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A Step Back In Time: Team USA captures 1996 Herald & Review Shootout

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

By MARK TUPPER
Decatur Herald & Review Sports Editor
July 17, 1996

DECATUR, IL – If the United States plans to win the gold medal at the International Softball Federation World Championship next month, it will almost certainly have to survive a challenge like it faced Sunday.

Key hitting and pressure pitching led USA past Green Bay (Wis.) All-Car, 2-1, in the championship game of the Herald & Review Shootout at Borg-Warner Field.

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For the future of USA men’s fastpitch, it’s all about pitching

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

ALAN COLGLAZIER pitched Aurora, IL, Home Savings to the ISC World Tournament championship in 1980. He is but one of four USA born pitchers to win an ISC World Tournament Championship game between 1980 and 1991. Photo By BOB OTTO

NEW ZEALAND – New Zealand is the mecca of men’s fasptich softball. To argue otherwise is just plain nonsense. The results prove the Kiwi’s dominance in fastpitch worldwide.

The Black Sox, the country’s national team, leads the International Softball Federation (now the World Baseball Softball Confederation) world championships with 12 gold, silver and bronze medals since the event started in 1966.

And in the past six championships (1996 to 2015) the Black Sox have taken four-of-six golds and two silvers.

Canada comes a close second with 11 total medals, and did claim the latest world championship in 2015, by pounding the Kiwi’s, 10-5, in the final.

    THIRD NOT GOOD ENOUGH

Bringing up the third spot with nine medals is the United States. Nine sounds like a respectable number, right?

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Devotion to men’s fastpitch ushers Bob Chapel into the NAFA Hall of Fame

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

“I just keep going because I love it.” – Bob Chapel

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Bob Chapel puts the radar gun on the pitchers at the 2010 NAFA World Series. Photo By BOB OTTO

BAKERSFIELD, CALIF – When it comes to job security, Bob Chapel knows he’s safe. Knows that few, if any, will rush forward eager to take his place running men’s fastpitch tournaments in northern and central California.

Since 1982, the 69-year-old has been a tournament director. Starting in March, Chapel’s weekends are spent on softball fields in Bakersfield, Stockton, Sonora or Reno running tournaments. Over 150 and climbing, he figures, in those 31 years.

Back in 1982 when he directed his very first tournament – an ASA event – 32 teams were entered. It wasn’t all that difficult finding teams since the sport was booming in California’s central valley. The scene has changed over the years with far fewer teams playing the sport.

But that doesn’t stop him from fighting to keep the sport alive in his part of the country. Why does he carry on when so many of his generation have left fastpitch in the rearview mirror?

“I do it because I love doing it,” said Chapel, who splits time between homes in Bakersfield and Billings, Montana. “The guys keep asking me back. And who is going to take over if I step away?”

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A Look Back In Time At Pitcher Hayden Smith

Sunday, January 4th, 2015
Hayden Smith won six games in leading Denmark, Wisc. Circle Tap to 7th place in the 1996 ISC World Tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

Hayden Smith won six games in leading Denmark, Wisc. Circle Tap to 7th place in the 1996 ISC World Tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

KIMBERLY, WISC. – In 1996, New Zealand pitcher Hayden Smith turned in the top pitching performance in the ISC World Tournament in Kimberly, Wisc.

Pitching for Circle Tap of Denmark, Wisc., Smith led all pitchers with six wins and finished 6-2 overall. His workhorse 52 1/3 innings bested Toronto Gators’ Darren Zack’s 41. He struck out 68 batters, also No. 1, with Joe Basaraba of Whitewood First Nation close behind with 62.

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A Look Back At Jim Seaman’s huge win over Green Bay All-Car in the 1996 ISC World Tournament

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

96.ISC.Seaman.Jim.1web Jim Seaman hurled one of the biggest wins in the 1996 ISC World Tournament by defeating the Green Bay All-Car Roadrunners. Photo By BOB OTTO

KIMBERLY, WISC. – In the 1996 ISC World Tournament, Jim Seaman hurled the Broken Bow, Neb. Qualigraphs to a huge upset victory over the Green Bay All-Car Roadrunners in the second game of the World Tournament.

Seaman allowed just four hits and one earned run in picking up the 5-2 victory, and outdueled Green Bay’s Michael White, who gave up nine hits.

mike.white Michael White (seen her in a Decatur Pride uniform) lost the matchup with Seaman, but went on to hurl All-Car to runner-up in the 1996 ISC World Tournament. He was selected a First-Team All-World pitcher for his 5-2 record in 40 innings, allowing 21 hits, six earned runs, seven walks with 68 strikeouts, and one of the tournaments top ERA’s at 1.47. Photo By BOB OTTO

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Remembering Tampa Bay Smokers Jason Hanson and his ISC World Tournament heroics

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

1996.ISC.WT.Hanson.1web Tampa Bay Smokers No. 9 hitter Jason Hanson hit a dramatic, walk off home run in the 1996 ISC World Tournament that gave the Smokers a 4-2 victory over the Green Bay All-Car Roadrunners. Photo By BOB OTTO

KIMBERLY, WISC. – I doubt Jason Hanson will ever forget the 1996 ISC World Tournament. If we take the liberty of calling athletes “heroes,” then Hanson certainly qualifies.

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Someone to know: Dean Holoien, Canadian fastball star

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

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Dean Holoien pitching in the 2000 ISC World Tournament for the Edmonton (Alberta) Express had a 4-1 record in 35 1/3 innings with 64 strikeouts and a 1.39 ERA. He led the Express to ninth place in the 48-team tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

“Fastpitch softball was lucky to have him and I was grateful that I got a front row seat for a lot of years.” – Todd Martin about former teammate Dean Holoien

REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN – Dean Holoien knows where to give credit for his long and successful fastball career – his father Doug. If not for dad’s insistence that “it’s time to practice,” fastball may not have enjoyed the exploits of one of the sport’s greatest pitchers and hitters.

“I remember pitching in the yard to dad until the moon came out,” Dean Holoien said. “There were many times when I would have rather did other things, but he had me pitching. But I’m sure glad he did.”

Holoien retired after the 2012 season, finishing a 20-year fastball career at the elite level. His talent carried him far – throughout Canada and the United States playing for elite club teams – and on to the worldwide stage, competing in the International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championship.

His former teammate and pitcher, Todd Martin, knows Holoien well – since 1993 when they started playing together for the Camrose Merchants. Then they teamed up with the Farm Tavern of Madison, Wisconsin (2002 to 2004), and also played on Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team (1997-2009).

Martin says no one was any tougher or fierce a competitor in the circle than Holoien. His will to win and his hard spinning rise ball elevated him to the top of the sport. But adds Martin, with a bat in his hand, Holoien was a terror in the batter’s box as well.

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In 1998, Todd Martin, pitching for the Tampa Smokers of Florida was awarded the ISC World Tournament Most Outstanding Pitcher for leading the Smokers to the championship. In his career, Martin has been selected a Most Outstanding Pitcher three times. Photo By BOB OTTO

“He had a ton of huge hits over the course of his career,” said Martin, a three-time Most Valuable Pitcher in the ISC World Tournament. “Not many guys are capable of throwing a shutout and hitting a bomb to win a game 1-0. But that was Deano.”

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Wrapping up the 2013 California Classic Men’s Fastpitch Tournament

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

SANTEE, CA – If you’re a men’s fastpitch fan living in southern California, there’s not much in the way of top-flight tournaments to watch. Except the California Classic. It’s the only big-time tourney being offered south of Santa Barbara where Clyde Bennett hosts the Best of The West.

Now concluding its fourth consecutive year, the Classic offers good competition. This year the Sooke Loggers of British Columbia, CA stopped the California A’s from claiming its fourth consecutive title with a 9-6 victory on Sunday.

Some thought California was heavily favored. That the A’s – loaded with international stars – were a superior team. Especially with Argentine and ISC All-World pitcher Lucas Mata toeing the rubber.

Schellenberg.Kevin.CalifA's.430web Shortstop Kevin Schellenberg is one of several international stars who play for the California A’s. He’s been a member of Team Canada that finished fifth in the 2013 ISF World Championships.

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Hitting a high-velocity fastpitch softball; a skill only the great ones possess.

Monday, March 4th, 2013

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Colin Abbott, three-time ISC World Tournament Most Valuable Player, one of the all-time great fastball hitters.

By BOB OTTO / www.ottoinfocus.com

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – I studied Canadian Brad Ezekiel and Ryan Wolfe. I leaned in closer to my computer screen, zoning in on New Zealand’s Rhys Casley, Donny Hale and Brad Rona.

How do they do it?

How do they hit a softball speeding toward home plate at 80-plus miles per hour from 46 feet away from a pitcher that can make the yellow sphere dive and dance and soar like a Hummingbird on steroids?

And then with the cruel nature of a sadist, the pitcher changes speeds. It’s as if the ball is attached to a string and our righty or lefty (prankster) yanks it back just when the batter starts to swing. Like Lucy pulling the football away from hapless Charlie Brown just as he’s about to kick it.

What special athletic gifts have been bestowed upon fastball’s great hitters, enabling them to hit the riser, the drop, the curve, and the change-up with such proficiency?

MEREDITH, A LASTING IMPRESSION
I remember in 1986 standing behind a backstop watching Kiwi Peter Meredith throw a softball harder than ANY ball I had ever seen thrown. I stood in awe of Meredith’s amazing talent.

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ISC Hall of Fame pitcher, Peter Meredith, who once pitched for TEAM USA.

I wondered: “how can anyone possibly hit his pitches?”

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No. 9 Oregon Ducks Cap Perfect Palm Springs Trip with 3-1 Win over Aztecs

Monday, February 25th, 2013

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Oregon Ducks Karissa Hovinga from Ralston, Neb. is one of three pitchers the Ducks are counting on to return to the NCAA College World Series, along with senior right-hander Jessica Moore from Sutter, Calif. and Cheridan Hawkins, a freshman left-hander from Anderson, Calif. Photo By BOB OTTO

CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – The No. 9 University of Oregon softball team (13-3) raised its win streak to six games with its 3-1 win in Sunday’s Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic finale over San Diego State (8-7).

In her second complete game of the season, senior Jessica Moore (7-2) struck out 10, walked two, and gave up three hits.

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Junior infielder Courtney Ceo lays down a bunt during the Ducks 4-2 victory over the UNLV Rebels in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. On the season, Ceo has a .408 batting average, scored 16 runs with 9 RBIs, and has 20 hits in 16 games. Photo By BOB OTTO

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