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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

New York Gremlins blast Hill United Chiefs to repeat as USA Softball national champions

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The New York Gremlins goal was to repeat, and that they did in convincing fashion in claiming their second consecutive USA Softball Men’s Major Fastpitch National Championship with a 12-3 victory over the Hill United Chiefs, Sunday afternoon, at Byers Softball Complex in South Bend.

  • The Gremlins also went undefeated in winning the 2016 title in Kimberly, Wisc. and have now extended their national championship winning streak to 10-0.
  • The Gremlins (5-0) marched through the lower bracket in shutout fashion, crushing every team in its path, starting with the DC Outlaws in the opener, 13-0, followed by a 7-0 blanking of the Kegel Black Knights, 10-0 over the Circle Tap Dukes, before dropping the Chiefs into the losers bracket.

    2017 New York Gremlins: front row from left, Leonardo Latasa, Mathiew Roy, Blair Ezekiel, Nick Mullins, Andrew Kirkpatrick, Rafael Angel Flores, Sergio Malarczuk, Yeider Luis Chirinos Medina. Back row from left, Greg Nydick, Gregg Leather, Debbie Perez, Juan Potolicchio, Dani Bantley, Zenon Winters, Goolagong, Roman Godoy, Matt Palazzo, Ramon Jones, Bob Nydick, Vahram Mateosian and Nick McCurry. Photo courtesy of New York Gremlins

    Hill United bounced back for a rematch with the Gremlins by trouncing the J & B Bombers, 7-0, in the loser’s bracket final, Sunday morning.

    The Chiefs Road To Runner-Up
    Chiefs 7, Bear Bottom Lodge Haymakers 0
    Chiefs 3, A1 Power 1
    Chiefs 9, Bloomington Stix 2
    Gremlins 4, Chiefs 0
    Chiefs 7, J & B Bombers 0
    Gremlins 12, Chiefs 3

    ORDER OF FINISH
    1. New York Gremlins
    2. Hill United Chiefs
    3. J & B Bombers, Ephrata, PA
    4. Kegel Black Knights, Amboy, MN
    5. Bloomington Stix, Lexington, IL
    5. Circle Tap Dukes, Denmark, WI
    7. A1 Power, Eaton Rapids, MI
    7. Ostrander Norsemen, Chanhassen, MN
    9. Can-Am Twins, Pottstown, PA
    9. Pueblo Bandits, Aurora, CO
    9. Tin Cup Bar, Little Canada, MN
    9. Bar on the Avenue Buzz, Kaukauna, WI
    13. Twin City Gray Sox, Saint Joseph, MI
    13. Bear Bottom Lodge Haymakers, Denver, PA
    13. DC Outlaws, Elkhart, IN
    13. Topeka Toros, Lawrence, KS

    North America’s Top Teams Battle In South Bend For National Championship

    Saturday, July 29th, 2017

    The Byers Softball Complex features four (4) Musco® lighted state-of-the-art playing fields. All fields feature Toro® automatic irrigation systems in the lush, green outfield grass areas and hand
    operated irrigation systems for the professionally maintained infields. The four (4) original fields (in
    wagon wheel format) are covered with red, Pro’s Choice Soilmaster®, while the fifth “satellite” field is
    covered by ag-lime (“moon dust”).

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Sixteen teams from throughout the United States will battle for a national championship in the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) Men’s Major Fastpitch National Tournament at Byers Softball Complex at St. Clair Park in South Bend, Aug. 3-6.

    THE TEAMS

    Ostrander Norsemen (MN)
    Bear Bottom Lodge Haymakers (PA)
    Kegel Black Knights (ND)
    Bar On The Avenue Buzz (WI)
    Topeka Toros (KS)
    Tin Cup Bar (MN)
    DC Outlaws (IN)
    A1 Power (PA)
    Twin City Gray Sox (MI)
    Pueblo Bandits (NM)
    J&B Bombers (CA)
    Circle Tap Dukes (WI)
    Hill United Chiefs (CA / U.S.)
    Gremlins (NY)
    Can-Am Twins (CA / U.S.)
    Bloomington Stix (IL)

    BRACKET / SCHEDULE / INFORMATION

  • Click to open ASA Schedule
  • Click for Complete Tournament Information
  • Step Back In Time: Jimmy Moore pitches Seattle to 1985 ISC crown

    Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

    JIMMY MOORE gets a flying leap from his wife after the final out in the championship game of the 1985 ISC World Tournament in Kimberly, Wisc. The Appleton, Wisc. Post-Crescent Photo

    By JOHN L. PAUSTIAN
    Post-Crescent executive sports editor
    Mon. Aug. 19, 1985

    KIMBERLY, Wisc
    . – In an era of domination by foreign softball pitchers, American-born Jimmy Moore is proving a notable exception.

    The blond, 30-year-old right-hander, whose remarkable pitching recently enabled the California Kings to win the gold medal in the National Sports Festival, guided Pay ‘n Pak of Seattle to the International Softball Congress World Tournament championship Sunday.

    Moore defeated defending champion Decatur ADM’s Brent Stevenson 1-0 in a blockbuster climax to the 10-day, 87-game event at Sunset Point Park.

    BEARD’S BLAST

    One pitch was the difference between Moore, who finished the tourney with a 6-0 record, and Stevenson (6-1). It was a 3-2 pitch of Stevenson’s that first baseman Bruce Beard whacked over the center-field fence in the bottom of the fifth inning.

    “It was a drop ball,” said the right-handed-hitting Beard. “It’s been his (Stevenson’s) best pitch. He just got it up a little.”

    Click to continue reading “Step Back In Time: Jimmy Moore pitches Seattle to 1985 ISC crown”

    Canada and New Zealand front runners in the quest for Gold at the Men’s Softball World Championship

    Saturday, July 15th, 2017

    Josh Pettit has a 4-0 record and is a prime reason New Zealand is making a strong run at winning the 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Men’s Softball World Championship. Courtesy Photo

    WHITEHORSE, YK, Canada – Where once there were sixteen of the world’s finest fastpitch teams battling for gold at the Men’s Softball World Championship, we are now down to six.

    And these six – their rosters filled with the finest hurlers and batsmen worldwide – are indeed the best of the sixteen.

    As the tournament heads into the final two days of championship play, Canada, New Zealand, Argentina, Japan, Australia and the United States remain in contention for the most treasured of all mens’ fastpitch softball titles: World Champion.

    My pick for Gold? Canada.

    The defending 2015 world champions are playing an incredibly high-caliber fastpitch.

    The Canadians rode through Pool A at 7-0, and in their opening playoff game Friday, shutout Japan 2-0, to extend their unbeaten streak to 8-0 and remain the only undefeated team in the world championship.

    Click to continue reading “Canada and New Zealand front runners in the quest for Gold at the Men’s Softball World Championship”

    In The Spotlight: Matt Ratliff of the USA Softball Men’s National Team

    Friday, July 14th, 2017

    MATT RATLIFF made this amazing catch to rob Canada’s BRANDON HORN of a two-run homer in the fifth inning, and though the USA lost 7-1, Ratliff’s catch will long be remembered by his teammates and fastpitch fans worldwide as one of the greatest of the tournament, if not in the long history of the Men’s Softball World Championship. WBSC Photo

    WHITEHORSE, YK, Canada – Outfielder Matt Ratliff’s stock in men’s fastpitch took a sizable leap the past few days as he displayed his talent at the plate and in the field during the 2017 Men’s Softball World Championship.

    Playing in his first world championship for Team USA, Ratliff seized opportune moments to show just why he earned a spot on the squad.

    In the fifth inning against Canada in an early-round pool play game, Ratliff playing right-field, made one of the most spectacular catches in world tournament history by leaping, catching and crashing into and over the fence to rob Canada’s Brandon Horn of a two-run homer during a Pool A game, Sunday, July 17.

    If you think that was spectacular, it gets even better.

    Trailing the Republic of South Africa, 3-1, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Ratliff, who leads off and bats from the left-side, launched a two-run homer deep over the centerfield fence to pull Team USA even, and sending the game into extra innings which Team USA rallied to win, 4-3.

    Ratliff’s home run was huge as it helped the USA (5-2) finish in the top-eight of the 16 teams to qualify for chance at winning a medal – Gold, Silver or Bronze.

    To read about Ratliff’s journey in men’s fastpitch click on: Ratliff Aiming For USA Softball Men’s National Team

    In its first playoff game, Team USA takes on Venezuela (6-1), Friday, at 2 p.m. To watch the game, click on Sports Canada TV.

    USA rallies to escape upset minded Republic of South Africa in Men’s Softball World Championship

    Thursday, July 13th, 2017

    WHITEHORSE, YK, CanadaKevin Castillo gave Team USA hope, Matt Ratliff gave them new life, and Tyler Dudley gave them the winning run as the United States rallied in extra innings to defeat the Republic of South Africa, 4-3, Thursday night in the final game of pool play.

    The win moves Team USA (5-2) into Friday’s first-round of playoffs in the Men’s Softball World Championship at the Pepsi Softball Centre in Whitehorse. RSA, playing well in the tournament, drops to 2-5.

    But in the bottom of the seventh, victory seemed improbable with Team USA trailing 3-0 and down to their final out.

    Castillo, however, had other ideas.

    Click to continue reading “USA rallies to escape upset minded Republic of South Africa in Men’s Softball World Championship”

    Dudley and Mancha drive USA closer to playoff spot in Men’s Softball World Championship

    Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

    WHITEHORSE, YK, Canada – Lean and fit Tyler Dudley doesn’t have the big, burly build of the prototypical power hitter, but his incredibly quick hands can whip a bat around with lightning speed.

    When Dudley hits a softball, it can go a long way.

    And two of his gigantic wallops did just that in leading Team USA to a 12-2 victory over the Dominican Republic in the Men’s Softball World Championship at the Pepsi Softball Centre in Whitehorse, Tuesday.

    With the USA trailing 1-0 in the bottom half of the first inning, Dudley came to the plate with the bases loaded and promptly drilled a triple down the left-field line to clear the sacks and give Team USA a 3-1 advantage.

    Click to continue reading “Dudley and Mancha drive USA closer to playoff spot in Men’s Softball World Championship”

    Homers and Montero send Team USA to opening round defeat in Men’s Softball World Championship

    Saturday, July 8th, 2017

    WHITEHORSE, YK, Canada – The long ball and the pitching of Maxi Montero gave Argentina a 5-1 first-round victory over the United States in the 2017 XV Men’s Softball World Championship at the Pepsi Softball Centre in Whitehorse, Friday night.

    Team USA certainly got the start they wanted when second baseman Tyler Dudley drilled a double up the middle, scoring Matt Palazzo, who walked to open the game.

    But Argentina struck right back in the bottom half when Ladislao Malarczuk homered over the right-field fence to even the score. And from that point on, the offensive firepower belonged to the Argentinians.

    Click to continue reading “Homers and Montero send Team USA to opening round defeat in Men’s Softball World Championship”

    The World’s Best Men’s Fastpitch Softball Teams Set to Battle For Softball World Championship

    Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

    For men’s fastpitch softball fans, it doesn’t get any better than this: XV Men’s Softball World Championship. Courtesy WBSC Photo

    WHITEHORSE, Canada – In just three days the best international men’s fastpitch teams will seek to do their countries proud in the highest and most prestigious tournament for men – the World Baseball Softball Confederation’s XV Men’s Softball World Championship at the Pepsi Softball Centre in Whitehorse, Yukon, CA, July 7-16.

    Click on these links for complete information

  • Tournament Website
  • LIVE VIEWING from: Sports Canada World Softball Championship