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Jon Gwizdala, personifying the golden opportunities in American male fastpitch

Monday, March 10th, 2014

gwizdalaJonNAFA55lr Jon Gwizdala pitching for Northwest Implement of Maryville, Missouri in the 2013 NAFA World Series, 23-Under division, in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo By BOB OTTO

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – The naysayers will tell you, “there’s no opportunity in American male fastpitch softball. You’re just wasting your time on a dying sport. The girls own the sport now.”

But if you talk to 22-year-old Jon Gwizdala, he’ll challenge all that negative garbage. In fact, he’ll tell you of all the golden opportunities he has had in his 15 years of pitching when he first started windmilling a softball at age seven.

Remember now, Jon is just 22. But already he’s played in the ISC World Tournament, ASA national tournaments, and in the NAFA World Series.

Gwizdala and the teams he’s pitched for have won ASA national youth and young men’s titles, a NAFA World Series, and he has been named an ASA All-American and NAFA All-World, along with winning a home run title.

Opportunities in American boys and men’s fastpitch? Of the golden variety.

Especially for aspiring pitchers, with the work ethic and the willingness to put in hours of practice to become proficient in the circle.


Gwizdala played high school and college baseball. He was club president at Delta Junior College and captain of the varsity team during the 2010-2011 season. Baseball is a sport he grew up with, a sport he enjoys playing. But in comparison to fastpitch, well, there is no comparison.

“My true passion will always be for my first love, and that is fastpitch softball,” he said.

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The Vassar League plants the fastpitch seed

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

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“We split off several times in the next five years to create more teams and more pitchers. We weren’t looking to just grab a veteran, we wanted to develop young pitchers instead.” – Don Petro

REESE, MI –Don Petro was worried. In the mid-1990s, the Vassar League was down to three teams. And the outlook looked dim for the survival of the league that had been around for over 25 years.

But for those who know Petro, they know he’s a doer. And he doesn’t give up easily.

Jump forward to 2010. When the Vassar League opened its season on Tuesday night (June 22nd), it had 10 teams in its fold.

So what created this phenomenal 15-year turnaround? Recruiting, developing, and splitting, said the 54-year-old Petro.

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