2014 NAFA World Series

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Todd Lubkeman selected Wisconsin NAFA Pitcher of The Year

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

Todd Lubkeman has been the mainstay of the Willkomm Mobil pitching staff since 1992 and has helped the team achieve great success in NAFA World Series competition. In 2016 he was selected “Wisconsin NAFA Pitcher of The Year.” Photo By BOB OTTO

BRISTOL, Wisc. – Over 130 men’s softball teams play the fastpitch version in Wisconsin, and on those teams, the anchor is the pitcher. Without a pitcher, there is no fastpitch team.

And if a team has a hurler with talent that usually transpires into success.

For many years, Willkomm Mobil of Kenosha has been fortunate to have Todd Lubkeman anchoring its pitching staff. The big right-hander – about 6-foot-6, throws the ball hard with all the accompanying assortment of batter-baffling spinners – riser, curve, drop and change-up.

Over the years, Lubkeman has been as productive a pitcher as any Wisconsin has ever produced. 2016 was no exception.

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Alders Continue Long Tradition of Boise Men’s Fastpitch League

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

GREG ALDER was inducted into the North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) Hall of Fame in 2014 for his many years contributing and giving back to the game. Alder was one of the best pitchers in the country, and after retiring he continues to help revitalize men’s fast pitch in Boise. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2014 NAFA World Series

BOISE, Idaho – If you ask Greg Alder why he works so tirelessly to keep the Treasure Valley Men’s Fastpitch League going, he says that when he was youngster of 15, there were veterans who helped him get started, so now it’s his turn to give back.

But the 65-year-old Alder admits it’s a battle to keep the game alive in Boise – in which the Treasure Valley Men’s Fastpitch League has been in existence for over 50 years, dating back to when his grandfather, Orin Alder, ran the league.

Now it’s Greg and his son Shane’s turn at the wheel. They plan for league play to start the first week of June through July. Though it’s down a little, there will be a league, says Greg Alder.

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Huge discount from Blurb on 2014 NAFA World Series Book

Friday, November 25th, 2016

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YUCAIPA, Calif. – Book publisher Blurb notified me that the company is offering a 50-percent discount on my books. And that includes NAFA Men’s Fastpitch 2014 World Series that I wrote after the 2014 World Series in Moline, Illinois.

The book is in magazine format (8 1/2 x 11) and contains 147 pages of feature stories, color photos, Hall of Fame players, and ALL five divisional championship game stories (AA-Major, AA, A-Major, A, and 23-Under).

But Blurb is only extending this offer until Nov. 28, so if you want to order this book, you must act now.

I can order the book for you, and you can send me a check as reimbursement. I can have it shipped to your address.

The regular price is $40, but has been dropped to $25 (which includes $5 for shipping and handling).

If you want to place an order, send me an email confirmation at: botto3@verizon.net. Again, the deadline for the discount is Nov. 28. You can buy it after that date, but at full price.

  • To see the book on the Blurb website, go to: 2014 NAFA World Series
  • 2014 NAFA World Series Book ready for preview and to order directly from Blurb

    Saturday, March 12th, 2016

    YUCAIPA, Calif. – NAFA World Series book contains 152 pages of championship game, feature, and Hall of Fame stories, and over 200 color photographs of the players and contributors that make the game so great…and much more.

    Willkomm Mobil, all about fun, family and winning

    Sunday, September 13th, 2015
    Todd Lubkeman has been the mainstay of the Willkomm Mobil pitching staff and has helped the team achieve great success in NAFA World Series competition. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Todd Lubkeman has been the mainstay of the Willkomm Mobil pitching staff and has helped the team achieve great success in NAFA World Series competition. Photo By BOB OTTO

    KENOSHA, Wisc. – Chances are if you’re traveling in southeastern Wisconsin, you will happen upon Willkomm’s Mobil and one of it’s several Mobil service stations and restaurants.

    The company’s reputation is excellent; it’s service and products great.

    And if you’re into men’s fastpitch, somewhere, sometime on ball diamonds throughout the Midwest, you’ve most likely seen or played against a very fine team branded with Willkomm Mobil on its jerseys.

      PROUD TO WEAR THE UNIFORM

    It all began when owner Jerry Willkomm agreed to sponsor the team in 1992, and it carries on yet today, 24 years later, with no plans on folding.

    “Jerry Willkomm and the entire Willkomm Mobil company has been awesome,” said Willkomm general manager and player, Mark Nelson. “He has sponsored the team since 1992, and had sponsored other fastpitch teams before that. He’s a great person to play for, comes to games when he is in the area, and supports us 100-percent. The team takes pride in wearing the name on and off the field.”

    Click to continue reading “Willkomm Mobil, all about fun, family and winning”

    NAFA Wood Bat World Series has 15 teams battling for national championship

    Friday, August 28th, 2015

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    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The NAFA Wood Bat West National Tournament will be held Aug. 29-30 at Los Altos Park in Albuquerque. 15 teams will battle in five pools followed by a single elimination playoff starting Saturday afternoon, with the championship scheduled for Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

    Wood Bat brochure: 2015 west wood bat world series 15 team pool play

    2014 NAFA World Series Book Ready To Order

    Monday, August 17th, 2015

    YUCAIPA, Calif. – The North American Fastpitch Association celebrated its 22nd year hosting men’s and young men’s (age 23-Under) championship tournaments in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois in 2014.

    After covering and photographing the World Series, I wrote a book about it entitled, “2014 NAFA Men’s Fastpitch World Series”.

    THE BOOK INCLUDES

  • Over 200 photos
  • Championship game stories of the AA-Major, AA, A-Major, A and 23-Under divisions
  • Feature stories of players and managers, who have helped make the game as great as it is.
  • Hall of Fame stories and listing of members from 1997 to 2014
  • NAFA World Series records and amazing accomplishments by incredible players
  • Listing of NAFA 10 and 20-year anniversary players, “the best of the best”
  • Masters World Series results
  • Wood Bat World Series results
  • You can preview the book and if you like what you see, you can order a PDF or a softcover book (8 1/2 x 11) with semigloss pages from the publisher, Blurb (Online only) from the menu below.

    Click on the SHOPPING CART in the menu to visit my Blurb page.

    Fast rising New Zealand pitcher takes his talent to Japan

    Monday, July 6th, 2015
    19-year-old Ethan Johnston is pitching in Japan after spending two tours pitching in the United States, while also pitching in his native country of New Zealand.

    19-year-old Ethan Johnston is pitching in Japan after spending two tours pitching in the United States, while also pitching in his native country of New Zealand.

    OSAKA, Japan – Learning to control and make a softball spin up and down can take years of practice and patience for many young pitchers. And once that’s mastered, it can take even longer to rise from the lower to the upper ranks where the best teams contend for national and international championships.

    Well, that slow and steady route may apply to some, but not so for Ethan Johnston.

    At 14 he started pitching. At 17 he was pitching in the United States. At 18 he was pitching for his country in the International Softball Federation (ISF) Junior Men’s World Tournament. And now, 19-year-old Ethan Johnston is pitching in Japan.

    Is Ethan Johnston on the fast track to the top in men’s fastpitch softball? Well, it kind of looks that way.

    But if not for an injury and sibling role models, Johnston may have stayed a position player and never learned to spin the riser, drop and change-up that has established him as one of the best young pitchers worldwide.

    “I used to be a catcher and third baseman until a knee injury,” said Johnston. “I decided to stop that and become a pitcher. My brother and sister pitched and being the youngest, I wanted to copy them. I had a lot of help from my older brother Carl.”

    Click to continue reading “Fast rising New Zealand pitcher takes his talent to Japan”

    Putting a period on 2014 NAFA World Series book

    Thursday, June 4th, 2015

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    YUCAIPA, Calif. – After four months, three edits, and changes, changes and more changes…the 2014 NAFA World Series book is just about finished.

    I’m working on the photo gallery section and experimenting with some photo collages such as this one of Cleon’s first baseman Scott Andersen, who had a good World Series.

    As one of my editors would tell me whenever I spent way to long on a story and he wanted me to wrap it up, “Otto put a period on it!”

    And so next week the period shall fall mightily and the manuscript will be sent to the publisher for printing.

    For those interested, I’ll have ordering information once it’s available.

    Tin Cup reaps the benefits of Marchio fast pitch experience and tradition

    Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015
    2015 Tin Cup Restaurant and Bar. Front row left, Dave Reiter, Tyler Bouley, Miguel Hernandez, Joe Newton, Sam Nieman, Chris Diethart. Back row left,  Dave Marchio, Joel Cooley, Zack Lopez, Shawn Gibbons, Alex Killa, Dominic Marchio. Courtesy Photo / Valerie Quigley Bouley

    2015 Tin Cup Restaurant and Bar. Front row left, Dave Reiter, Tyler Bouley, Miguel Hernandez, Joe Newton, Sam Nieman, Chris Diethart. Back row left,
    Dave Marchio, Joel Cooley, Zack Lopez, Shawn Gibbons, Alex Killa, Dominic Marchio. Courtesy Photo / Valerie Quigley Bouley

    Dave Marchio, back row far left, and son Dominic Marchio, back row far right, continue three generations of Marchio’s playing fastpitch softball.

    ST. PAUL, Minn. – In 2013 the Tin Cup men’s fastpitch team was formed. The team was young and promising, but lacking in experience. Tin Cup needed someone to take the reins that knew the game, had played the game.

    Dave Marchio was the right man for the job.

    With 35 years experience playing with and against some of Minnesota’s best clubs – the likes of Jeraldine’s Bar, All-American Bar, the St. Paul Merchants, Scandia and Stillwater – Marchio had the know-how to lead Tin Cup with its roster skewed heavily with 19-year-olds.

      DAD’S EXPERIENCE INVALUABLE

    Dominic Marchio was one of those 19-year-olds that came under the tutelage of his father. He and his young teammates quickly realized they had a lot to learn about playing the game.

    And the senior Marchio was the voice of experience Tin Cup needed.

    “His experience, it goes a long way,” said Dominic. “He leads in a positive way and it feels comforting to have someone reassure you of your skills on the ball field if you make a bad play.”

    Click to continue reading “Tin Cup reaps the benefits of Marchio fast pitch experience and tradition”