2017 NAFA World Series

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Bombers keep the fastpitch tradition alive in Bee

Friday, August 18th, 2017

BEE Bombers shortstop RYAN DOLEZAL focuses on the batter during a NAFA A World Series game. Photo By BOB OTTO

FARGO – At first glance and thought, the word BEE spelled out in bold, black letters on the front of their bright, red uniforms might lead one to think this men’s fastpitch team has a connection to the bee industry. Perhaps a sponsor with a honey-related business.

Not even close.

There’s a town in Nebraska named Bee. Population about 200 and located northwest of Lincoln about 40 miles, and halfway between Omaha and Grand Island.

This little village on the prairie farmland of Nebraska doesn’t raise bees or produce honey, but it does produce some talented fastpitch players. Many with familial ties two and three generations deep.

Men’s fastpitch goes back 64 years in Bee, says Roger Dolezal, who was keeping score for the Bee Bombers during a recent NAFA A Division game.

Milo Navratil started it in the 1950s,” he said. “He’s 94 now, but he was running it and keeping the game alive until 2000. Then we took over and are keeping it rolling. Our young men want to play ball.”

BEE Bombers right-fielder, DELTON WERTH catches a fly ball in a NAFA A Division World Series game. Photo By BOB OTTO

Milo did quite a job keeping it alive and with some great success.

“We have won ten (ASA) state championships,” Dolezal said, “and all the players have local ties. Some played Legion, high school and college baseball and now play fastpitch.”

Bee plays in the South League against teams around the Lincoln area. And the Bombers continue to play on their home field, appropriately named Milo Navratil Field.

“We run the ball field and take care of it,” Dolezal said. “We have a lot of pride in it. Our ball players grew up on the ball field with their dads.”

BEE Bombers pitcher RYAN HELGOTH hurls a pitch in the NAFA A Division World Series. Photo By BOB OTTO

The 2017 BEE Bombers NAFA World Series roster: Evan Sisel, Shane Sisel, Michael Hofpar, Aaron Pierce, Shane Johnson, Ryan Helgoth, Brandon Chapek, Ryan Dolezal, Jeremy Cihal, Blake Marquardt, Logan Mahalek, Jordan Odvody, Tyler Dolezal, Delton Werth and Roger Dolezal.

Hall of Famers honored at NAFA opening ceremonies

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

LON ANDERSON, left, TONY ARESCO AND BRUCE WALTERS were inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame during opening ceremonies of the NAFA A Division World Series at Northside Softball Complex, Thursday, Aug. 17. Photo By BOB OTTO

FARGO – All three were talented ball players. All three have excellent leadership skills, and all three excelled in the North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) World Series.

And all three, Lon Anderson of South Dakota, Tony Aresco of Massachusetts and Bruce Walters of Minnesota were inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame during opening ceremonies of the A Division World Series, Thursday, Aug. 17 at Northside Softball Complex in Fargo.

The Kahkewistahaw Blue Jays applaud as the umpires are introduced at opening ceremonies of the 2017 NAFA A Division World Series, Thursday, Aug. 17. The Blue Jays of the Kahkewistahaw First Nation traveled from Saskatchewan, Canada to play in the World Series. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

NAFA World Series off to great start, follow along

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

PAUL BRUHA of Animal House, LaCrosse, Wisc. rips into a pitch during the 2017 NAFA A Division World Tournament at Northside Softball Complex in Fargo, Thusday, in the opening day of the 38 team event that runs through Sunday. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

FARGO – After three days of cloudy skies and intermittent rain, on the Thursday the gloomy weather gave way to blue skies, sunshine and warm temperatures. Just in time for the opening of the NAFA A Division World Series.

The games continue through Sunday with the championship scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at Northside Softball Complex in Fargo.

Tournament Information

  • A Division Winners Bracket
  • NAFA Website
  • A Division Teams & Stats
  • Valdivia homers lead Beaumont Coyotes in NAFA World Series

    Thursday, August 17th, 2017

    GEORGE VALDIVIA gets the high five from his Beaumont Coyotes teammates after he slugged a three-run home run during the Coyotes 15-2 victory over the Padres of Saskatoon, Canada, Thursday, at Northside Softball Complex. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

    FARGO – George Valdivia slugged two home runs and Jesse Martinez hit a solo shot along with hurling a two hitter to lead the Coyotes of Beaumont, Calif. to a 15-2 victory over the Saskatoon, Canada Padres in the opening game of the NAFA A Division World Series, Thursday, for both teams.

    Valdivia led off the game with a solo home run and in the fourth with two aboard, he launched a deep drive that easily cleared the left-field fence for a three-run shot.

    Valdivia was 3-for-3 to lead Beaumont’s 10-hit attack. Jesse Mullen was 2-for-2 with three RBI, and Jason Martinez drove in a pair of runs with his 2-for-3 performance.

    While the hitters were feasting at the plate, Jesse Martinez put the clamps on the Padres with his two hitter and six strikeouts.

      OTHER A DIVISION RESULTS

    Budmen Fastpitch (Calif.) 8, Bee Bombers (Neb.) 2
    (w) Monty Wells, 1 earned run, 6 hits, 15 strikeouts
    Wells home run, Gregor Morgan, triple; Miguel Cordero, Sean Barker, Cory Wertz and Robert Ramos all had doubles.

    Rooters Bar Fargo 9, Northwest Braves 5
    (w) not recored; Kevin McCrory 2-for-4, RBI; Justin Rhealt 2-for-3, 2 runs; Logan Lunde 2-for-3, RBI
    Braves, Ryan Welsh, 3-for-4, 2 RBI, home run

    Rivals 9, WAH (Calif.) 4
    Kansas City Indios 11, Sight & Sound Waves 1
    Lifetime Seamless Gutters 8, Marquette Fastpitch 1
    Pala Braves (Calif.) 10, Scarlett’s (SD) 5

    *** For more results, click on: NAFA A Divisions Scores ***

    Aresco leads Seadogs in NAFA World Series opener

    Thursday, August 17th, 2017

    ANTHONY ARESCO had a productive day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with home run, triple and single, along with a walk in helping the Seadogs of Massachusetts defeat the Merchants of Saskatoon, Canada, 10-2, in the opening game of the 2017 NAFA A Division World Series, Thursday, at Northside Softball Complex. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

    FARGO – Anthony Aresco swung the hot bat, Nick French manned the circle, and the Seadogs of Massachusetts opened the NAFA A Division World Series by beating the Merchants of Saskatoon, Canada, 10-2, Thursday at Northside Softball Complex.

    Aresco opened the game with a solo home run to spark a four-run first inning, and he drilled a triple and scored on a passed ball in the third to put the Seadogs comfortably ahead, 5-0.

    Meanwhile French was in good form using his rise, drop and change-up to scatter eight hits, while allowing one earned run with eight strikeouts.

    Seadogs manager Tony Aresco says he likes the mix of his ball club.

    “We’ve got a good combination of ages,” he said. “We’ve got four guys in their 50s, two in their 30s, and (several) young guys with speed, and the older guys hit with power.”

    Tony Aresco, who will be inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame Thursday night, also entered a ball club in the 23-Under tournament.

    Four of those young guys are seeing double duty, playing in the A and 23-Under divisions, including left-fielder, Taylor Meyering; right-fielder Anthony Aresco (Tony’s son); center-fielder, Anthony Annunziata, and Designated Hitter, Collin Hopkins.

    As for the A Division, with 38 teams, Tony Aresco says to win it will take staying healthy and surviving the long ordeal of many ball games.

    “The pitching gets tired towards the end,” he said. “It becomes and act of attrition; it takes good pitching and hitting to win this.”

      OTHER RESULTS

    Pala Braves 9, Kahkewistahaw Braves 0
    (w) Eloy Montoya, no-hitter (five innings), 9 strikeouts
    Santee Marrulfo, 3 RBI

    Colorado Knights 6, Roca Tavern (Neb.) 2
    (w) Matt Kosorok, 6 hits, 2 runs, 6 strikeouts
    Todd Clapp, 3-for-4; Owen Madison and BJ Baker, home runs

  • To follow the World Series, visit: NAFA A Division
  • Tom Haver achieves perfection among the top-class of NAFA A-Major pitchers

    Thursday, August 17th, 2017

    California Buzzards’ LUMAR GOSS was one of the rare pitchers who performed double-duty at the NAFA A-Major World Series. The right-handed pitching and hitting Goss, won three games (3-1) and he hit for a healthy .389 average (7-for-18), with 9 RBI. Of his seven hits, five were extra bases: a home run, triple and three doubles. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

    FARGO – It’s the unrealized dream for the vast majority of fastpitch pitchers who have ever played the game. But for Tom Haver the dream came true Saturday, Aug. 12.

    Haver pitched a seven-inning perfect game, in setting down 21 Stoneyard (Wisc.) batters, 10 by strikeout, in leading Northern Merchants Fastpitch of New York to a 1-0 victory in the the NAFA A-Major World Series, in which the Merchants placed fifth in the 30-team field.

    The Merchants scored in the bottom of the second when Jeff Carr led off with a single, reached second base on BJ Gauger’s bunt. That brought Bryan Ingalls to the plate.

    And Ingalls pushed a bunt past third base to send Carr racing home from second with the winning run.

    Then it was all Haver.

    “I’ve been catching him a long time and we’ve had some great games together,” said Ingalls, Northern’s catcher. “I just call the pitches and he throws them. This game he was great and it was even better being a 1-0 game.”

    But, of course, Haver’s teammates helped make the perfecto happen. Tom Avery most of all. At the very start of the game, the left-fielder made a sliding catch to rob leadoff batter Chad Goytowski of a base hit.

    After that, the defense stepped up and made all the routine plays behind Haver, who’s command was sharp, and his rise, rise-curve and change-up extra special on this most perfect of days.

    Pitcher TOM HAVER, left, and catcher BRIAN INGALLS teamed up to produce a perfect game for the right-handed Haver, who faced the minimum 21 batters in seven innings, striking out 10, to help the New York Northern Merchants defeat Stoneyard of Wisconsin, 1-0, in the 2017 NAFA A-Major World Series. Courtesy Photo

    “It was one of those games where everything was moving and he was hitting his spots,” Ingalls said.

    For Haver, 39, a New York state trooper, his victory was no fluke. The right-hander was one of the top hurlers in the A-Major. He finished the tournament with a 3-1 record, hurling 24 innings and striking out 27 batters with a 1.75 ERA.

      A-MAJOR TOP HURLERS
  • 1. Julian Fernandez, Bowen Fastpitch, 5-0, 28 innings, 42 strikeouts, 1.75 ERA
  • 2. Bryan Lathrop, Stoneyard, 3-1, 34 innings, 46 strikeouts, 1.65 ERA
  • 3. Brandon Peck, Fleetwood, 3-1, 23 innings, 33 strikeouts, 0.30 ERA
  • Lumar Goss, California Buzzards, 3-1, 22.2 innings, 30 strikeouts, 2.47 ERA (one no-hitter)
  • Dave Stokes, Elanco, 3-2, 34 innings, 29 strikeouts, 4.12 ERA
  • *** minimum three wins ***

    Second week of NAFA World Series starts Thursday

    Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

    The 2017 NAFA World Series tournament brochure.

    FARGO – The teams are arriving in Fargo for the second week of the 25th Anniversary of the 2017 NAFA World Series.

    The tournament runs from Thursday, Aug. 17 to 20 with 54 teams battling for three division championships: eight in the AA division, 38 A, and and eight age 23-Under.

  • Teams are coming from throughout North America.
  • Four Canadian provinces – Manitoba, Saskatoon, Ontario and British Columbia – are sending teams that will compete in all three divisions.

    Fifteen U.S. states – Minnesota, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, California, New York, Michigan, Oregon, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

    The A division starts the tournament. The first game is scheduled Thursday at 2 p.m. with the championship set for Sunday at 11:30 a.m.

    AA powerhouses take to the field Friday at 5 p.m., with the championship scheduled for Sunday at 11:30 a.m.

    The 23-Under begins Friday at 7 p.m., with the championship, Sunday at 9:45 a.m.

    NAFA World Series Information

  • The ball park: Northside Softball Complex
  • Teams, Schedule, brackets
  • Playnafa Scores & Statistics
  • Rain / weather: 888-852-1115
  • John’s Plumbing and Kegel Knights tie for NAFA Recreation Division championship

    Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

    18-year-old BRAXTON THOMPSON was an All-World selection to the Recreation Division for his outstanding infield play for his Cerro Gordo, Minnesota ball club. Photo BY BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series / Fargo, N.D.

    FARGO – John’s Plumbing of Courtland, Neb. and the Kegel Knights of Fargo tied for the first-ever NAFA Recreation Division championship game after the game ended due to torrential rain that flooded the ball field at Northside Softball Complex, Sunday.

  • For Recreation Division Information, click on Results &
    Stats
  • Most Valuable Player
    Greg Schroeder, John’s Plumbing

    Most Valuable Pitcher
    Kevin McCrory, Fargo Knights

      ALL-WORLD TEAM

    Cody Rahman, Knights
    Todd Clark, Knights
    Scott Whetter, Knights
    Mark Morris, John’s
    Matt Duden, John’s
    Jared Holmgren, Ramona
    Derek Lien, Ramona
    Rob McGinnis, Northern Extreme
    Duane Carlson, Northern Extreme
    Paul Wanner, F-M Aces
    Tom Hagen, F-M Aces
    Braxton Thompson, Cerro Gordo (Minn.)
    Jared Hawk, The Box (Minn.)

    Jesse Ortiz, pitching in for NAFA and his league

    Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

    JESSE ORTIZ is kept busy at the NAFA World Series checking bats to certifiy that they meet NAFA specifications. Ortiz is in his third year assisting at the NAFA World Series. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series.

    FARGO – At his home ballpark in Southern California, Jesse Ortiz can be found hustling from one field to another. He’s an administrator, a resolver of disputes, he oversees the scorekeepers, and he even does some field maintenance when the need arises.

    Ortiz is the executive director of the Southern California Independent Fastpitch League (SCIFL). It’s a job with a lot of duties and some headaches, but he sets all of that aside when it’s his turn to pitch.

    He works diligently for long hours on several weekends throughout the fastpitch season to ensure that SCIFL Alliance tournaments run smoothly.

    “The SCIFL tournaments went well this year,” said Ortiz, 42. “We did have to cut back on some tournaments because of a conflict with the city (Santa Fe Springs). We had one tournament at Camp Pendleton (Marine Corps Base) and that went well.”

    Click to continue reading “Jesse Ortiz, pitching in for NAFA and his league”

    FM Fastpitch Association set to host World Series in Fargo

    Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

    Justin Feist help organize this week’s NAFA tournament to be held at the Northside softball complex. David Samson / The Forum

    By Eric Peterson / Forum News Service
    Aug 8, 2017

    FARGO – Justin Feist was asked to play on a fall fastpitch softball team nine years ago not knowing what to expect. Feist had played baseball in high school, but didn’t know much about fastpitch.

    He got hooked.

    “I really enjoyed it,” said the 28-year-old Feist, now the president of the Fargo Moorhead Fastpitch Association. “I’ve played ever since.”

    Click to continue reading “FM Fastpitch Association set to host World Series in Fargo”