August 19th, 2017

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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.