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No show leads umpire Cliff Whitson into men’s fastpitch

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn. – An umpire missed an assignment and suddenly Cliff Whitson found himself crouched behind home plate with his nerves rattling and knees knocking.

“In 1989 I had just finished umpiring a junior varsity softball game when I got a call that an umpire didn’t show up for a men’s fastpitch game at Dunning Field,” recalled Whitson.

So he said, sure, he could fill in. But the game wasn’t quite what he expected. For the two ball clubs Whitson would arbiter weren’t your run-of-the-mill league teams.

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Setbacks can’t keep Lon Andersen off the fastpitch field

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

Long-time South Dakota fastpitch sponsor, manager and player will be inducted into the North America Fastpitch Association Hall of Fame during the NAFA World Series in Fargo, North Dakota

SIOUX FALLS, So. Dak. – It takes mental and physical toughness and a deep desire to continue pursuing a sporting passion when your body hurts and your doctor orders, “give it up.”

Lon Andersen has battled cancer that nearly claimed his life, he’s undergone two hip replacements, he was in a coma for four days. Yet despite these debilitating setbacks that would sideline those of a weaker constitution, Anderson stubbornly refuses to give up fastpitch softball.

“My doctor told me it’s time to quit,” said the 62-year-old Andersen. “I can’t play basketball anymore, but I’ve kept on playing fastpitch against his advice.”

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A Step Back In Time: Mark Rako Joins Elite Company In Fastpitch Hall of Fame

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Mark “Vinnie” Rako poses with legendary U.S. Olympic softball player Dot Richardson during the University of Dubuque’s spring trip to Florida in March, 2013


Platteville pitcher to join SW Wisocnsin Fast Pitch Hall of Fame

By Jason Nihles
sports@theplattevillejournal.com
SWNEWS4u.com
POSTED June 5, 2013 2:27 p.m.

BOSCOBEL, Wisc. – Mark Rako’s fast-pitch softball career began 41 years ago as a 14-year-old boy on the old field in Arthur.

Over the course of a career that spanned five decades “Vinnie”, as he was better known by teammates and opponents alike, developed into one of the best pitchers in the area.

“I don’t think some people even know my real name,” Rako joked.

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Bowen Fastpitch takes third at NAFA World Series

Sunday, August 14th, 2016
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

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

NORTH MANKATO, Minn. – After dropping its opening game of the NAFA A-Major World Series, Bowen Fastpitch marched through the loser’s bracket winning six straight games before losing to the Northwest Merchants of New York, 7-1, to finish third at 6-2 in the 20-team field.

Hats off to Bowen Fastpitch, a long-time loyalist to NAFA that won the NAFA A Division championship in 2014, the first NAFA title for the ball club from Bowen, Illinois (pop. 500).

Bowen is led by Rocco Ramsey, a voracious leader and promoter of men’s fastpitch, who was inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame in 2012.

Dedicated fastpitch promoter enters the NAFA Hall of Fame

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016
2014 Ricola Cough Drop Men's Fastpitch Team. Doug Smith is pictured front row, far right; son John is front row, fourth from left.

2014 Ricola Cough Drop Men’s Fastpitch Team. Doug Smith is pictured front row, far right; son John is front row, fourth from left.

WASHINGTON, N.J. – For 10 years, Doug Smith played slowpitch softball, but when a friend coaxed him on to the fastpitch field in 1983, Smith left the slower game in the dust.

And for the next 32 years, until his death in February 2015 at the age of 60, Smith’s love for fastpitch never faltered. He was the sport’s consummate advocate. He played, he managed, he recruited, he entered his teams in leagues and tournaments. Smith even shopped for his team’s uniforms.

And with his sales background, Smith’s pitch to likely sponsors often met with success.

    SELLING THE GAME

“This is where Doug really shined,” said Bob Fedor, his good friend, former teammate, and on-field manager for many of those 32 years. “He became really good at getting businesses to support a group of guys who wanted to play local and travel fastpitch.”

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Umpiring friends head to NAFA World Series one last time for special honor

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

OAKCREEK, Wisc. – The miles to league games and tournaments add up into the thousands, the games into the hundreds. And the pay doesn’t make them rich.

For fastpitch umpires, that’s the price they pay to officiate the game they love. And Wisconsin umpires Steve Komoroski and Tom Ueberroth, certainly have a soft spot in their hearts for the game of fastpitch softball.

The two good friends started umpiring together about 1996, figures Ueberroth, 58. They’ve officiated the girls and women’s side from college division I to high school and tournaments.

ST CLAIR THE CATALYST

But they’ve umpired the men’s side as well, mainly with the North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) in Wisconsin and at the NAFA World Series.

“Henry St. Clair (the late, former NAFA UIC) got me started in men’s fastpitch about 20 years a go,” said Komoroski. “You don’t make much money, but I love it.”

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NAFA Announces 2016 Hall of Fame Inductees

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016
The North American Fastpitch Association offers World Series tournaments for all caliber of players - from age 23-Under to Masters, 65-over. Visit www.nafafastpitch.com for information to register your team.

The North American Fastpitch Association offers World Series tournaments for all caliber of players – from age 23-Under to Masters, 65-over. Visit www.nafafastpitch.com for information to register your team.

DAYTON, OR – The North American Fastpitch Association announced that eight individuals – six players, one umpire and a coach / sponsor – will be inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame at ceremonies held at various World Series during the 2016 season.

2016 HALL OF FAME MEMBERS

Umpire

  • Steve Komoroski, Wisc.
  • Coach / Sponsor

  • Doug Smith, New Jersey
  • Players

  • Kyle Goslee, Minn.
  • Chad Osterman, Minn.
  • Colin McKenzie, BC, Canada
  • Trevor Knight, Wash.
  • Duane Clarkson, Manitoba, Canada
  • Mario Pereira, Calif.
  • The 2016 NAFA World Series

  • Open World Series, Fife (Seattle), Wash., July 22-24
  • Boys Youth, Vassar, Mich., July 30-31
  • AA-Major, Quad Cities, IA/IL, Aug. 19-21
  • A-Major, Mankato / North Mankato, Minn., Aug. 11-14
  • Wood Bat Nationals Upper Midwest, Mankato / North Mankato, Aug. 12-14
  • Wood Bat Nationals Lower Midwest, Newton, KS, July 30-31
  • Wood Bat Nationals West, Albuquerque, NM, Aug. 27-28
  • A and AA Divsions, Mankato / North Mankato, Aug. 18-21
  • 23-Under, Mankato / North Mankato, Aug. 19-21
  • Masters East, Niagara Falls, NY, Aug. 26-28
  • Masters Midwest, Quad Cities, Sept. 9-11
  • Masters West, Carson City, NV, Sept. 16-18
  • NAFA CONTACT INFORMATION
    Benjie Hedgecock, Executive Director
    email: Nafafastpitch@gmail.com
    cell: 503-559-5398
    work: 503-864-4487
    fax: 503-864-3939
    P.O. Box 566
    Dayton, OR 97114

    2014 NAFA World Series Book ready for preview and to order directly from Blurb

    Saturday, March 12th, 2016

    YUCAIPA, Calif. – NAFA World Series book contains 152 pages of championship game, feature, and Hall of Fame stories, and over 200 color photographs of the players and contributors that make the game so great…and much more.

    For the love of the game

    Monday, June 15th, 2015
    Loren Lathrop has served as NAFA Vice President of The Midwest since 1993, and 37 years as the tournament director of the Rice Lake Invitational Men's Fastpitch Tournament.

    Loren Lathrop has served as NAFA Vice President of The Midwest since 1993, and 37 years as the tournament director of the Rice Lake Invitational Men’s Fastpitch Tournament.

    Rice Lake man has devoted much of his life to men’s and boys’ fastpitch, raising the sport to new levels in Wisconsin, nationally and internationally.

    RICE LAKE, Wisc. – Loren Lathrop has been described as tenacious and passionate, a crusader and a promoter. When it comes to fastpitch softball, those attributes fit Lathrop perfectly.

    For over 50 of his 71 years, Lathrop has been at the forefront of men’s fastpitch in his home state of Wisconsin and on the international scene with the North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA).

    “He is tenacious in promoting men’s fastpitch,” said NAFA President Ronn Kopp, allied with Lathrop in revitalizing the sport in Wisconsin. “He spends whatever time it takes to make Wisconsin NAFA events the highest quality ever. His willingness to make phone call after phone call recruiting teams to sanctioned tournaments is remarkable.”

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    Final stage of 2014 NAFA World Series magazine

    Wednesday, March 4th, 2015
    The front cover, left, and collage page of my soon to be released 2014 NAFA World Series magazine. Photo Illustration By BOB OTTO

    The front cover, left, and collage page of my soon to be released 2014 NAFA World Series magazine. Photo Illustration By BOB OTTO

    YUCAIPA, Calif. – I’ve reached page 93 with about seven left and my magazine (8.5 x 11 inches) about the 2014 NAFA World Series will be finished after four months work.

    Content will include:

  • Championship game stories
  • Feature stories
  • Hall of Fame stories
  • Over 125 action and team photos
  • The magazine will be published and available through Blurb.

    I’ll post as soon as the magazine is available for preview on Blurb.