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Fastball rivals reunite for shot at glory

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

By Christine Rivet, Record staff
Tuesday, May 01, 2012

KITCHENER — Frenemies Jack Fireman and Larry Lynch were on a collision course along fastball’s basepaths for years.

Now, these one-time rivals will team up in an effort to relive fastball glory.

Fireman — the free-spending and flamboyant Toronto trial lawyer and one-time owner of the most-hated team in fastball — has joined forces with champion of the underdogs, Lynch.

Fireman has dragged his old Toronto Gators, International Softball Congress world titlists in 1993 and 1995, out of the swamp to take another tail swipe at global domination.

ISC hall of famer Lynch, who led the threadbare and now-defunct Waterloo Twins against their arch-rivals, the old Gators, will coach the new Gators.

“I remember one time Larry said he wouldn’t cross the street to say hello to me,” Fireman recalled.

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The readers weigh in

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

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YUCAIPA, CA – Digging through the email, I’ve found some interesting thoughts, comments, and memories of the grand old game from readers of Otto-In-Focus. With that it’s time to share.

The Darren Zack story “Darren Zack enters the 2010 ISC Hall of Fame” drew a lot of comments.

…Larry Lynch says that in 1993 when the Toronto Gators burst onto the fastball scene with a Napoleonic surge, the Waterloo Twins played them in practically every tournament around, and regularly in the ISC Travel League.

“We lost to Toronto 13 times that season, and Darren was on the mound for 12 of them. Our club had some pretty good hitters but the best of them came back to the bench just shaking their heads saying, ‘that guy is unhittable.’”

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Darren Zack enters the 2010 ISC Hall of Fame

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Darren Zack during the 1995 ISC World Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa, where he set several individual pitching records.

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“I’ll play until I can’t anymore. What would a summer be without playing ball, eh?” – Darren Zack

GARDEN RIVER FIRST NATION, CANADA – The big man – all 6-feet-4 and some 270 pounds – stands poised on the pitching rubber 46-feet away from his catcher. Charlie Hendricks squats, flashes his fingers, and spots his glove up and on the outside corner.

Darren Zack winds up, leaps, and unleashes a rise ball, a white, violently spinning blur. A split-second later – about the time it takes for a human to blink – the ball explodes into Hendricks glove right where he spotted it.

“Strike three!” bellows the umpire, thrusting his right arm in the air. This scene played out over and over in the mid to late 1990s when Hendricks caught Zack.

Memories? Hendricks has a few.

There was the time they teamed up as battery mates with the Toronto Gators against the New Zealand national team in Innerkip, Ontario. Rabid fastball fans packed the stands. And Zack was like a thoroughbred eager to burst from the starting gate.

“In our pregame huddle, Darren spoke out and said to us, ‘guys, take a look around. If the atmosphere and this crowd doesn’t get you up for this game, then something is wrong,’” Hendricks said. “I had the pleasure of catching him and everything worked. He was overpowering and definitely in the zone.”

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