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Kegel rallies over Topeka in the NAFA AA-Major World Series

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

totos.siolo.zane.155web The Topeka Toros congratulate Zane Siolo after he hit a three run homer that helped give the Toros a 5-0 lead over the Kegel Black nights in the NAFA AA-Major World Series. But Kegel battled back to beat Topeka 7-6 in eight innings. Photo By BOB OTTO

DES MOINES – The Kegel Black Knights needed an additional player for the NAFA AA-Major World Series, so they picked up Matt Darling. What a wise decision that turned out to be.

Batting leadoff, the right-side hitter blasted a solo home run deep over the left field fence giving the Black Knights a walk off 7-6 victory over the Topeka Toros in the bottom of the eighth inning in the NAFA AA-Major playoffs, Friday.

“Darling was our pick up for the weekend,” said Kegel manager Jon Lewis. “He’s a patient hitter and nothing flusters him.”

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Kegel Black Knights in fastpitch for the long haul

Friday, July 26th, 2013

2013 Marks the 30th anniversary of Kegel fastpitch in Fargo, North Dakota.

FARGO, N.D. – In men’s fastpitch, some teams stick around about as long as it takes a sprinter to run a 100-yard dash. They come and go in the blink of an eye.

But a few teams, like marathoners, stay the steady course. They’re in it for the long haul.

Count the Kegel Black Knights of Fargo in that class, for 2013 marks the 30-year anniversary that Jon Kegel has been sponsoring teams.

Kegel got into the sport in high school after an announcement came over the intercom to start a team. Just 18 at the time, he wasted no time in not only playing, but starting his own boys’ team – the Kegel Juniors.

“I thought it might be fun and totally fell in love with the sport,” said Kegel, 48, adding that he also talked his dad, David, who owned Kegel Sign into sponsoring a team for the Fargo men’s league. “He loved fastpitch and he loved supporting me.”

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Kegel rolls to West St. Paul tourney title

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

gervasutti.sebastian Led by the pitching of Sebastian Gervasutti (pictured above) and Gerald Muizelaar, the Kegel Black Knights of Fargo won the 2013 West St. Paul Men’s Fastpitch Tournament.

WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. – With the NAFA World Series and ISC World Tournament two weeks away, this is the time for teams to start playing their best ball. The time to peak. And if their latest tournament is a forecast, then the Kegel Black Knights appear to be right on schedule.

The Black Knights swept through the 43rd Annual West St. Paul Men’s Fastpitch Tournament undefeated (5-0) and knocked off Wilber Lime of Galesville, Wisc. 8-0 in the final at the West St. Paul Sports Complex, July 19-21.

Sebastian Gervasutti threw a no-hitter with five strikeouts to pick up the game-shortened win for Kegel of Fargo, which is celebrating its 30th year in men’s fastpitch. The 28-year-old from Bilbao, Spain finished the tournament 2-0 with one hit allowed in 18 innings and 34 strikeouts.

“He throws hard with the up and down and some change up,” said Kegel player / coach Kyle Koterba.

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By all standards, NAFA Open-Holm Classic a success

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

FARGO, ND – If Benjie Hedgecock and Kyle Koterba were exuding an air of satisfaction following the 2013 NAFA Open-Holm Classic men’s fastpitch tournament, June 14-16, in Fargo, it’s well deserved.

Hedgecock, executive director of the North American Fastpitch Association, and Koterba, tournament director for the NAFA Open-Holm Classic, collaborated to put on one of the most competitive NAFA Open’s in recent years. And Koterba, now in his second year running the tournament, deserves credit for raising the number of teams to ten this year.

But as with any endeavor, there’s always room for improvement.

“Just to have the live streaming video and send more top level umpires and to take it to 12 or 16 teams,” said Hedgecock, referring to just a few goals he and Koterba are striving for.


The reason for the lack of live video coverage this year was because the tournament had to be moved from flood-ravaged Mickelson Field to Lindenwood Park. Mickelson had the resources to broadcast the games, while Lindenwood didn’t.

But a new dike holding back Fargo’s notorious springtime floodwaters, should bring the tourney back to Mickelson next year. So next year look for the tournament back at its intended home field along with live viewing.


…Speaking of NAFA World Series locations, Fargo appears ideal for the Open Division because of the city’s close proximity to Canada, which sent three teams to the event this year (Randy’s A’s and Sooke Loggers from British Columbia, and the Diamondbacks of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.)

“I believe that with the number of Canadian teams we drew that we should keep it in Fargo,” Hedgecock said, “and get the other Midwest AA-major/Open teams to come and it will be perfect. So I am leaning towards keeping it in Fargo but I haven’t talked to Kyle yet. Kyle has suggested that we have a three-city rotation with Kimberly (Wisc.) and one other Midwest city, but we haven’t developed that thought yet.”

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Fargo, NAFA OPEN Wrap Up – Sooke over Angels

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013


By Benjie Hedgecock / June 17, 2013
NAFA Executive Director

The 2013 NAFA Open World Series in Fargo, North Dakota was a huge success this past weekend and we want to thank these people for making it such a great experience for the teams, players and fans. The NAFA Website is at

Tournament Director Kyle Koterba did an extraordinary job with the event and was a great host to the 10 teams, players and their fans that participated. Kyle did a great job moving the tourney to another park after the main park which had flooded earlier this year was unplayable.

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Sooke Loggers claim NAFA Open-Holm Classic title

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

FARGO, ND – In fastpitch softball, ball players must have short memories. They must put bad outings and disappointing losses behind them.

Sometimes easier said than done. The Sooke Loggers would know.

In last year’s NAFA Open World Series championship, the Loggers suffered a gut wrenching, 9-8, loss to the Circle Tap Dukes. After leading by four runs in the seventh inning, the Loggers saw that hefty lead vanish as Circle Tap rallied for five runs to seize the title.

But there would be no gut-wrenching loss this year. No going back to British Columbia, Canada disappointed. Loggers’ pitcher Scott Lieph made sure of that.

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Three way fastpitch alliance proves mutually beneficial

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

“This is the best we’ve had in the last ten years. It will be even competition and I expect to see some great games. Everyone has a chance to win it.” – NAFA Open – Holm Classic Tournament Director Kyle Koterba

FARGO, ND – Forming a partnership can be a tricky proposition. Like, who’s in charge? Who’s calling the shots? Who’s the alpha dog?

But that doesn’t appear to be the case with the 2013 NAFA Open – Holm Classic men’s fastpitch tournament. Two of the sport’s major organizations – the North American Fastpitch Association and the International Softball Congress – along with the Holm Classic have formed a symbiotic relationship that benefits all three organizations.

For NAFA, it gets to stage its Open division tournament in Fargo, one of fastpitch softball’s great cities. The ISC comes out a winner too, with the NAFA Open champion awarded a spot in the 2013 ISC World Tournament.

“It’s been a good relationship between Dean Oscar (president of the ISC), Benjie Hedgecock (executive director) of NAFA and myself,” said tournament director Kyle Koterba. “The Holm Classic has been kind of an ISC event, but last year we talked with Benjie about running the NAFA Open and it has worked out well, and we expect the same this year.”

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