August 20th, 2017

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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.”

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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.