Midland Explorers men’s fastpitch

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Holders drawn in same pool as hosts for 2016 WBSC Junior Men’s Softball World Championship

Friday, April 15th, 2016

WBSC men's.1lr

By Daniel Etchells / Reporter

INSIDE THE GAMES – Two-time defending champions Argentina have been drawn in the same pool as hosts United States for the 2016 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Junior Men’s Softball World Championship in Midland, Mich.

The South American country, gold medallists in Canadian city Whitehorse two years ago and on home soil in Paraná in 2012, are also joined in Pool A by Australia, Botswana, Czech Republic, Denmark and Venezuela.

World number one ranked nation and 2014 silver medallists New Zealand headline Pool B, which features Canada, Israel, Mexico, South Africa and Japan – the 2012 runners-up and 2014 bronze medallists.

Competition is scheduled to take place from July 24 to 30 at the Currie Stadium in Emerson Park in the city in Michigan. Continue Reading in Inside The Games

Jon Gwizdala, personifying the golden opportunities in American male fastpitch

Monday, March 10th, 2014

gwizdalaJonNAFA55lr Jon Gwizdala pitching for Northwest Implement of Maryville, Missouri in the 2013 NAFA World Series, 23-Under division, in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo By BOB OTTO

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – The naysayers will tell you, “there’s no opportunity in American male fastpitch softball. You’re just wasting your time on a dying sport. The girls own the sport now.”

But if you talk to 22-year-old Jon Gwizdala, he’ll challenge all that negative garbage. In fact, he’ll tell you of all the golden opportunities he has had in his 15 years of pitching when he first started windmilling a softball at age seven.

Remember now, Jon is just 22. But already he’s played in the ISC World Tournament, ASA national tournaments, and in the NAFA World Series.

Gwizdala and the teams he’s pitched for have won ASA national youth and young men’s titles, a NAFA World Series, and he has been named an ASA All-American and NAFA All-World, along with winning a home run title.

Opportunities in American boys and men’s fastpitch? Of the golden variety.

Especially for aspiring pitchers, with the work ethic and the willingness to put in hours of practice to become proficient in the circle.

    BASEBALL’S GOOD, BUT FASTPITCH IS BETTER

Gwizdala played high school and college baseball. He was club president at Delta Junior College and captain of the varsity team during the 2010-2011 season. Baseball is a sport he grew up with, a sport he enjoys playing. But in comparison to fastpitch, well, there is no comparison.

“My true passion will always be for my first love, and that is fastpitch softball,” he said.

Click to continue reading “Jon Gwizdala, personifying the golden opportunities in American male fastpitch”

Scott dominates as Midland Explorers blank Bombers, 5-0

Monday, August 13th, 2012

By ADAM BOUTON / Midland Daily News

MIDLAND, MI – The Midland Explorers added veteran flame-thrower Don Scott to their squad this season in part because they wanted a big game pitcher. Continue Reading

Scott sharp, hurls Midland Explorers over New York Bombers

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

MIDLAND, MI – Don Scott picked up right where he ended the 2011 ISC World Tournament: winning.

The right-handed Scott, who was the Most Outstanding Pitcher of last year’s world tournament after pitching the Jarvis Travelers to the title, hurled a brilliant game in leading the Midland Explorers to a 5-0 victory over the New York Bombers, Sunday night.

As the host team, Midland (1-0) picked up its first win of the World Tournament, while New York pulls even at 1-1.

Scott was in top form, showing his signature explosive rise ball, along with mixing in an effective drop and change-up. Through six innings he was nearly unhittable and carried a perfect game into the seventh inning.

But with one out, Jeff Carr doubled into left field and Bruce Hackett followed with a single. But Scott struck out the next two batters to end the game, finishing with a two-hitter and 16 strikeouts.

He said he wasn’t too concerned about losing the perfect game.

“You always try and get it, but in the long run you want the win,” he said.

The Explorers took advantage of three walks off Bombers’ starter Doug Hoffman, cashing in on all three to take a 3-0 lead through four innings. Back-to-back walks to Steve Horning (2-for-3, 2 runs) and Adam Lalonde (1-3, 3 runs, 2 RBIs), followed by a passed ball that allowed Horning to score, and Ed Ketelhut’s (1-3) RBI single to left field gave Midland a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

Then in the third inning, Hoffman’s two-out walk to Lalonde set the table for Dale Levy, who drove a triple down the right field line scoring Lalonde; and essentially that was all the runs Scott would need.

But the Explorers put the game out of reach in the fifth when Lalonde drilled a two-run homer over the right centerfield fence for Midland’s final tally. Kyle Beane, Justin Krenzke and Shea Bryant also had one hit apiece to help Midland’s cause.

Scott finished the 2011 ISC World Tournament with a 6-0 record. He said he likes the Explorers championship chances if the offense can keep plating runs.

“We’ve got to keep hitting, and then we’ve got a shot,” he said of Midland which collected nine hits off Hoffman and Shawn Samson, who came on in the fifth.

The Explorers move on to face the Saskatoon Diamondbacks Monday at 6 p.m. Saskatoon defeated the Elmira Expos 2-0 on Trevor Ethier’s three-hit, 10 strikeout effort, Sunday afternoon.

The Bombers came into the game by defeating the Sweaburg Crush on Saturday. Sweaburg jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning, but that was all the runs they could manage. Meanwhile, the Bombers chipped away with single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to pull within 4-3 heading into the seventh.

And then Carr shocked the Crush by drilling a three-run, walk off home run – his only hit of the game – to steal the win.

ISC World Tournament is just days away

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

By the Midland Daily News
By Adam Bouton
abouton@mdn.net

MIDLAND, MI – Preparations are nearing completion as Midland prepares to host the 2012 International Softball Congress Men’s Fast Pitch World Tournament for the second time. The tournament begins next weekend.

“Everything seems to be on track,” said Kyle Beane, co-chairman of the ISC committee. “We’re wrapping up some of the details. Everyone has done a great job of getting it ready. The fields are in great shape. That’s a huge part of it.”

Opening games for the ISC World Tournament are set for Saturday, Aug. 11.

Continue Reading

2012 ISC Under-21 World Championship, Aug. 16-18

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

By DAVID LACH / July 27, 2012
Midland Explorers Booster Club

“Fans and team supporters should brace to see a very high level of play during the ISC Under-21 World Championship…around 20 pitchers in the tournament will reach speeds of 70-75 mph or higher” – David Lach

MIDLAND, MI – Planning for the 2012 ISC Under-21 World Championship is almost complete. The tournament is scheduled for Aug 16-18 in Midland, MI, during the final weekend of the ISC World Tournament.

Building upon the success of the 2010 ISC Under-19 event, we have attracted 15 talented teams to this year’s ISC Under-21 World Championship.

Our vision for the ISC development tournaments in 2010 and 2012 was two-fold:

    1. Create a format which attracts strong competition for young players.
    2. Expose young talented players to the best teams and players in the world.

The fundamental goal is to motivate and inspire these young players to become future stars.

Click to continue reading “2012 ISC Under-21 World Championship, Aug. 16-18”

Junior Explorers: New program could produce next generation of Midland Explorers’ players

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

MIDLAND, MI – Young players like Auburn’s Jon Gwizdala are excited to be part of a brand-new program that could produce the next generation of fastpitch softball players for the Midland Explorers.

Gwizdala, 21, is a pitcher for the 21-and-under Midland Junior Explorers, who will play in the International Softball Congress 21U Tournament in Midland in August.

“It’s really exciting to be on the team,” said Gwizdala, who played baseball at Bay City Western and is a student at Delta College. “It’s exciting because it’s something new (on the fastpitch scene) and something new for the younger players.

Continue Reading