Leo Blakley

...now browsing by tag


NAFA ball clubs pulling into Des Moines for start of A-Division World Series

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Forty of the best NAFA A division teams in North America will battle for the World Series championship, Thursday through Sunday.

DES MOINES & URBANDALE, IOWA – I’ve got my camera lenses all clean and shiny, my Nikon camera batteries all charged, and I’m at the starting line ready for a NAFA umpire to say, “let’s play ball!”

For tomorrow starts the four-day run (Aug. 15-18) of the 40-team, NAFA A World Series at the Greater Des Moines and Walker-Johnston softball complexes in Des Moines and Urbandale.

Why should shooting the A division be any different than the A-Major, AA, or the AA-Major that finished on Sunday, you ask?

In one word, “action.”

Click to continue reading “NAFA ball clubs pulling into Des Moines for start of A-Division World Series”

The 2013 NAFA Hall of Famers, an exceptional class

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

Josh Johnson, an outstanding hitter and pitcher from Wisconsin, who was on the 2013 USA Men’s National Team, will be inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the NAFA World Series in Des Moins, Iowa, Aug. 7-18. Photo By BOB OTTO

NAFA NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS – The North American Fastpitch Association began in 1993. In those 21 years of offering men’s fastpitch national tournaments, hundreds of great sponsors, managers, players, directors and umpires have participated under the NAFA banner.

But there’s a select few who have risen to the top of the sport – we call them the “best of the best.”

Since 1999, NAFA has inducted 46 players, managers, sponsors, umpires and contributors into its Hall of Fame – legendary players such as Todd Malnory (WI) in 2007; manager Leo Blakley (MO) in 2012; sponsors Merna and Elmer Wilber (WI) in ’12; and NAFA founder Pat Bucknell (WA) in 1999.

As in the past, this year’s class is exceptional. All nine will be inducted during the NAFA World Series in Des Moines, Iowa from Aug. 7 to 18.

palazzo.matt.361web Matt Palazzo of Iowa will be inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the NAFA World Series. Palazzo was a 2013 USA Men’s National Team member.

    Meet NAFA’s 2013 Hall of Fame class:
  • Mark Miller, sponsor, Appleton, WI
  • Matt Palazzo, player, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Jeff “Teddy” Jahn, player, Oregon, WI
  • Eric Steinbeck, player, Hermann, MO
  • Josh Johnson, player, Brooklyn, WI
  • Darin Michael, player, Olympia, WA
  • Rick Radloff, player, Madison, WI
  • Ed Gasper, player, Stockton, CA
  • Tadashi Yoshimura, Coach, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan
    Stories and bios about the Hall of Famers will be published until the NAFA World Series starts on August 7. If you have played with or against, or know these gentlemen, please post comments about your memories of them.

    John Younger defines longevity in men’s fastpitch

    Thursday, June 28th, 2012

    From a left-hander, I never saw a rise ball move away from a right-handed batter like (Ty Stofflet’s). It wasn’t logical, but he could do that. Stofflet didn’t give you good pitches to hit. He was always on the corners…” – John Younger

    ST. JOSEPH, MO – A 10-year fastpitch career is nice. It’s solid. Hit the 20 or 30-year mark, exceptional. But 40 years and climbing, now that’s superb.

    Enter John Younger of St. Joseph, Missouri. The 64-year-old has been plying his trade on ball diamonds throughout the ‘show me’ state and the U.S. for 42 years.

    And he has no plans on quitting.

    He shrugs off praise for his longevity since starting his career in 1970, only saying, “I still enjoy it.”

    Click to continue reading “John Younger defines longevity in men’s fastpitch”