2017 NAFA World Series

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Hennager Plumbing and Heating Fastpitch takes fourth in NAFA AA World Series

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

Earning fourth place in the NAFA AA World Series in Fargo, N.D., this weekend is the Hennager Plumbing and Heating Fastpitch Softball Team of Lake Crystal, Minn., Jake L Dalton, Lake Crystal, Minn., left, and Chris Bambeneck of Minneapolis, far right, received All-World honors. Coach Blake Meshke, Lake Crystal, holds the winning trophy, received from NAFA Executive Director Benjie Hedgecock. Photo By SHERYL DOERING MESHKE

Saunders championship dream comes true in NAFA AA World Series

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

JOEL COOLEY pitched four innings of one-hit ball to help the Kegel Knights Old Timers defeat the Calahoo Chiefs 2-1 to claim the NAFA AA World Series championship at Northside Softball Complex, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Photo By BOB OTT / 2017 NAFA World Series, Fargo, N.D.

FARGO – Rick Saunders has won his share of tournaments and awards playing for the Kegel Black Knights of Fargo. But winning a national or international championship has eluded him.

But that all changed when the Kegel Knights Old Timers defeated the Calahoo Chiefs of Alberta, Canada in a dramatic walk-off 2-1 victory to claim the NAFA AA World Series championship at Northside Softball Complex, Sunday.

And Saunders played the leading role.

With two out in the bottom of the seventh, he hammered a clean single up the middle scoring pinch runner Andrew Kutnikoff from second base with the winning run.

“This feels really good,” said Saunders. “I’ve never been on a championship team and to be with these guys years and years, and be able to contribute when we need it, feels great.”

Click to continue reading “Saunders championship dream comes true in NAFA AA World Series”

Kegel Old Timers playing like knights in NAFA AA championship

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

Kegel Knights Old Timers, DUANE CLARKSON, laces a pitch during the Old Timers 4-2 victory over the Willkomm Mobile / Optimum Crush, Saturday, in the NAFA AA World Series. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

FARGO – The name on the bracket board says Old Timers, but the lettering on their uniforms spells out Knights.

The middle aged men wearing the uniforms don’t play anything like any preconceived notion of “old timers.”

Instead they’re playing like knights – as in former Kegel Black Knights – which several of them were at one time over the years.

After going undefeated in the NAFA AA World Series, the 3-0 Knights have reached Sunday’s championship game and have to be considered the odds-on favorite to take the title, needing just one more win to cap it.

Still in the running with one loss are the Wisconsin’s Willkomm Mobil / Optimum Crush, Minnesota’s Hennager Plumbing of Lake Crystal, and the Calahoo Chiefs of Calahoo, Alberta Canada.

In the eight-team tournament, the Knights have defeated the Surrey Rebels, 6-3; Optimum Crush, 4-2, and the Chiefs in the
winner’s bracket final Saturday night at Fargo’s Northside Softball Complex.

Knights Old Timers 7, Chiefs 4

Tony Kunka, 2-for-4, doubled and drove in two runs to head the Knights six hits, and Lucas Goring tripled in three trips, going 3-for-4, and scoring three times.

Joel Cooley and BJ Hunhoff split the pitching duties with Hunhoff getting the win, allowing three runs on seven hits with with six strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings.

Also seeing pitching duty is Gerald Muizelaar, a veteran hurler who has led teams to success in the International Softball Congress World Tournament, and he has pitched for the USA Softball National Team in softball world championships.

Old Timers? Anything but.

  • Click on NAFA AA World Series for team and individual results.
  • Final four pursue NAFA Gold in 23-Under Division

    Saturday, August 19th, 2017

    ISAIAH GILBERTSON of Mike Steiner Construction 23-Under team, slides into third base, but was called out on a close play with Minnesota Computers, Saturday, in pool play. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

    FARGO – Four top young men’s teams will take to the ball fields on Sunday to decide the NAFA 23-Under World Series championship at Northside Softball Complex.

    At 8 a.m., Kegel / Minnesota Computers battle the Seadogs of Massachusetts, while Peguis Redmen take on the Conquest Junior Coyotes of Saskatoon, Canada.

    Then at 9:45 the two winners square off in the title game.

  • Click on 23-Under Championship Bracket
  • Len’s Auto wins the battle of Minnesotans in NAFA World Series

    Saturday, August 19th, 2017

    Duluth Fastpitch catcher BRETT SCHEEVEL attempts to tag KYLE POBANZ when he tried to score on a fly ball, but Pobanz was called safe, giving Len’s Auto it’s final run in a 3-0 victory in the NAFA A World Series winner’s bracket that sends the St. Paul club into the NAFA A championship game on Sunday. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

    FARGO – In a battle of two of Minnesota’s top fastpitch teams, Len’s Auto of St. Paul defeated Duluth Fastpitch, 3-0, in the winner’s bracket final of the NAFA A Division World Series late Saturday.

    The win sends Len’s Auto into the championship game, Sunday, at 11:30 a.m. at Northside Softball Complex.

    Len’s Auto swept through the 38-team A Division with a clean slate at 6-0, while Duluth (4-1) lost for the first time, and drops into the loser’s bracket needing a win to qualify for the title game.

    Tim Schuhwerck spun a four-hitter and struck out seven to improve his tournament record to 2-0, and he’s yet to give up and earned run, according to NAFA statistics.

    Duluth’s Dave Meyer held Len’s Auto to just three hits by Kyle Pobanz, 2-for-2, and Alex Farber 1-for-3. Meyer also walked three and struck five.

    Bud Joyce was 2-for-2 to lead Len’s Auto and Brett Scheevel and Brett Klosowski had one hit each.

    Along with Len’s Auto and Duluth Fastpitch, the Whitetail Husky Bucks of Lancaster, Penn., and West Fargo Knights remain in contention for the championship.

    The Bucks and Knights square off at 8 a.m. with the winner taking on Duluth at 9:45.

  • Click on NAFA A WORLD SERIES RESULTS for team and individual information.
  • Young fastpitch stars on both sides of the border showcasing their talent at NAFA World Series

    Saturday, August 19th, 2017

    ALEX STRAUGHTON, 20, and KYNAN TARNOWSKI, 23, play for the Coyotes of Conquest, Saskatchewan, Canada in the age 23-Under NAFA World Series. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

    FARGO – Hundreds of miles and a border separate Parker Lyga and Kynan Tarnowski, but for one weekend at the NAFA World Series they come together to share a common bond, a fondness for the game of fastpitch softball, and an intense desire to take home a World Series championship trophy.

    Lyga, 22, from La Crosse, Wisconsin and Tarnowski, 23, of Conquest, Saskatchewan, Canada, are playing in the NAFA 23-Under World Series.

    Tarnowski with the Coyotes of Conquest, Lyga with Mike Steiner Construction.

    As a pitcher, Tarnowski has seen double duty in the 23-Under and in the A Division. So far, so good.

    He’s pitched four innings of relief in the Coyotes first 23-under game, coming out on top 7-5, and in the A Division, he’s allowed just a single run in 12 innings and has crafted a 2-0 record.

    Though he’s only 23, he’s a veteran in years of experience.

    “I started playing fastpitch when I was eight,” he said. “I switched to baseball, but only played a year and came back to fastpitch. It’s more fun and it’s faster.”

    Alex Straughtman, 20, is also seeing action with the Coyotes at shortstop and third base. He started out playing hardball, but three years a go made the move to fastpitch.

    Why?

    “My friends were playing (fastpitch) and it’s fun playing the game with them,” said Straughtman.

    For the most part, the Coyotes came with the same team that plays together in a men’s league. They’ve won two of three pool play 23-Under games, with the goal of reaching Sunday’s championship game.

    For Lyga, he would like nothing better than seeing his Mike Steiner Construction team reach that title game and square off with the Canadians.

    A “border battle,” so to speak.

    But regardless of the World Series outcome, he’s already making plans for next season.

    “I want to learn to pitch,” Lyga said. “We’re starting a league-team of young guys in La Crosse next year. I’ve got seven guys who want to play right now.”

    ISAIAH GILBERTSON of Mike Steiner Construction hits a single up the middle, then stole second base in a 23-Under pool play game against Minnesota Computers, Saturday. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

    Isaiah Gilbertson is another young fastpitch player, who like many, transition to fastpitch when their baseball playing days wind down.

    “I played (baseball) at Western Tech College in La Crosse,” said Gilberston, 21. “I still play a little baseball, but I like the fast pace of fastpitch.”

    Now, if only the sport can find more just like them – on both sides of the border.

    Click on 23-Under World Series to follow the results

    Home runs power Len’s Auto into NAFA A World Series semifinals

    Saturday, August 19th, 2017

    JUSTIN OLSON is greeted by his teammates after he hit a two-run home run in the second inning to help Len’s Auto of Minnesota defeat Lifetime Seamless Gutters of Wisconsin, 7-1, in the NAFA A Worlds Series, Friday, at Northside Softball Complex. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

    FARGO – Justin Olson and Alex Farber hammered two-run home runs to lead Len’s Auto of Minnesota past Lifetime Seamless of Wisconsin, 7-1, in the NAFA A World Series, Friday.

    After Lifetime’s Peyton Hall belted a homer to lead off the game, Olson countered in the second with his blast to give Len’s Auto the lead for good. And Farber drove the ball over the fence in the third to extend the lead to 4-1.

    Farber had a huge game going 4-for-4 with two RBI and two runs to pace Len’s 11-hit barrage.

    After Chad Washenberger gave up the first inning dinger, he settled in to hold Lifetime Seamless scoreless the rest of the way.

    The win keeps Len’s Auto undefeated at 3-0 and sends them into Saturday’s 4 p.m semifinals against the West Fargo Knights, also 3-0. The lower bracket semifinal features Minnesota ball clubs, Scandia and Duluth. The winners will advance into the winners bracket final at 8 p.m.

  • Click here for more A Division results.
  • Check out the NAFA A bracket.
  • Noerrlinger homer powers Roca Tavern in NAFA A World Series

    Friday, August 18th, 2017

    Roca Tavern’s BRANDON NOERRLINGER is congratulated for hitting a game winning home run. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA A World Series. Photo By BOB OTTO

    FARGO – Brandon Noerrlinger drilled his first game-winning home run in the NAFA World Series to give Roca Tavern of Roca, Nebraska an 8-7 win against Scarlett’s of Sioux Falls in A Division loser bracket play on Friday.

    With two out in the top of the seventh, Norerrlinger blasted a shot over the left-centerfield fence and then sped around the bases to the delight of his cheering teammates and fans.

    “He put it right ‘there’ and I got a good swing on it,” said Noerrlinger, who was 2-for-4, scored twice and hit a double. “This is my first NAFA home run; It’s fun.”

    The win improves Roca’s record to 3-1 and sends them into Saturday to take on the Beaumont, Calif. Coyotes at 8 a.m.

    Ross Martin also homered in the contest, and it was huge – a three run blast.

    Roca collected 11 hits led by Garrett Brandt going 3-for-3 with two RBI. Noerrlinger, Zach Tebo and David Morris had two hits each., while Martin and Ryan Munter each hit safely.

    ROSS MARTIN of Roca Tavern picked up the 8-7 victory over the Scarlett’s of Sioux Falls with five innings of relief. Martin also homered and drove in three runs to help the cause. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA A World Series

    Jim Lloyd started and pitched the first two innings, giving way to Martin, who picked up the win, allowing three runs on seven hits with two strikeouts.

    The Scarlett’s pounded out 13 hits. Todd Dekker was 3-for-4, and Robert Peterson, Al Hanson, Tim Hoover and Scott Miller hit safely twice. Mark Mueller and Andy Hunhoff had one hit each.

    *** Click on NAFA Brackets to see more tournament results ***

    Hennager Plumbing opens NAFA AA World Series with big win over ECL Bronx

    Friday, August 18th, 2017

    BRENT MESHKE pitched Hennager Plumbing of Lake Crystal, Minn. to a 4-2 victory over the ECL Bronx in a NAFA AA World Series game, Friday, at Northside Softball Complex. Photo BY BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA AA World Series

    FARGO – Hennager Plumbing of Lake Crystal, Minn. opened the NAFA AA World Series matched up against one of the strongest hitting ball clubs in the nine-team tournament and came away with a huge win.

    Led by the steady pitching of Brent Meshke, a sure-handed defense, and timely hitting, the Plumbers defeated the ECL Bronx of Saskatchewan, Canada, 4-2, Friday afternoon at Northside Softball Complex.

    Meshke battled through a heavy-hitting lineup of Bronx bombers by scattering 10 hits, walking two and striking out four. He mixed his rise ball with a sharp breaking drop and kept the Bronx off balance with his change-up.

    When Meshke needed the defense to come to his aid, it did – superbly – including Brent’s brother, first baseman Derek Meshke, who made the ‘play of the game’ in the sixth inning.

    The Bronx had scored a run on a pair of hits and threatened to keep the inning alive with leadoff batter Matt Chambers at the plate and a runner aboard.

    Chambers squared up on a Meshke pitch and drilled a hard ground ball three feet inside of first base, but Derek Meshke dove to his right, snared the ball and flipped it to his brother racing over to cover first base for the final out of the inning.

    , CRAIG GEISLER hits a clean single for the ECL Bronx in a NAFA AA World Series opener with Hennager Plumbing at Northside Softball Complex, Friday.

    The Bronx threatened again in the seventh with a pair of singles putting runners at first and second with two out, but Meshke’s drop ball sent the ball bounding into the glove of second baseman Brandon Friedrich who tossed it over to Derek Meshke for the final out.

    Bronx right-hander, Jeremy Kenny, pitched a a complete game, giving up seven hits, striking out 11, and walking five, but costly errors aided Hennager scoring opportunities.

    The win moves the Plumbers into Saturday’s second round against the Calihoo Chiefs at 4 p.m. The Chiefs hammered Bowen Fastpitch of Illinois 19-2 to advance.

    The Plumbers collected six hits, led by Chris Bambenek, 2-for-3, and Spencer Yackel, 2-for-4. (Complete stats for Hennager’s and the Bronx not available on the Play NAFA website at publishing time .)

  • For bracket updates, visit NAFA AA Bracket
  • For team and individual stats, visit Play NAFA
  • Garcia’s lift Kansas City Indios over Beaumont, Calif. Coyotes

    Friday, August 18th, 2017

    A happy DAVID GARCIA, right, drilled a double into centerfield to drive in the winning run as the Kansas City Indios defeated the Beaumont, Calif. Coyotes, 3-2, in eight innings. Photo By BOB OTTO

    FARGO – Adam Garcia manned the circle, David Garcia provided the power, and the Kansas City Indios pulled out a 3-2 victory over the Beaumont, Calif. Coyotes in extra innings in the NAFA A World Tournament, Friday.

    Adam Garcia picked up his third win of the tournament, hurling eight innings, and David Garcia drilled a run-scoring double in the bottom of the eighth to deep centerfield, sending Jordan Garcia racing home with the walk-off, game winning run.

    Jordan Garcia was hit by a pitch to start the inning and raced around the bags to score easily.

    “It was my first hit of the game,” said David Garcia. “Before that I stunk. It was the one that counted. All I was looking to do was put the ball in play.”

    Kansas City Indios pitcher ADAM GARCIA hurled eight complete innings to help the Indios defeat the Beaumont, Calif. Coyotes, 3-2, Friday in the NAFA A World Series. The win improved the Indios to 3-0 in the tournament with Garcia pitching every inning. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

    In the circle, Adam Garcia, 40, fired a two-hitter with one strikeout for his third win of the tournament. In reaching the 3-0 mark, Garcia has been the Indios workhorse, pitching every inning.

    The Garcia name dominates the Indios roster with 10 of the 13 men closely related.

    “The team started in 1975,” said David Garcia, 27. “We’re a family team of Garcia brothers and cousins, dads, uncles and grandpas. We are close knit and we don’t like to lose.”

    The Indios collected five hits, one each by Rico Garcia, Jordan Garcia, David Garcia, Luis Ramirez and Dominic Garcia.

    For the Coyotes, Kirk Walker started and allowed four hits and one earned run over six innings before being relieved by Jesse Martinez, who pitched two innings, giving up a run on one hit with a strikeout.

    The Coyotes two hits were for extra bases as Damon Valdivia drilled a triple and Martinez hit a solo homer.

    *** For scores and more of the NAFA A World Series, click on: Play NAFA ***