Mancha pitching powers USA over Cuba In Pan American games

Written by Bob on September 20th, 2017

TONY MANCHA seen earlier in his career pitching for Steel of Texas in the NAFA World Series. Photo By BOB OTTO

SANTO DOMINGO, DR – Team USA needed a dominating performance from Tony Mancha if it was going to get past a very good Cuban ball club. And the right-hander responded in splendid fashion in leading the United States to a 5-1 victory in the Pan American Fastpitch Championship Wednesday afternoon.

Cuba’s bats just couldn’t catch up with Mancha’s sharp breaking rise ball, as he fired a two-hitter, along with six strikeouts and just two walks.

This was a much-needed win for the USA as it sat in fourth place in the eight-team Pool A with an uninspiring 3-2 record, while Cuba was firmly planted in second at 5-1. Another loss and any dreams of contending for a Pan Am title could begin fading fast.

After dropping a disappointing 3-2 decision to surprising Colombia a day earlier, Team USA didn’t show any signs of a hangover.

The United States took command from the beginning, plating a run in the top of the first on Erick Ochoa’s run-scoring double. Then after Cuba tied the game in the third, Mancha slammed the door shut while his teammates tacked on solo runs in the fourth and sixth, and put the game away in the seventh on Kevin Castillo’s two-run homer deep over the centerfield wall.

KEVIN CASTILLO seen batting in the International Softball Congress World Tournament. His two-run homer gave Team USA some breathing room in its victory over Cuba. Photo By BOB OTTO

Mancha grew stronger as the game went on. He retired Cuba in order in the sixth and seventh, while striking out five-of-six batters. The win improves his record to 2-1 in the tournament.

The offense collected eight hits with Castillo and Jonathan Lynch each going 2-for-4, with Castillo driving in two runs, while Lynch plated one. Nick Mullins also had an RBI in the sixth when his infield out scored Yusef Davis from third base.

Cuba’s Alain Roman Gonzalez went the distance, and though he gave up the five runs, he showed he’s one of the best pitchers in the tournament, striking out 11 USA batters. The right-hander has all the pitches: hard rise ball high and low, while mixing in a drop that dipped sharply on both sides of the plate.

Team USA has little time to celebrate as they take on Puerto Rico in the nightcap.

The game can be watched live at: Internet TV for a $12 subscription fee that covers the entire tournament.

 

Columbia holds off USA in men’s Pan American fastpitch games

Written by Bob on September 19th, 2017

SANTO DOMINGO, DR – On the men’s fastpitch world stage, Columbia isn’t regarded as a top tier team and a favorite to win a world softball championship.

But Columbia’s stock in the sport rose sharply after beating the United States, 3-2, in the Pan American Fastpitch Championship on Tuesday to improve its record to 4-1 in Pool A.

Columbia jumped out to a 3-0 lead before Team USA finally plated a run in the sixth on Erick Ochoa’s solo home run, and pulled within one in the seventh when Derrick Kennedy laced a run-scoring single plating Nick Mullins, who led off the inning with a single down the right-field line.

But Luis Amaya Fuenmayor struck out the next two batters and got a ground out to end the game with tying run on second base. Fuenmayor hurled the final two innings to pick up the save in relief of starter Elkis Chinchilla Prado.

Duane Weiler started for the USA and allowed one earned run on five hits with two strikeouts in three innings before giving way to Tony Mancha, who finished the final four innings, giving up a run on four hits with four strikeouts and two walks.

Team USA collected seven hits led by Kennedy who was 3-for-3 with an RBI, and Mullins, 2-for-3. Both Cameron Schiller and Ochoa had one hit each.

Josimar Cardozo Romero was 3-for-3, and and Eduardo Cuesta Baena was 3-for-4 with two RBI to pace Columbia’s nine-hit attack.

The United States drops to fourth place in the eight-team Pool A with a 3-2 record, and takes on second-place Cuba (5-1) on Wednesday.

    AT A GLANCE

…Team USA is batting a healthy .313 and has scored 34 runs…Derrick Kennedy leads the team with a .500 average (6-for-12), followed by Nick Mullins at .455 (5-for-11) with four RBI…Jeff Nowaczyk has driven in a team-high nine runs while batting .300 with two home runs…Yusef Davis, in his first promotion to Team USA, is No. 3 in batting at .400 (4-for-10) and has scored four runs.

Tony Mancha leads the pitching staff with 17 2/3 innings for a 1-1 record. He has struck out 17 and has a 2.37 ERA…Duane Weiler is 1-1 in seven innings, along with six strikeouts and a 2.00 ERA…and Joel Cooley, enjoying his first assignment with the national team is 1-0 in five innings of work, while striking out seven, and he hasn’t allowed any runs for a perfect 0.00 ERA.

 

2017 Pan American (men’s) Fastpitch Championship

Written by Bob on September 19th, 2017

SANTO DOMINGO – For currents scores, standings and more, visit: X Pan American Fastpitch Championship

  • The United States has a 3-1 record, including three consecutive wins after dropping its first game in extra innings.
  • Team USA is scheduled to play Columbia at 1:30 p.m (PT), Tuesday. To follow the game on Game Changer, click on: USA vs. Columbia
  • To watch the game, visit: iTV
  •  

    2017 NAFA Wood Bat World Series coming to Las Vegas in October

    Written by Bob on September 19th, 2017

    LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The NAFA Western Wood Bat World Series will be held Oct. 20-22 in Las Vegas.

    The format is a three-game guarantee with prizes for first through fifth places, along with All-American, Most Valuable Player, and Most Valuable Pitcher awards.

    The entry fee is $375.

      CONTACT INFORMATION
  • Dave Parker at 432-634-6474; email: wyofastpitch@wyoming.com
  • Clark Evans at 575-642-7564; email: zebrasnm06@yahoo.com
    • NAFA WoodBat Nationals — Champions Circle

    2015
    2014
    2013— Rio Grande Alliance(Midland, Texas)
    2012 — Kansas City Indios (Kansas City, Kan.)
    2011 — J-Train (Newton, Kansas)
    2010 — New Image (Monfort, Wisconsin)
    2009 — J-Train (Newton, Kansas)
    2008 — Fort Collins Fastpitch (Fort Collins, Colorado) ***CO-CHAMPS
    Todd’s Trailer Sales (Sutton, Nebraska) ***CO-CHAMPS
    2007 — Dragons (Englewood, Colorado)
    2006 — Fort Collins Fastpitch (Fort Collins, Colorado)

     

    USA Softball men competing in 2017 Pan American Fastpitch Championship

    Written by Bob on September 15th, 2017

    SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Where would I rather be today than in beautiful Southern California?

    Well, at the top of my list would be Santo Domingo for the X Pan American Fastpitch Championship featuring 16 countries that offer some of the very best in men’s fastpitch softball.

    But since I can’t afford the expense that such travel would command, for just $11.95 I can watch the action by webcast, which I intend to do. (See subscriber link below.)

    The championship features two pools of eight teams each. The United States is in Pool A which also includes Aruba, Brazil, Columbia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

    Team USA begins play Sept. 15 at 5 p.m. (PT) against Brazil.

    HELPFUL LINKS TO FOLLOW THE ACTION

  • USA Softball National Team roster
  • Pan American Games Internet TV
  • Live Stats
  •  

    Remembering softball’s glory days in St. Joseph

    Written by Bob on September 10th, 2017

    ST. JOSEPH, MO – Nice summer and fall evenings stir up memories for many St. Joseph residents of the days when fastpitch softball was king in the city.

    On summer evenings during its heyday from the 1950s through the 1980s, places like Walnut Park and Drake Field were packed with fans locally and from abroad.

    They came out to see their local fastpitch stars: Tim Reynolds, Herb “Rumpy” Lucas, Charlie Pusateri, Gilbert “Jeep” Kirby and Bill McKinney.

    Teams were sponsored by businesses like the Morris Plan, Polsky Motors and Walnut Products.

    Ed Christgen remembered when his father, Ken, got the whole family involved in the sport. It was in 1966 when car dealer David Polsky asked his father to sponsor a team.

    “We started then with just one team, and by the early ’70s our family or our company was sponsoring seven teams,” Christgen said.

    Click to continue reading “Remembering softball’s glory days in St. Joseph”

     

    Pala Braves perfect in winning 2017 Raymond Angulo Memorial Men’s Fastpitch Tournament

    Written by Bob on September 10th, 2017

    By ERNIE MAREZ
    2017 Raymond Angulo Memorial
    Tournament Director

    CORONA, Calif. – The Pala Braves swept through the tournament undefeated, but were forced into the ‘if necessary’ game of the double elimination format by the Beaumont Coyotes after the Braves lost in the first championship game.

    The Coyotes came out of the losers bracket and played five games on Sunday to reach the final.

    TOP THREE PLACES

    1. Pala Braves, Pala Band of Mission Indians, Pala, Calif.
    2. Beaumont Coyotes, Beaumont, Calif.
    3. Patricia’s Mexican Restaurant, Long Beach, Calif.

     

    Lindgrin hurls Oregon Cascades to CAN-AM title

    Written by Bob on September 4th, 2017

    By BENJIE HEDGECOCK
    NAFA Executive Director

    NEWBERG, Ore. – Led by the no-hit pitching of Tyler Lindgrin, The Oregon Cascades defeated the Abbotsford Builders, 11-0, in the championship game to go undefeated at 5-0 and claim the CAN-AM Challenge at Newberg’s Darnell Wright Sports Complex, Sept. 2-3.

    Lindgrin won three games and was selected the tournament’s Most Valuable Pitcher, while Craig Snyder was a workhorse for the Builder’s pitching all five games for a 4-1 mark. His outstanding performance earned him the Co-Most Valuable Player award that he shares with the Cascades Luke Bowers.

    Click to continue reading “Lindgrin hurls Oregon Cascades to CAN-AM title”

     

    Successful season earns Yusef Davis a spot on USA Softball’s Pan American fastpitch team

    Written by Bob on September 1st, 2017

    Possessing speed, quick hands, an aggressive style and commitment to the game, YUSEF DAVIS, JR., 23, of Long Beach, Calif. is well on his way to becoming a star in men’s fastpitch. Here he is seen playing for CR Bartels Farms of Portland, Ore. that won the NAFA AA-Major World Series, Aug. 11, 2017. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

    LONG BEACH, Calif. – During the week, Yusef Davis, Jr. can be found near his Long Beach home either in the gym, at the batting cages, or engaged in any kind of sweat-filled labor that will help improve his fastpitch softball skills.

    During most weekends, however, he’s anywhere but home.

    A search could find him in fastpitch havens such as Wisconsin, New York, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania or Michigan competing in high-caliber fastpitch tournaments.

    Only 23 and in his fourth year playing fastpitch, the demand for his talents just keeps on growing.

      TWO GREAT TOURNAMENTS

    Prime examples: During the NAFA World Series, he was in Fargo, North Dakota helping CR Bartel Farms, Portland, Ore. win the AA-Major World Series.

    And soon after the championship game ended, he was off to Grand Rapids, Michigan to join his Bear Bottom Haymakers of Ephrata, Penn. for the most exclusive of open-caliber tournaments – the International Softball Congress World Tournament.

    Those two tournaments were exhilarating for Davis, who possesses great speed both in the outfield and at the plate, and who is rapidly becoming recognized as one of the up-and-coming young stars of the game.

    “The experience playing in the ISC and NAFA was breathtaking,” said Davis, who throws and bats left-sided. “Once you realize you’re on the same ballfield as some of the best players in the world, you just can’t help but be proud and humbled.”

    CR Bartels swept through the NAFA AA-Major undefeated at 5-0, and the Bear Bottom Haymakers finished ninth in the 24-team ISC World Tournament at 4-2.

    Bear Bottom Haymakers manager, Merlin High, was pleased how Davis played the entire year and at the ISC World Tournament for his squad.

    “He’s a great defensive player, one of the best who ever played for me,” said High. “His speed is unmatched by anyone in the game, and he’s a good hitter too with some of those hits coming from his speed beating out ground balls. He’s a great teammate, upbeat and positive. I’m hoping he comes back with us next year.”

      SWEAT & TOIL TO BE BETTER

    Though he played well and had a successful season, Davis acknowledges that there are areas that need improvement.

    “If I could improve in two areas, it would be pitch selection when I’m in the batter’s box,” he said, “and getting even better jumps on the ball in the outfield. During the off season, I’m going to hit the batting cages even more and work on the fundamentals of hitting, and keep working on my slapping and bunting.”

    But the off-season workouts will have to wait for he has one very important and prestigious tournament remaining: The World Baseball Softball Confederation X Pan American Fastpitch Championship in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Sept. 15-24.

      PROUD FATHER, SEASONED MENTOR

    When Davis got the word that he had been selected to the 15-man roster, he was ecstatic, and he called the one person he knew would be delighted about this honor.

    “I called my dad and told him I had made the team,” Davis said. “I know it meant a lot to him. And it means so much for me to represent my country in the sport I have so much passion about.”

    Leading up to the Pan Am games, Davis will be consulting with a veteran of USA Softball: Kevin Castillo, who is a teammate of Davis on Those Guys and Patricia’s Mexican restaurant ball clubs from Long Beach.

    Castillo, and his father, Paul Castillo, were instrumental in bringing Davis into the sport and nurturing his development.

    “Kevin’s always pushing me to be better,” Davis said, “I’ve gotten a lot of help from him on hitting lessons and strategy on defense. Just the confidence he gives me to play at my best is what’s so meaningful.”

      REACHING HIGH, SETTING GOALS

    Though he’s still learning, growing, and going through the trials and successes that the sport both challenges and rewards, Davis has set some short-range and long-range goals as well.

    In the immediate future, he wants to help USA Softball win the Pan American games, and then if it can be arranged, he would like to take a second trip to New Zealand for a season of “down-under” fastpitch with the Waitakere Bears.

    And as for long-range?

    “I would love to run softball clinics and coach kids and work with outfielders,” Davis said. “I would like to travel the world playing ball and make as many memories and impact as many young athletes to take the right path as I can – teach one, reach one.”

    2017 USA SOFTBALL PAN AMERICAN ROSTER
    Kevin Castillo
    Jenner Christenson
    Joel Cooley
    Yusef Davis
    Tyler Dudley
    Derrick Kennedy
    Jonathan Lynch
    Tony Mancha
    Nick Mullins
    Travis Nevin
    Jeff Nowacyzk
    Erick Ochoa
    Cameron Schiller
    Chase Turner
    Duane Weiler

    COACHING STAFF
    Gregg Leather, Head Coach
    Greg Hicks, Assistant Coach
    Nick McCurry
    Assistant Coach

     

    A Look Back In Time: Happy Chef in Mankato for sale, full of fastpitch softball memories

    Written by Bob on September 1st, 2017

    The late Leroy Jolstad was a pitching mainstay for Mankato Happy Chef men’s fastpitch team.

    By Patrick Reusse / August 23, 2015
    StarTribune

    MANKATO – The Happy Chef restaurant and adjoining property are for sale. It’s the original and surviving restaurant from a collection of 63 that were once operated in the Midwest by the Fredrick brothers.

    “We’re still in business,” said Tom Fredrick, 81. “We’re going to stay in business.”

    Mention Happy Chef and many people think of the towering, round Happy Chef figure that stood in front of numerous restaurants — and remains smiling today next to Hwy. 169 as you enter Mankato.

    Mention Happy Chef to others and they think of something else near extinction: men’s fastpitch softball.

    Click to continue reading “A Look Back In Time: Happy Chef in Mankato for sale, full of fastpitch softball memories”

     
    WordPress Loves AJAX