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NAFA A-Major MVPs and All-World Players

Friday, August 18th, 2017

Bowen Fastpitch pitcher, JULIAN FERNANDEZ, 19, was selected the Most Valuable Pitcher of the 2017 NAFA A-Major World Series for leading Bowen to the championship in the 30-team tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

BY BENJIE HEDGECOCK
NAFA Executive Director

FARGO – The top honorees earning post-tournament NAFA awards from the 30-team A-Major Division have been released in three categories – most valuable performers, pitchers and batters.

    MOST VALUABLE PITCHER

Julian Fernandez, Bowen Fastpitch

    MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Facundo Gonzales, Bowen Fastpitch

    PITCHERS

Derek Martin, R.M. Kurtz
Brandon Peck, Fleetwood Marlins
Tom Haver Northern Merchants, New York
Dave Stokes, Elanco Blackhawks
Kyle Koterba, Dempsey’s
Dave Drotzman, Lacey A’s
Bryan Lathrop, Stoneyard
Lumar Goss, Calif. Buzzards (pitcher and batter)

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Bombers keep the fastpitch tradition alive in Bee

Friday, August 18th, 2017

BEE Bombers shortstop RYAN DOLEZAL focuses on the batter during a NAFA A World Series game. Photo By BOB OTTO

FARGO – At first glance and thought, the word BEE spelled out in bold, black letters on the front of their bright, red uniforms might lead one to think this men’s fastpitch team has a connection to the bee industry. Perhaps a sponsor with a honey-related business.

Not even close.

There’s a town in Nebraska named Bee. Population about 200 and located northwest of Lincoln about 40 miles, and halfway between Omaha and Grand Island.

This little village on the prairie farmland of Nebraska doesn’t raise bees or produce honey, but it does produce some talented fastpitch players. Many with familial ties two and three generations deep.

Men’s fastpitch goes back 64 years in Bee, says Roger Dolezal, who was keeping score for the Bee Bombers during a recent NAFA A Division game.

Milo Navratil started it in the 1950s,” he said. “He’s 94 now, but he was running it and keeping the game alive until 2000. Then we took over and are keeping it rolling. Our young men want to play ball.”

BEE Bombers right-fielder, DELTON WERTH catches a fly ball in a NAFA A Division World Series game. Photo By BOB OTTO

Milo did quite a job keeping it alive and with some great success.

“We have won ten (ASA) state championships,” Dolezal said, “and all the players have local ties. Some played Legion, high school and college baseball and now play fastpitch.”

Bee plays in the South League against teams around the Lincoln area. And the Bombers continue to play on their home field, appropriately named Milo Navratil Field.

“We run the ball field and take care of it,” Dolezal said. “We have a lot of pride in it. Our ball players grew up on the ball field with their dads.”

BEE Bombers pitcher RYAN HELGOTH hurls a pitch in the NAFA A Division World Series. Photo By BOB OTTO

The 2017 BEE Bombers NAFA World Series roster: Evan Sisel, Shane Sisel, Michael Hofpar, Aaron Pierce, Shane Johnson, Ryan Helgoth, Brandon Chapek, Ryan Dolezal, Jeremy Cihal, Blake Marquardt, Logan Mahalek, Jordan Odvody, Tyler Dolezal, Delton Werth and Roger Dolezal.

FM Fastpitch Association set to host World Series in Fargo

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Justin Feist help organize this week’s NAFA tournament to be held at the Northside softball complex. David Samson / The Forum

By Eric Peterson / Forum News Service
Aug 8, 2017

FARGO – Justin Feist was asked to play on a fall fastpitch softball team nine years ago not knowing what to expect. Feist had played baseball in high school, but didn’t know much about fastpitch.

He got hooked.

“I really enjoyed it,” said the 28-year-old Feist, now the president of the Fargo Moorhead Fastpitch Association. “I’ve played ever since.”

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Important Information about 2017 NAFA World Series in Fargo, North Dakota

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

FARGO, ND – For teams, players and fans, please read this important information about the NAFA World Series that will be held in Fargo, Aug. 9-20.

  • Northside Softball Complex.
  • Hector International Airport
  • Traveling Amtrak
  • Hotel Reservations (Contact Rachel at housing@fargomoorhead.org for more information.)
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    Minnesota Men’s Fastpitch Pitcher Classification List

    Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

    Kevin Kammueller of Eagle Pack was a workhorse in the 2016 International Softball Congress (ISC) Legends tourament pitching five games and finishing 4-1 to earn All-Tournament honors. Kammueller is rated a Class B pitcher for 2017 according to the Minnesota Sports Federation. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2016 ISC Legends Tournament

    SOUTH ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Sports Federation rates men’s fastpitc pitchers according to their ability from D to B skill levels. The MSF has no pitchers rated at the Class A or Open level.

    Click to check out the Minnesota Fastpitch Pitcher Classification List

      MSF MEN’S FASTPITCH STATE TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
  • Class B & D, Aug. 4-6, Coon Rapids, Minn.
  • Class C, Aug. 11-13, North Mankato, Minn.
  • Modified Pitch, Aug. 26-27, Hollywood / New Germany, Minn.
  • Bowen (Ill) Fastpitch takes title at Black Gold Fastpitch Softball Classic

    Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

    Bowen Fastpitch manager Rocco Ramsey celebrates after his team pulled out a 7-6 walk-off win over Rude Pac of So. Calif. in the semifinals of the 2014 NAFA A-Division World Series Photo By BOB OTTO

    By MATT BENZ
    Black Gold Fastpitch

    NEW HAVEN, MO – For the third time in the last four years Black Gold finished second in their own men’s fastpitch softball tournament, held June 24-25 at New Haven City Park in New Haven, Missouri.

    Bowen Fastpitch of Bowen, Illinois was led by pitcher and leadoff hitter Julian Fernandez who pitched 19 scoreless innings to lead his ball club to the title.

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    2017 Wisconsin NAFA Men’s Fastpitch State Tournament

    Thursday, May 4th, 2017

    Jack Grafmeier Men’s Fastpitch Tournament Features Eight Strong Teams

    Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

    Tin Cup’s Joel Cooley pitched Tin Cup of St. Paul, Minn. to the 2016 Jack Grafmeier Memorial Fastpitch Tournament championship. He returns with Tin Cup to seek back-to-back titles, June 2-4, in Kimberly. Photo By BOB OTTO

    KIMBERLY, Wisc. – The field is set with eight talented teams competing for the prestigious Jack Grafmeier Memorial Tournament championship at Sunset Park’s upper and lower diamonds in Kimberly, June 3-5.

    Tin Cup of St. Paul, Minn. returns as defending champion after defeating Dolan and Murphy (IL), 6-4, in the final.

    THE TEAMS

    Pool A

  • Circle Tap Lumberjacks, Denmark, WI
  • Hitters, Kimberly
  • Tin Cup, St. Paul, MN
  • Rice Lake Orangemen, Rice Lake, WI
  • Pool B

  • Stoneyard, Appleton, WI
  • Bar Buzz, Appleton, WI
  • Hustle Hogs, DeKalb, IL
  • Optimum Crush, Kenosha, WI
  • TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
    Click to view or download: 2017 Grafmeier Tournament

    TOURNAMENT INFORMATION
    Kimberly Recreation Association
    Justin Columbo
    jcolombo@humana.com
    bossdj32@yahoo.com
    Rainout number: 920-687-7890

    Stepping Back In Time: Tim McGuire numbers among the best for Bloomington Beer Nuts

    Monday, April 3rd, 2017

    TIM McGUIRE had a successful pitching career with the Bloomington (IL) Beer Nuts, a major-caliber team from Bloomington, Illinois. Photo / The Pantograph

    “I was wild as all get out. I might strike out 10, but I would walk 15 or 16.” – Tim McGuire

    By RANDY KINDRED
    Pantograph staff
    June 25, 1986

    BLOOMINGTON, IL – The numbers don’t lie. A 22-3 record, 1.01 earned run average, 175 strikeouts and only 14 walks in 151 innings.

    Without question, they add up to the best start of Tim McGuire’s softball pitching career. That, he says, is what worries him.

    “The book on me is I usually throw better in July and August (than May and June),” the Bloomington Beer Nuts right-hander told a reporter at O’Neil Park, his home away from home.

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    Bud Olson helps foster the revival of men’s fastpitch in La Crosse

    Monday, March 20th, 2017

    BUD OLSON, NAFA Hall of Fame member (2014), is helping lead the effort to revive men’s fastpitch in LaCrosse, Wisc. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2014 NAFA World Series

    LA CROSSE, Wisc. – Some call them diehards. Some call them loyalists. Some call them movers and shakers. They’re the backbone of any worthy cause who roll up their sleeves and get the job done.

    And when it comes to men’s fastpitch, Ronn Kopp, Loren Lathrop and Bud Olson fit those labels perfectly.

    While many have long since given up, these three men continue the mission to revive the sport in Wisconsin. Maybe that’s why the state is the North American Fastpitch Association’s (NAFA) leader in team registration within the organization.

    Kopp is the NAFA president and Lathrop a vice president. Both have been with the organization since its inception in 1993. They run NAFA Wisconsin affairs, conduct tournaments and leagues, and help run one of the most successful national tournaments in the sport: the NAFA World Series.

    No doubt, they are true warriors.

    Though Olson isn’t a NAFA official, he’s leading an admirable effort to revive fastpitch in the La Crosse area: he runs a team, he recruits younger players and helps form leagues, he encourages city officials to support fastpitch, and he will be hosting the NAFA state tournament for the next three years.

    If every state had this type of commitment, the sport would be in much better shape.

    Olson grew up on a Wisconsin farm, attended a country school where he began playing fastpitch in first grade. At 14 he was playing in a 4-H league. By 15 his burgeoning talent landed him a spot on the Sioux Creek Farmers team in a men’s league.

    “I got my first hit when I was 10 against Bob Davis one of the top pitchers in the Barron County traveling League,” said Olson. “I made Chetek’s traveling team as a 16-year-old shortstop. When our 4-H team entered the Sand Creek Sunday Night league, I was playing four nights a week.”

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