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Boys’ Fastpitch Softball Fun Days In Michigan!

Friday, April 20th, 2018

FRANKENMUTH, Mich. – Gary Compau and volunteers are offering an opportunity for boys between the ages of 8 to 18 from Frankenmuth, Saginaw, Midland, Flint, Birch Run, and Reese to learn more about and play the game of fastpitch softball. So they’ve organized a Fun Days that will run from Sundays in April and May.

Fun Days organizer, Gary Compau of Frankenmuth, realizes that to revive and expand the game, young players need to be brought into the game.

“It’s up to us,” he said. “We can make this a success.”

    THE DETAILS
  • All boys, 8 to 18, are invited from inexperienced to experienced
  • Experienced fastpitch past and present players will be there offering tips on catching, fielding, and hitting
  • Veteran pitchers will be helping and advising players who want to learn how to pitch
  • The Fun Days are FREE and will not interfere with Little League or baseball
  • Balls and bats will be provided
    • THE FUN!
  • Teams will be formed and games will be played
    • WHERE
  • The two ball fields at Frankenmuth St. Lorenz Lutheran School. One field for the younger players and one for the older. (We request that an adult accompany the young players)
    • WHEN

    April 22-May 20, and May 6, starting at 4 p.m.

      CONTACT INFORMATION

    Gary Compau at 989-262-8452; Email is tawasgary@att.net

    “This is not tryouts,” said Compau. “Come out and enjoy the experience. We will provide the fun. Just come out and enjoy it and see where it goes.”

    Dutch Elbers helped drive St. Paul to fastpitch greatness

    Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

    Ben Maloney, left, Ed Mathias, and Dutch Elbers hold the 1963 ASA Northern Regional Tournament championship trophy.

    (Sadly Dutch Elbers passed away on April 5, 2018. See obituary in which condolences and tributes are welcome)

    Dutch Elbers served the International Softball Congress for over 20 years in several capacities, including the organization’s president. In 1988, he was inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame. Photo By BOB OTTO / 1995 ISC World Tournament

    ST. PAUL, Minn. – Strong armed, with a lanky athletic build, Dries (Dutch) Elbers mostly likely could have stared at baseball, but fortunately for fastpitch softball, he never got the chance.

    “My dad played baseball, but he steered me into softball,” said Elbers. “I have never played a game of baseball in my life.”

    Elbers, who grew up in Steen in southwestern Minnesota, began playing fastpitch in the 4-H League in 1945 as a 15-year-old. It wasn’t long, though, that he graduated from the boys’ league into the Steen men’s league.

    Steen might have been small in numbers with its 185 citizens, but they and the farm families surrounding the little village located 25 miles east of Sioux Falls, kept the six team-league healthy with numbers and talent.

    “As kids, we wanted to get a uniform and play with the big boys,” Elbers said. Soon enough Elbers would be playing with the ‘big boys’ of fastpitch – worldwide.

    Click to continue reading “Dutch Elbers helped drive St. Paul to fastpitch greatness”

    24th Annual Best of the West Tournament In Beautiful Santa Barbara, Calif.

    Monday, April 16th, 2018

    Yusef Davis, Jr., left, and Bryan Lathrop are two of the best players in the game.
    Photo By BOB OTTO

    Could there be a better place to play men’s fastpitch softball in America than Santa Barbara? I’ve played there. The answer is NO. So make plans now to enter this great tournament.

    TOURNAMENT DETAILS

    Event Name: 24th Annual Best of the West Tournament

    Location: Elings Park, Santa Barbara
    Date: June 2-3
    Entry Fee: $400
    Entry Fee Deadline: May 18, 2018
    Format: Round Robin into single elimination. 4-game guarantee.
    Time Limit: Saturday 90 minutes; Sunday no time limit

    Contact: Clyde Bennett; email: clydebennett50@gmail.com; 805-895-9007
    Mailing Address: 6600 stagecoach Rd Santa Barbara Ca. 93105

    Shutting Down Ottoinfocus

    Wednesday, 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

    Wednesday, 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

    Wednesday, 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”

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

    Thursday, 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

    Monday, 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”

    USA Clinches Second, Meets Canada In Pan American Fastpitch Playoffs

    Thursday, 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”

    Mancha pitching powers USA over Cuba In Pan American games

    Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

    TONY MANCHA seen earlier in his career pitching for Steel of Texas in the NAFA World Series. Photo By BOB OTTO

    SANTO DOMINGO, DR – Team USA needed a dominating performance from Tony Mancha if it was going to get past a very good Cuban ball club. And the right-hander responded in splendid fashion in leading the United States to a 5-1 victory in the Pan American Fastpitch Championship Wednesday afternoon.

    Cuba’s bats just couldn’t catch up with Mancha’s sharp breaking rise ball, as he fired a two-hitter, along with six strikeouts and just two walks.

    This was a much-needed win for the USA as it sat in fourth place in the eight-team Pool A with an uninspiring 3-2 record, while Cuba was firmly planted in second at 5-1. Another loss and any dreams of contending for a Pan Am title could begin fading fast.

    After dropping a disappointing 3-2 decision to surprising Colombia a day earlier, Team USA didn’t show any signs of a hangover.

    The United States took command from the beginning, plating a run in the top of the first on Erick Ochoa’s run-scoring double. Then after Cuba tied the game in the third, Mancha slammed the door shut while his teammates tacked on solo runs in the fourth and sixth, and put the game away in the seventh on Kevin Castillo’s two-run homer deep over the centerfield wall.

    KEVIN CASTILLO seen batting in the International Softball Congress World Tournament. His two-run homer gave Team USA some breathing room in its victory over Cuba. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Mancha grew stronger as the game went on. He retired Cuba in order in the sixth and seventh, while striking out five-of-six batters. The win improves his record to 2-1 in the tournament.

    The offense collected eight hits with Castillo and Jonathan Lynch each going 2-for-4, with Castillo driving in two runs, while Lynch plated one. Nick Mullins also had an RBI in the sixth when his infield out scored Yusef Davis from third base.

    Cuba’s Alain Roman Gonzalez went the distance, and though he gave up the five runs, he showed he’s one of the best pitchers in the tournament, striking out 11 USA batters. The right-hander has all the pitches: hard rise ball high and low, while mixing in a drop that dipped sharply on both sides of the plate.

    Team USA has little time to celebrate as they take on Puerto Rico in the nightcap.

    The game can be watched live at: Internet TV for a $12 subscription fee that covers the entire tournament.