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SoCal Knights Stay Perfect, Take Opening SCIFL Alliance Tournament

Monday, April 1st, 2019

SoCal Knights Jesse Martinez pitched back-to-back wins in the semifinal and championship games of the So. Calif. Independent Fastpitch League (SCIFL) Alliance Tournament at Los Nietos Park, Santa Fe Springs on Saturday, Mar. 30. Photo By BOB OTTO

SANTA FE SPRINGS, Calif. – The pitching was steady, the offense efficient, the defense sure-handed and as a result the SoCal Knights claimed the Southern California Independent Fastpitch League (SCIFL) Alliance tournament championship at Los Nietos Park on Saturday.

The Knights broke open a tight game with three late runs to hold off the Budmen, 9-5, in the final. With the victory, the Knights extend their winning streak to a perfect 11-0 in southern California’s early fastpitch season.

Jesse Martinez hurled a six hitter with three walks and five strikeouts. After giving up four runs in the bottom of the first, the 29-year-old right-hander toughened the rest of the way, holding a one-through-nine murders row of Budmen hitters to just a lone run in fourth.

“Overall, we played solid defense,” said Knights player / manager Jason Martinez. “As a team, we didn’t tear the cover off the ball, but we were consistently getting that timely hit when we needed it, and our pitchers kept us in every game and gave us the chance to come out on top.”

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Men’s Fastpitch Tournament Returning to Yakima, Washington

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

YAKIMA, Wash. – For way to long Yakima – once a hotbed for men’s fastpitch softball – has gone without a men’s fastpitch tournament. But that is going to change in 2019 as Yakima resident, player, coach and manager, Satero Ramos, has taken the initiative to restart the tournament scene, along with the support of the Yakima Parks & Recreation Department.

“I am having a men’s tournament here in Yakima next year, May 4th and 5th, for the first time in over six years,” said Ramos. “Yakima has a rich history of men’s Fastpitch and I’m trying to bring it back. I’ve been playing the game since 1975. It’s a NAFA affiliated tournament. Benjie Hedgecock (NAFA Executive Director) and Jim Williamson (NAFA founding member and Washington state director) are helping with the logistics.”

The tournament not only benefit’s the men’s game but it helps Yakima youth as well. Ramos said the tournament will help fundraise for the non-profit baseball and softball facility, Baseball Advantage Yakima Dirt Dawgs youth age divisions 10-under and 16-under. Ramos is a 10-year board member of the organization.


  • Tournament Name: Cinco de Mayo Men’s Fastpitch Tournament
  • Dates: May 4-5, 2019
  • Entry Fee: $400
  • Monetary Award: $500 for 1st place
  • Affiliation: NAFA (North American Fastpitch Association)
  • NAFA Awards: 1st, 2nd, 3rd place team trophies; All-Tournament plaques, and Most Valuable Pitcher and Player plaques
  • Tournament Format: Round Robin with single elimination (4-game guarantee)

  • Make entry fee payable to Satero Ramos and mail to P.O Box 621, Moxee, WA 98936
    Satero Ramos
    ***Be sure to request hotel information***

    Comeback K-Club Claims NAFA World Series Title

    Monday, September 17th, 2018

    MOSES LAKE, Wash. – Winning championships doesn’t come easy in any sport. And so it is in men’s fastpitch softball. Just ask the K-Club squad of Moses Lake, Washington.

    For ten years K-Club has steadily grown into a respected ball club, winning or placing in the upper echelon of club tournaments throughout the northwest.

    The 2018 season can be chalked up as a resounding success. K-Club’s 26-12 record includes two second-place finishes in the Newberg, Ore. and Mt. Vernon, Wash. tournaments. And in the prestigious North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) Seattle Invitational, K-Club claimed first place in the A-Major Division.

      Aiming High

    But those tournaments were tune-ups of sorts. For the ultimate prize is winning a NAFA World Series championship – a destination K-Club has been aiming for ten long years.

    And on Aug. 19 in Fargo, North Dakota, K-Club’s dream of a national championship was realized when they won five consecutive games to claim the 10-team, World Series AA-Division title.

    “K-Club has progressively improved over the last nine years,” said co-manager Dan Kolda, who helped found the team with his sons Mike and Rickey. “We have had many successes, but the victory in the AA World Series, especially with all the comeback wins, has to be the most prestigious accomplishment for the program. The effort and contributions from each and every member of this team demonstrated what can be achieved when you have “heart!”

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    2018 NAFA World Series information for teams and fans

    Thursday, August 9th, 2018

    FARGO, No. Dak. – There is no coaches meeting at the NAFA World Series according to NAFA Executive Director, Benji Hedgecock, but he does want managers or team officials to email team rosters with jersey numbers to: or text to 503-864-4487. This information is vital for the statistic program.

      Check In Early At The Ball Park

    Northside Softball Complex
    6101 45th Street North
    Fargo, ND 58102

  • This will give teams time to get all their bats compression tested and stickered using USA Softball bat rules and to check your team in.
  • Teams are allowed to practice at the park on fields 1-5 on your left side as you enter the parking lot. First come first served, but be courteous and share the fields.
  • Visit Play for statistics.
  • Live streaming of games takes place on field 9 and field 10.
  • Jesse Ortiz, pitching in for NAFA and his league

    Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

    JESSE ORTIZ is kept busy at the NAFA World Series checking bats to certifiy that they meet NAFA specifications. Ortiz is in his third year assisting at the NAFA World Series. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series.

    FARGO – At his home ballpark in Southern California, Jesse Ortiz can be found hustling from one field to another. He’s an administrator, a resolver of disputes, he oversees the scorekeepers, and he even does some field maintenance when the need arises.

    Ortiz is the executive director of the Southern California Independent Fastpitch League (SCIFL). It’s a job with a lot of duties and some headaches, but he sets all of that aside when it’s his turn to pitch.

    He works diligently for long hours on several weekends throughout the fastpitch season to ensure that SCIFL Alliance tournaments run smoothly.

    “The SCIFL tournaments went well this year,” said Ortiz, 42. “We did have to cut back on some tournaments because of a conflict with the city (Santa Fe Springs). We had one tournament at Camp Pendleton (Marine Corps Base) and that went well.”

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    Team effort helps NAFA pitcher John Desaulniers achieve special honor

    Saturday, May 27th, 2017

    “Being selected to the 20th Anniversary Team is a true honor that I can’t accept alone because there have been so many players, coaches, managers and sponsors that have helped me out…” – Johnny Desaulniers

    In 2012, Johnny Desaulniers was selected to the NAFA 20th Year Anniversary Team. Contributed Photo

    PINEWOOD, ONTARIO, CA – Johnny Desaulniers remembers his early fastpitch days when as a 12-year-old new to the sport, he did a lot of sitting. But he didn’t idle his time away. He soaked in the action on the ball diamond, and it has paid handsome returns.

    “I spent lots of time on the bench watching and learning from my peers how to play the game,” said Desaulniers, 38. “I was always waiting for the opportunity to get an inning in, or to pinch run. I had lots of people to look up to at the start of my journey in this game, but two men stand out. They are George Oltsher and Bryan Bonot.

    “These two men gave myself and lots of other kids a place and a chance to play. I consider them to be responsible for what I have become as a player today.”

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    TJ Nereng selected Wisconsin’s player of the year

    Thursday, May 4th, 2017

    2016 NAFA WOPLD SERIES, A Division All-World selections from Animal House of La Crosse are, from left, Brian Leonhard, Ethan Ringlien and TJ Nereng. The three award winners helped Animal House finish third in the A Division with a 7-2 record. After losing its opener, Animal House won seven games straight before falling in the losers bracket final. Courtesy Photo.

    “T.J. could have jumped ship and played with stronger teams, but chose to stay and help us grow.” – Animal House Manger Bud Olson

    LA CROSSE, Wisc. – To make Bud Olson’s ball club takes more than just talent. His measuring stick extends yards beyond just physical skills into what lies within the heart, soul and mind of any player wishing to wear the Animal House uniform.

    Mention the name T.J. Nearing and a smile spreads across Olson’s face. He has known T.J. – now in his 30s – since he was a youngster. He watched him evolve into a good athlete in football, basketball and finally fastpitch softball.

    “T.J. is the totally consulate unselfish player,” said Olson. “He is willing to play where we have our greatest need. We value character, too, because it plays a huge role in the overall success of any team.”

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    25th Anniversary of NAFA World Series Heads To North Dakota

    Saturday, April 1st, 2017

    Founded in 1993, NAFA will celebrate its 25th anniversary by holding its 2017 World Series at the new Northside Softball Complex in Fargo, North Dakota, Aug. 9-20.

    FARGO, N.D. – The North American Fastpitch Association was formed in 1993, offering a World Series for boys’ and men’s fastpitch softball teams of all skill levels.

    2017 marks the 25th year the organization has hosted championship tournaments in six divisions: Young men (age 23-under), Open, AA-Major, AA, A-Major and A. And new this year, will be a recreation division for ball clubs recent to the sport.

    The North Dakota cities of FargoWest Fargo and Moorhead, Minn. have the honor and are proud to host the event at its new softball facility: Northside Softball Complex.

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    Yusef Davis Heads Down Under To Hone His Fastpitch Skills

    Friday, December 30th, 2016

    Yusef Davis Jr., reaches up and slaps a high rise ball off BC A’s pitcher Gregg Garrity and reaches safely on an infield single. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2016 SCIFL Tournament

    LONG BEACH, Calif. – For many people, their Christmas wish-list is often filled with requests for material things: like an iPhone 7, a car, or new clothes and jewelry.

    Just like the rest of us, 22-year-old Yusef Davis appreciates the finer things in life, too.

    But the young man from Long Beach wanted more than material things. And he got his Christmas wish and then some with a trip “Down Under” to expand his fastpitch softball horizons.

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    Minnesota’s Hennager Plumbing and Heating wins NAFA World Series Championship

    Sunday, August 14th, 2016
    Hennager Plumbing and Heating, front row, from left: Assistant Coach Jeff Hohenstein, Curt Rogers, Robert Peterson, Lou Heller, Brent Meshke, Jake Dalton, Brandon Friedrichs and Blaid Friedrichs; back row, from left: Dusty Pfeiffer, Justin Davis, Ben Morrison, John Hohenstein, Dan Pawelk, Chris Bambenek, Derek Meshke, Josh Schroeder and Coach Blake Meshke. – Photo By Sheryl Meshke

    Hennager Plumbing and Heating, front row, from left: Assistant Coach Jeff Hohenstein, Curt Rogers, Robert Peterson, Lou Heller, Brent Meshke, Jake Dalton, Brandon Friedrichs and Blaid Friedrichs; back row, from left: Dusty Pfeiffer, Justin Davis, Ben Morrison, John Hohenstein, Dan Pawelk, Chris Bambenek, Derek Meshke, Josh Schroeder and Coach Blake Meshke. – Photo By Sheryl Meshke

    NORTH MANKATO, Minn. – The small town of Lake Crystal (pop. 2,500) lies just 15 miles southwest of North Mankato. Easy traveling distance for the Hennager Plumbing and Heating men’s fastpitch team to travel to North Mankato’s Caswell Park. Easy traveling distance to win a World Series championship.

    And that’s exactly what Hennager did.

    Fueled by a 10-hit attack and the steady pitching of Brent Meshke, Hennager defeated Northern Merchants Fastpitch of New York, 10-1, in five innings to claim the NAFA A-Major World Series championship, Sunday.

    Hennager rolled through the 20-team tournament undefeated at 5-0. They outscored their opponents 38-6, and never scored fewer than six runs in a game.

    “Our team played solid defense,” said manager Blake Meshke. “Offensively, we went back to old-school softball and employed the bunt and run.”

    The NAFA World Series has been held at Caswell Park three times – in 2005, 2008 and 2016. NAFA Executive Director, Benjie Hedgecock, has seen many good teams win championships over the years. And Hennager rates with some of the best.

    “Hennager’s was impressive because of several factors, great coaching, great coacheable players, excellent team speed, and great chemistry,” said Hedgecock. “They had three tough pitchers in Brett Meschke, Lou Heller and Justin Davis.”


    Lake Crystal has a long and distinguished history in men’s fastpitch, dating back to the early 1970s when brothers Ric and Ron Jones started the Lake Crystal Blues. The team won a ASA Class A state championship in the late 1970s.

    And the younger players weren’t to be denied championships either. In 2011, the Lake Crystal boys’ fastpitch team won an ASA National Championship, and LeMay’s of Lake Crystal won the first age 23-Under NAFA World Series in 2005.

    Now Hennager has stepped into the spotlight.

    In the past two years, success has embraced the ball club twice. Along with the NAFA World Series title, Hennager won the 2015 Minnesota Sports Federation (MSF) Class B State Championship.

    The victory over the Northern Merchants marked the second time the two ball clubs met. In the winner’s bracket final, Hennager came out on top, 7-2, sending the Merchants into the loser’s bracket where they defeated Bowen Fastpitch (IL), 7-1, for a second chance at the championship.

    But it was not to be.

    And largely do to the pitching of Meshke, who spun a two-hitter with seven strikeouts, while allowing one earned run. The win improved Meshke to 3-0 in the tournament. His totals read: 15 innings, eight hits allowed, one earned run, with two walks and 21 strikeouts for a miniscule 0.47 ERA.

    Brent Meshke led Hennager with a 3-0 record and was selected the NAFA A-Major World Series Most Valuable Pitcher. Photo By Sheryl Meshke

    Brent Meshke led Hennager with a 3-0 record and was selected the NAFA A-Major World Series Most Valuable Pitcher. Photo By Sheryl Meshke

      THE MVP

    Meshke earned the Most Valuable Pitcher award, his second such honor, as he was selected the MV-Pitcher in the 2015 NAFA World Series by helping the West Fargo Bombers win the A Division championship. And his brother Derek was an All-World pick.

    It was satisfying to help West Fargo win the title last year, but even more special in bringing a championship home to Lake Crystal.

    “It’s a big accomplishment for the Hennager team,” said Meshke. “The teams we played were tough and the pitching we faced was good.”

    Though his 0.47 ERA indicates dominance in the circle, the Hennager batsmen were equally impressive in the batters box, especially when it counted most: in the championship game.


    Batting in the leadoff spot, Jake Dalton went 2-for-4 with two runs in the title game, and throughout the tournament his bat sizzled. In 20 trips to the plate, he smacked 13 hits for an incredible .650 average. He also scored 11 runs and had two RBI.

    Jake Dalton was selected the Most Valuable Player of the 2016 NAFA A-Major World Series. Photo By Sheryl Meshke

    Jake Dalton was selected the Most Valuable Player of the 2016 NAFA A-Major World Series. Photo By Sheryl Meshke

    Dalton’s selection as the World Series Most Valuable Player was an easy choice.

    But he wasn’t the only batter pounding out the hits. In the championship game Dan Pawelk, was clutch in the RBI department, driving in four runs on 2-of-3 at bats, followed by Derek Meshke’s, 2-for-3, with two RBI. Brandon Friedrichs was 2-for-3, Ben Morrison, 1-for-2, and John Hohenstein, 1-for-3.


    Also having an outstanding World Series, and named to the All-World team were pitcher Justin Davis, Chris Bambenek and Dan Pawelk. Davis was 1-0 in 10 innings with four strikeouts and a 2.10 ERA. Davis pitched superbly in Lake Crystal’s 7-2 win in winner’s bracket final over the Merchants.

    Bambanek drove in four runs, scored six, and had a .286 average (4-for-14), while Pawelk led the team in RBI with five, and carried a .300 average (3-for-10).

    In the championship, Northern Merchants’ leadoff batter Wayne Haver and Tyler Mann had the two hits Meshke allowed. Finishing runner-up in this prestigious tournament that draws teams from throughout the United States is a mark to be proud of. And the Merchants should feel good about finishing 4-2 in the four-day classic.