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SoCal Knights Stay Perfect, Take Opening SCIFL Alliance Tournament

Monday, April 1st, 2019

SoCal Knights Jesse Martinez pitched back-to-back wins in the semifinal and championship games of the So. Calif. Independent Fastpitch League (SCIFL) Alliance Tournament at Los Nietos Park, Santa Fe Springs on Saturday, Mar. 30. Photo By BOB OTTO

SANTA FE SPRINGS, Calif. – The pitching was steady, the offense efficient, the defense sure-handed and as a result the SoCal Knights claimed the Southern California Independent Fastpitch League (SCIFL) Alliance tournament championship at Los Nietos Park on Saturday.

The Knights broke open a tight game with three late runs to hold off the Budmen, 9-5, in the final. With the victory, the Knights extend their winning streak to a perfect 11-0 in southern California’s early fastpitch season.

Jesse Martinez hurled a six hitter with three walks and five strikeouts. After giving up four runs in the bottom of the first, the 29-year-old right-hander toughened the rest of the way, holding a one-through-nine murders row of Budmen hitters to just a lone run in fourth.

“Overall, we played solid defense,” said Knights player / manager Jason Martinez. “As a team, we didn’t tear the cover off the ball, but we were consistently getting that timely hit when we needed it, and our pitchers kept us in every game and gave us the chance to come out on top.”

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Coyotes overcome huge deficit to claim A-Division Las Vegas Road Trip title

Monday, April 10th, 2017

THE 2017 LAS VEGAS ROAD TRIP X CHAMPION BEAUMONT COYOTES includes Jeremy Dean, Gilbert Valdivia, Gabriel Valdivia, Jesse Mullen, Jason Martinez, Jesse Martinez, George Valdivia, Johnny Ray, Damon Valdivia, Richard Soriano, Derek Soto, Devon Valdivia, Justin Martinez and manager David Valdivia. Photo By BOB OTTO

LAS VEGAS – The Beaumont Coyotes had dug themselves a hole, a huge hole.

Now, could they dig themselves out of it?

Of top priority, the man in the circle had to stop the hemorrhaging. That’s exactly what Jesse Martinez did.

Trailing 5-0 in the fifth inning in the A-Division championship game of the Las Vegas Road Trip X tournament, Martinez told his teammates he wouldn’t give up any more runs.

Now all they had to do was show some offensive punch. And like lighting a fuse, the Coyotes bats caught fire in the fifth and sixth innings.

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Coyotes crush Morongo to open 4th of July Men’s Fastpitch Tournament

Friday, July 1st, 2016
Kirk Walker hurled the Beaumont Coyotes to victory in the 39th Annual Coyotes 4th of July Tournament at Valdivia Field in Beaumont, Calif. July 1. Photo By BOB OTTO

Kirk Walker hurled the Beaumont Coyotes to victory in the 39th Annual Coyotes 4th of July Tournament at Valdivia Field in Beaumont, Calif. July 1. Photo By BOB OTTO

BEAUMONT, Calif. – Kirk Walker spun a two-hitter, Jesse Mullen and George Valdivia blasted home runs, and the Beaumont Coyotes defeated Morongo Indian Reservation, 10-0, to open the 39th Annual Coyotes 4th of July Men’s Fastpitch Tournament at Valdivia Field, Friday Night.

Walker, an assistant coach for the UCLA Bruins softball team, struck out seven in three innings before handing over the ball to Will Oldham who finished up with a one-hit, two strikeout effort in two innings of work.

Coyotes Richard Soriano beats the throw and slides safely into second base. Photo By BOB OTTO

Coyotes Richard Soriano beats the throw and slides safely into second base. Photo By BOB OTTO

Mullen launched a two-run shot over the centerfield fence in the second inning to push the Coyotes lead to 8-0, and Valdivia followed with a solo blast over the right-centerfield fence. The Coyotes collected five hits with one each from Gabe Valdivia, Mullen, George Valdivia, Damon Valdivia, and Nathan Valdivia.

The Coyotes took a commanding 5-0 lead in the first, but none of the runs were earned as Morongo committed three errors to hurt their cause. The lone hit in the inning came from Gabe Valdivia who doubled into the left-center gap, and later scored on an error.

The win moves the Coyotes into a 9:30 a.m. meeting Saturday with the Corona Chicanos in the nine-team tournament, rated NAFA A / ASA Class C. The double-elimination tournament continues through Sunday with the championship scheduled at 5 p.m.

Long Beach Wolfpack hungry for another NAFA World Series title

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

The Long Beach Wolfpack won the 2013 NAFA World Series A-Division and are eager to see what they can do after moving up to the A-Major Division that runs from Aug. 7-10 in the Quad Cities, Ill / Ia. Here second base Steve Parks celebrates with last year’s A-Division trophy. Photo By BOB OTTO

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Twelve months a go, the Long Beach Wolfpack won the NAFA A Division World Series championship in Des Moines, Iowa.

They were a first-year ball club playing in their first NAFA World Series. And they came away with their first World Series championship.

But that was last year; it’s time to move one; time to challenge for back-to-back titles.

Wolfpack manager Jesse Mullen believes if his team plays up to its potential, they should be in the hunt.

“We are balanced offensively and defensively,” said Mullen, who is also the team’s catcher. “As a team, we believe in each other and we want to keep progressing and moving up.”

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Kiwi and converted slowpitch players impressive in NAFA A World Series

Monday, August 19th, 2013 Many who saw Ethan Johnston, just 18 years old, pitch in the 2013 NAFA A World Series, believe he has a bright future in the sport. Photo By BOB OTTO

URBANDALE, IOWA – The five foot nine, 160 pound, 18-year-old New Zealander with hair hanging off his shoulders looked more like a drummer in a rock band than a fastpitch softball pitcher.

But with a circular whip of his skinny – but strong – right arm and a snap of his wrist, Ethan Johnston worked magic with a softball, sending it spinning sharply upward, or darting suddenly downward during the four days of the NAFA A World Series.

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Long Beach Wolfpack’s hitting comes alive to take NAFA championship

Monday, August 19th, 2013

wolfpack.celebrate.254web The Long Beach Wolfpack celebrate their 7-3 NAFA A World Series victory over the Kansas City Outlaws, Sunday, at Urbandale’s Walker-Johnstoton Softball Complex. Photo By BOB OTTO

URBANDALE, IOWA – Getting shutout doesn’t sit so well with the Long Beach, California Wolfpack. Especially after averaging nearly nine runs in reaching the championship game of the NAFA A World Series with a 5-0 record.

But then they ran into a wall. An 18-year-old wall named Ethan Johnston pitching for the Kansas City Outlaws.

The right-hander from New Zealand who turned 18 in the World Series, saddled the Wolfpack with a three-hit, 6-0 loss in Sunday’s first meeting. Now with one loss a piece in the double-knockout tournament, the two ball clubs played a second game to decide who would wear the crown of “World Series champions.”


This time around though, Long Beach prevailed as their bats came alive. The Wolfpack pounded out 12 hits in defeating Johnston and the Outlaws 7-3 late Sunday at Urbandale’s Walker-Johnston Softball Complex.

“I think we were pressing in the first game,” said Wolfpack manager and catcher, Jesse Mullen. “We were a little too excited and not relaxed. In the second game, we went in loose and I think we got to (Johnston’s) rise ball. He had to throw other pitches, and when he did we were able to hit the ball.”

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Big comeback and homer puts Long Beach Wolfpack into NAFA A championship

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

wolfpack.17.Mich.207web Wolfpack catcher Jesse Mullen blocks the plate and tags out Northern Michigan’s Dylan Cuddahee trying to score the winning run with the game tied, 8-8, in the botton of the seventh in the winners bracket semifinals, Saturday, at Walker-Johnston Softball Compex in Urbandale. The Wolfpack cameback to win the game 10-9 in extra innings. Photo By BOB OTTO

URBANDALE, IOWA – They’re called the Long Beach Wolfpack, but a name change might be in order, such as the “Comeback Kids.” For the second consecutive game, the Wolfpack rallied to pull out a win.

This time a big one in the semifinals of the winners bracket in the 40-team NAFA A World Series, Saturday, at Walker-Johnston Softball Complex in Urbandale.

In what seemed more like a heavy weight fight than fastpitch softball, the Wolfpack pulled out a 10-9 victory over a Northern Michigan team (3-1) that scored 19 runs in its previous game.

“We haven’t seen hitting like this ever,” said Wolfpack manager and catcher Jesse Mullen. “Everybody’s crushing the ball and we have to crush it with them.”


The two clubs combined for 27 hits – the Wolfpack leading with 17. And they cleared the fences with five home runs, four by Northern Michigan’s Tom Tryban, Joe Barnette, Randy Wheelock, and Devin Milheim; and one by the Wolfpack’s Luis Perez.

No.Mich.10HR.55web Northern Michigan’s Devin Milheim is greeted by his teammates after hitting a three-run home run in the second that gave his team a 3-1 lead. Photo By BOB OTTO

After slugging it out for seven innings in which there were three ties and four lead changes, the game came down to the eighth inning tied, 8-8.


In the top of the eighth, the Wolfpack put the game in the win column by scoring twice on Joe Janicke’s RBI single that plated Dave Hess, who walked, with the go-ahead run, followed by Dave Waco’s hit up the middle that brought home Perez, who reached safely with a single.

About the Wolfpack’s clutch hitting, Mullen said, “if one guy doesn’t do the job, the next guy will. We believe in each other.”

wolfpack4.mich10.178web Wolfpacks first baseman Dave Waco, front, and Northern Micigan’s Joe Barnette collide and are sent sprawling. Photo by BOB OTTO

Now leading by a pair of runs, a big question loomed: could pitcher Debby Day get three outs and seal the win? Yes, but not without some trouble.

Day got two ground ball outs to start the inning. But then Barnette blasted a homer deep over the centerfield fence to cut the lead to one. And Wheelock kept Northern Michigan’s hopes alive when he singled to left.

But Day got Dylan Cuddahee on a strikeout to end the game and send the Wolfpack into the winners bracket final against the Kansas City Outlaws (See story below).


Day, who improved to 4-0, finished by allowing nine runs (seven earned) on 10 hits, four walks and two strikeouts. Though Northern Michigan roughed her up some, Mullen was impressed with her tenacity in facing such a good hitting ball club.

day.mullen.jub.234webA Wolfpack pitcher Debby Day gets a big hug from catcher Jesse Mullen after striking out the final batter and getting the win for the Wolfpack. Photo By BOB OTTO

“She’s gritty and doesn’t give up,” he said. “If something happens, she just blows it off and goes right back at them. She’s stone-faced, you can’t tell if she gave up a home run or struck two people out in a row.”

Northern Michigan trailed 8-7 going into the bottom of the seventh. And only a huge play by Mullen at the plate denied them the win. The inning started with Wheelock reaching first on an infield throwing error.

Then Day issued walks to Cuddahee and Lee Wykcoff to load the bases for Guy Thorston. And the right-side hitter came through with a clutch single to centerfield that scored Wheelock to tie the game.


On Thorston’s hit, Cuddahee kept churning around third base trying to score the winning run. But centerfielder Aaron Breslow gunned a strong throw to Mullen blocking the plate to cut down the sliding Cuddahee and deny Northern Michigan the walk-off victory.

“It’s just been heartbreak after heartbreak for the other teams I think,” Mullen said. “These comebacks (were made) by all our guys.”

    Wolfpack down Kansas City Outlaws to reach championship game

Batting cleanup, Luis Perez belted a walk-off solo home run that sailed 300 feet over the slowpitch fence in deep centerfield to give the Wolfpack a 5-4 victory over the Kansas City Outlaws in the winners bracket final on Saturday night.

perez.luis.HR.281web Luis Perez belted a solo homer that gave the Wolfpack the walk-off victory in the winners bracket final over the Kansas City Outlaws. Photo By BOB OTTO

Perez, who went 2 for 3 with a walk and two RBIs, also hit a two-run homer in the first inning to put the Wolfpack up 2-1. The Outlaws tied the game two-all in the second on Mark Whitworth’s groundout, but Joe Janicke’s solo shot in the third put the Wolfpack back on top, 3-2.

And in the fifth, Janicke (2 for 3, double, home run) led off with a double and eventually scored on two passed balls to push the Wolfpack ahead, 4-2, a lead they carried into the seventh.

wolfpack.mcdougall.catch.315web Wolfpack left-fielder Tom McDougall made the play of the game when he made a diving catch to rob the Outlaws of a hit. Photo By BOB OTTO

The Wolfpack could have won the game in the top of the seventh, but the Outlaws scored twice on a walk and two infield errors and Matt Springston’s RBI single that tied the game.

The Wolfpack’s Andrew Ysais came on in relief in the fourth to pick up the win. The right-hander pitched well, allowing two runs (none earned) on five hits, one walk and one strikeout.

Outlaws’ 18-year-old New Zealand pitcher, Ethan Johnston, went the distance allowing five runs (three earned) on eight hits (three homers), one walk, and five strikeouts.

The win puts the Wolfpack in the championship game scheduled for Sunday at 1:15 p.m. at Walker-Johnston Softball Complex. Meanwhile, the Outlaws must win an 11:30 losers bracket final for a second shot at the Wolfpack.