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Pala Braves perfect in winning 2017 Raymond Angulo Memorial Men’s Fastpitch Tournament

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

By ERNIE MAREZ
2017 Raymond Angulo Memorial
Tournament Director

CORONA, Calif. – The Pala Braves swept through the tournament undefeated, but were forced into the ‘if necessary’ game of the double elimination format by the Beaumont Coyotes after the Braves lost in the first championship game.

The Coyotes came out of the losers bracket and played five games on Sunday to reach the final.

TOP THREE PLACES

1. Pala Braves, Pala Band of Mission Indians, Pala, Calif.
2. Beaumont Coyotes, Beaumont, Calif.
3. Patricia’s Mexican Restaurant, Long Beach, Calif.

Successful season earns Yusef Davis a spot on USA Softball’s Pan American fastpitch team

Friday, September 1st, 2017

Possessing speed, quick hands, an aggressive style and commitment to the game, YUSEF DAVIS, JR., 23, of Long Beach, Calif. is well on his way to becoming a star in men’s fastpitch. Here he is seen playing for CR Bartels Farms of Portland, Ore. that won the NAFA AA-Major World Series, Aug. 11, 2017. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

LONG BEACH, Calif. – During the week, Yusef Davis, Jr. can be found near his Long Beach home either in the gym, at the batting cages, or engaged in any kind of sweat-filled labor that will help improve his fastpitch softball skills.

During most weekends, however, he’s anywhere but home.

A search could find him in fastpitch havens such as Wisconsin, New York, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania or Michigan competing in high-caliber fastpitch tournaments.

Only 23 and in his fourth year playing fastpitch, the demand for his talents just keeps on growing.

    TWO GREAT TOURNAMENTS

Prime examples: During the NAFA World Series, he was in Fargo, North Dakota helping CR Bartel Farms, Portland, Ore. win the AA-Major World Series.

And soon after the championship game ended, he was off to Grand Rapids, Michigan to join his Bear Bottom Haymakers of Ephrata, Penn. for the most exclusive of open-caliber tournaments – the International Softball Congress World Tournament.

Those two tournaments were exhilarating for Davis, who possesses great speed both in the outfield and at the plate, and who is rapidly becoming recognized as one of the up-and-coming young stars of the game.

“The experience playing in the ISC and NAFA was breathtaking,” said Davis, who throws and bats left-sided. “Once you realize you’re on the same ballfield as some of the best players in the world, you just can’t help but be proud and humbled.”

CR Bartels swept through the NAFA AA-Major undefeated at 5-0, and the Bear Bottom Haymakers finished ninth in the 24-team ISC World Tournament at 4-2.

Bear Bottom Haymakers manager, Merlin High, was pleased how Davis played the entire year and at the ISC World Tournament for his squad.

“He’s a great defensive player, one of the best who ever played for me,” said High. “His speed is unmatched by anyone in the game, and he’s a good hitter too with some of those hits coming from his speed beating out ground balls. He’s a great teammate, upbeat and positive. I’m hoping he comes back with us next year.”

    SWEAT & TOIL TO BE BETTER

Though he played well and had a successful season, Davis acknowledges that there are areas that need improvement.

“If I could improve in two areas, it would be pitch selection when I’m in the batter’s box,” he said, “and getting even better jumps on the ball in the outfield. During the off season, I’m going to hit the batting cages even more and work on the fundamentals of hitting, and keep working on my slapping and bunting.”

But the off-season workouts will have to wait for he has one very important and prestigious tournament remaining: The World Baseball Softball Confederation X Pan American Fastpitch Championship in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Sept. 15-24.

    PROUD FATHER, SEASONED MENTOR

When Davis got the word that he had been selected to the 15-man roster, he was ecstatic, and he called the one person he knew would be delighted about this honor.

“I called my dad and told him I had made the team,” Davis said. “I know it meant a lot to him. And it means so much for me to represent my country in the sport I have so much passion about.”

Leading up to the Pan Am games, Davis will be consulting with a veteran of USA Softball: Kevin Castillo, who is a teammate of Davis on Those Guys and Patricia’s Mexican restaurant ball clubs from Long Beach.

Castillo, and his father, Paul Castillo, were instrumental in bringing Davis into the sport and nurturing his development.

“Kevin’s always pushing me to be better,” Davis said, “I’ve gotten a lot of help from him on hitting lessons and strategy on defense. Just the confidence he gives me to play at my best is what’s so meaningful.”

    REACHING HIGH, SETTING GOALS

Though he’s still learning, growing, and going through the trials and successes that the sport both challenges and rewards, Davis has set some short-range and long-range goals as well.

In the immediate future, he wants to help USA Softball win the Pan American games, and then if it can be arranged, he would like to take a second trip to New Zealand for a season of “down-under” fastpitch with the Waitakere Bears.

And as for long-range?

“I would love to run softball clinics and coach kids and work with outfielders,” Davis said. “I would like to travel the world playing ball and make as many memories and impact as many young athletes to take the right path as I can – teach one, reach one.”

2017 USA SOFTBALL PAN AMERICAN ROSTER
Kevin Castillo
Jenner Christenson
Joel Cooley
Yusef Davis
Tyler Dudley
Derrick Kennedy
Jonathan Lynch
Tony Mancha
Nick Mullins
Travis Nevin
Jeff Nowacyzk
Erick Ochoa
Cameron Schiller
Chase Turner
Duane Weiler

COACHING STAFF
Gregg Leather, Head Coach
Greg Hicks, Assistant Coach
Nick McCurry
Assistant Coach

In The Spotlight: Kevin Castillo, USA National Team and ISC All-World player

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016
KEVIN CASTILLO of the Vancouver BC A's earned All-World honors at the 2016 ISC World Tournament; his second such award, as he was named All-World in 2015, too. Photo By BOB OTTO

KEVIN CASTILLO of the Vancouver BC A’s earned All-World honors at the 2016 ISC World Tournament; his second such award, as he was named All-World in 2015, too. Photo By BOB OTTO

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Kevin Castillo had a successful 2016 fastpitch season, both with his Long Beach team, Those Guys, and the Vancouver BC Athletics, his club team that finished in the top tier at the ISC World Tournament in Moline, Illinois.

  • ISC performance earns Castillo high tournament honors:
  • He was selected a Second-Team, All-World infielder for helping the Athletics finish fourth in the 36-team field of the best club teams from the U.S. and Canada.

    Click to continue reading “In The Spotlight: Kevin Castillo, USA National Team and ISC All-World player”

    Obregon breaks up pitching duel to lead Patricia’s to Raymond Angulo Memorial championship

    Sunday, September 4th, 2016
    CHAMPIONSHIP BALL CLUB - Patricia's Mexican Restaurant of Long Beach won the 2016 Annual Raymond Angulo Memorial Men's Fastpitch Tournament, Sunday, with a 1-0 victory over the Beaumont Coyotes, which was Patricia's fourth consecutive win. The team consists of Doug Shaw, Joe Jenicke, Kevin Castillo, Peter Basaca, Larry Watts, Lumar Goss, Eddie Mendez, Jason Obregon, Yusef Davis, Jr., and Aaron Vasquez. Photo By BOB OTTO / Sept. 4, 2016

    CHAMPIONSHIP BALL CLUB – Patricia’s Mexican Restaurant of Long Beach won the 2016 Annual Raymond Angulo Memorial Men’s Fastpitch Tournament, Sunday, with a 1-0 victory over the Beaumont Coyotes, which was Patricia’s fourth consecutive win. The team consists of Doug Shaw, Joe Jenicke, Kevin Castillo, Peter Basaca, Larry Watts, Lumar Goss, Eddie Mendez, Jason Obregon, Yusef Davis, Jr., and Aaron Vasquez. Photo By BOB OTTO / Sept. 4, 2016

    CORONA, Calif. – Lumar Goss refused to budge and Kirk Walker wouldn’t blink, so Jason Obregon took matters into his own hands.

    The right-side hitter delivered the big blow to give Patricia’s Mexican Restaurant of Long Beach a 1-0 victory over the Beaumont Coyotes, Sunday, in the championship game of the Raymond Angulo Memorial Men’s Fastpitch Tournament at Promenade Park in Corona.

    Through four innings Patricia’s Goss and the Coyotes’ Walker were locked in a scoreless pitching duel. But in the fifth with two out, Patricia’s got a big break when Kevin Castillo reached second base safely on an infield throwing error. And Obregon followed by drilling a clean single into left-centerfield to score the game-winner.

    The win was the fourth straight for Patricia’s and Goss, who pitched in every game and was nearly unhittable on Sunday, when he beat the Coyotes twice, 3-1, in the morning’s winner’s bracket final, and then five hours later in the championship.

    In the championship, he fired a two-hitter with 11 strikeouts, just slightly better than his three-hitter in the first game. What was so effective in holding a good-hitting Coyotes squad in check?

    “The down ball,” said Goss. “When I kept it on the corners it was money. But the Coyotes are great fighters to the last out.”

    Click to continue reading “Obregon breaks up pitching duel to lead Patricia’s to Raymond Angulo Memorial championship”