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Loyalty ranks high for Missouri Hall of Fame pitcher

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013


GERALD, Mo. – In 1987, Eric Steinbeck got an offer that forever charted his course in men’s fastpitch softball. He was just 15 at the time and wanted to play on his dad’s team, but the roster was pretty well set. However, the eager young Steinbeck was offered a spot on one condition:

“Our manager was Rick Small,” said Steinbeck now 41. “He came to me and said, ‘I have one uniform left and you probably won’t get to play much since you’re young, but you can have it if you work on your pitching. I’ll catch you any time you want to throw, and I’ll chase the wild pitches all day.’”

Steinbeck accepted Small’s offer and the manager chased many a wild pitch.

But not for long.

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Fast-rising Topeka Toros not resting on NAFA laurels

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

2011 Topeka Toros men’s fastpitch team. Contributed photo

“We have had a pretty successful season so far (but) we believe our best ball is ahead of us.” – Toros Manager, Josh White

TOPEKA, KS – The climb has been fast and the destination reached. But the Topeka Toros men’s fastpitch team desires far more.

Since their inaugural 2007 season, the Toros have claimed a NAFA World Series championship with some top-five finishes as well.

But a defining moment does stand out that helped make that NAFA success possible.


“About halfway through the 2007 season, I was able to get (pitcher) Tony Buckley to come out of (a five year) retirement,” said Toros’ Manager Josh White. “Tony has been a big key to our success over the years.”

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Talent and chemistry has the Kitchener – Waterloo Cubs ready for the challenge of the ISC World Tournament

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

“It will be interesting and we’re looking forward to it (2010 ISC World Tournament format). I think it’s good for the game for a chance to play those World Tournament teams.” – Brad Thomson, manager, KW-Cubs

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KITCHENER, ONTARIO, CA – The Kitchener-Waterloo Cubs had a great 2009 season, finishing second in the 40-team, ISC II Tournament of Champions.

And manager, Brad Thomson, expects success to come the Cubs way in 2010 as well.

He says the Cubs have a good mix of offensive weapons. They’ve got some long-ball power. They can spray hits to all fields, and they can play little ball. Defensively? They’re solid with the gloves.

But there’s also another factor that makes the Cubs go – they just plain like to play ball together.

“We have good chemistry,” said Thomson. “Eighty percent of our guys have been together since they were about 20 years old. All of our guys live within 10 minutes of the Kitchener – Waterloo area and have played together for about 12 years. We’re a close-knit team. We stick together.”

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Palm Springs SCIFL Tournament wrap up

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Photos By BOB OTTO

PALM SPRINGS, CA – It’s been a few years since I’ve covered a men’s fastpitch tournament. It was good to be back. Good to run into some old friends at Demuth Park in Palm Springs last weekend.

But one thing I don’t like. Those garish yellow-neon balls. I’ve covered plenty of high school girl’s games and of course that’s what they use. But those yellow balls seem out of place in the men’s game.

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Someone to know: Grant Baechler, catcher for the KW Cubs

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

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KITCHENER, ONTARIO, CA – You never took a cut at a split finger fastball? “No.” Never belted a curve ball outta’ the park? “No.” Never went with your boyhood buddies to the old baseball diamond in town? “No.”

Grant Baechler chuckles when asked about his ball playing childhood.

“There were no hardball diamonds in the rural areas when I was growing up,” Baechler said. “All we played was fastball.”

OK, he didn’t play baseball. But surely he must have blasted a few pucks into the hockey net?

“No, I never played hockey, either,” he said. “I know that sounds hard to believe.”

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California Classic brings open-level fastpitch back to Southern California

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

“We are hoping to make the California Classic the premiere tournament in the Western U.S.” – Chris McGehee

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BAKERSFIELD, CA – Once upon a time, Southern California was blessed with an abundance of open-level men’s fastpitch tournaments.

The Long Beach Nitehawks, The Lakewood Jets, the Vista Bombers, and the city of Oceanside hosted annual tournaments. These renowned tournaments drew world-class teams from throughout California and the southwest.

But those tournaments have long disappeared.

But three men have launched a Southern California revival of sorts. Dave Weldin, Chris McGehee, and Robert McCormick – all from Bakersfield – have banded together to create the “2010 California Classic.”

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