August 10th, 2017

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Basketball star does her part at the NAFA World Series

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

FARGO, N.D. – Jessica Rahman has been busy running the NAFA World Series Merchandise Stand at the Northside Softball Complex.

“We’ve got hats, T-shirts, hoodies, jackets, and three-quarter sleeve shirts,” said Jessica.

Also available for players and fans are pins, cup cozies, and various miscellaneous items. Jessica even allows a try on to make sure a customer leaves satisfied with the right size.

But on Friday at 5 p.m., she will take a break from her merchandising duties and attend the Fargo-Moorhead Softball Association Hall of Fame induction. Her husband Brian is one of four new members being inducted.

Proud? Most certainly.

Here’s a few details that you don’t know about Jessica. She’s a gifted athlete, especially in basketball. She’s holds the all-time record in career points with 2,101 at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. And she led the Div. III school to the national championship in 1988.

“I was really fortunate to play with some talented teammates,” said Rahman, who has went on to become the college’s head basketball coach.

So if you’re at the ball park, stop by Jessica’s booth, say hello, and browse the high-quality merchandise that she will even let you try on.

CR Bartels advances to NAFA AA-Major World Series final

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

FARGO, N.D. – Tony Gonzalez and Darren Koster homered, and Dean Walter pitched shutout relief to power CR Bartels of Portland, Ore. to an 8-2 victory over the Rice Lake, Wisc. Orangemen in the AA-Major winner’s bracket final, Thursday, at the Northside Softball Complex in Fargo.

The win improves CR Bartels to 4-0, while the Orangemen fall to 3-1 and must advance through the loser’s bracket for a return engagement with the Portland ball club for a chance at the AA-Major crown.

The AA-Major championship is scheduled for 11 a.m., Friday. (See AA-Major bracket)

The Orangemen will engage Summerside (2-1) of Prince Edward Island, Canada, in the loser’s bracket final, scheduled for 9 a.m., Friday.

Gonzalez got CR Bartels off to a good start with a two-run homer over the left-field fence in the first inning, and CR Bartels added four more in the fourth and two in the sixth seal the win.

Gonzalez and Jason Obregon had two hits each to lead Portland’s batsmen.

A step back in time to the 2000 NAFA World Series

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

WAUSAU REP & BAJA’S men’s fastpitch team finished third in the 2000 NAFA World Series. Front row from left: Craig Filizetti, Mark Zee, Tim Spagnola, Riggs Repking, Greg Spindler, Brooks Repking, Jay Wilder, Jeff Zeller. Back from left: J.W. Dachel, Scott Rasmussen, Mark Repking, Mike Witter, Kevin Leick, Al Gringras, Rick Larson and Tom Feck. Not pictured, Dave Kamke. Photo By Wausaw Daily Herald / Sept. 22, 2000

FARGO, N.D. – Even though it’s been 17 years, Jon Kegel remembers the game and the circumstances well. His Kegel Black Knights trailed Wausau, Wisc. Rep & Baja’s, 3-1, in the seventh inning with two outs.

But the Black Knights weren’t down and out in the 2000 NAFA World Series.

Steve Scott saw to that. He belted a three-run homer to pull the Black Knights to the, 4-3, walk-off victory in the finals of the loser’s bracket. That huge win propelled the Black Knights on to claim the World Series title.

“I thought they (Rep & Baja’s) were the best team in the tournament,” said Kegel. “But they decided to intentionally walk John Desaulniers to get to Steve and he hit the home run. Steve said he knew he hit it, but the sun was shining in his eyes, so he couldn’t tell where the ball went.”

As for Desaulniers, “He threw every inning and every game for us and pitched five games on the last day.”

Desaulniers finished the world series with an incredible 8-1 record to lead the Black Knights to the championship.

Argentinians help Rice Lake Orangemen in NAFA AA-Major World Series

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

Matias Minigutti and Federico Olheiser of Argentina are having a productive and enjoyable men’s fastpitch softball season playing for the Rice Lake, Wisc. Orangemen. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

FARGO, N.D. – The Rice Lake, Wisc. Orangemen have gone the import route this season and added ten talented Argentina players to their roster.

Infielder Federico Olheiser says he and his countrymen are having the time of their life.

“This is a very good (experience),” said Olheiser. “We play in the best tournaments and come here to play NAFA and ISC (World Tournament). We have a good time shopping, going to the parks and the lakes in Wisconsin and we go to the (Minnesota) Twins games.”

Olheiser and Matias Minigutti give the Orangemen the benefit of their talent as both young men play for the Argentina men’s national team.

On Thursday, the Orangemen (3-0) had reached the AA-Major winner’s bracket final against CR Bartels of Portland (3-0). (Results unavailable at press time.)

After the AA-Major finishes on Friday, the Orangemen will travel to Grand Rapids, Mich. for the ISC World Tournament.

The Orangemen roster courtesy of Ronn Kopp

Joaquin Algre
Nicolas Siebenlist
German Bonaccorsi
Matias Orfano
Ignacio Juri
Gonzalo Masmu
Matias Minigutti
Federico Olheiser
Diego Van Opstal
Francisco Sabate
Scott Emerson
Travis Cunningham
Travis Thompson

NAFA umpire honored for outstanding service to the North American Fastpitch Association

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

CLIFF WHITSON poses with his plaque and jacket after he was inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame during opening ceremonies of the 2017 NAFA World Series at Northside Softball Complex, Thursday night. Whitson umpired in 12 NAFA World Series, the Amateur Softball Association, along with over 30 years officiating high school girls and college women’s softball. He will also be inducted into the St. Paul Old Timers Softball Association Hall of Fame in October. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

Late rally pulls Stoneyard past Bucknell A’s

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

Bucknell A’s pitcher ROB GUNTER delivers a pitch during the A’s game with Stoneyard of Wisconsin. The A’s held a 4-0 lead into the seventh, but ended up on the losing end as Stoneyard rallied for a 5-4 victory in an A-Major contest at Fargo’s Northend Softball Complex, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. Photo By BOB OTTO

FARGO, N.D. – Trailing 4-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh and seemingly destined to lose, Stoneyard of Wisconsin pulled off an improbable nine-inning, 5-4, thriller at the expense of the Bucknell A’s of Lacy, Wash., Thursday, in an A-Major opening game for both ball clubs.

Stoneyard took advantage of an error, a base hit, and two wild pitches, to even the score and send the game into extra innings.

After a scoreless eighth, the Wisconsin ball club completed the comeback in the ninth when Chad Goytowski singled up the middle to drive in the winning run.

Brian Lathrop went the distance for Stoneyard to pick up the win, allowing three earned runs on 14 hits with four walks and eight strikeouts.

Lathrop escaped deep trouble in the top of the ninth when the A’s loaded the bases, but he reached back for the strikeout on a full count to end the inning.

Stoneyard batsmen collected eight hits led by Devin Rogers, 3-fo-4, Jerry Showers, 2-for-5, Goytowski, 2-for-5, and Austin Showers, 1-for-3.

For the A’s, Darin Michael, Shane Alder, Trevor Knight and Scott Anderson had two hits each, while Kasey Knight and Al Khalaf each had a hit.

Left-hander Rob Gunter started for the A’s and went 6 2/3 innings, scattering six hits and giving up two earned runs along with nine strikeouts. Dave Drotzman relieved Gunter in the seventh and pitched the final 2 1/3 innings and was saddled with the loss after allowing just two hits, but walked six and struck out one.

OTHER A-MAJOR SCORES

Strikers Lanes 8, Desperado Sports Bar 0
(w) Grady Wold, 3 hits, 8 strikeouts
Zac Campbell, 4-for-4, 2 RBI

Northern Selects 10, Elanco Blackhawks 3
(w) Travis Tom, 0 hits, 3 strikeouts
John Desaulniers, 3-for-4, RBI

Fleetwood Marlins 11, P.E.I. 0
(w) Brandon Peck, 2 hits, 5 strikeouts
Bradley Peck, 2-for-3, RBI

Notre Dame Clubs 7, Crow Bar 3
(w) Trevor McDonald, 8 hits, 3 runs, 6 strikeouts
Dan Fedak, 2-for-4, Troy Mutch, 2-for-3

A1 Rockies 7, Strikers Lane 2
(w) David Beets, 4 hits, 1 run, 11 strikeouts
Joe Janicke, 3-for-4, Chris Paiva, 2-for-3

Winterset A’s 8, Regina Silverscreen 1
(w) Brendan Donegan, 3 hits, 1 run, 7 strikeouts
Chris Robertson, 3-for-4, 4 RBI, home run

  • For more results, visit A-Major Division
  • Bronx win on Slywka’s walkoff homer

    Thursday, August 10th, 2017

    PAUL ROBB dellivered 2 2/3 innings of solid relief pitching for the ECL Bronx to pick up the 4-3 victory over the Northwest Braves, Thursday, at Northside Softball Complex. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

    NORTHSIDE SOFTBALL COMPLEX – Brian Slywka wasn’t having the best of game’s. But come the seventh inning that all changed with one swing of the bat.

    With the scored tied 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh between the Northwest Braves and ECL Bronx, Slywka came to the plate and belted a solo-shot over the left-centerfield fence for the game winner to give the Bronx a first-round victory in the A-Major World Series.

    The pitch?

    “I got an inside pitch down in the zone,” Slywka said, who bats in the two slot. “I had gone 0-for-3 and all I wanted to do was get on base. It felt great. This is my first World Series and something I’ll remember for a long time.”

    Brian Robb pitched 2 2/3 innings of relief to pick up the win. He allowed one hit, struck two and walk two. Matt Chambers had a huge game for the Bronx going 2-for-3 with 3 RBI. Parker Lyga led the Braves with a 2-for-3 with a home run and 2 RBI.

    The fastpitch action’s at Fargo’s Northside Softball Complex

    Thursday, August 10th, 2017

    Spacious Northside Softball Complex is the site of the 2017 NAFA World Series where teams from throughout the United States and Canada are competing for championships in the AA-Major, A-Major, A, Recreational, and 23-Under divisions. The tournament runs from Aug. 8-20.

    FARGO, N.D. – To follow the action and learn about the results of the 2017 NAFA World Series, visit these links.

    NAFA Website
    Play NAFA Results, Standings and Statistics
    Fargo-Moorhead Fastpitch Association
    NAFA Link For All Divisions

    Meeting Sharon and Mury Morgan at the 2017 NAFA World Series

    Thursday, August 10th, 2017

    SHARON MORGAN has been instrumental in continuing the legacy of Fargo women’s and men’s fastpitch in leadership roles, including chairperson of the Fargo-Moorhead Softball Hall of Fame. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

    FARGO, N.D. – I talked fastpitch softball with some interesting and enthusiastic folks at the Northside Softball Complex on Thursday.

    One of them is Sharon Morgan, chairperson of the Fargo-Moorhead Softball Hall of Fame that was formed in 2016. Sharon’s a former fastpitch player who ran the women’s Red River Valley Fastpitch Tournament for 25 years.

    She’s proud that she and many others helped bring the first national fastpitch tournament to North Dakota that just happened to be a women’s event.

    “After the women’s national it took off (hosting national tournaments in Fargo),” she said. “The men’s nationals and boys’ and girls’ nationals have been held here. But I am proud to be a part of the very first.”

    For many years, Sharon and her husband Mury have given back to fastpitch. Mury has helped maintain the fields at Mickelson Softball Fields in Fargo, and of course Sharon has been involved in nearly everything softball in Fargo.

    Including the Hall of Fame, which will induct four new members on Friday night during ceremonies at Northside Softball Complex.

    She said this years’ inductees include Mike Lien, Karen Schumacher, Brian Rahman and Josef Olivieri.

    In the rollout of the Hall of Fame in 2016, Keith Rosenbranz, Pat Johnson, Randy Stevens, Duane “Ace” Johnson, D-S Beverage, Inc., and the Tharaldson Enterprise Coed Softball team that won the 1992 national championship were inducted.

    This year’s ceremony takes place at 5 p.m. during the NAFA World Series at Northside Softball Complex.

    Sharon and Mury have been busy at the World Series. You can find Sharon running the gate, handing out tournament programs and answering questions, while Mury is busy transporting players and fans to and from the ball park in his golf cart.

    Around the ball park at the NAFA World Series

    Thursday, August 10th, 2017

    Shortstop JACE HOLM of Watson’s Selects concentrates as a pitch is delivered to home plate during the opening night of the NAFA AA-Major World Series at Northside Softball Complex in Fargo, Aug. 9. Photo By BOB OTTO


    FARGO, N.D. – Lot’s going on at Northside Softball Complex as the 2017 NAFA World Series begins it’s 12-day run from Aug. 9-20.

    So last night at the AA-Major opener, I talked with a few folks about the game and what they thought while taking a trip around the ball park.

    Jessica Kuchenmeister is about as energetic and enthused about men’s fastpitch as any person I’ve met in my 29 years covering this sport.

    She’s the traveling secretary for the Rice Lake (WI) Orangemen. She filled me in on a few details about the Orangemens’ season.

    “This year we wanted to step it up to the upper levels,” she said. “And we have built around these kids.”

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