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Bowen Fastpitch takes home the NAFA A-Major championship

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

The 2017 NAFA A-Major World Series champion Bowen Fastpitch of Bowen, IL, includes Collin Hopkins, Julian Fernandez, Eneas Erbes, Conrado Zanuttini, Austin Ramsey, Facundo Gonzales, Tyler Maskey, Lavern Martin, Zack Barnhart, Alejo Munoz, Tanner Maskey, Dean Lambert and manager Rocco Ramsey. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

FARGO – They’re young but experienced, confident but not arrogant, and as for talent, Bowen Fastpitch of Bowen, Ill. has plenty of it.

With a lineup of Americans and Argentinians, Bowen swept through the 30-team NAFA A-Major World Series with a 5-0 record, culminating in a rain-shortened, 5-0, victory over R.M. Kurtz of Ephrata, Penn. on Sunday afternoon at Northside Softball Complex.

In the third inning, heavy rain flooded the field and after a short conference, tournament officials and both managers agreed the game was impossible to continue.

Since Bowen was undefeated, while R.M. Kurtz had one loss – administered by Bowen in a 1-0 victory in the winner’s bracket final – it was only logical that Bowen would go home with the first-place trophy.

In Bowen’s march to the championship, the hitters hammered nearly every pitcher they faced, outscoring the opposition 39-6.

“We came out and our sticks were alive,” said Bowen manager Rocco Ramsey. “We came here ready to compete.”

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Fernandez hurls Bowen Fastpitch into the NAFA A-Major championship game

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

JULIAN FERNANDEZ pitched Bowen Fastpitch of Illinois to a 1-0 victory over RM Kurtz of Pennsylvania in the winner’s bracket final of the NAFA World Series A-Major Division Saturday night at Northside Softball Complex. The 19-year-old has won all four of Bowen’s games in the 30-team tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO / Aug. 12, 2017

FARGO – It’s not always wise to come to an international fastpitch tournament with one pitcher. But that’s what Bowen Fastpitch has done.

How’s it worked out? So far just fine as long as Julian Fernandez is in the circle

The right-handed, 19-year-old Argentinian pitched two shutouts on Saturday in the 30-team, A-Major Division to help advance Bowen into Sunday’s championship game.

In the tournament Fernandez is 4-0 and has pitched 24 innings, allowed six runs and struck out 37 batters.

Fernandez was nearly untouchable in beating the California Buzzards, 12-0, earlier in the semi-finals, and even better in the winner’s bracket final. He held a young and talented RM Kurtz of Pennsylvania to three hits in a tense and thrilling 1-0 victory, setting aside 10 on strikeouts with sharp-breaking risers and drops, while walking only one.

“He has pitched every inning for us and he has been good,” said Bowen manager Rocco Ramsey.

And Fernandez can swing the bat. With his speed, he often leads off. In the tournament he is batting .400 and has scored five runs.

Bowen Fastpitch second baseman Alejo “Chaco” Munoz tries to pick off an RM Kurtz base runner during Bowen’s 1-0 victory in the NAFA A-Major World Series winner’s bracket final. Photo By BOB OTTO / Aug. 12, 2017

In Saturday’s nightcap with RM Kurtz, he led off the game and reached second base on an infield error, and came around to score the game’s only run on Conrado Zanattini’s single to left field.

From then on, the game settled into a pitching duel. RM Kurtz sent 20-year-old Derek Martin to the circle and he responded brilliantly, giving up just four hits with five strikeouts.

RM Kurtz had a golden opportunity in the top of the seventh to tie the game when Matt Spitler doubled up the middle to lead off the inning. But Fernandez struck out the next two batters and he scooped up a hard-hit ground ball and threw to first to lock up the game.

The loss drops RM Kurtz into the loser’s bracket where they must win once for a return engagement with Bowen to decide the championship.

And without much doubt, Julian Fernandez will be in the circle.

The A-Major championship is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Sunday at Northside Softball Complex. Should Bowen lose the first game, a second will follow soon after in the double-elimination format.

  • Click on NAFA World Series Brackets for information on the A-Major and Recreational tournament.
  • Bowen (Ill) Fastpitch takes title at Black Gold Fastpitch Softball Classic

    Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

    Bowen Fastpitch manager Rocco Ramsey celebrates after his team pulled out a 7-6 walk-off win over Rude Pac of So. Calif. in the semifinals of the 2014 NAFA A-Division World Series Photo By BOB OTTO

    By MATT BENZ
    Black Gold Fastpitch

    NEW HAVEN, MO – For the third time in the last four years Black Gold finished second in their own men’s fastpitch softball tournament, held June 24-25 at New Haven City Park in New Haven, Missouri.

    Bowen Fastpitch of Bowen, Illinois was led by pitcher and leadoff hitter Julian Fernandez who pitched 19 scoreless innings to lead his ball club to the title.

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    16th Annual Black Gold Fastpitch Softball Classic in New Haven, Missouri

    Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

    ERIC STEINBECK will see a lot of pitching duty for Black Gold in the Black Gold Softball Tournament, June 24-25, in New Haven. Courtesy Photo By Kyle Quick / Quick News Now

    By MATT BENZ
    Black Gold Fastpitch

    NEW HAVEN, Mo. – The annual Black Gold Fastpitch Softball Classic Tournament returns to New Haven City Park on Saturday June 24 and Sunday June 25.

    An annual men’s fastpitch tournament in the area dates back to the 1960s.

    The Black Gold team is comprised mainly of players originating from Hermann, New Haven, Union, and Washington.

    Eric Steinbeck, Terry Coon, Cullen Speckhals, and Matt Benz are some of the long-time players, with recent area high school baseball standouts such as Jake Murphy, Jake Johnson, and Ben Held joining the team in recent years.

    THREE STATES COMPETING

    Teams from Kansas, Illinois, and all parts of Missouri will battle it out in a round-robin format with two pools on Saturday, then single elimination tournament Saturday night and Sunday.

    “The Black Gold Classic is known for featuring good pitching and a very balanced field of teams,” said manager Eric Steinbeck. “We look forward to seeing everyone out at the ballpark.”

    Click to continue reading “16th Annual Black Gold Fastpitch Softball Classic in New Haven, Missouri”

    Bowen Fastpitch takes third at NAFA World Series

    Sunday, August 14th, 2016
    Bowen Fastpitch manager Rocco Ramsey celebrates after his team pulled out a 7-6 walk-off win over Rude Pac of So. Calif. in the semifinals of the 2014 NAFA A-Division World Series Photo By BOB OTTO

    Bowen Fastpitch manager Rocco Ramsey celebrates after his team pulled out a 7-6 walk-off win over Rude Pac of So. Calif. in the semifinals of the 2014 NAFA A-Division World Series Photo By BOB OTTO

    NORTH MANKATO, Minn. – After dropping its opening game of the NAFA A-Major World Series, Bowen Fastpitch marched through the loser’s bracket winning six straight games before losing to the Northwest Merchants of New York, 7-1, to finish third at 6-2 in the 20-team field.

    Hats off to Bowen Fastpitch, a long-time loyalist to NAFA that won the NAFA A Division championship in 2014, the first NAFA title for the ball club from Bowen, Illinois (pop. 500).

    Bowen is led by Rocco Ramsey, a voracious leader and promoter of men’s fastpitch, who was inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame in 2012.

    15th Annual Black Gold Fastpitch Softball Classic to be held in New Haven

    Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

    EricSteinbeckBlackGold1lr Eric Steinbeck will be one of the top pitchers in the Black Gold Fastpitch Softball Classic, June 25-26.

    By MATT BENZ / Press Release

    NEW HAVEN, MO – The annual Black Gold Softball Tournament returns to New Haven City Park on Saturday June 25 and Sunday June 26. An annual men’s fastpitch tournament in the area dates back to the 1960s.

    The Black Gold team is comprised mainly of players originating from Hermann, New Haven, Union, and Washington. Eric Steinbeck, Terry Coon, Cullen Speckhals, and Matt Benz are some of the long-time players, with recent area high school baseball standouts such as Jake Murphy, Jake Johnson, and Ben Held joining the team in recent years.

    Teams from Kansas, Illinois, and all parts of Missouri will battle it out in a round-robin format with two 4-team pools on Saturday. The top three teams from each pool advance to a single elimination tournament on Sunday.

    Black Gold plays at 10 a.m., 3 p.m., and 6 p.m. on Lions Field. Sunday’s single elimination games starting at 9 a.m. on both fields. The championship game starts at 1:30 p.m.

    Action starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday with two games. On Lions Field, Black Gold takes on the Tribe from St. Charles; while on Bock Field, speedy Kelso Fastpitch of Kelso, MO takes on two time defending champion Pinckneyville, IL Falcons.

    Boonville, MO Fastpitch and the Wizards of Oz from Silver Lake, Kansas return to the Classic this year, while new entry Bowen, IL Fastpitch and the Belleville, IL Stallions round out the field.

    Black Gold recently finished 2-2 in the prestigious Kelso Klassic tournament last weekend.

    For the second year in a row there will be a mens’ fastpitch softball reunion held at the pavilion near Lions Field starting at 2 p.m. Saturday. Seventy former players from all over Missouri attended last year. All former players and fans from the state of Missouri are invited.

    “The Black Gold Classic is known for featuring strong pitching and a very balanced field of teams,” said manager Eric Steinbeck. “We look forward to seeing everyone out at the ballpark.”

    Full concession stand along with BBQ pork steaks, burgers, hot dogs, and the ever popular popsicles will be available both days.

    For more information on the tournament contact Eric Steinbeck (314-640-6432) or Matt Benz (314-560-4839). For more information on the reunion contact Pete Purschke (636-583-3377).

    Attached is a schedule for this weekend’s Black Gold Classic.

    2016 BLACK GOLD CLASSIC Pools and Bracket

    31st Annual Kelso Klassic Men’s Fastpitch Tournament, June 12-14, in Kelso, Missouri

    Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

    CentralIllinoisKnights.1lr The Central Illinois Knights have started the season in championship form, winning two consecutive tournaments.

    KELSO, Mo. – The 2015 Kelso Klassic, featuring 14 of the top men’s fastpitch softball teams from Illinois, Missiouri and Kansas runs from June 12-14 and opens Friday night at 7:30 with hometown Kelso Fastpitch taking on Sibley Fastpitch, followed with the Central Illinois Knights battling Bowen Fastpitch.

    The tournament continues through Saturday with the championship game scheduled for Sunday at 3 p.m. If a second game is needed in the double knockout format to determine a winner, it is slated to begin at 4:30.

    The 2014 defending champion Bloomington, Ill. Stix return and figure to be in the running for back-to-back titles. But the road to the title won’t be easy as the Central Illinois Knights figure to be a strong contender after starting the season strong with championships in the Teutopolis Memorial Day and Terry Deering Memorial tournaments.

    Other challengers include the Topeka Toros, currently ranked No. 18 in the world by the International Softball Congress, and the 2014 NAFA World Series A Division champion Bowen Fastpitch.

  • Visit the Kelso Fastpitch Facebook to see the tournament bracket
  • THE TOURNAMENT FIELD

  • Kelso Fastpitch
  • Sibley Fastpitch
  • Central Illinois Fastpitch
  • Bowen Fastpitch
  • Weezer’s Fastpitch
  • Pinckneyville Fastpitch
  • Black Gold
  • Topeka Toros
  • Belleville Stallions
  • St. Louis Clubhouse Bar
  • B & K Tire Service
  • Artisan Construction
  • Franny’s Old Irish Pub
  • Bloomington Stix
  • 2014 NAFA World Series magazine sent to the publisher

    Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

    Cover of 2014 NAFA World Series magazine

    Cover of 2014 NAFA World Series magazine


    YUCAIPA, Calif. – I’ve sent my magazine entitled, 2014 NAFA World Series, to the publisher, but waiting for a hard copy to finish the final edit before releasing for purchase.

    The magazine’s 112 pages contain dozens of photos, championship game stories and results (AA-Major, AA, A-Major, A, 23-Under, Wood Bat, and Masters East and West), feature stories, NAFA Hall of Fame stories, and a look at past World Series feats & stats of some of the games biggest stars.

    Bats heat up and blast Bowen Fastpitch to NAFA World Series A Division Championship

    Monday, August 18th, 2014
    WORLD SERIES CHAMPS! The Bowen Fastpitch team includes Corey Ramsey, Jack Carlisle, Shawn Altgilbers, Brody Gronewold, Tony Koehler, Derek Van Fleet, Austin Ramsey, Josh Gronewold, Matt Kissinger, Andy Gronewold, Collin Dooley, Brian Jansen, Austin Hardy, Greg Dowdall, and manager Rocco Ramsey, front row center. Photo By BOB OTTO

    WORLD SERIES CHAMPS! The Bowen Fastpitch team includes Corey Ramsey, Jack Carlisle, Shawn Altgilbers, Brody Gronewold, Tony Koehler, Derek Van Fleet, Austin Ramsey, Josh Gronewold, Matt Kissinger, Andy Gronewold, Collin Dooley, Brian Jansen, Austin Hardy, Greg Dowdall, and manager Rocco Ramsey, front row center. Photo By BOB OTTO

    QUAD CITIES, IA/IL – About the fifth inning Rocco Ramsey felt confident his Bowen Fastpitch team was starting to find their groove at the plate.

    Down 9-0, Bowen had erupted for five runs in the fifth inning of the first of two games that would decide the NAFA World Series A Division Championship.

    Even though Bowen went on to lose 9-6 to Rude Pac of So. Calif. in that first game; it was in that fifth inning that Ramsey said to himself that his young team – seven under the age of 23 – would be just fine in the winner-take-all title game.

    And indeed they were as Bowen blasted its way to a 22-11 victory to claim the A Division title.

    “I really felt that in the fifth inning of that first game that our bats were back,” said Ramsey, a NAFA Hall of Fame manager and promoter. “I had a gut feeling it would carry over into the championship. Their pitchers were tired and we got on to them.”

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    Bowen Fastpitch reaches NAFA World Series A-Division championship

    Sunday, August 17th, 2014
    Tony Koehler won his fifth game for Bowen Fastpitch over Oscar's in the winners bracket final of the NAFA World Series A Division tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Tony Koehler won his fifth game for Bowen Fastpitch over Oscar’s in the winners bracket final of the NAFA World Series A Division tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

    QUAD CITIES, IA/IL – Year after year Rocco Ramsey keeps bringing ball clubs to the NAFA World Series and enters them in the 23-Under, A and Masters divisions.

    The highest his Bowens Fastpitch teams have ever finished was fifth back in 2004.

    But that’s about to be eclipsed.

    On a late Saturday night, Bowen Fastpitch defeated Oscar’s Pizza & Sports Grille of Omaha 10-3 to advance into Sunday’s NAFA World Series A-Division championship game.

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