Fastpitch Chronicle/Ohio Battery wins NAFA 50+ Masters World Series
Rockford, IL â€“ It wasnâ€™t the normal way to win national title but the Fastpitch Chronicle/Ohio Battery menâ€™sâ€™ 50+ Masters team did it anyway with an interesting win over United Sports Academy of California in the NAFA 50+ World Series.
The win avenged a round robin loss on Saturday night to the California contingent.
The Fastpitch Chronicle/Ohio Battery club opened the NAFA 50+ Masters with a hard-fought 4-2 win over Bowar Electric of Middleton, Wisconsin. Victor Flores started in the circle for the champions but suffered a calf muscle injury early on and as replaced by Lonnie Brooks. Brooks pitched well and got out of several tight spots en route to the win. Neil Jones took the loss but pitched well in holding off the big bats of the eventual champions.
They had a game off and then took on the California crew in that second round robin game that turned into a high-scoring affair early when USA jumped on them for a quick four runs in the first inning. The two teams battled back and forth for the #1 seed with USA claiming the win, 8-5. Russ Snow was the winning pitcher while Brooks took the loss.
On Sunday the Fastpitch Chronicle/Ohio Battery club took on Symbaâ€™s (Duck Creek Masters from the Green Bay, Wisconsin area in) another slugfest. Rick Ferry opened in the circle for Duck Creek while Lonnie Brooks got the ball for the eventual champions. The game was tight most of the way but Jeff Gaugler nailed a three-run homer in a pinch hitting role to open up a wider margin and The Chronicle Battery men went on to a 14-9 win.
The next opponent up was Cardinal Home Improvement of St. Cloud, Minnesota. Steve McFadden started in the circle for The Fastpitch Chronicle/Ohio Battery club and got relief help from Brooks who eventually got the win as the men in blue came back with an 8-4 win. They were trailing 3-0 as they headed into the sixth inning.
The championship game was played on two different fields, twenty minutes apart as the lights went out at Sportscore 1 right after the 6th inning had been played. The Fastpitch Chronicle/Ohio Battery club was ahead 9-8 as both teams were knocking the ball around pretty well. The teams packed up their stuff, moved to another complex 20 minutes away and waited for the slowpitch distances to be switched to fastpitch ones. They had to prepare the diamond, move the pitcherâ€™s plate, move the bases in where they needed to be, chalk the field and then play ball.
The Fastpitch Chronicle/Ohio Battery went down without scoring in the top of the seventh and Brooks faced Unites Sports Academy in the bottom of the 7th. Brooks fanned the leadoff batter before the next USA batter reached first. When USA attempted to move the runner into scoring position the bunt was popped up and the runner at one was retired to set off a Fastpitch Chronicle celebration.
Shortstop Steve Betts (Indianapolis, IN) was named the Most Valuable player of the tournament and was joined on the All World Team by Lonnie Brooks, Jeff Gaugler and centerfielder Tim Kauffman.
Russ Snow of United Sports Academy was named the tournament Outstanding Pitcher.
For detailed results of the entire tournament and results from the 35+, the 40+ and the 45+ NAFA Masters tournament go to http://www.masters.nafafastpitch.com/east/50/bracket_results.htm and see them there.
Tomlinson and the legendary Nick McCurry of Ohio Battery sponsored the club on the weekend and look forward to going back to Rockford in 2008 to defend their title.
â€œfor Nick and me, it was a pleasure getting these guys together,â€ said Fastpitch Chronicle publisher Bob Tomlinson. â€œNick was much more nervous than was I so winning it was pretty special for him. Weâ€™re happy for all of them.â€
â€œIt was a fun weekend in Rockford,â€ said Tomlinson. â€œGetting to see so many of the people that subscribed to The Fastpitch Chronicle over the years was great. I had some great conversations in Rockford. Iâ€™ve said all along, since 2004, that I wasnâ€™t going to disappear from the menâ€™sâ€™ fastpitch scene.â€
Editor’s note: Bob Tomlinson was inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame last month, in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, in the “Service to the Game” category. We congratulate Bob on a well deserved honour. Bob’s work was a large part of the inspiration for the start of Fastpitchwest.