 14, 2017, per the City of Santa Fe Springs.

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    Follow the ISC World Tournament on Pointstreak

    Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Follow the ISC World Tournament results by clicking on Pointstreak Scoring.

    Hometown Rooters hold off Montana’s Desperado in NAFA AA-Major opener

    Thursday, August 10th, 2017

    ETHAN RINGLIEN fires a pitch for Rooters Bar of Fargo against Desperado Sports Bar of Missoula, Montana in the opening game of the AA-Major World Series, Wednesday night at Northside Sports Complex. Rooters scored in the bottom of the seventh for a walk-off 2-1 victory. Photo By BOB OTTO

    ** Visit Play Nafa for scores, stats and standings. **

    FARGO, N.D. – Ethan Renglien was masterful in the circle in leading Rooters Bar of Fargo to a 2-1 victory over Desperado Sports Bar of Missoula, Mont. in the opening round of the AA-Major World Series at Northside Softball Complex, Wednesday night.

    The tall, right-handed Renglien fired risers and drops in striking out 11, and giving up just four hits. Desperado’s Leo Bresse was the hard-luck loser, matching Renglien pitch-for-pitch on a four-hit, nine strikeout effort. Only one run was earned.

    The game stayed tied into the seventh until Rooters plated a walk-off run to win it.

    Lane Lunde led Rooters with two hits in four attempts with an RBI, and Matt Kalesa, and Justin Kheanit had one hit each.

    For Desperado, Ryan Donovan, Kevin Yeaglin, Halbert Machinskinic and Shane Alder had a hit a piece, with Alder getting the lone RBI.

    RICE LAKE ORANGEMAN German Bocaccorsi slides safely into home to give the Orangmen a 3-0 lead against the Selects in the opening game of the 2017 NAFA World Series, AA-Major Division, Wednesday, Aug. 9, at Northside Softball Complex in Fargo. Photo By BOB OTTO

    AA-MAJOR SCORES

  • Portland CR Bartels Farms 12, Elanco Blackhawks
  • (w) Rob Schweyer, 2 innings, no hits, 4 strikeouts, Zack Pierce, 2 innings, 1 hit, 4 strikeouts

  • Rice Lake Orangemen 9, Watson’s Selects 0
  • (w) Nicolas Seibenist, 4 inn., no-hits, 7 strikeouts
    Matias Orfano, 2 inn., 2 strikeouts
    Francisco Sabate, 2-for-3, 4 RBI

  • Northwest Braves 3, Sommerside, Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.), Canada 2
  • Kyle Fry, 6 inn., 2 ER, 18 strikeouts

  • P.E.I. 10, Rooters Bar 1
  • (w) Mitch Hardy

  • Rice Lake 7, Elanco 0
  • (w) Nicolas Seibeniest

  • NW Braves 4, Desperado 3
  • (w) Bill Carson

  • CR Bartels 2, Watson’s Selects 1 (11 inn.)
  • (w) Sean Koster

    Setbacks can’t keep Lon Andersen off the fastpitch field

    Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

    Long-time South Dakota fastpitch sponsor, manager and player will be inducted into the North America Fastpitch Association Hall of Fame during the NAFA World Series in Fargo, North Dakota

    SIOUX FALLS, So. Dak. – It takes mental and physical toughness and a deep desire to continue pursuing a sporting passion when your body hurts and your doctor orders, “give it up.”

    Lon Andersen has battled cancer that nearly claimed his life, he’s undergone two hip replacements, he was in a coma for four days. Yet despite these debilitating setbacks that would sideline those of a weaker constitution, Anderson stubbornly refuses to give up fastpitch softball.

    “My doctor told me it’s time to quit,” said the 62-year-old Andersen. “I can’t play basketball anymore, but I’ve kept on playing fastpitch against his advice.”

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