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Jesse Ortiz, pitching in for NAFA and his league

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

JESSE ORTIZ is kept busy at the NAFA World Series checking bats to certifiy that they meet NAFA specifications. Ortiz is in his third year assisting at the NAFA World Series. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series.

FARGO – At his home ballpark in Southern California, Jesse Ortiz can be found hustling from one field to another. He’s an administrator, a resolver of disputes, he oversees the scorekeepers, and he even does some field maintenance when the need arises.

Ortiz is the executive director of the Southern California Independent Fastpitch League (SCIFL). It’s a job with a lot of duties and some headaches, but he sets all of that aside when it’s his turn to pitch.

He works diligently for long hours on several weekends throughout the fastpitch season to ensure that SCIFL Alliance tournaments run smoothly.

“The SCIFL tournaments went well this year,” said Ortiz, 42. “We did have to cut back on some tournaments because of a conflict with the city (Santa Fe Springs). We had one tournament at Camp Pendleton (Marine Corps Base) and that went well.”

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Getting the great “Nellie” into the Minnesota Sports Federation Softball Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016


HASTINGS, Minn. – When I was 17 years old in 1967, I pitched against one of Minnesota’s all-time best pitchers, Walt “Nellie” Nelson of Hastings, Minn. Nellie pitched Loesch’s Bar of Hastings to back-to-back state championships in 1964 and ’65; a second place in ’62, and fourth in ’66. (See related story: Remembering my idol, Walt “Nellie” Nelson

When my good friend Craig Brown was nominated and subquently inducted into the Hall of Fame, Oct. 29, I thought: surely Nellie must have been inducted. But in searching through the Minnesota Sports Federation Hall of Fame records, I found he was not.

So, I contacted the Hastings Star Gazette newspaper to run a brief asking anyone connected with that team to contact me. Low and behold, Steve Nelson, Nellie’s son called me. He had some sad news, though. His father passed away in 2003 at the age of 72.

But on the bright side, we are on a mission to get Nellie inducted into the MSF Hall of Fame in the next round of induction in 2018. Fortunately, some of the Losche’s guys he played with are still with us: Tom Niederkorn, Tom Swanson, Gene Hageman, and Don Amy, among others.

So, they are going to help piece together a resume of Nellie’s career.

What I’m asking is, if any of you Minnesota fastpitch players on this group played in the era of the early 1960s to 1972 when Walt Nelson retired, and you remember playing with or against him, and can furnish information of a particular game or tournament or league in which you recall his skill, please contact me. Email:

Unfortunately, career records are not kept for many players, so it will take recalling “memories” of Nellie for a chance to get him inducted. We’ve got two years to get this done, but as we sadly know, we are losing more and more of us older guys as the years pass by. And then, of course, the history of a player or team is lost forever.

That’s why I’m stressing the urgency to do this as quickly as possible. Thank you.

NAFA Announces 2016 Hall of Fame Inductees

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016
The North American Fastpitch Association offers World Series tournaments for all caliber of players - from age 23-Under to Masters, 65-over. Visit for information to register your team.

The North American Fastpitch Association offers World Series tournaments for all caliber of players – from age 23-Under to Masters, 65-over. Visit for information to register your team.

DAYTON, OR – The North American Fastpitch Association announced that eight individuals – six players, one umpire and a coach / sponsor – will be inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame at ceremonies held at various World Series during the 2016 season.



  • Steve Komoroski, Wisc.
  • Coach / Sponsor

  • Doug Smith, New Jersey
  • Players

  • Kyle Goslee, Minn.
  • Chad Osterman, Minn.
  • Colin McKenzie, BC, Canada
  • Trevor Knight, Wash.
  • Duane Clarkson, Manitoba, Canada
  • Mario Pereira, Calif.
  • The 2016 NAFA World Series

  • Open World Series, Fife (Seattle), Wash., July 22-24
  • Boys Youth, Vassar, Mich., July 30-31
  • AA-Major, Quad Cities, IA/IL, Aug. 19-21
  • A-Major, Mankato / North Mankato, Minn., Aug. 11-14
  • Wood Bat Nationals Upper Midwest, Mankato / North Mankato, Aug. 12-14
  • Wood Bat Nationals Lower Midwest, Newton, KS, July 30-31
  • Wood Bat Nationals West, Albuquerque, NM, Aug. 27-28
  • A and AA Divsions, Mankato / North Mankato, Aug. 18-21
  • 23-Under, Mankato / North Mankato, Aug. 19-21
  • Masters East, Niagara Falls, NY, Aug. 26-28
  • Masters Midwest, Quad Cities, Sept. 9-11
  • Masters West, Carson City, NV, Sept. 16-18
    Benjie Hedgecock, Executive Director
    cell: 503-559-5398
    work: 503-864-4487
    fax: 503-864-3939
    P.O. Box 566
    Dayton, OR 97114

    Make 2011 a strong year for boy’s fastpitch softball

    Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

    The Northwest Royals won the 2009 Amateur Softball Association (ASA) Boy’s Age 10-Under National Championship at Caswell Park in North Mankato, which will once again host the boy’s and young men’s national championships, Aug. 5-7.

    For more information, visit the ASA website at Or contact Mankato Tournament Director, Bruce Walters, at, and also Mankato Registration Contact, Jack Norman, at

    WINSTON, MISSOURI – Is it fastpitch season yet? Not quite yet in the Midwest for winter won’t let go.

    Hi, my name is Eric Lewis. I am a high school principal and coach from Winston, Missouri.

    I was lucky enough to hook up with a group of friends in college back in the late 1980s and we played fastpitch softball together for almost two decades.

    I have uniforms in my closet from the St. Joseph Road Runners, THUNDER, National Investors, and Herzog fastpitch teams. We played at different levels throughout our careers – ASA B, A, Major, NAFA and even a little ISC.

    Like many of you, we had to travel to play in states such as Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, North Dakota, South Dakota, California, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and even into Canada.

    “Men’s fastpitch is a game where great friends have fun competing from around the country and Canada.”

    As my competitive career has dwindled away (ha), I have found myself more concerned with ensuring the survival of fastpitch for my three sons and all the other young men who deserve the chance to play this great game.

    Some of the surrounding rural towns in Missouri do play high school boys fastpitch softball, but very few of them do anything with it in the summer time. It is limited to a fall season with 14-18 teams participating. I am the State Tournament Chairman. After the boys graduate there are basically no men’s teams left for them to play for.

    I have two young men’s fastpitch teams: Age 10-Under, and 12-Under. We call ourselves the Northwest Royals.

    All my kids play baseball. Then once the season is over we switch to fastpitch and travel to whatever post-season tournaments we can find. We have no leagues to play in, so our whole season is limited to late July practices and then a post-season tournament in early August.

    2009- Brandon, South Dakota – ASA Age 10-Under
    2009- Mankato, Minnesota – ASA Age 10-Under
    2010- Rolla, Missouri – I entered a 10-Under and 12-Under team in the ASA Boy’s National Tournament, but neither division had enough teams in order to offer national tournaments in those age brackets.

    This year, we hope to travel to the ASA National Tournament in Mankato, Minnesota from Aug. 5-7 and the NAFA World Series (inaugural youth tournaments) in Rockford, Illinois August 13-14.

    To help recruit teams and know where we stand in ALL the different age groups, I started a boy’s and young men’s fastpitch email list last year. It helped the tournament organizers and all the coaches prepare.

    Please look at last year’s team list that I created and give me an update.

    1. If you need to move up an age group, list the age please.
    2. If you have a new team name, please provide it.
    3. Yes / No we are planning on going to the ASA Boy’s National Tournament in Mankato.
    4. Yes / No we are planning on going to Rockford for the NAFA Boy’s World Series.
    5. Our team no longer exists.

    Please send me any names or emails of others who should be included on this list. And please forward this email on to others who may want to be included on this mailing list.

    Spring is coming and with it, the crack of the bat and the zing of the ball. Let’s play and support boy’s fastpitch softball. The future of the sport depends upon it.

    Eric Lewis
    Royals Fastpitch

    One Fateful Day

    Friday, October 2nd, 2009

    Winston High School senior continues to achieve despite accident that took his arm.

    WINSTON, MISSOURI – The day, month and year roll off Jacob Heldenbrand’s tongue without hesitation.

    The Winston senior speaks with a frankness only the passage of time from his accident can justify. Jacob remembers placing his fingers along a rod on a running grain auger at his family farm during an autumn Wednesday — Oct. 16, 2002, to be exact.

    His jacket became entangled, whipping his body over the apparatus, leaving him dangling on his tip-toes …

    To read the rest of this inspirational story about how a young man overcame a tragic accident to achieve on and off the athletic field, click on the link below.

    One Fateful Day

    You can also view the story on the local news channel, KQ2.

    Teen takes one for the team

    See photos of 2002 ASA Men’s Class A National Championship

    Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

    To see more photos, click on the link at the bottom of the story.
    Photos By BOB OTTO

    Take a photo-trip back in time to the 2002 ASA Men’s Class A National Championship Tournament

    LANCASTER, CALIF – In an all California final, Team Lyons of Fresno defeated the Maverick Electric Sharks of Stockton to claim the championship of the 2002 Amateur Softball Association (ASA) Men’s Class “A” National Championship at Lancaster, Calif. on Sept. 2, 2002.

    Led by Co-Most Valuable Players, Tony Peeples, and Shawn Mandolesi, the Lyons swept through the tournament undefeated with a 5-0 record. Peeples was also selected as the Most Valuable Pitcher, and Mandolesi as the Most Valuable Player, along with the Batting Champion award.

    17 teams competed in the tournament from California, Michigan, Oregon, North Dakota, Arizona, Indiana, Washington, and Illinois.

    The top five teams were:

    1. Lyons, Fresno, CA, 5-0
    2. Mavericks Electric Sharks, Stockton, CA, 4-2
    3. Andreas-Bernie’s, Homer, MI, 5-2
    4. Portland Merchants, Portland, OR, 5-2
    5. CR/Adidas, Portland, OR, 2-2

    To see some of the players in action, visit my photo gallery.
    Click Here For More Photos and Slide Show!

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