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Jarvis Travelers march toward possible three-peat in ISC World Tournament

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

MIDLAND, MI – The Jarvis Ontario Travelers are the reigning ISC World Tournament champs and have won back-to-back titles. Wednesday night they came one step closer to a three-peat by beating the Saskatoon (SK) Diamondbacks 8-1 in the quarterfinals.

The win gives the Travelers a three-game win streak and moves them into the semifinals (Thursday at 8:30 p.m.) against the Six Nations Ontario Hill United Chiefs, a 1-0 victor over the Minnesota Angels of West St. Paul, Wednesday.

Diamondbacks’ starting pitcher and number five hitter, Trevor Ethier, gave his club a 1-0 lead in the top half of the second by blasting a Sean Cleary offering over the left-field fence.

But that would be the final hit Cleary would allow. From then on he was nearly flawless in four innings before giving way to Paul Koert.

After Ethier’s home run, Jarvis counterpunched in its half of the inning on a two-run bomb from cleanup hitter, Donnie Hale, to take a 2-1 lead they wouldn’t surrender.

One of fastpitch softball’s most feared power hitters, Hale (2-for-2) – who bats from the right side – took an Ethier inside drop ball the opposite way deep over the right-centerfield fence with Ian Fehrman (1-1) aboard on a walk.

From there, the game turned one-sided. Jarvis plated three more runs in third, two in the fourth, and ended the game with a run in the sixth.

In the third, Brad Rona’s home run, Hale’s RBI single, and Ben Enoka’s run-scoring fly ball gave the Travelers a 5-1 advantage.

Leadoff hitter Ryan Wolfe started the uprising with a single, and later scored on Enoka’s fly ball. But as he crossed home plate he pulled up lame. Wolfe had to leave the game from what appeared a hamstring injury.

Jarvis’ high-octane offense came right back in the fourth, plating two more runs on Enoka’s two-run single. And in the sixth, Rona (2-4) ended the game on a run-scoring single.

The Jarvis offense pounded out 12 hits with Brandon Horn going 2-for-4 and 2 runs; Shane Boland, 1-3, run; Rona 2-4, 2 RBIs, run; Enoka 1-2, 3 RBIs; Fehrman 1-1, 2 runs; Hale 2-2, 3 RBIs, run; Frederik Terkelson 1-3; and Ryan Boland 1-3, run.

Cleary (2-0) picked up the win with four innings of work. The right-hander from Harbor Main, Newfoundland has all the pitches, including a devastating change-up that had the Diamondbacks lunging out in front of the plate, swinging at the elusive slow ball, dropping below their bats.

Cleary finished with a one-hitter; Ethier’s homer in the second, the only blemish. He walked three and struck out eight before handing the ball to Paul Koert in the fifth. Koert was just as effective, allowing only a walk and striking out one.

In the 2011 ISC World Tournament, Cleary pitched for the Harrisburg Pennsylvania Power, helping them finish seventh by crafting a personal 2-2 record in 29 innings. He struck 65 of the world’s best hitters and allowed just two earned runs for a 0.48 ERA – third best of all pitchers.

But Cleary and the Travelers will have a big test in the semifinals against Hill United. The Chiefs (3-0) have Australian Adam Folkard (2-0) in the circle.

Folkard pitched for the Travelers in 2010 and ’11. He was the 2009 and 2010 World Tournament Most Outstanding Pitcher, but was sidelined with an injury in last year’s world tournament.

This should be an interesting matchup filled with some drama with Folkard (possibly) pitching against his old Travelers’ teammates.

The game will be webcast by the ISC at 8:30 p.m. (5:30 PST) and should be a great matchup between the ISC’s No. 2 Chiefs, and No. 3 Travelers.

For ISC webcasts, go to:ISC Fastpitch Webcasts

Folkard and Potoliccio lock up in World Tournament pitching classic

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

MIDLAND, MI – There’s been some talk at the ISC World Tournament about whether or not the era of the dominating pitcher is over. By some of the high scoring games, many would say yes, over and done.

But by the performance of Six Nations Ontario Hill United Chiefs’ Adam Folkard and West St. Paul Minnesota Angels’ Juan Potoliccio in a quarterfinal game Wednesday night, many would take a hard stance in the opposite direction.

Both power-pitching right-handers – Folkard from Australia and Potoliccio from Argentina – matched hard drop for hard drop; explosive rise for explosive rise.

Through four innings, both pitchers were hanging zeros on the scoreboard. With Folkard spinning a perfect game.


But in the fifth, Hill United finally got the clutch hits it needed to squeeze out a 1-0 victory.

Left-handed Ryan Thompson – batting in the eight spot – started off the inning with a single to left field and was sacrificed to second by Jason Sanford. That brought leadoff batter Brad Ezekiel to the plate. But Potoliccio reached back with a high rise ball and got Ezekiel to pop up in the infield.

With two outs, it looked like Potoliccio might escape the inning unscathed. But Jeff Ellsworth (1-3, RBI) came through in the clutch, rapping a clean single up the middle, which sent Thompson racing across home plate for the game’s only run.

The dominating Folkard really toughed in the sixth by striking out the side. Now he was just three outs away from a perfect game.

But Minnesota doesn’t quit. They’re known for finding a way to win low-scoring games. And they made it interesting in their last at bat in the seventh.

With one out, Justin Gill (1-3) ruined Folkard’s chance at perfection by lacing a hard-hit single to right field. Tommy Crouch (1-3) followed with an infield hit putting runners at first and second.

But Folkard had seen enough of Minnesota’s come-back bid. He blew his high rise ball by Nicolas Bittor for a strikeout, and ended the game by getting Leonardo Latasa on a ground out.


Folkard (2-0) finished with a two hitter, no walks, and struck out 10. But Potoliccio (2-1) was almost as good. In seven innings he gave up the one run on four hits, no walks, and struck out nine.

The era of the dominating pitcher over? Not with these two in the circle.

The victory moves Hill United into the semifinals at 8:30 p.m. Thursday against the Jarvis Ontario Travelers, the reigning ISC World Tournament champions, who mercy-ruled the Saskatoon Diamondbacks 8-1.

Minnesota will attempt to comeback through the losers bracket, starting Thursday at 2 p.m.

Someone to Know: Nicolas Bitter, West St. Paul, Minnesota Angels

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

PARANA, ARGENTINA – There’s a fastpitch pipeline that’s bringing some of South America’s best players north to the United States. High among them is Nicolas Bittor, who spent the 2011 season with the West St. Paul, Minnesota Angels.

Bittor had a terrific ISC World Tournament in helping the Angels finish fourth – the highest finish in the World Tournament for a Minnesota team since 1981 when St. Paul All-American Bar finished fourth.

That South American pipeline?

For the Angels, it winds its way down to Parana, Argentina…

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