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

Tuesday, 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.”

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Popular Beaumont Coyotes Men’s Fastpitch Tournament Pushing 40

Monday, June 27th, 2016

2016 Coyotes Tourn.1lr

BEAUMONT, Calif. – Thirty nine years a go, David Valdivia, Sr. started a men’s fastpitch tournament that has survived the falloff of teams in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, and remains one of the few men’s fastpitch tournaments in the Inland Empire, along with the tournaments held on Indian reservations (Soboba, Morongo, Pala) throughout the counties.

And once again Valdivia will be hosting the Beaumont Coyotes 4th of July Tournament, July 1-3 (Friday through Sunday) at Valdivia Field that is named after Valdivia by the City of Beaumont for his dedication to the men’s game and contribution to the betterment of the city.

The quaint little ball diamond is a home run hitter’s delight with its 210-foot fences, but can be a nightmare for pitchers who leave pitches hanging over the plate. legend has it that one year over 70 homers scaled the fences, with the long-ball hitting Corona Chicanoes blasting a fair share of them.

The Coyotes will once again field a team – this also the 39th year the team has been in existance. Only one thing has changed. David Sr. has turned over the reins to his son, David Jr. But the vast majority of players remain related – mostly cousins, mostly sons of former Coyotes. In other words, the Coyotes are the quintessential definition of a “family team.”

David Valdivia, Jr. has taken over managing the Beaumont Coyotes from his father, David Sr. But be assured that the same competitive spirit, the same attention to detail was passed down from father to son. David Jr. is known as one of the best hitters in the area, and at Valdivia Field, he is a feared fence buster. Photo By BOB OTTO

David Valdivia, Jr. has taken over managing the Beaumont Coyotes from his father, David Sr. But be assured that the same competitive spirit, the same attention to detail was passed down from father to son. David Jr. is known as one of the best hitters in the area, and at Valdivia Field, he is a feared fence buster. Photo By BOB OTTO

Along with the ball games, the Coyotes have a snack shack offering delicious homemade Mexican food (the taco plate gets rave reviews) prepared by Valdivia’s family of sisters, aunts, wives and nieces.

So this year, come for the fastpitch, come for the food. You won’t be disappointed.

Valdivia Field is located at Rangel Park, 201 B St., Beaumont, near the intersection of the 60 and 10 freeways.

For ‘Red’ Simmons, respect, love of the games keeps him going

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

012805-RedSimmons115web Richard ‘Red’ Simmons is an outstanding softball player, but his love for athletics throughout his life led him to become an official, a profession that has become an important part of his life. Photo By BOB OTTO

YUCAIPA, CALIF – Richard ‘Red’ Simmons is the first to admit that he can’t cover the infield like he once did in his 25-, 35-, or even 45-year-old playing days. But the sure-fielding glove, whiplash swing of the bat and love for the sport remain as strong today as in his younger days.

Simmons loves softball, and he punches the playing clock without miss every Tuesday and Thursday in the Valley-Wide senior softball program. But the 75-year-old Simmons is also well traveled outside of the San Jacinto Valley as a member of the Top Gun Gold, a senior slowpitch All-Star team from San Diego.

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Senior basketballers celebrate the big guy’s birthday

Thursday, November 29th, 2012


If you’re age 50 and above, you’re eligible for basketball at the University of Loma Linda Drayson Center.

LOMA LINDA (Calif.) DRAYSON CENTER – The big man gets the ball in the paint four feet from the basket. His eyes widen, his body tenses, and then with a whirl to his left, he drives to the basket, finishing with a hook shot that he banks off the glass and falls cleanly through the net.

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Seniors love for basketball strong as ever

Thursday, November 29th, 2012


Bill Pittman plays much younger than his 76 years.

YUCAIPA, Calif. – The high, leaping jump shot? The fast break? Not so high, and not so fast anymore.

Their physical skills may have faded over the years, but what remains as strong as ever is their love for the game. And the men who play senior basketball at the Yucaipa Community Center, and the Loma Linda University Drayson Center still have plenty of that.

Their ages range from 50, such as Wallace Frisbey, the youngster of the group, to Bill Pittman, who plays much younger than his 76 years.

The seniors – numbering from 12 to 20 – get together from about noon to 1:30 three days a week to play the game they can’t seem to let go. They play hard and they play to win. But as far as in-your-face defense and win at all costs, that’s a no-no. Their game has become much more social than when they were youngsters tearing up the hardcourt.

“Our camaraderie is great,” said Pittman, who is a deadeye from about the 18-feet range. “I’ve been playing with these guys for about five years, and we’re all friends. But before joining the group, Pittman hadn’t played for about 40 years.

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Five fastpitch pitching coaches? That’s overload

Friday, February 10th, 2012

YUCAIPA, CA – Every so often a fastpitch softball coach or parent will ask me “can you take a look at my pitcher and see what you think.”

That request always sends up red, warning flags. It has me suspecting that the coach or parent thinks there’s something wrong with their star pupil, and I can somehow work a miracle in one session.


Ty Stofflet, considered by many as greatest left-hander of all time.

Now, I’ve been around fastpitch softball since 1963; 34 years as a pitcher. My ability was mediocre at best. But I do consider myself a student of the circle. I’ve studied, photographed and written about some of the best in the men’s game: Michael White, Peter Meredith, Darren Zack, Ty Stofflet…

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A push through the door became a love of libraries

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012


The Zumbrota Carnegie Library built in 1908.

YUCAIPA, CA – When I was about 9 or 10 in the late 1950s, my mother started taking me every Saturday morning to Zumbrota’s (Minn) Carnegie Library. Actually, she forced me to go. I hated that old library. And I hated reading.

But my mother insisted that her eldest son, who failed second grade because he fell way behind in reading, was going to become – at the very least – a passable reader.

So off to the library we would trudge on Saturdays.

I had a choice, either I could choose a book to read during the coming week, or she would do it for me.

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“We Play It Fast” selling fast, place your order now

Sunday, January 1st, 2012


Front cover, Stew Sabiston of the Winnipeg Bullets pitching in the 2010 NAFA World Series. Back cover top, Trent Rubley; middle, Shane Alder and Chase Turner.

YUCAIPA, CA – I received my order of 150 books entitled “We Play It Fast” and I’m ready to ship to those who may be interested.

This is going to be a “one time, limited edition book” so if you want one, you should order before the supply runs out.

THE BASICS:

• Size, 8 ½ x 11. Soft cover.
• 76 stories – including features on some of the sports’ great players: Zack, Sorenson, White, Peterson…
• 208 photos. Many never printed or seen before!
• About half NAFA and ISC related stories.
• Stories extend from my early writing to present day, from 2010 NAFA World Series “A” division level to the ISC level of play.
• Several stories from contributing writers such as Milt Stark, Kyle Beane, Marc Gillis, Glen Cook, Joe Avila, Bill Hillhouse, Brian Groehler…
• Book’s writing style: documentary and memoir.

COSTS, INCLUDING SHIPPING CHARGES:

• In U.S. $23; Canada $27; New Zealand $35. (Other countries, price to be determined based on shipping charges).

BOOKS AVAILABLE:

• Only 135 to be sold! So this may become a ‘limited edition’ book.
• I’ve set aside books for those who have said they want to buy one – such as the contributing writers. (If you’ve changed your mind, please let me know.)
• If there’s a demand, I can have more books printed, but must place a minimum order of 100 books.

ORDING INFO:

• Payable (U.S. $$) to:
Bob Otto
35147 Cedar Ave.
Yucaipa, CA 92399
botto3@verizon.net

WHAT THE READERS HAVE BEEN SAYING

Bob, received my copy of the book. Thanks so much. I love the book even though it doesn’t have color on the inside… MS

I received my copy in the mail today, a “must have” for fastpitch fans. I am honored to have the story I wrote about Dave Blackburn, “Game Changer” included as the second to last chapter in the book. Get yours before that headline says “Sold Out” (it’s a limited edition at this point) – JF

I got the book and it is fantastic. I will be reading it cover to cover. – DM

…I thought it was pretty good reading and flowed very well. There is a wide variety of topics regarding some current and some older time players. It is truly a coffee table book – MB

It looks great, congratulations, I know the work that goes into something like that – KB

Bob, great book. Great history and information. Lots of good photos… a lot of some friends – Rico Garcia, Todd Kensler, Hector Garcia Guillen, Tony N Denise Trujillo Mancha, Joe Hineline and more. Good stories from the old days and good info on today’s young players… – MC

Please send a copy of your book. Your interest in the game has been rewarding for many. Thank you – JB

Bob got the book, awesome, made me remember what a great game this is and what a great time I was lucky enough to play it in. It made me sad at times and made me almost smell the wet grass of a early morning game and the excitement of the competition. – GA

Bob, always enjoy reading your articles. Hope to read them for many more years. – AC

Great book! – ML

Got the copy of We Play It Fast last week. Was rushed for time, so I picked it up for a minute to flip through some pages … and ended up reading about half of the book. Great read, and I will recommend it to others. – Cheers, DM,

Cursed camera envy

Monday, March 21st, 2011


Photos of the Summit (boys) SkyHawks and Rialto girl’s basketball teams that both won Southern California Regional Division II championships. Fontana and Rialto are neighboring cities that have strong basketball programs.
Photos By BOB OTTO

YUCAIPA, CA – Last Saturday I photographed the Fontana Summit boy’s basketball game against the Lincoln Hornets of San Diego for the Southern California Division II championship at the USC Galen Center.

I came away with what we in photojournalism call, “camera envy.” Actually, by the time the game ended, I had a raging case of it.

I sidled in and sat down amongst six other photographers along the baseline of the Summit basket. It was like I was driving a Chevy Impala (a very nice car) and had pulled into a parking lot in Beverly Hills full of Lexus, Mercedes, BMW’s, and even a Lamborghini or two.

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Veggie sticker shock

Friday, March 18th, 2011


My garden’s tilled and my seeds bought. And once again after 53 years I’m a gardner.

YUCAIPA, CA – My wife does the grocery shopping, but occasionally I make a trip to the supermarket for a few things. Yesterday was one such trip. What a shock when I ventured into the produce section.

Tomatoes, $2.99 a pound, broccoli, $1.99 a pound, green leaf lettuce, $1.99 a bunch, cucumbers $1.49 each – EACH!, carrots, 99-cents a pound (what a bargain!), and dandelion greens $1.99 a pound.

(Every summer I poison these troublesome yellow sprouting weeds when they take over my lawn. And now they sell for $1.99 a pound?)

With those prices, I settled on the carrots. I also realized it was time for me to plant a garden. And gardening is not my favorite springtime activity.

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