Kegel rolls to West St. Paul tourney title

Written by Bob on July 25th, 2013

gervasutti.sebastian Led by the pitching of Sebastian Gervasutti (pictured above) and Gerald Muizelaar, the Kegel Black Knights of Fargo won the 2013 West St. Paul Men’s Fastpitch Tournament.

WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. – With the NAFA World Series and ISC World Tournament two weeks away, this is the time for teams to start playing their best ball. The time to peak. And if their latest tournament is a forecast, then the Kegel Black Knights appear to be right on schedule.

The Black Knights swept through the 43rd Annual West St. Paul Men’s Fastpitch Tournament undefeated (5-0) and knocked off Wilber Lime of Galesville, Wisc. 8-0 in the final at the West St. Paul Sports Complex, July 19-21.

Sebastian Gervasutti threw a no-hitter with five strikeouts to pick up the game-shortened win for Kegel of Fargo, which is celebrating its 30th year in men’s fastpitch. The 28-year-old from Bilbao, Spain finished the tournament 2-0 with one hit allowed in 18 innings and 34 strikeouts.

“He throws hard with the up and down and some change up,” said Kegel player / coach Kyle Koterba.

    GERVASUTTI & HOLMAN IN PITCHING DUEL

The Black Knights opened the tournament with New Image of Monfort, Wisc. in what proved to be Kegel’s toughest challenge. The game went 12 innings before the world’s No. 8 ranked Black Knights could pull out a 3-2 victory with Gervasutti firing a no-hitter with 24 strikeouts. New Image’s Jeramie Holman (NAFA Hall of Fame pitcher) proved just about as tough as he finished with 10 strikeouts.

Kegel continued rolling by knocking off Goring Lawn Care of (St. Paul) 6-0, with Gerald Muizelaar of Grand Forks picking up the win. The tall right-hander from Grand Forks kept right on windmilling as he led Kegel to 3-0 and 7-4 victories over Odin (Minn) and the West Fargo Knights, respectively.

Muizelaar.99iscwt.web Gerald Muizelaar, veteran pitcher in elite men’s fastpitch, has pitched for several top teams in his career, and also was a member of the 2013 USA Men’s National Team. Photo by BOB OTTO / 1999 ISC World Tournament

    THE WORKHORSE COMES THROUGH

The 38-year-old Muizelaar (3-0) was an All-World pitcher in the 2012 ISC World Tournament in leading Kegel to fifth place in the 46-team event. He and Gervasutti appear to have complimentary styles that bodes well for the Black Knights, who improve to 9-5 in tournament play.

“Muizelaar and Gervasutti are a good mix,” Koterba said. “Muizelaar brings his knowledge of pitching at this high level. He knows what to throw and when to throw it.”

The top-four finishers include the West Fargo Knights taking third, New Image (Wisc.) fourth, and the Rice Lake Orangemen won the consolation bracket by defeating Len’s Automotive of St. Paul.

    FALLEN ANGELS

But the surprise of the tournament was the ouster of the defending champion and highly-ranked Minnesota Angels. The Angels who carry the world’s No. 9 ranking, finished out of the top-four and were knocked off by the Preston (Minn.) Merchants in an earlier round.

Which sends the message that no team can be taken lightly in this competitive sixteen-team tournament that includes teams from Wisconsin, North Dakota and Minnesota.

“This might be the best field of teams we’ve ever had overall,” said tournament founder and director Wayne Ball. “There were a lot of good teams with very few cupcakes, and we had some extra inning games and low scores.”

    ALL IN THE FAMILY

Ball started the tournament in 1971 with the help of his wife Karen. Read: Ball family supports Dad’s goal in West St. Paul Tournament As the years went by, sons Dan and Jerry along with their wives and kids and now Wayne and Karen’s grandkids have all helped shoulder the load to make the tournament a success. And always, says Ball, a small army of friends and volunteers step up to make it all possible.

With 2013 over and done with, Wayne is already looking toward next year’s event. But he’s aiming his sights a bit further.

“I’d like to get more out of state teams,” he said. For tournament information, Wayne Ball can be reached at 651-457-3933.

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