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Old backyard friend gets a reprieve

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

060214-Plum_Tree.867lr The old plum tree has lost some limbs and has been decaying, but in its 62 years of living and growing in the Otto’s backyard, it continues to produce delicious Santa Rosa plums year after year. Photo By BOB OTTO

YUCAIPA, Calif. – Our backyard has long been anchored by two old fruit trees, an apple and a plum. In the 35 years we’ve lived in the home, both trees have born lush fruit. Never failing, year after.

Our deed states the home was built in 1952. So I’m guessing the trees were planted about the same time. So bushels and bushels of plums and apples have been picked or fallen from those two trees. Not only feeding my family and friends, but also the flock of wild parrots that seem to know just when the fruit is ripe and ready for gorging.

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WCFA gearing up for 2014, hosting popular Reno Shootout

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014


BILLINGS, MT – Bob Chapel, president of the West Coast Fastpitch Association announces that the WCFA 2014 schedule has been completed with travel league and tournament dates listed (with possibly more events to come).

The first big tournament is the 4th Annual Reno Shootout, May 17-18, at the Shadow Mountain Sports Complex in the City of Sparks, Nevada.

This is a NAFA qualifier.

Winners in the upper and lower divisions will receive a paid berth into the NAFA World Series in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois. The exact berth amount will be determined by the number of teams participating in the Shootout.

The entry fee is $400.

For Information, contact Bob Chapel at 406-690-0664.

Mailing address:
Robert Chapel
West Coast Fastpitch Association
1165 Capricorn Place
Billings, MT 59105

Jim Cowdrey, at the top of the class in men’s fastpitch softball

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Cowdry.Jim.1web Jim Cowdrey of Saskatchewan, Canada pitching for Class Walls of Whiteford, Maryland in the 1995 ISC World Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa. Cowdrey pitched Rempel Bros. of Saskatchewan to provincial and Canadian championships and was as much a great hitter as pitcher. Photo Illustration By BOB OTTO

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN – The Saskatoon Rempel Brothers senior men’s softball team was formed in 1985, won the Saskatchewan title in its first year, and then won the Saskatchewan and Canadian championships in 1987.

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Day Named Co-Most Valuable Pitcher of NAFA World Series

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

wolfpack.doom.debbie.322web Pitcher Debby Day helped the Long Beach Wolfpack win the 2013 NAFA A World Series in Des Moines and Urbandale, Iowa, Aug. 18, 2013. Photo By BOB OTTO /

Release by Tracy Maple

URBANDALE, Iowa – Debby Day is no stranger to the softball diamond in the NCAA. For the last two summers she has made her mark by trading her coaching shoes for playing cleats, taking her talents to the North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA), an organization that hosts the largest men’s fastpitch softball tournament in the world.

Not only has she defied the gender barrier, but in 2013 she was named the NAFA A World Series co-Most Valuable Pitcher for her performance in the circle for the World Series Champion Long Beach Wolfpack.

Undeterred from the fact that it is a men’s league, Day has proven her ability to not only play with and against the competition of her male opponents, but to succeed. During the week, Day produced an overall record of 4-1 with a 2.56 ERA in 30 innings with 14 strike outs.

Though the environment was hostile last year, it was a completely different atmosphere this time around.

“Honestly, it was one of the coolest playing experiences I have had in a while,” she shared. “Not only were the opposing teams and fans accepting, but having the other Southern California teams out there watching us on Sunday was really incredible and we were very appreciative of that support.”

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2012 NAFA World Series information, more to come

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

The Capitol Plaza Hotel And Convention Center Topeka offers all the amenities that ball players and fans could possibly want. Be sure to visit the hotel and convention center’s website listed below for information.

DAYTON, OR – Only 35 days remain before the start of the 20th anniversary of the 2012 NAFA World Series in Topeka, Kansas.

Here are just a few details with more to come:

Topeka, Kansas has 12 fields in three beautiful four-field parks. Topeka is just outside Kansas City and has great historical significance, a beautiful water park, great hotels and will embrace our players in a special way.

  • We have invited Ball Park Radio to come to Topeka, Kansas with Jim Flanagan & Company covering games
  • We have invited Maddy Flanagan to add her “special” touch to team and action photography
  • We have invited Bob Otto to be reporting game results and special interest stories
  • The Seven Founders of NAFA Will be honored. And every 2012 Hall of Fame member present will be honored, and the Hall of Fame Members will be inducted in a special ceremony.

    Our 20th Anniversary ALL-NAFA Team will be announced. (Any guesses? Comment on your predictions.)

    We will again extend everyone’s vacation by having all teams play a four-game minimum (details coming).


      “AA” will be Aug. 9-12 (early on the 12th so that teams playing both NAFA “AA” and ISC can do both)
      “A-Major” will be Aug. 9-12
      19-Under will be Aug. 11-12
      “A” will be Aug. 16-19
      “AA-Major” will be Aug. 17-19 for teams after they are out of the ISC and ISC II World Tournament
      Young Men’s 23-Under will be Aug. 17-19

    HOST HOTEL SPECIAL RATE of $74 (1-4 per room)

    Call DENA and ASK for “NAFA” RATE and at 1-800-579-7937

    or email her at

    Be sure to visit the Capitol Plaza Hotel And Convention Center Topeka: Capital Plaza Hotel

    Remembering the Killer and his tape measure home runs

    Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

    Bob Otto and Harmon Killebrew have their picture taken at Quakes Stadium in Rancho Cucamonga.

    YUCAIPA, CA – Late into the night, lying on my bed in my upstairs farmhouse bedroom, I would listen to Twins games on the old Motorola. Listening and hoping the Killer would crush another of his tape measure home runs.

    Back in the early 1960s I was a true Minnesota Twins fan. And my favorite ball player was Hall of Famer, Harmon Killebrew.

    But we – his loyal fans – preferred to call him Killer.

    Killebrew swung a bat harder than anyone in the game. Killebrew didn’t just hit home runs, he crushed them.

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    Vintage cars the envy of the neighborhood

    Monday, November 30th, 2009

    Photos By Bob Otto / Freelance Writer & Photographer

    CALIMESA, CA – When Dan Healy backs either one of his cars out of his garage, some of his neighbors turn a bit green with envy. For one of those cars is a 1961 Chevrolet Impala convertible, while the other is a 1924 Ford Model T. Two vintage automobiles that turn heads wherever Healy drives them.

    But what’s even more impressive is the history behind Healy’s collection. They’ve been in the family for a combined 133 years. Since they first rolled off the car dealers’ showroom floors.

    Healy’s late wife, Beverly, bought the Impala from her father, who owned a Chevrolet dealership in Toluca, Illinois. When Beverly saw the white Impala with black convertible top and wide, white-stripped tires, she wanted it.

    “I was single at the time and with her when she bought it new in the fall of 1960,” Healy said. “It was parked in the showroom and she said, ‘I like the looks of that car.’”

    And so it seems, do others. Healy says he will never sell the car, but one potential buyer made a strong pitch. “This guy said he would give me $100,000,” he said. “I told him no, but he said, ‘name your price.’”

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    A reminder Minnesota, winter is on its way

    Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

    On the “sunny” side, the Saint Paul Winter Carnival (January 21-31) is a great winter event to attend in Minnesota.
    Photos of 2009 Saint Paul Winter Carnival By BOB OTTO / Photographer & Writer

    YUCAIPA, CA – I bow my head in shame. For I have shirked my duties as a journalist. It is my obligation to investigate and inform.

    And in some cases, to enlighten and remind.

    So with deep humility, please accept my apology for …

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    Lee’s great but he ain’t no Zack

    Saturday, October 31st, 2009

    Photos of 1995 ISC World Tournament.
    By BOB OTTO / Writer & Photographer

    YUCAIPA, CA – The Philadelphia Phillies Cliff Lee is a great baseball pitcher. And the number he did on the Yankees in the opening game of the World Series is remarkable: A complete game, six hits allowed along with 10 strikeouts in Philadelphia’s, 6-1, win.

    But Lee ain’t no Darren Zack.

    Click to continue reading “Lee’s great but he ain’t no Zack”

    DNA test for Tassie

    Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

    YUCAIPA, CA – I’ve read about a DNA test for dogs that can determine their pedigree. I’m thinking of ordering one for Tassie. But I’m afraid of the results.

    A little Golden Retriever, definitely. Some Springer Spaniel, no doubt.

    Beaver? Quite possibly. Woodchuck, maybe that too.

    Click to continue reading “DNA test for Tassie”