Big boys in homestretch for NAFA AA-Major crown

Written by Bob on August 9th, 2013

capitals.calstate.253web Cal-State’s Matt Christensen is safe at home on a close play against the Westerville, Ohio, Capitals, Thursday. Photo By BOB OTTO

DES MOINES – Eleven of the best intermediate teams in North America take to the ball diamonds today to decide who will be crowned “AA-Major World Champion.”

My money is on the Seattle Cal-State Builders who have ran through pool play and into the double-elimination bracket undefeated (3-0). Manager and owner Dave Carlton has assembled a fine ball club with a mix of solid offense and defense, and arguably the best pitching staff in the World Series.

In the circle are four of the world’s best intermediate / Open pitchers: First up is Minnesota’s Kevin Kammueller, the mainstay of the staff all season; Rich Haldane, who has pitched (and he swings the bat pretty well, too) the Sooke (BC) Loggers to four tournament titles this season, and is a national team pitcher for Great Britain.

If those two need a little help, Carlton can summon Canada’s Gregg Garrity, the Most Outstanding Player of the 2012 ISC II World Championship. Oh, and there’s Will Maddux, also a top hurler.

The Builders also sport a solid lineup with Jenner Christensen leading off, followed by Ricky Sivilla, Tony Gonzalez, Gregg Garrity, and Rich Haldane anchoring the top five spots, followed by Donovan Chilton, Ricky Moore, Matias Perez, Matt Christensen, and C.J. Sales.

Cal-State won Pool D (2-0) and crushed a good Topeka Toros 9-1 to get a top-seed in the AA-Major. Then in Thursday’s double-eliminations, they beat Westerville (Ohio) Capitals (score unavailable) to set up a semifinal meeting in the upper bracket with the Winterset A’s – also undefeated – and led by 19-year-old Australian pitcher, Marshall Kronk.

That game takes place at the Greater Des Moines Softball Complex at 9:40 this morning.

Winterset beat New Image of Monfort, Wisc. with a disputed walk-off 2-1 win when a close play at third base went against New Image. Kronk edged out Jeramie Holman in a pitchers’ duel.

In the lower bracket, it’s the Fargo Kegel Black Knights taking on West Fargo in at least a bragging rights encounter for Fargo area supremacy. Kegel came back from a 5-0 deficit to defeat Topeka 7-6 in eight innings on a walk-off homer by Winterset native and former USA National Team player, Matt Darling. That game is also being played at 9:40 at Greater Des Moines.

kegel.koterba.47web Kegel’s Kyle Koterba, who plays third base, scored the tying run (6-6) against Topeka to force extra innings where the Black Knights pulled out a 7-6 victory on Matt Darling’s walk-off homer. Photo By BOB OTTO

At press time, several teams remain in contention to reach the championship game scheduled for 7:40 p.m., Friday at Greater Des Moines.

To follow the results, visit: AA-Major Bracket

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