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In The Spotlight: Kyle Linton, renowned Canadian and ISC pitcher

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016
Kyle Linton of the Toronto Batmen pitched the Canadian squad to 8th place (4-2) in the 36-team, 2016 ISC World Tournament. Linton had a 3-2 record in six games , one shutout; and in 31 innings allowed 26 hits, walked 12, struck out 50 with a  2.25 ERA.  Photo By BOB OTTO

KYLE LINTON of the Toronto Batmen pitched the Canadian squad to 8th place (4-2) in the 36-team, 2016 ISC World Tournament. Linton had a 3-2 record in six games , one shutout; and in 31 innings allowed 26 hits, walked 12, struck out 50 with a 2.25 ERA. Photo By BOB OTTO

TORONTO, ONTARIO, CA – When Kyle Linton was 12 years old, he says, “I bugged my dad to teach me how to pitch.”

Dad must have been a very good teacher and Kyle a studious pupil. Because 19 years later at 31, Linton has developed into one of the world’s top fastpitch pitchers.

His resume in Canada and the ISC World Tournament fairly glows with success. Let’s start with his exploits in his homeland.

Click to continue reading “In The Spotlight: Kyle Linton, renowned Canadian and ISC pitcher”

In The Spotlight: Jeff Pauli of the Waterloo Legends

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016
SWINGING THE BIG LUMBER - Jeff Pauli of the Waterloo Legends of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, lays into a pitch during the 2016 ISC Legends Tournamnet. The versatile Pauli, also pitched a 9-1 win over Gushow Excavating of Auburn, Mich., allowing one run on four hits in 4 1/3 innings with four strikeouts. He helped his cause at the plate going 2 for 3 and scoring a run. He also played in the infield and outfield, and finished the tournamen with a .385 avg. (5-for-13), five runs and two RBI, along with a 1-0 pitching record. Photo By BOB OTTO

SWINGING THE BIG LUMBER – Jeff Pauli of the Waterloo Legends of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, lays into a pitch during the 2016 ISC Legends Tournamnet. The versatile Pauli, also pitched a 9-1 win over Gushow Excavating of Auburn, Mich., allowing one run on four hits in 4 1/3 innings with four strikeouts. He helped his cause at the plate going 2 for 3 and scoring a run. He also played in the infield and outfield, and finished the tournamen with a .385 avg. (5-for-13), five runs and two RBI, along with a 1-0 pitching record. Photo By BOB OTTO

MOLINE, IL – The Waterloo, Ontario, Canada Legends finished the ISC Legends Tournament tied for fifth in the 12-team event.

And the versatile Jeff Pauli had a solid tournament at the plate and on the rubber in helping Waterloo make a strong run for the championship and finish the tournament with a 3-2 record.

Jeff Pauli of the Waterloo Legends watches his hit fall safely in right-centerfield during the 2016 ISC Legends Tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

Jeff Pauli of the Waterloo Legends watches his hit fall safely in right-centerfield during the 2016 ISC Legends Tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

  • Click on ISC Pointstreak for Legends standings, game results, stats and more.
  • Toronto Gators long glorious run comes to an end with ISC Legends Championship

    Monday, August 29th, 2016
    BIG BAD GATOR - First baseman Dave Hoffman hit a three-run home run to lead the Toronto Gators Masters to an 8-1 victory over the Midland Explorers Legends to claim the ISC Legends Tournament, at Green Valley Sports Complex, Sat. Aug. 20. Photo By BOB OTTO

    BIG BAD GATOR – First baseman Dave Hoffman hit a three-run home run to lead the Toronto Gators Masters to an 8-1 victory over the Midland Explorers Legends to claim the ISC Legends Tournament, at Green Valley Sports Complex, Sat. Aug. 20. Photo By BOB OTTO

    MOLINE, IL – Though older, grayer and a step slower, the Toronto Gators Masters still flashed some of the skills that led to ISC World Tournament championships in their much younger years of 1993 and 1995.

    Battling a field of 12 of the best 50-older masters teams from the U.S. and Canada, the Gators defeated the Midland, Mich. Legends, 8-1, to claim the ISC Legends Tournament Championship at Green Valley Sports Complex, Saturday.

    Several of the Gators Masters starred on the 1993 and 1995 championship squads, including Darren Zack, Ray Tilley, Terry Challis, Rod Wetherell, Dave Hoffman and Adam Smith.

      BIG GUY HOMERS

    The Gators jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning on Dave Hoffman’s three-run home run off Midland’s Peter Finn. Frank Perez and John Kemp opened the inning with walks to set up Hoffman’s home run, his second of the tournament.

    Click to continue reading “Toronto Gators long glorious run comes to an end with ISC Legends Championship”

    In The Spotlight: Australian pitchers Andrew Kirkpatrick and Adam Folkard superb in ISF and ISC

    Sunday, August 28th, 2016
    AUSTRALIA'S AND NEW YORK GREMLINS GREAT LEFTY - Andrew Kirkpatrick has helped Australia win ISF and WBSC world championships, and in the 2016 ISC World Tournament, he pitched the New York Gremlins to third place with a 3-1 record that gives him 39 wins in world tournament competition. Photo by BOB OTTO

    AUSTRALIA’S AND NEW YORK GREMLINS GREAT LEFTY – Andrew Kirkpatrick has helped Australia win ISF and WBSC world championships, and in the 2016 ISC World Tournament, he pitched the New York Gremlins to third place with a 3-1 record that gives him 39 wins in world tournament competition. Photo by BOB OTTO

    YUCAIPA, Calif. – In fastpitch circles, Andrew Kirkpatrick and Adam Folkard are household names, as recognizable as baseball Hall of Fame pitchers Sandy Kolfax and Walter Johnson.

    And surely, once Kirkpatrick and Folkard’s fastpitch careers come to an end and they become eligible, induction into the International Softball Congress Hall of Fame awaits them.

    But before we talk about their ISC careers, let’s take a look at what these two have meant to their native Australia.

    The highest level of men’s fastpitch is the International Softball Federation World Championship, (since surplanted by the World Baseball Softball Confederation). It pits country-against-country battling for world domination.

    And in recent world championships, Australia always contends for a title because of Kirkpatrick and Folkard.

    Since 2004, Australia has won the Bronze twice, fourth once, and in 2009 took the Gold by beating New Zealand, 5-0, led by the superb pitching of Folkard, who was just two walks away from a perfect game. Through much of the ISF competition, both men have been mainstays for their country.

    FIVE-TIME ISC TOP PITCHER - Adam Folkard has won five ISC Most Outstanding Pitcher awards, and has led Australia to titles in the ISF and WBSC World Championships. In 2016, he pitched the Hill United Chiefs of Ontario, Canada to runner-up in the ISC World Tournament and was named an All-World pitcher for a eighth time.  His 4-1 record gives him 39 wins all-time in ISC World Tournament play. Photo By BOB OTTO

    FIVE-TIME ISC TOP PITCHER – Adam Folkard has won five ISC Most Outstanding Pitcher awards, and has led Australia to titles in the ISF and WBSC World Championships. In 2016, he pitched the Hill United Chiefs of Ontario, Canada to runner-up in the ISC World Tournament and was named an All-World pitcher for a eighth time. His 4-1 record gives him 39 wins all-time in ISC World Tournament play. Photo By BOB OTTO

    And in the junior men’s program (age 19-under), Australia won four consecutive ISF World Championships (1997, 2001, 2005, 2008). Folkard and Kirkpatrick played huge rolls in winning the titles in 2001 and 2005.

    So these two great pitchers will forever be linked when Australian’s reminisce about the “greatest ever” to play for their national softball team.

    But Kirkpatrick and Folkard’s footprint extends far beyond Australia. In the United States and Canada – and virtually every corner of the fastpitch world – they are celebrities of immense proportion. Most notably in the International Softball Congress (ISC) World Tournament.

  • Both have created fabulous ISC careers, and are far from finished. Let’s look at their numbers in World Tournament competition.
  • NUMBER OF TIMES SELECTED ALL-WORLD

  • Kirkpatrick, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015
  • Folkard, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • If you’re counting, that’s eight times each. Well it gets even closer in what really counts for pitchers at the World Tournament – wins.

    At the conclusion of the 2016 ISC World Tournament, Kirkpatrick had a 3-1 record in leading the New York Gremlins to a third place finish, while Folkard was 4-1 for the runner-up Hill United Chiefs.

    So where do they stand all-time among pitchers with the most World Tournament wins? In a dead heat at 39 each, trailing Korrey Gareau with 40.

    And in reaching number 39, both pitchers leapfrogged Dean Holoien, Frank Cox and Brad Underwood tied at 36. And they pushed past Ty Stofflet (37) and Doug Middleton (38).

    In the 70-year history of the ISC World Tournament, only eight pitchers remain perched above Kirkpatrick and Folkard in most wins all-time. At the 2017 World Tournament, it’s conceivable that they could surpass Gareau, and perhaps tie or even get past Paul Algar and Todd Martin with 42 each.

    However, Folkard does have a leg up over Kirkpatrick in a couple of areas. In most consecutive wins, Folkard has 22 (No. 2 all-time, trailing only Gerald Muizelaar with 23), while Kirkpatrick had a string of 13 wins from 2004-2007.

    And as for the most coveted individual honor for pitchers in the World Tournament, Folkard reigns as co-king with five Most Outstanding Pitcher awards tied with the legendary Leroy Zimmerman for whom the award is named.

    Kirkpatrick has one MOP honor, coming in 2006 when he pitched County Materials of Madison, Wisc. to the title.

    Both pitchers appear in good health. Both pitchers can still hit the catcher’s glove with plenty of pop and movement. Both pitchers are two of the most competitive to ever step in the circle. So it’s conceivable that fastpitch fans will be enjoying Kirkpatrick and Folkard’s ISF, WBSC, and ISC exploits for years to come.

    As for ISC Hall of Fame induction when they become eligible? Shoo-ins.

    ISC WORLD TOURNAMENT / INDIVIDUAL PITCHING / MOST WINS

    70 Michael White (1980-2006)
    60 Peter Meredith (1980-2001)
    56 Darren Zack (1992-2012)
    48 Mike Piechnik (1985-2008)
    48 Gerald Muizelaar (1999-2014)
    42 Todd Martin (1993-2010)
    42 Paul Algar (1985-2012)
    40 Korrey Garreau (1995-2014)
    39 Andrew Kirkpatrick (2004-present)
    39 Adam Folkard (2004-present)
    …42 remaining pitchers with at least 20 wins…

    No greater friend to men’s fastpitch than Bebe Garcia

    Wednesday, August 24th, 2016
    BeBe Garcia and his Baytown Hawks, have won the Latin American State Tournament 12 years, signified by the 12 stars on Garcia's hat. Garcia was inducted into the Texas Latin American Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Texas ASA Hall of Fame in 1994 for his outstanding service and contributions to men's fastpitch softball. Photo By BOB OTTO / Aug. 19, 2016

    Bebe Garcia and his Baytown Hawks, have won the Latin American State Tournament 12 years, signified by the 12 stars on Garcia’s hat. Garcia was inducted into the Texas Latin American Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Texas Softball Hall of Fame in 1994 for his outstanding service and contributions to men’s fastpitch softball. Photo By BOB OTTO / Aug. 19, 2016

    MOLINE, IL. – Cozied up and sitting just inches from the chain link fence that surrounds home plate on field five at the ISC World Tournament sat Bebe Garcia in his lawn chair. His eyes rarely strayed from the ball diamond.

    This is an 81-year-old man who has devoted a good share of his life to boys’ and men’s fastpitch. Loves the game? You bet he does.

    Garcia is spry, fit, and gregarious as ever. He talks fastpitch with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face as long as anyone will listen. And his history in the sport is pretty incredible.

    It all began as a kid back in the 1940s in Texas. First as a player, then a pitcher. Good? Yes he was.

    But his athletic skills pale in comparison to his leadership skills, his people skills, his marketing skills. In the business world, Garcia would be applauded as a “mover and a shaker.”

    The man gets things done for fastpitch in Texas. Baytown and Houston in particular.

    He has formed teams, run tournaments, recruited players – mostly young and looking for someone to give them a chance. Garcia gave them that chance.

    “I started a team of sandlot players, 16, 17, 18 years old,” said Garcia. “I did that for about 25 years. Then went to organized ball, and moved to Open ball.”

    Click to continue reading “No greater friend to men’s fastpitch than Bebe Garcia”

    Ezekiel and Cleary, two world-class performers at the 2016 ISC World Tournament

    Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
    New York Gremlins Kyle Ezekiel rips into a pitch from Sean Cleary of the Toronto Gators and drives it into left-field for a hit. Ezekiel was 1-for-2 off Cleary , but the right-hander came out on top by leading the Gators to a 3-1 victory in the 2016 ISC World Tournament, Aug. 20 at Green Valley Sports Complex in Moline, IL. The Gators went on to dethrone two-time titlest Hill United Chiefs in the final, 6-3, and Cleary was selected the Most Outstanding Pitcher with a 5-0 record, 35 2/3 innings, 19 hits allowed, with 70 strikeouts and a 0.98 ERA. Photo By BOB OTTO / www.ottoinfocus.com.

    New York Gremlins Kyle Ezekiel rips into a pitch from Sean Cleary of the Toronto Gators and drives it into left-field for a hit. Ezekiel was 1-for-2 off Cleary , but the right-hander came out on top by leading the Gators to a 3-1 victory in the 2016 ISC World Tournament, Aug. 20 at Green Valley Sports Complex in Moline, IL. The Gators went on to dethrone two-time titlest Hill United Chiefs in the final, 6-3, and Cleary was selected the Most Outstanding Pitcher with a 5-0 record, 35 2/3 innings, 19 hits allowed, with 70 strikeouts and a 0.98 ERA. Photo By BOB OTTO / www.ottoinfocus.com.

    MOLINE, IL – One can hit, the other can pitch. In the world of top-caliber men’s fastpitch softball, Kyle Ezekiel of the New York Gremlins and Toronto Gators’ right-hander Sean Cleary are two of the best.

    In 2015, Cleary was a Second-Team, All-World pick for helping the Toronto Gators finished second to Hill United Chiefs in the ISC World Tournament.

    But this year, he uped his production. And what a difference it made for the Gators.

    SEAN CLEARY of the Toronto Gators, was selected a first-team, All-World pitcher for leading the Gators to the 2016 70th ISC World Tournament championship. Cleary's production (5-0 record) earned him top honors as the LEROY ZIMMERMAN MOST OUTSTANDING PITCHER, thus ending the three-year reign of Hill United Chiefs ADAM FOLKARD (2015, 2014, 2013). Cleary outdueled Folkard in the championship in helping the Gators defeat the Chiefs, 6-3, Aug. 20, at Green Valley Sports Complex in Moline, IL. Photo By BOB OTTO / www.ottoinfocus.com

    SEAN CLEARY of the Toronto Gators, was selected a first-team, All-World pitcher for leading the Gators to the 2016 70th ISC World Tournament championship. Cleary’s production (5-0 record) earned him top honors as the LEROY ZIMMERMAN MOST OUTSTANDING PITCHER, thus ending the three-year reign of Hill United Chiefs ADAM FOLKARD (2015, 2014, 2013). Cleary outdueled Folkard in the championship in helping the Gators defeat the Chiefs, 6-3, Aug. 20, at Green Valley Sports Complex in Moline, IL. Photo By BOB OTTO / www.ottoinfocus.com

    In a return match-up, Cleary reversed the order and beat his counterpart, Adam Folkard, in leading the Gators to a 6-3 victory in the 2016 70th ISC World Tournament championship game.

    Will the Gators return and repeat in 2017? Or will the Chiefs avenge their loss and regain top billing? Time will tell.

    In the spotlight, Toronto Gators Brad Rona 2016 ISC World Tournament MVP

    Monday, August 22nd, 2016
    HAPPY GATORS - Brad Rona is congratulated by his Toronto Gators teammates after he hit a two-run home run off New York Gremlins' Andrew Kirkpatrick that led to a 3-1 victory in the 2016 ISC World Tournament at Green Valley Sports Complex in Moline, IL. Photo By BOB OTTO

    HAPPY GATORS – Brad Rona is congratulated by his Toronto Gators teammates after he hit a two-run home run off New York Gremlins’ Andrew Kirkpatrick that led to a 3-1 victory in the 2016 ISC World Tournament at Green Valley Sports Complex in Moline, IL. Photo By BOB OTTO

    MOLINE, IL – When New Zealand native Brad Rona squares up on a softball with his powerful swing, it will go a long, long way.

    Rona hit a home run off New York Gremlins Andrew Kirkpatrick that flew over the fence in left-centerfield about 300 feet that led to the Toronto Gators, 3-1, victory, moving the Gators into the winner’s bracket final.

    BRAD RONA of the Toronto Gators, 2016 ISC World Tournament Champions. Photo By BOB OTTO

    BRAD RONA of the Toronto Gators, 2016 ISC World Tournament Champions. Photo By BOB OTTO

    The Gators went on to win the World Tournament by dethroning two-time defending champion Hill United Chiefs of Ontario, Canada.

    And Rona was named first-team All-World and selected the Cleo Goyette Most Valuable Player for his .385 average (5-for-13), 3 home runs and 5 RBI.

    Rona has been selected All-World seven times (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016), but 2016 marks the first time he received the MVP honor.

    On the rise, Tin Cup of St. Paul plays in the ISC World Tournament and NAFA World Series

    Sunday, August 21st, 2016
    Dave Marchio manages and plays for Tin Cup of St. Paul, Minnesota. His young and talented ball club competed in both the 2016 ISC World Tournament and NAFA AA-Major World Series in the Quad Cities of IA/IL. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Dave Marchio manages and plays for Tin Cup of St. Paul, Minnesota. His young and talented ball club competed in both the 2016 ISC World Tournament and NAFA AA-Major World Series in the Quad Cities of IA/IL. Photo By BOB OTTO

    QUAD CITIES, IA/IL – If the Tin Cup men’s fastpitch team feels a little sore and tired, they really can’t be blamed.

    In the past nine days (Aug. 13-21) the St. Paul, Minnesota squad has played eight games – three in the ISC World Tournament and five in the NAFA AA-Major Division World Series in the Quad Cities.

    But for manager / designated hitter, Dave Marchio, it’s really not a big deal. His team is used to playing a lot of fastpitch.

    “We’ve played about 65 games this year,” said Marchio at the NAFA AA-Major in Rock Island, Illinois. “We’re used to a lot of games.”

    Click to continue reading “On the rise, Tin Cup of St. Paul plays in the ISC World Tournament and NAFA World Series”

    Watch ISC World Tournament action live on ISC Network

    Saturday, August 20th, 2016

    Network_Logo

    MOLINE, IL – Throughout the ISC World Tournament, selected games have been webcast through the ISC Network.

    So if you can’t attend Saturday’s final day of play, then watch it from the comfort of your home or wherever you happen to turn on your computer.

    THE WEBCAST SCHEDULE

  • Losers Bracket, 11 a.m.
  • Losers Bracket Final, 1 p.m.
  • 2016 Legends Championship Game, 3 p.m.
  • ISC Championship Game, 6 p.m.
  • To watch, click on ISC Network

    Big day, final day for the crowning of ISC World Tournament champions

    Saturday, August 20th, 2016
    Chase Turner of the British Columbia A's will try and help his team win an ISC World Championship, Saturday, Aug. 20, in the final day of the tournament. The A's need to win two game in the loser's bracket to reach the title game. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Chase Turner of the British Columbia A’s will try and help his team win an ISC World Tournament Championship, Saturday, Aug. 20, in the final day of the event. The A’s need to win two games in the loser’s bracket to reach the title game. Photo By BOB OTTO

    MOLINE, IL – For ISC World Tournament teams, players and fans we’re at the day that all dream of: the finals, the championship, the crowning of a new titan in men’s fastpitch softball.

    On Saturday at Moline’s Green Valley Sports Complex, three teams and their rosters of players will take home coveted awards for having won either the ISC Legends, Under-21, or the gold medal of them all, the ISC World Tournament championship.

    And it all kicks off at 11 a.m. for a full day of a fastpitch action. And finally the grand prize, the championship game of the 70the ISC World Tournament will take place at 6 p.m.

    And you had better come early if you want to claim a good seat at field 5. These Quad Cities sports fans love their fastpitch.

    Only four teams remain in the running for the world tournament title: In the driver’s seat is the undefeated Toronto, Ontario Gators (5-0), with the three-time defending champion Hill United Chiefs (4-1), the New York Gremlins (4-1) and the Vancouver BC A’s (5-1) battling it out in the loser’s bracket.

    So, come out to the ball park and watch some of the best teams and most talented players in the sport battle with every ounce of determination that they can muster to earn the title of “ISC Champion.”

      Click on these links for more information.

    ISC World Tournament

    ISC Legends Tournament

    ISC U-21 Tournament