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Bowen Fastpitch takes home the NAFA A-Major championship

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

The 2017 NAFA A-Major World Series champion Bowen Fastpitch of Bowen, IL, includes Collin Hopkins, Julian Fernandez, Eneas Erbes, Conrado Zanuttini, Austin Ramsey, Facundo Gonzales, Tyler Maskey, Lavern Martin, Zack Barnhart, Alejo Munoz, Tanner Maskey, Dean Lambert and manager Rocco Ramsey. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2017 NAFA World Series

FARGO – They’re young but experienced, confident but not arrogant, and as for talent, Bowen Fastpitch of Bowen, Ill. has plenty of it.

With a lineup of Americans and Argentinians, Bowen swept through the 30-team NAFA A-Major World Series with a 5-0 record, culminating in a rain-shortened, 5-0, victory over R.M. Kurtz of Ephrata, Penn. on Sunday afternoon at Northside Softball Complex.

In the third inning, heavy rain flooded the field and after a short conference, tournament officials and both managers agreed the game was impossible to continue.

Since Bowen was undefeated, while R.M. Kurtz had one loss – administered by Bowen in a 1-0 victory in the winner’s bracket final – it was only logical that Bowen would go home with the first-place trophy.

In Bowen’s march to the championship, the hitters hammered nearly every pitcher they faced, outscoring the opposition 39-6.

“We came out and our sticks were alive,” said Bowen manager Rocco Ramsey. “We came here ready to compete.”

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Fernandez hurls Bowen Fastpitch into the NAFA A-Major championship game

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

JULIAN FERNANDEZ pitched Bowen Fastpitch of Illinois to a 1-0 victory over RM Kurtz of Pennsylvania in the winner’s bracket final of the NAFA World Series A-Major Division Saturday night at Northside Softball Complex. The 19-year-old has won all four of Bowen’s games in the 30-team tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO / Aug. 12, 2017

FARGO – It’s not always wise to come to an international fastpitch tournament with one pitcher. But that’s what Bowen Fastpitch has done.

How’s it worked out? So far just fine as long as Julian Fernandez is in the circle

The right-handed, 19-year-old Argentinian pitched two shutouts on Saturday in the 30-team, A-Major Division to help advance Bowen into Sunday’s championship game.

In the tournament Fernandez is 4-0 and has pitched 24 innings, allowed six runs and struck out 37 batters.

Fernandez was nearly untouchable in beating the California Buzzards, 12-0, earlier in the semi-finals, and even better in the winner’s bracket final. He held a young and talented RM Kurtz of Pennsylvania to three hits in a tense and thrilling 1-0 victory, setting aside 10 on strikeouts with sharp-breaking risers and drops, while walking only one.

“He has pitched every inning for us and he has been good,” said Bowen manager Rocco Ramsey.

And Fernandez can swing the bat. With his speed, he often leads off. In the tournament he is batting .400 and has scored five runs.

Bowen Fastpitch second baseman Alejo “Chaco” Munoz tries to pick off an RM Kurtz base runner during Bowen’s 1-0 victory in the NAFA A-Major World Series winner’s bracket final. Photo By BOB OTTO / Aug. 12, 2017

In Saturday’s nightcap with RM Kurtz, he led off the game and reached second base on an infield error, and came around to score the game’s only run on Conrado Zanattini’s single to left field.

From then on, the game settled into a pitching duel. RM Kurtz sent 20-year-old Derek Martin to the circle and he responded brilliantly, giving up just four hits with five strikeouts.

RM Kurtz had a golden opportunity in the top of the seventh to tie the game when Matt Spitler doubled up the middle to lead off the inning. But Fernandez struck out the next two batters and he scooped up a hard-hit ground ball and threw to first to lock up the game.

The loss drops RM Kurtz into the loser’s bracket where they must win once for a return engagement with Bowen to decide the championship.

And without much doubt, Julian Fernandez will be in the circle.

The A-Major championship is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Sunday at Northside Softball Complex. Should Bowen lose the first game, a second will follow soon after in the double-elimination format.

  • Click on NAFA World Series Brackets for information on the A-Major and Recreational tournament.
  • Bowen Fastpitch takes third at NAFA World Series

    Sunday, August 14th, 2016
    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

    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

    NORTH MANKATO, Minn. – After dropping its opening game of the NAFA A-Major World Series, Bowen Fastpitch marched through the loser’s bracket winning six straight games before losing to the Northwest Merchants of New York, 7-1, to finish third at 6-2 in the 20-team field.

    Hats off to Bowen Fastpitch, a long-time loyalist to NAFA that won the NAFA A Division championship in 2014, the first NAFA title for the ball club from Bowen, Illinois (pop. 500).

    Bowen is led by Rocco Ramsey, a voracious leader and promoter of men’s fastpitch, who was inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame in 2012.

    2014 NAFA World Series magazine sent to the publisher

    Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

    Cover of 2014 NAFA World Series magazine

    Cover of 2014 NAFA World Series magazine


    YUCAIPA, Calif. – I’ve sent my magazine entitled, 2014 NAFA World Series, to the publisher, but waiting for a hard copy to finish the final edit before releasing for purchase.

    The magazine’s 112 pages contain dozens of photos, championship game stories and results (AA-Major, AA, A-Major, A, 23-Under, Wood Bat, and Masters East and West), feature stories, NAFA Hall of Fame stories, and a look at past World Series feats & stats of some of the games biggest stars.

    Bats heat up and blast Bowen Fastpitch to NAFA World Series A Division Championship

    Monday, August 18th, 2014
    WORLD SERIES CHAMPS! The Bowen Fastpitch team includes Corey Ramsey, Jack Carlisle, Shawn Altgilbers, Brody Gronewold, Tony Koehler, Derek Van Fleet, Austin Ramsey, Josh Gronewold, Matt Kissinger, Andy Gronewold, Collin Dooley, Brian Jansen, Austin Hardy, Greg Dowdall, and manager Rocco Ramsey, front row center. Photo By BOB OTTO

    WORLD SERIES CHAMPS! The Bowen Fastpitch team includes Corey Ramsey, Jack Carlisle, Shawn Altgilbers, Brody Gronewold, Tony Koehler, Derek Van Fleet, Austin Ramsey, Josh Gronewold, Matt Kissinger, Andy Gronewold, Collin Dooley, Brian Jansen, Austin Hardy, Greg Dowdall, and manager Rocco Ramsey, front row center. Photo By BOB OTTO

    QUAD CITIES, IA/IL – About the fifth inning Rocco Ramsey felt confident his Bowen Fastpitch team was starting to find their groove at the plate.

    Down 9-0, Bowen had erupted for five runs in the fifth inning of the first of two games that would decide the NAFA World Series A Division Championship.

    Even though Bowen went on to lose 9-6 to Rude Pac of So. Calif. in that first game; it was in that fifth inning that Ramsey said to himself that his young team – seven under the age of 23 – would be just fine in the winner-take-all title game.

    And indeed they were as Bowen blasted its way to a 22-11 victory to claim the A Division title.

    “I really felt that in the fifth inning of that first game that our bats were back,” said Ramsey, a NAFA Hall of Fame manager and promoter. “I had a gut feeling it would carry over into the championship. Their pitchers were tired and we got on to them.”

    Click to continue reading “Bats heat up and blast Bowen Fastpitch to NAFA World Series A Division Championship”

    Bowen Fastpitch reaches NAFA World Series A-Division championship

    Sunday, August 17th, 2014
    Tony Koehler won his fifth game for Bowen Fastpitch over Oscar's in the winners bracket final of the NAFA World Series A Division tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Tony Koehler won his fifth game for Bowen Fastpitch over Oscar’s in the winners bracket final of the NAFA World Series A Division tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

    QUAD CITIES, IA/IL – Year after year Rocco Ramsey keeps bringing ball clubs to the NAFA World Series and enters them in the 23-Under, A and Masters divisions.

    The highest his Bowens Fastpitch teams have ever finished was fifth back in 2004.

    But that’s about to be eclipsed.

    On a late Saturday night, Bowen Fastpitch defeated Oscar’s Pizza & Sports Grille of Omaha 10-3 to advance into Sunday’s NAFA World Series A-Division championship game.

    Click to continue reading “Bowen Fastpitch reaches NAFA World Series A-Division championship”

    Bowen Fastpitch reaches NAFA A Division winners final

    Saturday, August 16th, 2014
    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 NAFA A-Division tournament, Saturday. Photo By BOB OTTO

    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 NAFA A-Division tournament, Saturday. Photo By BOB OTTO

    QUAD CITIES, IA/IL – It was the most unlikeliest of wins, but Rocco Ramsey and his Bowen Fastpitch ball club from Illinois will gladly take it.

    In the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded and down by a run, Bowen scored twice to pull out a 7-6 victory over Rude Pac of So. Calif. that sends Bowen (4-0) into the winners bracket final to be played late Saturday night.

    For Rude Pac (4-1), it was a devastating and most disappointing loss. All due to a game-costing error and free passes.

    Bowen’s Corey Ramsey led off the seventh with a walk, then after a infield popup, Shawn Altgilbers worked a second walk off Rude Pac’s Ron Mizner. That brought Brody Gronewold to the plate, and he laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third.

    Now it was Jack Carlisle’s turn, but Rude Pac chose to walk him intentionally to load the bases.

    With two out, up to the plate stepped Austin Ramsey. He worked the count full, and then watched as ball four went by him forcing in Corey Ramsey with the tying run.

    Now Derek Van Fleet stepped into the batter’s box and lifted what appeared to be a harmless and easy fly ball to centerfield. But the ball was dropped sending in Algilbers with the winning run.

    And sending the Bowen team and their fans into delirious celebration.

    “Wow, what a game,” said manager Rocco Ramsey. “Somebody is watching over us. That’s two in a row we’ve won like that.”

    Bowen's Jack Carlisle slides into home plate as Rude Pac catcher Keith Herbster tries to field the ball and make the tag. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Bowen’s Jack Carlisle slides into home plate as Rude Pac catcher Keith Herbster tries to field the ball and make the tag. Photo By BOB OTTO

    For Rocco’s son, Austin Ramsey, the win means so much to him, his dad, and the entire team.

    “This is as far as we have gone (in the NAFA World Series),” said Austin, who added that the ball four he walked on was about chin high. “Dad’s been playing fastpitch since 1981, and this means a lot to him. He’s been at it a long time with guys like Tony Koehler, Brian Janssen and Andy Gronewold.

    Bowen will now face Oscar’s of Omaha, who survived Wright Way 6-4 to claim the bottom half of the 44-team winners bracket. The game is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday.

    “We are finding ways to win,” Austin Ramsey said. “This is the farthest we’ve ever gone (in NAFA World Series). We want to keep going.”

    Bowen had eight hits led by Matt Kissinger, who was 2 for 4 with 3 RBI; Collin Dooley 2 for 4, Jack Carlisle 1 for 1, 2 runs, 3 stolen bases; Derek Van Fleet 2 for 4, 2 RBI; and Jack Gronewold 1 for 2.

    Left-hander Tony Koehler picked up his fourth win (4-0) and pitched a complete game giving up six runs on 11 hits with a walk and a strikeout.

    For Rude Pac, Chris Nassour went 2 for 3 with an RBI; David Carrillo 2 for 4, run scored, 2 RBI; Ruben Lopez 1 for 4, Chris Paiva 3 for 4, Dave Demaid 1 for 2, RBI; Keith Herbster 1 for 3, Josh Sargent 1 for 1, and Scotty Pulcifer 1 for 3, run scored, RBI.

    Big game at noon in NAFA 23-Under, Bowen Fastpitch taking on Japan’s Waseda University Maroon

    Saturday, August 16th, 2014
    The two Waseda University teams - White and Maroon - from Tokyo, Japan, have impressed their competition and fastpitch fans with their skill, excellent fundamentals, and sportsmanship, while playing in the NAFA 23-Under World Series. Photo By BOB OTTO

    The two Waseda University teams – White and Maroon – from Tokyo, Japan, have impressed their competition and fastpitch fans with their skill, excellent fundamentals, and sportsmanship, while playing in the NAFA 23-Under World Series. Photo By BOB OTTO

    QUAD CITIES, IA/IL – At noon today the future stars of fastpitch return to the ball diamond with some big match-ups.

    The biggest is two evenly matched ball clubs playing in Pool A, Bowen Fastpitch of Illinois and Waseda University Maroon of Tokyo, Japan.

    Both teams have 2-0 records; both teams can score runs; and both teams have excellent pitching.

    Michael Cantrell hurled two complete games on Friday night in leading Bowen to a 9-2 victory over the Young Bucks of Santa Barbara, Calif., and 8-0 over Sight & Sound of Canada.

    Waseda University Maroon claimed two victories late Friday night by scoring a pair of shutouts in beating Sight & Sound, 18-0, and the Young Bucks, 8-0.

    Clyde Bennett.36web
    Also in Pool A, the Young Bucks, managed by the legendary Clyde Bennett, will try and rebound against Sight & Sound at noon.

    In Pool B at noon, undefeated Kegel / Minnesota Computers (2-0), meets Nebraska (0-2), while Waseda University White (1-1) takes on Mid America Advertising of Illinois (1-1)

    These games will complete pool play, and after the seedings are determined, the young men will return to the ball diamond at Green Valley Sports Complex in Moline and battle it out for the championship.

    The two pool play winners will meet at 6 p.m. Saturday, with the winner advancing into Sunday’s championship scheduled for 1:15 p.m.

    See bracket for complete results: Saturday 23U Schedule

    Kissinger and Koehler drive Bowen’s over Capitals

    Friday, August 15th, 2014
    HOW SWEET IT IS! Pitcher Tony Koehler, right, celebrates with Bowen Fastpitch Manager, Rocco Ramsey, after the team beat Capital, 7-6, in 10 innings. Photo By BOB OTTO

    HOW SWEET IT IS! Pitcher Tony Koehler, right, celebrates with Bowen Fastpitch Manager, Rocco Ramsey, after the team beat Capital, 7-6, in 10 innings. Photo By BOB OTTO

    QUAD CITIES, IA/IL – Matt Kissinger and Tony Koehler have gotten a lot of big hits and big wins in their fastpitch careers.

    But Friday’s winners bracket game against Capital Fastpitch of Barneveld, Wisconsin will surely be a pleasant memory for years to come.

    In the top of the 10th with the score deadlocked at 6-6, Kissinger – batting in the leadoff spot – drilled a double into the right-centerfield gap, scoring Josh Gronewold, with the winning run to give Bowen a hard earned 7-6 victory in the NAFA World Series A-Division tournament.

    When the ball was hit, Gronewold took off from first base and with his speed he wasn’t about to be caught.

    Kissinger said he got a fastball and went with it.

    But the Bowen second baseman paid his respects to the Capitals, who forced the game into extra innings when Chris Thousand tied the game in the seventh with a two-run blast.

    “They are by far the best team we have played,” said Kissinger, 24. “We will probably see them again in the tournament.”

    Click to continue reading “Kissinger and Koehler drive Bowen’s over Capitals”

    NAFA announces 2012 Hall of Fame inductees

    Thursday, July 5th, 2012

    DAYTON, OR – The North American Fastpitch Association announced the following players, managers and sponsors who will be inducted into NAFA Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the 2012 NAFA World Series (Aug. 9-19) in Topeka, KS.

    Leo Blakley of St. Joseph, Missouri ranks as one of fastpitch softball’s greatest players; and one who gave back to the game by bringing young players into the sport. Blakley, who is a Missouri ASA Hall of Famer, will be inducted in the NAFA Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the 2012 World Series.

  • 2012 Inductees
  • Dan Kolda, Player, Seattle, Washington
  • Merna & Elmer Wilber, Sponsor, Galesville, Wisconsin
  • Tom Crouch, Player, Dekalb, Illinois
  • Eric Lewis, Player, Fargo, North Dakota
  • Johnny Desaulniers, Player, Dryden, Ontario, Canada
  • Ryan Nichols, Player, Battle Creek, Michigan
  • Rocco Ramsey, Manager, Bowen, Illinois
  • Kevin Kammueller, Player, St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Brent Holman, Player, Montfort, Wisconsin
  • Lou Heller, Player, Odin, Minnesota
  • Terry Traverso, Player, Portland, Oregon
  • Dean Waltiers, Player, Seattle, Washington
  • Sam Aldridge, Player, Victoria, BC, Canada
  • Leo Blakley, Manager, St. Joseph, Missouri
  • Benjie Hedgecock
    NAFA Executive Director
    PO Box 566 Dayton, OR 97114
    503-559-5398
    email: nafafastpitch@gmail.com