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Pitcher Jerry Ralfs reminisces about the good times in fastpitch

Friday, August 19th, 2016
Jerry Ralfs, one the greatest pitchers in the history of men's fastpitch was inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame in 2004. Photo By BOB OTTO

Jerry Ralfs, one the greatest pitchers in the history of men’s fastpitch was inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame in 2004. Photo By BOB OTTO

MOLINE, IL – Jerry Ralfs gazed out on the ball diamond as pitchers Sean Cleary of the Toronto Gators and New York Gremlins Andrew Kirkpatrick battled each other pitch-for-pitch in the 2017 ISC World Tournament.

Seeing their intensity, their talent, their will to win, brought back memories of the bygone days when he too was locked in intense battle with some of the games greatest teams and pitchers of the 1950s through 1995 when he finally retired.

Ralfs, an ISC Hall of Fame pitcher (2004), battled against and defeated some of the greatest pitchers ever to step on the ball diamond: There’s Dick Brubaker, Don Sarno, Art Bunge, Ralph Salazar, Ed Klecker, and perhaps the greatest of all-time – Ty Stofflet.

The two left-handers tangled several times. In 1969, Ralfs pitched Rock Island Sportshop to second place in the ISC World Tournament, and put together outstanding marks with a 5-2 record and 79 strikeouts in 47 1/3 innings.

In that tournament, he beat the defending champion Long Beach, Calif. Nitehawks twice. Both shutouts.

But his two loses? To Stofflet. But by the slightest of margins possible in the sport, both 1-0 setbacks.

But a smile comes to his face when he remembers when he did get the best of Stofflet.

“It was in 1971 in Springfield (Missouri) and we beat Stofflet,” said Ralfs, now 80 years old, but looking 15 years younger. “I even got a bloop single to win the game.”

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23rd Annual Best of The West in Santa Barbara

Monday, March 9th, 2015

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The 23rd Annual Best of The West men’s faspitch tournament will be held June 6-7 at Elings Park in Santa Barbara.

THE DETAILS

  • Entry fee: $400
  • Entry deadline: May 20
  • Format: Round robin into single elimination. Four game guarantee. Saturday has a 90-minute time limit. Sunday NO time limit.
  • Berths: One ISC World Tournament berth to the highest U.S. west finishing team. ASA berths to classes A-B-C.
  • CONTACTS
    Clyde Bennett – clydebennett50@gmail.com / 805-895-9007
    UIC – Clyde Bennett
    ISC rep – Chris Santos: jcsantos25@msn.com / 303-419-7332

    Someone to know: fastpitch legend Nick McCurry

    Monday, September 22nd, 2014

    Originally published Oct. 18, 1998

    ASHLAND, Ohio – Nick McCurry will warn you about two things: A conversation with him will center on fastpitch softball and it will be long. He’s right on both counts.

    “I’m a die hard fastpitch man,” said the 52-year-old McCurry. “I don’t drink and I don’t smoke, but I’ve spent many long hours in the beer tent talking to fastpitch people.”

    McCurry’s soft, easy going Tennessee drawl, belies the fact that he’s an intense, fiery fastpitch player and manager, who, he says “loves to thump his chest” after beating one of the big money teams.

    And McCurry proved he’s still one of the game’s great clutch players.

    He was selected the Most Valuable Player in the 1998 ASA Masters 40-Over National Tournament after helping Eagle Products of Mishawaka, Ind. win the national title.

    McCurry blistered tournament pitching with a .416 average and was 10-for-24.

    “Over the many years Nick’s been one of the outstanding players in the state and carried the banner for fastpitch so very effectively,” said Ohio Fastball Travel League Commissioner, Gordon Wise. “He’s literally the heart and soul of fastpitch in Ashland.”

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    New York! New York! Where Fastpitch Plays Well In Au Sable Forks

    Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

    AU SABLE FORKS – Many long-term men’s fastpitch tournaments are held throughout the U.S.

    The Au Sable Open tournament is one of them. On July 11 to 13, Au Sable Forks (Pop. 3,100), located south of Montreal, CA, in northeast New York will host its 52nd annual hosting of the event.

    In 2013 (results page) Knoxville behind the pitching of Juan Potolicchio with 10 strikeouts, bested CPI and pitcher Greg Garrity, 6-1, to claim the championship.

    This year, the tournament committee is planning for 12 teams from the U.S. and Canada to enter, with award money of $2,000 for first place (based on 10 teams entering), with additional monies for placing second through fourth.

    To learn more about the tournament, and information to enter your team, visit: 2014 Au Sable Men’s Fastpitch Tournament