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.”