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Inspired Len’s Automotive defeats Duluth Fastpitch to claim NAFA A Division World Series

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

2017 NAFA A Division World Series Champion Len’s Automotive of St. Paul, Minn. includes back row from left, Alex Farber, shortstop and NAFA A MVP, West St Paul;  Pat Hoban, right-field, St. Paul; Joe Ganther, pitcher, NAFA A Honorable Mention, Apple Valley; Tim Schuhwerck, pitcher and co-Most Outstanding Pitcher, St. Paul; Justin Olson, first base, St. Paul; Jim Washenberger first base and manager, St. Paul; Nick Leach, third base, Burnsville. Front Row, from left, Corey Noren, catcher and NAFA A Honorable Mention, St. Paul; Willie Faricy, second base and NAFA A All-World, Rosemount; Dave Zschokke, catcher, Little Canada; Chad Washenberger, pitcher and NAFA A All-World, St. Paul;  Kyle Pobanz, centerfielder and NAFA A All-World, St. Paul, and Chris Bogie, left-fielder, St. Paul. Photo By ANNIE SATTERLEE

FARGO – At the start of the season, Len’s Automotive was searching for some sort of positive message that would unite and inspire the team in every game, in every inning.

Kyle Pobanz and Nick Leach fashioned just the right slogans for the St. Paul squad to rally around.

“The start for each day was Kyle Pobanz telling the team, “why not us, why not now,” said Joe Ganther, who pitches and plays the infield. “And the rally cry for every inning was Nick Leach bellowing, “we’re winning every inning!”

    DOMINATING PERFORMANCE

Len’s Auto responded to the inspiring mantras by rolling through the NAFA A Division World Series undefeated and defeating Duluth Fastpitch, 5-1, in the title game at Northside Softball Complex, Sunday, Aug. 20.

Len’s clung to a 1-0 lead in the early going before breaking the game open with three runs in the fourth inning and a solo in the sixth.

In the fourth, Justin Olson got the offense started with a single, followed by Willie Faricy’s double and Nick Leach’s hit, with all three batsmen driving in a run.

    RELIEVER PUTS THE FIRE OUT

Duluth responded by loading the bases in the sixth on two hit batters and a single. A third hit batter brought in a run, but Tim Schuhwerck, called on to relieve starter Chad Washenberger, stopped the hemorrhaging by spinning a drop ball and getting a double play to end the inning.

Len’s got the run back in its half of the sixth on Olson’s sacrifice fly to deep centerfield that sent Pat Hoban trotting home. Hoban opened the inning with a triple to the base of the right-field fence.

Schuhwerck hurled a clean seventh and after his last pitch, Len’s Auto commenced to celebrating. In the previous five years of competing in the World Series, the highest Len’s Auto had ever finished was ninth.

Living up to Pobanz and Leach’s slogans surely helped in an inspirational way, but to win NAFA championships takes skillful gloves, arms and bats.

    LINEUP OF TOUGH OUTS

“We’ve always been strong on defense and pitching,” said first baseman and manager Jim Washenberger, “it’s the backbone of the team. But our hitting got hot here.”

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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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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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Wisconsin NAFA State Tournament Bracket

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

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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NAFA Men’s Fastpitch Tournament Memorial Day Weekend In Newberg, Oregon

Monday, May 8th, 2017

NEWBERG, Ore. – The first annual President Hoover Fastpitch Tournament, Memorial Day weekend, May 27-28, 2017 will be held in Newberg Oregon.

Tournament Director, Shayne Arndt, NAFA Oregon State Director is initiating this tournament with the support of Benjie Hedgecock, NAFA President, to keep the spirit of the historic Boatnik tourney in Grant’s Pass, Oregon going.

“I want to help fastpitch continue in Oregon and the northwest,” Arndt said. “I see this tournament having the potential to thrive as part of the NAFA circuit with the holiday weekend and close proximity to the Portland airport for teams traveling in the future.”

    CONTACT INFORMATION

North American Fastpitch Association
Benjie Hedgecock, Executive Director
Nafafastpitch@gmail.com
503-559-5398 cell,503-864-4487 work, fax 503-864-3939
PO Box 566 Dayton, Or, 97114

2017 Wisconsin NAFA Men’s Fastpitch State Tournament

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

Register now for 2017 NAFA Boys World Series

Monday, March 13th, 2017

VASSAR, Mich. – Contact Corey Haubenstricker for information on how to register your boys’ team in the North American Fastpitch Association World Series.

  • Corey@irdhomes.com
  • 989-529-9184
  • 321 Prospect St.
    Vassar, MI 48768
  • Still time to play in the 2016 NAFA World Series

    Thursday, August 4th, 2016

    DAYTON, Ore. – For teams and players who have yet to register to play in the 2016 NAFA World Series in North Mankato, Minnesota, you can still do so. But time is running short.

    “We would love to have (more teams) come and participate in our World Series,” said Hedgecock. “Or if you want to play, but don’t have a team, let us know and we will find you one.”

    The three divisions still open for registration

  • Aug. 18-21 Men’s “A” (lowest level)
  • Aug. 19-21 Men’s “AA”
  • Aug. 19-21 “23-Under” (no time conflicts with other divisions on Friday or Saturday nights)
  • Contact NAFA Executive Director Benjie Hedgecock and register now.
    Phone: 503-559-5398
    Email: Nafafastpitch@gmail.com

    From the Land of Oz a Wizard of a men’s fastpitch team

    Monday, October 12th, 2015
    The Wizards of Oz from Kansas took runner-up in the 2014 Topeka Fiesta tournament, losing to the Topeka Toros in the championship. Front row, left, Gary Starkel, Chaz Williams, Niran Buckley, Jeff Tarwater, Ray Foster, and Colton Wray. Back row, left, Grady Wray, Colby Miller, Adam Henry, Kyle Starkel, Norm Hancock, Jarrod Lamott, and Tony Buckley.  Photo courtesy of Jeff Tarwater, player / manager

    The Wizards of Oz from Kansas took runner-up in the 2014 Topeka Fiesta tournament, losing to the Topeka Toros in the championship. Front row, left, Gary Starkel, Chaz Williams, Niran Buckley, Jeff Tarwater, Ray Foster, and Colton Wray. Back row, left, Grady Wray, Colby Miller, Adam Henry, Kyle Starkel, Norm Hancock, Jarrod Lamott, and Tony Buckley. Photo courtesy of Jeff Tarwater, player / manager

    SILVER LAKE, Kan. – Should you go searching for Oz, Kansas, good luck in finding it. For it’s a magical, mythical place involving a cast of characters including a young girl named Dorothy, her dog Toto, a scarecrow, a tin man and a cowardly lion, wicked witches and a sham of a wizard.

    Most people are familiar with the Wizard of Oz. And by now are scratching their heads asking, “Okay, I’ve read the book and seen the movie, but what does it have to do with men’s fastpitch softball?”

    Well, one of the longest running teams in Kansas has embraced the classic fairy tale by spinning it into some good-natured fun and parlaying it into one of the most recognizable names in men’s fastpitch: Wizards of Oz.

      HAVING FUN WITH OZ

    Many folks believe that a town called Oz does exist claims Wizards of Oz player / manager Jeff Tarwater. And the charismatic team leader does little to change their perception.

    “My friend Mike Watson (NAFA Vice President) back in 2009 asked me, ‘why don’t you just tell people we are from Oz?’ I thought about it, and decided to have some fun with it,” said Tarwater. “Of course, that town doesn’t really exist, but it does get conversations started no matter where we go.”

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