Bats heat up and blast Bowen Fastpitch to NAFA World Series A Division Championship

Written by Bob on August 18th, 2014
WORLD SERIES CHAMPS! The Bowen Fastpitch team includes Corey Ramsey, Jack Carlisle, Shawn Altgilbers, Brody Gronewold, Tony Koehler, Derek Van Fleet, Austin Ramsey, Josh Gronewold, Matt Kissinger, Andy Gronewold, Collin Dooley, Brian Jansen, Austin Hardy, Greg Dowdall, and manager Rocco Ramsey, front row center. Photo By BOB OTTO

WORLD SERIES CHAMPS! The Bowen Fastpitch team includes Corey Ramsey, Jack Carlisle, Shawn Altgilbers, Brody Gronewold, Tony Koehler, Derek Van Fleet, Austin Ramsey, Josh Gronewold, Matt Kissinger, Andy Gronewold, Collin Dooley, Brian Jansen, Austin Hardy, Greg Dowdall, and manager Rocco Ramsey, front row center. Photo By BOB OTTO

QUAD CITIES, IA/IL – About the fifth inning Rocco Ramsey felt confident his Bowen Fastpitch team was starting to find their groove at the plate.

Down 9-0, Bowen had erupted for five runs in the fifth inning of the first of two games that would decide the NAFA World Series A Division Championship.

Even though Bowen went on to lose 9-6 to Rude Pac of So. Calif. in that first game; it was in that fifth inning that Ramsey said to himself that his young team – seven under the age of 23 – would be just fine in the winner-take-all title game.

And indeed they were as Bowen blasted its way to a 22-11 victory to claim the A Division title.

“I really felt that in the fifth inning of that first game that our bats were back,” said Ramsey, a NAFA Hall of Fame manager and promoter. “I had a gut feeling it would carry over into the championship. Their pitchers were tired and we got on to them.”

    THE CHARMED FIFTH

The fifth inning proved magical for Bowen (6-1) as they sped away from a narrow two-run advantage by scoring three runs in the fifth highlighted by run-scoring hits by Brian Jansen, Derek Van Fleet, and Austin Ramsey.

Rude Pac’s Ruben Lopez brought his team back within two, when he blasted a home run over the centerfield fence. But back roared Bowen with three more runs in the sixth, and then in the seventh they locked up the championship with a seven-run outburst.

Catcher Corey Ramsey had the Bowen fans up on their feet cheering when he rocked a bases-clearing double, followed later by Jack Carlisle’s two-run double.

A clearly tired Rude Pac started Sunday at 8 a.m. and 12 ½ hours later had played five games on the day to finish Runner-Up with an 8-2 record.

Rude Pac of So. Calif., played five games on Sunday, Aug. 17, and was on the field for 12 1/2 hours to finish runner-up in the NAFA World Series A Division. Team members include Tom Dudley, Chris Nassour, Andy Martinez, Meredith Cervenka, Matt Davis, Josh Sargent, Doug Rooney, Dan Zupp, David Carrillo, Scott Pulcifer, Reuben Lopez, Ron Mizener, Jeremy Rooney, Chris Paiva, Keith Herbster, Dave Damaio, Chad Landers, and manager and founder, Rudy Montanez, Jr., back row middle in all red. Photo By BOB OTTO

Rude Pac of So. Calif., played five games on Sunday, Aug. 17, and was on the field for 12 1/2 hours to finish runner-up in the NAFA World Series A Division. Team members include Tom Dudley, Chris Nassour, Andy Martinez, Meredith Cervenka, Matt Davis, Josh Sargent, Doug Rooney, Dan Zupp, David Carrillo, Scott Pulcifer, Reuben Lopez, Ron Mizener, Jeremy Rooney, Chris Paiva, Keith Herbster, Dave Damaio, Chad Landers, and manager and founder, Rudy Montanez, Jr., back row middle in all red. Photo By BOB OTTO

Rude Pac earned the respect and admiration from Bowen pitcher Tony Koehler, who pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on nine hits with a walk, and five strikeouts. Koehler was named the Co-Most Valuable Pitcher along with Nate Dondero of the Pala Braves.

“It hasn’t sunk in winning this yet,” said Koehler who had a 6-1 record in the tournament. “What a great team they are to play and to be able to beat twice.”

After losing to Bowen in the winners bracket final, Rude Pac went on a three-game win spree in the losers bracket to get a second crack at Bowen.

    THREE CLOSE GAMES

Sunday’s march back into title contention began by beating the Pala Braves, 3-2, Wrightway Tree Service, 7-6, and Oscar’s of Omaha 8-6.

Rude Pac manager and founder, Rudy Montanez, Jr. couldn’t have been prouder of his ball club’s performance in the 44-team tournament.

“This team has a lot of heart and they never quit,” said Montanez, then adding a tip of his hat to Bowen. “I think we had a little more talent than them, but they fight, fight, fight and never say die.”

Bowen, which enters teams annually in the NAFA World Series, also had a young team playing in the 23-Under tournament, of which several of those players, also play on the “A” team.

And in a couple of weeks, the Bowen masters team will play in the NAFA Masters World Series as well.

    SMALL BUT MIGHTY

So how does this little Illinois town of about 500 support so much men’s fastpitch? A large part of the credit goes to Rocco Ramsey, a consummate promoter and organizer of the men’s side of fastpitch.

The team’s catcher knows him pretty well.

“I’ve been playing for my uncle for 10 years,” said Corey Ramsey. “We don’t pick up guys. Our players are from the Bowen area. We’re a bunch of friends playing together. We’re family.”

Bowen finished with 25 hits, led by Shawn Altgilbers 3 for 5, 4 runs, 4 RBI; Brian Jansen 5 for 6, 4 runs, 3 RBI; Corey Ramsey 2 for 5, 3 runs, 3 RBI; Derek Van Fleet 2 for 4, 2 RBI, and Shawn Gresie 2 for 2, run, 2 RBI.

Rude Pac collected 13 hits, with Reuben Lopez going 2 for 4, 2 runs, 3 RBI; Jeremy Rooney 3 for 4, 2 runs, 3 RBI, and David Carrillo 3 for 4, run, 2 RBI.

When post-game awards were announced, Bowen and Rude Pac dominated the list with several All-World selections.

(I was not provided the list of names to verify for inclusion in this story, so check with www.nafafastpitch.com for details.)

However, I do know that Jeremy Rooney and Shawn Altgilbers were selected Co-Most Valuable Players.

And Tony Koehler (who has pitched and played for Rocco Ramsey for 20 years) shares the Co-Most Valuable Pitcher award with Nate Dondero of the So. California Pala Braves.

Leave a Comment