Matt Palazzo joins 2013 NAFA Hall of Fame class

Written by Bob on July 10th, 2013

palazzo.matt.361web Matt Palazzo, seen here playing for the California A’s, will be inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the World Series in Des Moines, Iowa.

DES MOINES, IOWA – Matt Palazzo, a smooth fielding infielder with a strong bat, joins a distinguished class of players in NAFA Hall of Fame’s class of 2013.

In the player category, Palazzo joins Jeff Jahn, Eric Steinbeck, Josh Johnson, Darin Michael, Rick Radloff and Ed Gasper – all long time stars of the North American Fastpitch Association World Series.

“I was very excited for this opportunity and to be part of this special group that has been elected,” he said. “This is a great company of athletes.”

Palazzo lives in Des Moines where he grew up watching his dad play the sport. He started playing competitively in 2002 as a 22-year-old. In those 12 years he’s risen to the top of the sport. He’s a member of the USA Softball National Team. He currently plays for the California A’s, the No. 5 ranked team in the world.

And in the NAFA World Tournament, his accomplishments include multiple Most Valuable Player and All-World awards. And in 2012, Palazzo was selected to the NAFA 20th Anniversary Team.

As an infielder, he helped Team USA finish eighth at the 13th International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championship in March 2013. In the 16-nation event, Palazzo was among Team USA’s leaders in several categories. He finished the world championship with a .647 batting average (11-for-17), eight RBIs, four runs, four home runs and three doubles, and he walked eight times.

Along with his NAFA all-world honors, he’s also been selected to the ASA All-American team. And within his home state, Palazzo has played for five state champion fastpitch teams.

No one knows Palazzo as well as his father, Tony Palazzo, 57, who played the sport and still sponsors and coaches a team – Palazzo’s Java House of Des Moines. Tony Palazzo took his son to league and tournament games starting when he was 4-years-old. He’s coached him and watched his son mature on the ball diamond through the years and become the player he is today.

“He’s always worked hard at it all year round,” Tony Palazzo said. “He’s developed a great knowledge of the game and has an understanding of what pitcher’s are trying to do (to batters).”

Matt Palazzo has played in many high-profile games and has had key at bats against the world’s best pitchers and teams. But one memory has always been special:

“I hit a walk off home run to beat the (Farm Tavern of Madison, WI) when I started playing,” he said, of the Farm that has won NAFA Open World Series, ISC World Tournament, and ASA Major National titles.

Tony Palazzo will enter Palazzo’s Java House in the NAFA World Series in Des Moines. He’ll be busy coaching his team in the tournament. But there’s one event he won’t miss: his son’s ceremonial induction into the Hall of Fame.

“I’m very proud of Matt and what he’s done,” Palazzo said. “Making (the Hall of Fame) proves that if you work very hard at something, you can achieve it.”

2 Comments so far ↓

  1. dennis frye says:

    Congtats to Matt for all his Success and for Keeping Mens Fastball in the News around the World and for Des Moines Fans and Players front row seats in his abilities on the Fastest Game on Dirt !!!

  2. Bob says:

    Hi Dennis, it’s been a long time since seeing you at the ball games. Hope to see you again in Des Moines. Merle’s son Casey will be playing for a team (forget which one). Should be a good tournament(s) and good times.

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