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Softball: Northern Michigan Fastpitch wins Rex Marquardt Memorial

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Courtesy PhotoThe Northern Michigan Fastpitch softball team finished with a 4-1 record to capture the Rex Marquardt Memorial Tournament at Petoskey’s Bayfront Park Ed White Field Sunday. Northern Michigan Fastpitch defeated the Lightning of Marshall, 9-2, in the championship game. Courtesy Photo

With players from Petoskey, Midland and Argentina, Northern Michigan Fastpitch captured the Rex Marquardt Memorial Softball Tournament at Petoskey’s Bayfront Park’s Ed White Field.

Drew Kochanny / Petoskey News

PETOSKEY, Mich. – Northern Michigan Fastpitch earned the championship game win Sunday over the Lightning from Marshall, 9-2.

Northern Michigan Fastpitch compiled a 3-1 record in pool play, as did the Lightning.

In the championship game, NM Fastpitch, who was playing with members of Argentina’s National Team, was led by Sisko Sabate on the mound with six strikeouts and one walk as the winning pitcher.

Shae Bryant had three hits for NM Fastpitch, including a double and a home run. Sabate and Caleb Roberts also added two hits each, with Roberts adding a home run.Continue Reading

Michigan team stings the ball in NAFA A World Series

Monday, August 19th, 2013 Northern Michigan Fastpitch from front left, Tom Tryban, Randy Wheelock, Shelley Bush, John Bush, Joe Barnette, Devin Milheim. Back row, left, Guy Thurston, Dylan Goddahee, Greg Heath, Dale Churchill, Matt Wright and Lee Wyckoff. Photo By BOB OTTO

DES MOINES, IOWA – Northern Michigan Fastpitch drew a healthy dose of respect and perhaps more than a little fear from the pitchers who had to face them from the 46-foot pitching rubber in the NAFA A World Series.

The team, which is largely from the Petoskey area locted on the northern tip of Michigan’s thumb, crushed the ball over the four day world series, by scoring 71 runs in seven games.

And if not for a hard-fought 10-9 loss to the eventual champion Long Beach Wolfpack, this team might be celebrating a championship today.

“This team can hit the heck out of the ball,” said manager John Bush, who runs the team with his wife Shelley, who serves as the general manager.

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Kiwi and converted slowpitch players impressive in NAFA A World Series

Monday, August 19th, 2013 Many who saw Ethan Johnston, just 18 years old, pitch in the 2013 NAFA A World Series, believe he has a bright future in the sport. Photo By BOB OTTO

URBANDALE, IOWA – The five foot nine, 160 pound, 18-year-old New Zealander with hair hanging off his shoulders looked more like a drummer in a rock band than a fastpitch softball pitcher.

But with a circular whip of his skinny – but strong – right arm and a snap of his wrist, Ethan Johnston worked magic with a softball, sending it spinning sharply upward, or darting suddenly downward during the four days of the NAFA A World Series.

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Long Beach Wolfpack’s hitting comes alive to take NAFA championship

Monday, August 19th, 2013

wolfpack.celebrate.254web The Long Beach Wolfpack celebrate their 7-3 NAFA A World Series victory over the Kansas City Outlaws, Sunday, at Urbandale’s Walker-Johnstoton Softball Complex. Photo By BOB OTTO

URBANDALE, IOWA – Getting shutout doesn’t sit so well with the Long Beach, California Wolfpack. Especially after averaging nearly nine runs in reaching the championship game of the NAFA A World Series with a 5-0 record.

But then they ran into a wall. An 18-year-old wall named Ethan Johnston pitching for the Kansas City Outlaws.

The right-hander from New Zealand who turned 18 in the World Series, saddled the Wolfpack with a three-hit, 6-0 loss in Sunday’s first meeting. Now with one loss a piece in the double-knockout tournament, the two ball clubs played a second game to decide who would wear the crown of “World Series champions.”


This time around though, Long Beach prevailed as their bats came alive. The Wolfpack pounded out 12 hits in defeating Johnston and the Outlaws 7-3 late Sunday at Urbandale’s Walker-Johnston Softball Complex.

“I think we were pressing in the first game,” said Wolfpack manager and catcher, Jesse Mullen. “We were a little too excited and not relaxed. In the second game, we went in loose and I think we got to (Johnston’s) rise ball. He had to throw other pitches, and when he did we were able to hit the ball.”

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Grumpy’s and Merchants hammer each other

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

DES MOINES – The NAFA A World Series has had its share of high scores. For example, the California Wolfpack defeated the Long Beach Black Sox, 12-9.

That easily qualifies as a slugfest in men’s fastpitch softball.

But the game between Grumpy’s Bar of Iowa and the Northern Michigan Merchants, Friday, borders on the ridiculous.

The numbers back up my claim: 31 runs were scored on 36 hits with eight home runs, and when the bats were finally put away (to the pitchers’ sighs of relief), the Merchants had prevailed, 19-12, in NAFA A World Series quarterfinal play late Friday.

The hitters and home run “pitcher bashers” from the merchants were Randy Wheelock, Dave Milheim, Guy Thurston, Joe Barnette and Tom Tryban with one a piece.

Grumpy’s fence busters were Ryan Smuck, Levi Fryslie and Seth Kloetzer with one each.

I’m not going to even mention the RBIs, that was impressive as well.

Both teams used two pitchers, and they all got roughed up, but the Merchants Matt Wright did a decent job in 4 2/3 innings of relief. He gave up four earned runs on six hits, didn’t walk any batters and struck out six.

I don’t know if this score or hits or home runs are a NAFA record, but It surely has to be near the top. Oh, there was one other game in which a team scored 24 runs. I stand corrected.

The Merchants take their lumber into the semifinals of the winners bracket where they take on the California Wolfpack at 2 p.m. at Walker-Johnston Softball Complex, today.