February, 2019

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Remembering Mike Solz, Minnesota men’s fastpitch icon

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

MIKE SOLZ manages Danny’s Northeast men’s fastpitch team and he’s also the president of the Park Classic Men’s Fastpitch League. Minneapolis Star Photo by Russell Bull / July 17, 1965

By JOE HENNESSY
Minneapolis Star Staff Writer

The Star Salutes: Softball Pilot Loop Prexy

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Being a manager of a team in the league of which he is president doesn’t seem unusual at all to a veteran of 35 years of Minneapolis men’s fastpitch softball.

Saluted by the Minneapolis Star today, MIKE SOLZ is manager of Danny’s Northeast team and president of the Park Classic Men’s Fastpitch League.

And for good reason.

“At a meeting last spring with Park Board officials, I agreed to the job to help keep the league going and even try to expand it at fields in south and northeast Minneapolis,” said Solz.

Of about 500 softball teams in Minneapolis, 88 per cent of them are in the slowpitch category, the rest in Solz’ type of league.

Click to continue reading “Remembering Mike Solz, Minnesota men’s fastpitch icon”

2014 NAFA World Series book can still be ordered

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

The front cover of 2014 NAFA World Series features, JOSH JOHNSON, left, of the CR Brewers of Portland, Ore., DEVON McCULLOUGH, J&B Painting, So. Calif., and ROCCO RAMSEY, Bowen Fastpitch, Bowen, Ill. Photo By BOB OTTO

(I was asked if I had any books left that I wrote about the 2014 NAFA World Series. Yes! You can order directly by clicking on BLURB Publishing.)

YUCAIPA, Calif. – The North American Fastpitch Association celebrated its 22nd year hosting men’s and young men’s (age 23-Under) championship tournaments in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois in 2014.

After covering and photographing the World Series, I wrote a book about it entitled, “2014 NAFA Men’s Fastpitch World Series”.

THE BOOK INCLUDES

  • Over 200 photos
  • Championship game stories of the AA-Major, AA, A-Major, A and 23-Under divisions
  • Feature stories of players and managers, who have helped make the game as great as it is.
  • Hall of Fame stories and listing of members from 1997 to 2014
  • NAFA World Series records and amazing accomplishments by incredible players
  • Listing of NAFA 10 and 20-year anniversary players, “the best of the best”
  • Masters World Series results
  • Wood Bat World Series results
  • You can preview the book and if you like what you see, you can order a PDF or a softcover book (8 1/2 x 11) with semigloss pages from the publisher, Blurb (Online only) from the menu below.

    Click on the SHOPPING CART in the menu to visit my Blurb page.

    Nation’s best softball teams and stars compete in 2019 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic

    Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

    Beautiful blue skies with the San Jacinto Mountain range in the background made for perfect playing conditions at Big League Dreams in the 2019 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic that featured outstanding women’s college fastpitch softball teams from throughout the country, Feb. 21-24 in Cathedral City, Calif. Photo By BOB OTTO

    CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – Softball fans could travel to all parts of the United States, Canada – in fact the world – and find no higher caliber of women’s fastpitch softball than at the 2019 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at Big League Dreams in Cathedral City, Feb. 21-24.

    On hand for the 16th annual showcase were NCAA Div. I powerhouses such as the No. 2 ranked UCLA Bruins, 14-0, (5-0 Mary Nutter), Oregon Ducks, Arizona Wildcats, BYU Cougars, Kentucky Wildcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, North Carolina Tar Heels, Oklahoma Sooners, Washington Huskies…and the list could go on – included on that list was Japan’s national team.

    The collegiate classic started with dreary, cold and rainy weather on Thursday, Feb. 21st, but on Friday the sun broke free under beautiful blue skies and warm temperatures that lasted through the final day on Sunday.

    On a gorgeous Saturday, thousands packed Big League Dreams five ball diamonds to enjoy, applaud and cheer for many of the best softball athletes in the world.

  • Click for Final Scores and Stats
  • The Mary Nutter In Pictures…

    Utah Utes senior, Hailey Hilbum, laces a hit during the Utes 2-0 loss to Ohio State, Sat. Feb. 23 at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Thousands of fastpitch softball fans lined all sides of the ball fields at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at Big League Dreams in Cathedral City, Calif., Feb 23. The annual tournament features top-ranked NCAA Div. I teams from througout the country that most fans wouldn’t be able to see all in one place if not for this outstanding tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Vendors at the 2019 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic offered a wide variety of merchandise for kids and adults, including bats, gloves, softball shoes, softballs, uniforms, jackets, batting gloves, jewelry and pins, and of course t-shirts, which were a hot seller. Photo By BOB OTTO

    North Carolina pitcher BRITTANY PICKETT winds up to fire a pitch to the plate during the 2019 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at Big League Dreams in Cathedral City, Sat., Feb. 23. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Long Beach State 49ers slugger ALYSSA GONZALEZ is greeted at home plate after she scored a run in the 49ers, 8-4, victory over North Carolina. Gonzalez had two hits with an RBI. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Cal Poly Mustangs pitcher STEFFI BEST winds up to hurl a pitch during the 2019 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at Big League Dreams in Cathedral City, Calif., Feb. 22. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Ohio State pitcher KAT DUVALL warms up her pitching arm during Saturday’s action at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at Big League Dreams in Cathedral City, Calif. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Arizona Wildcats freshman pitcher Marissa Schuld works on spinning the ball for the proper rise ball rotation with coach RAY CAMACHO during pre-game warmups during the 2019 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, Sat., Feb. 23 at Big League Dreams, Cathedral City, Calif. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Japan’s national team played in the 2019 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, and in a match-up with the Arizona Wildcats, lost in 1-0 pitching duel during Saturday’s action at Big League Dreams in Cathedral City, Calif. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Arizona head coach MIKE CANDREA greets DEJAH MULPOLA after she blasted a long home run over the left field fence to give the Wildcats a 1-0 victory over Team Japan in the 2019 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at Big League Dreams in Cathedral City, Calif., Sat., Feb. 23. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Army shortstop, MADDIE KIM, squeezes her glove after she caught a high infield pop up during an Army game on Saturday, Feb. 22. The West Point Black Knights played well in the 2019 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic that featured top-ranked NCAA Div. I teams from throughout the country. Photo By BOB OTTO

    UCLA Bruins coach KIRK WALKER has some fun hitting fungos to the Bruins in a pre-game warmup before the Bruins took on the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the 2019 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at Big League Dreams in Cathedral City. Looking on are ALANA SNOW, left, BUBBA NICKLES, ZOE SHAW and SHEA MORENO. Photo By BOB OTTO

    UCLA shortstop BRIANA PEREZ leaps for a high throw as Nebraska’s RYLIE UNZICKER slides into second base. Unzicker was safe on the play, but the Bruins went on to beat the Cornhuskers 9-1 in the 2019 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at Big League Dreams in Cathedral City, Calif., Feb. 23. Perez had a great game at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two RBI in the leadoff spot. Photo By BOB OTTO

    UCLA Bruins BRIANA PEREZ, left, ANNA VINES, and ALANA SNOW show their jubilation as RACHEL GARCIA trots to home plate after hitting a home run in the Bruins, 9-1 victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the 2019 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at Big League Dreams in Cathedral City, Calif., Feb. 22. Photo By BOB OTTO

    BYU pitcher KERISA VIRAMONTES fires a pitch during the 2019 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at Big League Dreams in Cathedral City, Calif. Viramontes started and pitched four innings allowing but four hits and two run in the Cougars, 3-2, win over UC Santa Barbara, Sat., Feb. 22. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Univ. of Calif. Santa Barbara’s RAYNA COHEN beats the throw to third base during the 2019 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at Big League Dreams in Cathedral City, Feb. 22. Photo By BOB OTTO

    In the battle of inter-service teams, beating Navy is a high priority for the West Point Army team. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Army pitcher MACEY NEWBARY fires a pitch that scorchers the outside corner of the plate to Duke’s KYLA MORRIS during Army’s 10-0 victory in the 2019 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. Newbary allowed but two hits with a strikeout to notch the win in the 5-inning game, Sat., Feb. 22. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Army second baseman, ASHLEY YOO, appeals to the umpire for a force out at second base of Duke’s JAMESON KAVEL, as Army shortstop MADDIE KIM looks on. Kavel was called safe on the play. Army went on to defeat Duke, 10-0, in the 2019 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at Big League Dreams in Cathedral City, Calif., Feb. 22. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Make plans to attend next year’s Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at Big League Dreams in Cathedral City, Calif. that features top-ranked NCAA Div. i women’s fastpitch softball teams from throughout the country. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Castro Concrete Jokers 23rd Annual Men’s Fastpitch Softball Tournament

    Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

    AUSTIN, Texas – The Castro Concrete Jokers will host its 23rd Annual Men’s Fastpitch Softball Tournament Memorial weekend at the Del Valle Softball complex near the Austin Airport, May 25-26.

    The Details

    Date: May 25th and 26th
    Place: Del Valle Softball Complex (just past the Austin Airport)
    Entry Fee: NONE (pay $50 at the plate before each game)
    Format: 3 Game Guarantee
    Time Limit: 1 hour and 30 min (Championship game 7innings)

    Championship Game: One game only
    Rules: 2019 ASA Rules – Pitching Rule: ISF (Pitcher must start with two feet on the rubber)
    Balls: K-Master (Provide by Tournament)

    Click to continue reading “Castro Concrete Jokers 23rd Annual Men’s Fastpitch Softball Tournament”

    Men’s Masters Teams Rollout Southern California’s Fastpitch Season

    Monday, February 25th, 2019

    Jesse Ortiz is the president of the So. California Independent Fastpitch League (SCIFL), and he also pitches for the So. Cal Bandits. Photo By BOB OTTO

    SANTA FE SPRINGS, Calif. – The Southern California Independent Fastpitch League (SCIFL) is opening the 2019 season with its Masters Tournament on Sunday, March 10, 2019 at Little Lake Park, Santa Fe Springs, CA.

    Teams interested in participating will need to contact the tournament director, Jesse Ortiz, at scifastpitch (at) gmail.com by email by Monday, February 25, 2019 so the fields can be paid the following day, per the City of Santa Fe Springs permit agreement.

    Once the field rentals have been paid we will not be able to make any adjustments so please make sure you notify Jesse in a timely manner.

    Participating Masters Teams

    1. Budmen 40
    2. Budmen 50
    3. So Cal Knights 60
    4. Patriots
    5. Bandits
    6. Casa Trejo
    7. Quakes
    8. RPM

  • Please let me know, as soon as possible, if I missed any teams or if one needs to drop out.
  • Click to continue reading “Men’s Masters Teams Rollout Southern California’s Fastpitch Season”

    San Antonio Glowworms Hosting ISC World Tournament qualifier

    Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

    SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The San Antonio Glowworms will host an International Softball Congress World Tournament qualifier to send one team to Denmark, Wis., which will be hosting the event, Aug. 10-17.

    DETAILS

  • $350 entry fee
  • Three-game guarantee
  • Tournament site: Koger Stokes Softball Complex and possibly Alva Jo Fischer Softball Complex, depending on number of entries
  • Dates: June 29-30
  • CONTACTS

    Ruben Rios
    Tournament Director
    210-854-6409

    David Rios
    210-310-6681
    elirios3155@gmail.com

    The Rios family’s San Antonio Glowworms steadfast devotion to men’s fastpitch softball

    Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

    The San Antonio Glowworms men’s fast pitch team was started, managed and coached by Heldebrand “Chilolo” Rios, Jr. in 1957. Courtesy Photo By Rios family

    Rios family and their San Antonio Glowworm tournament join forces with the International Softball Congress by hosting a world tournament qualifier

    SAN ANTONIO, Texas – If any team in America, Canada, or for that matter the world, can beat these numbers, speak up.

    For 118 years combined, the Rios family of San Antonio has been firmly entrenched in the men’s fastpitch game. Sixty-two of those years as a team of Rios’ dads, sons, uncles, cousins, grandkids, and 56 years hosting a Rios family run tournament.

    It all began with the patriarch of the family, Heldebrand “Chilolo” Rios, Jr., who after an injury ended his playing career in 1957, started the San Antonio Glowworms with its roster filled with Rios’ names. He steadfastly managed and coached the ball club until his death in 1998.

    Though he’s gone, the Rios family resolutely continues his devotion and love for the game.

    “My grandfather loved this sport,” said grandson David Rios. “It is an honor to carry on his tradition. I am proud to say that there has been a Rios playing men’s fastpitch since the 1930s, from my grandfather to my father and uncles to the grandchildren. We are blessed to carry on his legacy and keep his memory alive.”

    Click to continue reading “The Rios family’s San Antonio Glowworms steadfast devotion to men’s fastpitch softball”