Paul Castillo

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Bouley and Davis learning fastpitch the New Zealand way

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

TYLER BOULEY, left, and YUSEF DAVIS are playing fastpitch in New Zealand with the goal to improve their games for the upcoming 2017 North American fastpitch season. Courtesy Photo

NEW ZEALAND – It’s the off season for North American fastpitch and for most players, they’ve switched uniforms for a winter sport like basketball or hockey. Or they’re pumping iron at a fitness center muscling-up for the coming season.

Hitting, pitching, fielding? Not for a few months yet.

But not so for Yusef Davis and Tyler Bouley. These two young and budding stars – Davis, 22, and Bouley, 21 – shunned taking the winter off and instead boarded a plane for New Zealand.

All with the purpose of improving and pushing themselves to reach new heights in the sport they profess to love. As the saying goes, “to be the best you can be.”

Fastpitch is a pitcher’s game. Talented ones typically dominate hitters. So where better to improve one’s hitting than in pitching-rich New Zealand.

    TOUCH CHUCKERS

Bouley got a good feel for just how good these Kiwi hurlers are almost as soon as he landed.

“It has really helped my game because you don’t have to travel to (face) a quality pitcher,” said Bouley, who plays for Northcote Softball Club. “Every premiere team has a pitcher that either has competed at the (International Softball Congress World Tournament) or is capable of competing at the ISC. Two of the best I’ve faced so far are Bailey Hoani and Josh Pettett.”

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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.

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    In The Spotlight: Yusef Davis, Southern California’s fast-rising star in men’s fastpitch

    Saturday, August 27th, 2016
    Yusef Davis of Long Beach, Calif. played in the ISC World Tournament with the New York Peligro Gremlins, and also in the NAFA A-Division World Series for the Beaumont, Calif. Coyotes. He batted .375 in the world Tournament, and was selected to the NAFA All-World Team. Courtesy Photo

    Yusef Davis of Long Beach, Calif. played in the ISC World Tournament with the New York Peligro Gremlins, and also in the NAFA A-Division World Series for the Beaumont, Calif. Coyotes. He batted .375 in the world Tournament, and was selected to the NAFA All-World Team. Courtesy Photo

    LONG BEACH, Calif. – He’s young, he’s fast, he can drop down a bunt, slap or send a stinging line drive into the gap, and with his speed, he can cover the outfield like a cheetah.

    Oh, one other thing, Yusef Davis in his few short years playing men’s fastpitch, has been smitten by the game. So much so, that earlier in the season, he paid his own way to play in the USA Softball Men’s Invitational Fastpitch Tournament in Ashland, Ohio in June.

    The money he spent has paid dividends: He made second-team, All-Tournament and caught the eye of the New York Peligro Gremlins, a major men’s fastpitch team that finished the season ranked No. 8 by the International Softball Congres.

    Peligro picked him up for the ISC World Tournament in Moline, IL, and the 22-year-old played very well. In his first game, he went 3-for-3 and drove in two runs, and overall, finished the tournament with a .375 average. Peligro went 2-2 and finished 16th in the 36-team field.

    He was disappointed the the tournament came to an end in a 2-0 loss to the Kegel Black Knights of Fargo, ND. But he’s grateful for the experience and plans for more world tournament’s in his future. He added that facing the world’s top pitchers was quite an eye opener.

    “The experience was unbelievable,” said Davis. “It’s a tournament I’ll never forget. The pitching was unreal. I faced Sebastian Gervasutti from Circle Tap Dukes and he threw really well, and had a good curve pitch and a sneaky drop pitch.”

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    Around the ball yard at the SCIFL Alliance Tournament

    Thursday, June 30th, 2016
    Jesse Ortiz is the president of the So. California Independent Fastpitch League (SCIFL), and he also pitches for the So. Cal Bandits. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Jesse Ortiz is the president of the So. California Independent Fastpitch League (SCIFL), and he also pitches for the So. Cal Bandits. Photo By BOB OTTO

    SANTA FE SPRINGS, Calif. – I had never been to Little Lake Park in Santa Fe Springs, either as a player or reporter. But after my visit Saturday, June 25, for the So. California Independent Fastpitch League Alliance Tournament, I give the venue where SCIFL plays most of its tournament games, a thumbs-up.

    The four ball diamonds are within easy walking distance for teams and fans. It’s a relief to not have to drive back and forth between distant ball fields. And there’s plenty of shade trees to cool off for players, families and fans.

    HE DOES IT ALL – SCIFL President Jesse Ortiz must be exhausted after these two-day SCIFL tournaments held throughout the fastpitch season. Ortiz does it all – from recruiting teams, making out the bracket, prepping the fields, setting up the scorekeepers at each ball diamond, and even doing a little fencing.

    Ortiz, with the help of just one volunteer, erected fencing around two of the ball fields. Twice. On Saturday night, he had to take down the temporary fencing for fear of having it stolen by thieves in the middle of the night. Then early Sunday morning, he had to put the fencing back up.

    All this work is complicated by one other matter: Ortiz pitches for the So. Cal Bandits. One minute I saw him raking and prepping a field, the next he’s on the rubber pitching. Very few in fastpitch work as hard as this man running a league. Ortiz also said that a good Mexican team contacted him about playing in an upcoming SCIFL tournament.

    ELI SALAZAR MAKES THE BIG SHOW – A versatile player, Salazar started playing in 1996 at the lower levels. But last year, while playing for J & B Painting, he got the chance to play in his first ISC World Tournament. Stepping into the batter’s box against three of the world’s best and hardest throwing pitchers was a big challenge, but one he embraced.

    “I faced Adam Folkard (Most Valuable Pitcher for the tournament champion United Hill Chiefs), Sean Cleary (second-team, all-world pitcher for runner-up Toronto Gators), and Juan Potolicchio,” said Salazar, who also plays and pitches for Those Guys of Long Beach. “Playing against them is fastpitch at it’s best. The ISC World Tournament is the major leagues of fastpitch. I learned that I can compete against that kind of pitching.”

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    Those Guys Bringing Young Guys Into Fastpitch

    Wednesday, April 13th, 2016
    Those Guys fastpitch team of Long Beach, Calif., has five high school players on its roster, along with a good veteran core. In early April, the team finished runner-up to J & B Painting (an ISC caliber team) in a So. Calif. Independent Fastpitch League (SCIFL) tournament. Courtesy photo / SCIFL

    Those Guys fastpitch team of Long Beach, Calif., has five high school players on its roster, along with a good veteran core. In early April, the team finished runner-up to J & B Painting (an ISC caliber team) in a So. Calif. Independent Fastpitch League (SCIFL) tournament. Courtesy photo / SCIFL

    LONG BEACH, Calif. – In the late 1970s, Paul Castillo and a few of his fastpitch buddies decided to start a team. But what to name it? How about Those Guys, suggested Castillo.

    Approval was given, and now almost 40 years later, Those Guys are still playing the game they love in So. Calif.

    In the early years, veterans made up a good share of the roster. But over the past several years, Castillo has made a concerted effort to bring young players into the fold.

    Most ball clubs prefer veterans over untested rookies. After all, there’s no training involved with proven veterans; whereas with many rookies, it can be a struggle to learn the nuances of a new sport.

      GIVING THE KIDS A CHANCE

    And besides, Castillo, now 58, remembers as a teenager he was given the opportunity to play.

    “When I was 18, I was given a chance to play,” said Castillo. “It’s the reason I give my young guys a chance. There’s teams that want all veterans, but we’ve got to develop kids (for the sport to grow), and they need somewhere to play.”

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    Love leads Lumar Goss to fastpitch softball

    Monday, April 11th, 2016

    14-HitmenGossLumar.51lr Lumar Goss pitching in the 2014 Beaumont Coyotes 4th of July Tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

    LONG BEACH, Calif. – As a youngster, Lumar Goss played two sports, football and basketball. He loved hitting people and putting a ball through the hoop. Baseball? No, he never played the sport.

    So it stands to reason that fastpitch softball wasn’t even on his radar. That is, until he met the love of his life, Julie Castillo, and her fastpitch-passionate father Paul Castillo. Just 19 at the time, young Lumar had to make a choice: play a sport he never heard of, or give up the girl.

      LOVE ON CONDITION

    “My wife’s father gave me the ultimatum, play fastpitch or I couldn’t date his daughter,” said Lumar with a chuckle.

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