36th Annual Rice Lake Invitational Men’s Fastpitch Tournament

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Erick Chaparro, reaching for the top in men’s fastpitch

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

ChaparroErick Erick Chaparro of Venezuela is pitching for the Rice Lake Orangemen and has started the season strong. Courtesy Photo

RICE LAKE, Wisc. – Since the early 1980s, foreign fastpitch softball pitchers have been trekking to the U.S. hoping to improve their skills, hoping to raise their game to a higher level by competing against some of the best club teams in the world.

21-year-old Erick Chaparro of Maracaibo, Venezuela is one of them. He’s been coming stateside since he was 18.

This year he’s in Wisconsin pitching for the Rice Lake Orangemen. And with his past two tournament performances as a barometer, he’s off to a great start.

    A CHAMPIONSHIP AND A NO-NO

At the 10th Annual Hollywood Days Tournament, June 21-22, at the Hollywood Sports Complex in Watertown, Minn., Chaparro led the Rice Lake Orangemen to the championship, and finished with a personal 3-1 record.

His 5-2 victory over the Fargo, North Dakota Bombers on a three-hitter with four walks and five strikeouts in the championship was but one fine performance. He also hurled a no-hitter against Tin Cup of St. Paul in a 2-1 win.

The right-hander also pitched the Orangemen to the Rice Lake 36th Annual Aquafest Invitational title the week before and was selected the Most Valuable Player for both his pitching and his hitting.

Rice Lake manager Travis Thompson says Chaparro is having a superb year, and has come to the rescue after veteran Bryan Lathrop underwent hip surgery that has sidelined him until next season. He sees only an upside to the young pitcher’s future.

“He’s made big progress especially with the change-up,” said Thompson, who also catches Chaparro. “He shows mental toughness, throws hard, and he has that drive that most don’t have nowadays.”

So what’s propelled this young hurler off to such a good start?

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Rice Lake knocks off Fargo to take Hollywood tournament

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

chaparro.erick Erick Chaparro, 21, had a 3-1 record and pitched a no-hitter in helping the Rice Lake Orangemen win the 10th Annual Hollywood Days Men’s Fastpitch Tournament.

WATERTOWN, Minn. – Rice Lake’s bats, arms and gloves were in solid form and as a result the Orangemen won the 10th Annual Hollywood Days Men’s Fastpitch Tournament, June 21-22, at the Hollywood Sports Complex in Watertown.

The Orangemen defeated the Fargo Bombers 5-2 behind the three-hit pitching of 21-year-old Erick Chaparro, who walked four and struck out five to lead Rice Lake to its second tournament championship in consecutive weekends.

The Orangemen also won the Rice Lake Aquafest Invitational, June 13-15, the first such title for the ball club in the 36 years of the event.

Fargo stuck Chaparro with his lone loss (5-4) on Saturday in round-robin play, but the right-hander from Maracaibo, Venezuela bounced back in fine form in the second meeting.

“He threw much better the second game,” said Orangemen manager Travis Thompson, in his first year leading the ball club. “Erick has a lot of heart, drive and fire.”

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Orangemen win first ever 36th Annual Rice Lake Aquafest Invitational Title

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

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By RONN KOPP / NAFA President and Tournament Director

RICE LAKE, Wisc. – After falling to Bol’s Lanes of Baldwin 3-2 in the winners bracket final, the Rice Lake Orangemen bounced back to bounce La Crosse Athletics 10-2 and then defeated Bol’s twice in championship play 7-6 and 2-1 in 9 innings to capture the championship of the 10-team 36th annual Rice Lake Aquafest Invitational men’s fastpitch tournament.

It was the first Aquafest championship for the Orangemen, the only team to have played in all 36 tourneys.

The Orangemen opened tournament play with a 6-2 victory over Sawdust City of Eau Claire, followed with a 2-0 win over Ostrander, Minnesota, and a 7-0 win over Morelli’s of St. Paul before coming up a run short in their first encounter with defending NAFA state A division champion Bol’s Lanes.

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Rice Lake, Wisc. Men’s Fastpitch Tournament

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

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By RONN KOPP / NAFA President

10 TEAMS TO COMPETE IN 36th RICE LAKE AQUAFEST INVITATIONAL MEN’S FASTPITCH TOURNAMENT

RICE LAKE, WISC. – Five teams from Wisconsin and five from Minnesota make up the roster of teams for the 36th Annual Rice Lake Invitational Men’s Fastpitch Tournament to be held June 13-15, once again in conjunction with the city’s annual Aquafest celebration.

Absent from the field is defending champion Wilber Lime of Galesville, eight-time tournament titlist, who ceased operations after capturing the North American Fastpitch Association “AA” championship in play at Des Moines, Iowa last August.

Wisconsin entries in the NAFA AA and A tournament include the Rice Lake Orangemen, the only team to have played in all 35 previous events, along with the La Crosse Athletics, Saw Dust City of Eau Claire, J.R. Sports of Arcadia, and defending Wisconsin state “A” division champion Bol’s Lanes of Baldwin.

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