Jesse Ortiz, pitching in for NAFA and his league

Written by Bob on August 15th, 2017

JESSE ORTIZ is kept busy at the NAFA World Series checking bats to certifiy that they meet NAFA specifications. Ortiz is in his third year assisting at the NAFA World Series. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series.

FARGO – At his home ballpark in Southern California, Jesse Ortiz can be found hustling from one field to another. He’s an administrator, a resolver of disputes, he oversees the scorekeepers, and he even does some field maintenance when the need arises.

Ortiz is the executive director of the Southern California Independent Fastpitch League (SCIFL). It’s a job with a lot of duties and some headaches, but he sets all of that aside when it’s his turn to pitch.

He works diligently for long hours on several weekends throughout the fastpitch season to ensure that SCIFL Alliance tournaments run smoothly.

“The SCIFL tournaments went well this year,” said Ortiz, 42. “We did have to cut back on some tournaments because of a conflict with the city (Santa Fe Springs). We had one tournament at Camp Pendleton (Marine Corps Base) and that went well.”

He added that he is working with the city to make sure he can have the ball diamonds at Little Lake Park for the number of league tournaments SCIFL needs, or he and the board of directors may have to look elsewhere for playing facilities.

Along with his SCIFL duties, Ortiz also serves as a west coast administer for the North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA). For the past three years, he has helped the organization run its annual World Series.

This year he’s in Fargo testing bats, scorekeeping (when needed), checking rosters and he’s even a taxi driver of sorts, driving a courtesy cart, hauling fans and players to and from the parking lot and ball fields at Northside Softball Complex.

“What ever they need, I’ll do,” he said.

When JESSE ORTIZ isn’t pitching in to help at the NAFA World Series, or busy running the So. Calif. Independent Fastpitch League Alliance tournaments, he can be found in the circle. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

And like all pitchers, he wants his fair share of innings in the circle. This year he was a pick up for Cerro Gordo, spinning his risers and drops for the Minnesota club in the newly originated Recreation Division.

He’s also busy keeping track of the outcomes of the SCIFL teams playing in the World Series. And there’s several to follow.

“We will have six teams here,” said Ortiz, 42. “We had two in the A-Major, the A1 Rockies and the California Buzzards. And in the A (division) we have four teams.”

The four A-rated clubs include The Budmen, Beaumont Coyotes, WAH, and the Pala Braves. The A Division starts Thursday, Aug. 17 with the championship scheduled Sunday, Aug. 20.

In the A-Major Division, the Buzzards finished third (4-2) and the A1 Rookies took fourth (3-2). He says that’s pretty good considering 30 teams competed from throughout the United States and Canada.

Last year the Buzzards won the A Division crown and the Beaumont Coyotes took fourth.

When the World Series wraps up on Sunday, Aug. 20, he’ll head back home. But his season is far from over.

He’ll be back on the ball diamond six days later running the final SCIFL Masters (age 40-plus) tournament of the season.

“We’ve got eight masters teams that play once a month from March through August,” he said. “The old guys still have the enthusiasm and want to play.”

And if that’s not enough fastpitch for one season, he still has a NAFA tournament to attend – the Masters World Series in Carson City, Nevada, Sept. 15-17. Five age divisions will compete: 40, 45, 50, 55, and 60-over.

“Our masters (teams) are prepared and 90-percent of them will be going to Carson City,” he said.

And Ortiz will be going there too, pitching in for NAFA; and pitching for his So. Calif. Bandits.

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