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Yusef Davis Heads Down Under To Hone His Fastpitch Skills

Friday, December 30th, 2016

Yusef Davis Jr., reaches up and slaps a high rise ball off BC A’s pitcher Gregg Garrity and reaches safely on an infield single. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2016 SCIFL Tournament

LONG BEACH, Calif. – For many people, their Christmas wish-list is often filled with requests for material things: like an iPhone 7, a car, or new clothes and jewelry.

Just like the rest of us, 22-year-old Yusef Davis appreciates the finer things in life, too.

But the young man from Long Beach wanted more than material things. And he got his Christmas wish and then some with a trip “Down Under” to expand his fastpitch softball horizons.

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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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    Patricia’s and Coyotes on collision course in Ray Angulo Memorial Men’s Fastpitch Tournament

    Saturday, September 3rd, 2016
    WALK-OFF HOMER - With the game tied in the eighth inning, pitcher Lumar Goss stepped up to the plate and blasted a home run with a runner aboard for a walk-off 4-2 victory over the Smash Brothers, Saturday, to move Patricia's Restaurant of Long Beach into the winner's bracket final, Sunday. The championship is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Promenade Park in Corona. Photo By BOB OTTO

    WALK-OFF HOMER – With the game tied in the eighth inning, pitcher Lumar Goss stepped up to the plate and blasted a home run with a runner aboard for a walk-off 4-2 victory over the Smash Brothers, Saturday, to move Patricia’s Restaurant of Long Beach into the winner’s bracket final, Sunday. The championship is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Promenade Park in Corona. Photo By BOB OTTO

    CORONA, Calif. – Riding the arm and bat of Lumar Goss, Patricia’s Mexican Restaurant of Long Beach powered past the Warriors, 14-4, and the Smash Brothers, 4-2, Saturday, to advance to Sunday’s winner’s bracket final in the Ray Angulo Memorial Men’s Fastpitch Tournament at Promenade Park.

    Goss pitched complete game victories, and in the win over Smash Brothers, he did just that – smash a walk-off, two-run home run in the eighth inning with the international tiebreaker run aboard.

    Waiting to throw up a blockade in Sunday’s encounter is the Beaumont Coyotes, a young, talented team fresh off a 4th place finish in the NAFA A-Division World Series. The Coyotes sailed through Saturday’s nine-team field by defeating the Corona Chicanos, 4-1, and Those Guys of Long Beach, 10-2.

    The two squads will meet at 9:30 a.m. with the winner advancing into the title game, and the loser dropping into the loser’s bracket.

    The tournament is a most worthy fundraiser and memorial honoring Corona fastpitch pitcher Raymond Angulo who passed away in 2000. To learn more about the tournament and men’s fastpitch in Corona, read: Ernie Marez keeping men’s fastpitch softball alive in Corona

    Other scores through mid-Saturday

    Bandits 3, Redline 2
    Smash Brothers 7, Bandits 0
    Those Guys 5, Streamline Cable 3
    Redline 3, Chicanos 1
    Redline 17, Streamline Cable 0

    Click For Directions to Promenade Park Softball Fields

    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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    SCIFL Alliance Tournament June 25 – 26

    Saturday, June 11th, 2016

    SCIFL2r

    By JESSE ORTIZ / President SCIFL

    SANTA FE SPRINGS, Calif. – The next scheduled SCIFL Alliance Tournament will be held on June 25 and 26, 2016 at Little Lake Park, Santa Fe Springs, CA. Saturday will be a round robin format followed by a single elimination on Sunday.

    Teams that are interested in playing need to email their response to Jesse Ortiz, Tournament Director, at scifastpitch@gmail.com by no later than Sunday, June 12, 2016. The entry fee is $420 and teams that enter this tournament for the first time; payment needs to be received no later than Tuesday, June 21, 2016.

    Checks can be mailed and made payable to:

    SCIFL
    PO Box 6572
    Burbank, CA 91510

    The following teams have committed to playing in the tournament

    California A’s
    A1 Rockies
    Maccabi USA
    Those Guys
    Buzzards
    So Cal Heat
    So Cal Bandits

    Tamper proof decal stickers will be utilized at this event so each bat will need to be tested prior to use. Bats that do not have a tamper proof decal sticker will not be allowed in the game. Players should not try to take the tamper proof decal sticker off because any bat with a sticker that looks like it’s been tampered with will not be allowed in play.

    In order to start the games on time please arrive at least 45 minutes prior to game time so we can test your bat and provide passing bats with a tamper proof decal sticker for umpires to check on the field.

    SCIFL is a non-profit organization that only receives funds from the entry fee teams pay to cover the expenses of running a tournament. Once a team commits to the tournament the expenses are calculated and the field rentals are paid in advance. If a team has committed and then decides to drop out of the tournament, for any reason, they will be subject to the entry fee to cover expenses. The fees will need to be paid prior to any future SCIFL and NAFA tournaments to avoid the team’s roster (players) from suspension. SCIFL will take the team’s roster from the last tournament the team played and will place it on a suspension list if the cancellation fee is not paid. This means players from that team will not be able to play in any SCIFL and NAFA tournaments until the cancellation fee is paid, so please make sure when you commit you are committed to playing in the tournament.

    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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