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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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Young Venezuelan spends summer in U.S. working on his fastball pitching

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012


Erick Chaparro, 18, of Venezuela has spent part of his summer pitching fastball in the U.S. Courtesy Photo

OMAHA, NEB – A summer of travel, sight seeing, meeting new people and making new friends. And of course softball – fastball style. And lots of it.

Erick Chaparro of Maracaibo, Venezuela has experienced all of the above. But the last part, the fastball; he’s gotten a heavy dose of that, and he loves it – USA style.

By Sunday, August 19, the 18-year-old right-hander will have played in the NAFA World Series in four divisions, which just might be a NAFA record. He pitched in the A-Major division with the Winnipeg Bullets and for Black Gold of Missouri in the AA last week.

And this weekend, he’s back in Topeka, Kansas for the NAFA A and the Young Men’s 23-Under championship. This is his first experience pitching in NAFA, and he likes what he’s seen.

“The competition is really good,” he said. “They’re pretty good hitters, and compared to Venezuela fastball, they are similar. I play with my college team (National College in Maracaibo) and here the hitters are better than my college teams.”

Click to continue reading “Young Venezuelan spends summer in U.S. working on his fastball pitching”