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Cal-State Builders claim third consecutive NAFA Masters West championship

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

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By Dave Carlton / Owner and Manager, Cal-State Builders

CARSON CITY, NEV – The Cal-State Builders made its annual trip to Carson City, Sept. 13-15, with hopes of retaining the NAFA Masters World Series West 40-Over crown. The same rag-tag group from the previous two years consisted of 12-men (with newcomer Scott Budnick, Bothell, WA, and veteran Mario Pereira, Roseville, CA) who put their skills to the test as tough competition loomed.

The Portland Brewers – narrowly defeated last year at the hands of Cal-State ace Kevin Kammueller (Shakopee, MN) – were hungry to redeem the loss. The Boston Seadogs, eliminated in 2012 by Portland in a dramatic extra-inning walk-off, were similarly eager to avenge the past.

Ten hopefuls entered the NAFA West Masters, with Cal-State, Portland, and Boston opposite each other in separate pools.

    Cal-State 11, SoCal Quakes 0

Rain and heavy wind suspended Friday’s games deep into the night. Game one slated for 8 p.m. finally got started around 10:30. The SoCal Quakes sent veteran Doug Rooney to the mound to face Cal-State’s iconic big-man Kammueller.

The Builders showed no ill effects from the rain delay as they quickly plated seven runs in the top of the first inning, sending 13 men to the plate. Dean Waltier highlighted a six-hit inning with a two-run blast to the right field corner. Both Randy “The Hammer” Bitterman and Darin Michael posted two hits each, while Mark Summers and Scott Budnick added walks.

Former Builder Mario Pereira, who took a few years off from the team, added a base hit, and Duane Christensen began his path to tournament MVP with a single.

Kammueller began where he left off at the ISC World Tournament (ISC II All-World pitcher) by pounding the strike zone with nasty corners and wicked movement. The Quakes mustered three hits in the mercy-shortened contest but could not score a run off the stingy Builder’s ace.

Former University of Arizona standout Debby Day, the only female pitcher to ever pitch at the men’s event, took over for Rooney in the top of the second and held off the Builders until the fourth, when pinch-hitter Larry Machado got a rally started with a clean single.

kammueller.kevin.246web Kevin Kammueller shows the form that earned him ISC II All-World and NAFA Masters All-World. Photo By BOB OTTO / June 2013 California Classic Fastpitch Tournament

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Kronk and Haldane hook up in pitchers duel

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Winterset A’s 2, Seattle Cal-State Builders 1

winterset.kronk.marshall.69 Marshall Kronk, a 19-year-old Australian led the Winterset A’s to a 2-1 victory over the Cal-State Builders to advance to the winners bracket final in the NAFA AA-Major championship, Friday. Kronk struck out 12 with his No. 1 pitch: “The rise ball is my out pitch,” he said.

The Builders’ Rich Haldane and the A’s Marshall Krong hooked up in a pitchers duel in the NAFA AA-Major playoffs, but Kronk, a 19-year-old Australian from Brisbane, Queensland, came out the winner in this NAFA AA-Major matchup.

Winterset pulled out a 2-1 win by scoring twice in the third inning on back-to-back singles by shortstop Bryce Kay (2 for 4) and Jason Darling (1 for 4), whose short fly ball fell safely in left field and sent Kay racing home. A throwing error on the play then allowed Kay to cross the plate safely for the second run.

builders.moore.HR.147webA Ricky Moore is congratulated by Builders manager Dave Carlton after hitting a home run in the seventh. Photo By BOB OTTO

Catcher Ricky Moore (2 or 3) gave the Builders hope in the bottom of the seventh by launching a line drive home run deep over the left field fence. But Kronk toughened by getting a ground ball and a strikeout to end the game.

Kronk had his rise ball spinning sharply over the bats of the Builders, but he left one a little too sweet for Moore, and the right-side hitter crushed it.

“They were chasing my rise ball high,” said Kronk, who improved to 3-0 in the tournament and went 2 for 4 off Haldane. “But I left the rise ball down the middle and inside and fat (to Moore).”

winterset.kay.brice.169webWinterset shortstop Kay Bryce made the play of the game when he raced into left field to catch a short fly ball; he collided with centerfielder Jason Darling but hung on to the ball. Photo By BOB OTTO

Other than that, both hurlers matched each other almost pitch for pitch. Both notched 12 strikeouts. Haldane allowed six hits, Kronk gave up five. And both pitchers gave up just one earned run a piece in this classic pitchers’ duel.

The win moves Winterset into the winners bracket final where they will take on the Fargo Kegel Black Knights who beat the West Fargo Knights 8-2.

The championship game is scheduled for 7:40 p.m. tonight at the Greater Des Moines Softball Complex.

NAFA AA-Major World Series has strong field

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

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DES MOINES, IOWA – When it comes to parity, it appears that the NAFA AA-Major World Series is wide open with no clear-cut favorite.

Four of the 15 teams are ranked in the top-25 in the world of men’s fastpitch: The Kegel Black Knights are No. 7; Pete’s Blues, No. 13; the Cal-State Builders, No. 20; The Topeka Toros, No. 23, and New Image No. 24…

But I wouldn’t bet against any of the rest of the field in taking the crown. Just look at the past history of some of these ball clubs and the “who’s who” they have throwing for them.

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Garrity’s bat and arm lead Gators over Builders

Monday, August 13th, 2012

    The 2012 Cal-State Builders
    Photo By Alisha Larkin / Cal-State Builders Official Photographer

MIDLAND, MI – Greg Garrity swings the bat as well as he wings a softball.

And he did both tasks equally well in hitting and pitching the Toronto Gators to a 6-1 ISC World Tournament victory over the Cal-State Builders of Seattle, Washington, Monday in a second-round game for both teams.

Garrity helped his own cause by launching a two-run home run in the first inning and then turned his attention to the pitching rubber.

Mixing in a hard drop with a rise ball and occasional change-up, he held the Builders to three hits along with 12 strikeouts and one walk. And through 4 1/3 innings he pitched perfect softball.

But Duane Christiansen (1-for-3) finally broke up the no-hit and perfect game bid with a single up the middle in the fourth. Then in the seventh, Scot Tomasello’s (1-3) run-scoring double drove in a run, denying Garrity the shutout. But he finished strong by getting two strikeouts to end the threat and move the Gators on to the quarterfinals on Tuesday.

“I felt really strong through the first four innings,” Garrity said. “But I had to bear down and stay focused; they’re a good team.”

Garrity (1-2, run, 2 RBIs, 2 walks), batting in the clean up spot, belted his first-inning homer deep over the left field fence with Donnelly Archibald aboard, who had tripled with two outs. The Gators added a single run in the third and broke the game open with three more in the fifth.


Currie Stadium with Toronto Gators in the field and Cal-State Builders at bat. Photo By Alisha Larkin

In the fifth, leadoff batter Joel Langford tripled to left-centerfield with one out and later scored on a passed ball. John Kemp worked Builders’ starter Brady Woods (0-1) for a walk, and then Archibald (2-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs) doubled him home to push the score to 5-0.

Garrity then came to the plate and Woods intentionally walked him to get to Tyler Whynot. But Whynot made him pay with an RBI single to left field for the Gators final run.

Kevin Kammueller then came on in relief of Woods and held the Gators scoreless the rest of the way, allowing but one hit, while striking out three. While Woods, selected to the Canadian National Team, allowed five earned runs on six hits, four walks, while striking out seven Gators.

The 2-0 Gators now move on to face Pennsylvania Power (2-0) Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the quarterfinal match-up.

Garrity said he likes the way the Gators are playing after opening the tournament with a 1-0 win over the ISC’s No. 5 ranked Circle Tap Dukes of Denmark, Wisconsin, which many consider a big upset.

“That was a big win over Circle Tap,” he said. “(Pennsylvania) Power is tough, but if we do things right, we should be in the game.”

The Builders also come back on Tuesday at 5 p.m. as they battle their way back through the losers bracket.