Archive for July, 2007

ASA Major Bracket

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

August 2-5, 2007 at South Bend, Indiana

Click here to view the Bracket for the ASA Major Tournament in South Bend, IN, August 2-5, 2007. (PDF file, Adobe Reader required — since it’s on most computers, try double click and wait for it to load)

Click here for the tournament website.

Editor’s notes: Speaking of tough draws (see note on Midland below), how about this one: ISC # 1 Broken Bow vs. ISC #6 The Farm in an opening round matchup? 4pm EST Wednesday. (All game times on bracket are EST, adjust your time zone accordingly)

Note that the championship game(s) are slated for Saturday night, August 4th, not the 5th. There will only be games on August 5 in the event of inclement weather.

With the ISC and NAFA going to a cork center ball for safety’s sake, the ASA Major will use the Kmaster poly core. In the past week, a pro baseball base coach and a 12 year old girl both died after being struck by a ball. Does it have to happen in fastpitch before they stop using the poly core rocket balls?

Oh, and then there is this inviting welcome from the ASA:

“Brackets shall be updated, as time permits, throughout the tournament. PLEASE – do not call the complex for game information as none shall be provided over the telephone!

Saskatoon Needs One More Win for Masters Title

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007


Saskatoon Needs One More Win for Masters Title

Written by Evan Wright – 600 Action News-Local First

The Saskatoon Allied Denture Clinic Masters await a winner in the final of the Western Canadian Master Men’s Fastpitch Championship from Portage la Prairie.

Saskatoon scored some redemption against the Kelowna Andre’s Masters in the 1-versus-2 page playoff with a 10-1 victory. Saskatoon’s lone round robin loss was to the same Andre’s Masters.

Now, Kelowna must play the host team from Portage, with the winner securing a date with Saskatoon in the final. According to tournament rules, the first team to qualify for the final (Saskatoon) needs to win once in the championship match. However, the second team to qualify (either Portage or Kelowna) must win twice.

Midland Explorers Net Sweep

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007


(click logo for original article)

Explorers net sweep

The Midland Explorers men’s fastpitch team swept a doubleheader from Tiffany’s of Frankenmuth Saturday night at Emerson Park, winning 9-1 and 8-0.

In the first game, Doug Sleep earned the win while Duke Vanderaark took the loss.

Kyle Beane, Eddy Ketelhut, Steve Roberts, and Todd Schultz each had two hits for Midland. Dave Lach hit a home run for Tiffany’s.

In the second game, Grant Patterson was the winning pitcher and Todd Szagesh the losing pitcher. Craig Crawford had a pair of two-run homers, and Beane, Schultz, and Steve Horning each hit a home run.

The Explorers open the 17-team ASA Major National Tournament in South Bend, Ind., on Thursday at 4 p.m. vs. Dolan & Murphy (Ill.). The tourney runs until Saturday.

©Midland Daily News 2007

Editor’s note: Took a peek at Midland’s draws for the ASA Major and the ISC World. If they manage to win their first game in either or both — they run into Orillia, which held the # 1 spot in the rankings most of the year. Tough road to hoe.

Bomber Notes on Vancouver Challenge

Monday, July 30th, 2007

Thanks to Cesar Rodriguez, Bombers’ coach and webmaster for this report on the team’s weekend in Vancouver:


This past weekend certainly was a good tune up for the World Tournament and obviously we’re pleased with our performance in winning the event, especially in defeating some very good clubs including the #1 ranked Broken Bow Gremlins in the final. Our team hasn’t been together for three weeks and the weekend was important in terms of getting back to work and to the process of our season’s plan.

I thought all areas of the team were pretty strong given our layoff and we know that they will have to be in order to have similar success in a few weeks. Our pitching effort was good with all three pitchers showing some great signs of being ready for the challenge of the WT. Our hitting came along throughout the weekend and our at bats improved game after game. We played our usual aggressive style and took advantage of opportunities whenever they presented themselves.

Lucas Mata won the top pitcher award and Darren Box was MVP but any number of players could be pointed out for great performances not the least of which included Steve Pinocchio, Adam Lalonde, Jason Porto and Evan Potskin.

The other news of the weekend was that we made a major signing in adding Doug Chase to our coaching staff. With our third coach, Cesar Rodriguez unable to attend the WT, we felt we needed another set of eyes going into the World’s. If we’re going to do this job effectively, we want all the different areas covered.

Doug (former All-World catcher with Victoria and the Farm) will be with us through the WT and will focus on pitching and catching with an eye to scouting opposing hitters for us. His experience and insights will balance well with Coach Shick and myself. Doug has history with both of us, having played with Rob early in his softball career, and he and I coached together on the Canadian National team.

The Bombers would like to thank the Vancouver Grey Sox for their hospitality and for a very well run and enjoyable tournament. Now it’s a weekend off and then out to Kitchener to start the World Tournament. We have had some great success in our recent tournaments but as our own Lucas Mata says, “we have to take it slowly”. At the World’s, all the teams will be better than they are right now, and the Bombers will not be taken lightly, so we have to be equally ready to stay focused on every pitch, every inning.

C-Rod – So Cal Bombers

Bombers Knock Off # 1 Broken Bow, Win at Vancouver

Monday, July 30th, 2007

Once again, So Cal Bomber pitcher Lucas Mata, formerly of the two-time ISC World Champion County Materials proved to be the difference maker for the Bombers, as they avenged an earlier defeat by Broken Bow, to beat them handily, 11-2 in the Vancouver Challenge championship game. The win at Vancouver marks the second time that Mata has pitched with the Bombers this year, and the second time he has pitched them to a tournament win against a top flite field of teams. The Bombers take a good bit of momentum into the tournament, as they battle towards their goal – an ISC World Title.

Broken Bow nabbed the # 1 spot in the final set of rankings leading into next month’s ISC World Tournament, after holding down the # 3 spot most of the year. The Bombers jumped from # 7 to # 4 on the strength of their win last month at Monkton Tournament, which boasted the strongest field of teams this side of the world tournament. The Bombers got to both pitchers equally, 7 against Andrew Kirkpatrick in 5 innings and 4 more against Jeremy Manley in one inning in the 6 inning-run-rule shortened game, while Mata held Broken Bow to just 2 runs on 4 hits. Evan Potskin (triple, homer, 2 runs and 4 RBI) led the way, with plenty of support from Steve Pinnochio (3 for 3 with a triple, two singles, 2 runs scored and an RBI), Adam LaLonde (3 runs). Jason Porto added a home run for the Bombers as well.

Complete Scoreboard at Al’s Fastball

Vancouver Challenge Semi Final and Final results

Semi Final

Portland DeMarini 4 R 2 H 4 E
SoCal Bombers 11R 9 H 2 E

Bricklen Anderson(L) 4 IP 8 R 5 ER 7 H 4 BB 3 K
Craig Pidcock .1 IP 3 R 3 ER 2 H 3 BB
2 K

Brian Ree 1 for 2 R

Darryl Tilley 2 IP 3 R 2 ER 0 H 3 BB 4
Sean Whitten(W) 2 IP 1 R 0 ER 3 H 2 BB 3 K
Lucas Mata 1 IP
3 K

Adam Lalonde 1 for 2 (2B) 3 R
Chad Ghostkeeper 2 for 4 (1B,1B) RBI
Evan Potskin 1 for 3 (2B) R 2 RBI
Marc Santillano 2 for 2 (1B,1B) R, 3 RBI


SoCal Bombers 11 R 9 H 2 E
Broken Bow 2 R 4 H 2 E

Lucas Mata 6 IP 2 R 1 ER 4 H HR 2 BB 9 K’s

Adam Lalonde 1 for 2(1B) 3 R
Steve Pinocchio 3 for 3(1B,1B,3B) 2R, RBI
Evan Potskin 2 for 4(3B,HR) 2 R, 4 RBI
Jason Porto 1 for 3(HR) R, RBI

Broken Bow
Andrew Kirkpatrick (L) 5 IP 7 R 5 ER 6 H 8 K
Jeremy Manley 1 IP 4 R 3 ER 3 H 1 K

Jordan Taveras 1 for 2 (1B) R
Eduardo Leonardo 1 for 3 (HR) R RBI

CHAMPIONS – SoCal Bombers
RUNNER UP – Broken Bow Gremlins
3 RD PLACE – Portland Demarini

ISC Canada West Qualifier – Vancouver Grey Sox

TOURNAMENT TOP HITTER – Derek Mayson Vancouver Grey Sox
TOURNAMENT MVP – Darren Box SoCal Bombers

The Farm Captures NAFA Open Crown

Sunday, July 29th, 2007


[Middleton, Wisconsin] – The Farm Tavern (Madison, Wisc) captured the 2007 NAFA Open World Series Sunday afternoon at Bowling Green Recreation Complex. The event marked the first time NAFA held a “stand-alone” Open-level event after having the class as a part of it’s traditional World Series in 2003, 2005 and 2006.

After being dropped to the Losers Bracket by Albaugh, Inc. (Elkhart, Iowa) Saturday evening, The Farm battled back Sunday by breaking out the bats with wins over Townline (Green Bay, Wisc) 8-0 in 5 innings, the MinnDak Millers (Fargo, ND) 8-1 in 5 innings, Albaugh, Inc. 3-0 and Circle Tap (Denmark, Wisc) 7-0 in 5 innings in the Single-Game Championship Final.

Circle Tap Third Baseman Kyle Magnusson was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
The Farm’s Korrey Gareau was named the Most Valuable Pitcher. Both players earned spots on the All World Team.

Remaining All World Team members are as follows:

Todd Burlage, OF, New Image (Monfort, Wisc)
Aaron Neemia, C/2B, Townline (Green Bay, Wisc)
Stacey McLean, OF, Townline (Green Bay, Wisc)
Gustavo Guerrinieri, C/2B, Townline (Green Bay, Wisc)
Travis Wilson, 2B, MinnDak Millers (Fargo, ND)
Roman Foore, 1B, MinnDak Millers (Fargo, ND)
Gregg Cascaes, SS, MinnDak Millers (Fargo, ND)
Sonny Perkins, P/DP, Albaugh, Inc. (Elkhart, Iowa)
Karl Gollan, P/DP, Albaugh, Inc. (Elkhart, Iowa)
Nick Needham, Inf, Plangger’s Furniture (Benton Harbor, Mich)
Tom Crouch, OF, Circle Tap (Denmark, Wisc)
Kyle VanAbel, Inf, Circle Tap (Denmark, Wisc)
Chris Delarwelle, DP, Circle Tap (Denmark, Wisc)
Rob Schweyer, P, The Farm Tavern (Madison, Wisc)
Adam Folkard, P, Circle Tap (Denmark, Wisc)
Kevin Schellenberg, SS, The Farm Tavern (Madison, Wisc)
Donnie Hale, 1B, The Farm Tavern (Madison, Wisc)
Zenon Winters, 2B, The Farm Tavern (Madison, Wisc)
Jeff Goolagong, 3B, The Farm Tavern (Madison, Wisc)
Jason Hill, OF, The Farm Tavern (Madison, Wisc)

Special thanks go out to Rod Peterson and Dave LeBlanc for allowing NAFA to partner with them and their Farm Tavern Tournament. Tony Schaaf for doing the stats on the weekend.
Al Doran for providing updates when we were able to gain internet access. And finally to all 12 teams for participating and making this event a great one. By participating in this year’s event, all 12 teams have earned spots in next year’s event.

All information will be posted on the NAFA Open Website at ttp:// by Monday afternoon.

Look for an announcement on the 2008 NAFA Open World Series in the coming months, with any teams already interested in participating in the 2008 event being able to contact me at the information below.

Brett Bresnahan
Brett Bresnahan

NAFA Open World Series – Saturday Results

Sunday, July 29th, 2007


[Middleton, Wisconsin] – The following are scores from today’s games at the NAFA Open World Series at the Bowling Green Sports Complex. We are still having connectivity issues as we attempted to post to the website ( using a cell phone as a dial-up modem. We will try and post to the site tomorrow and at the least attempt to post to news services with scores.

Saturday Scores:

Bloomington Stix 2 Townline 0
Dolan & Murphy 3 Thomson Area Merchants 1
New Image 4 Midwest Stampede 2
Kegel Black Knights 9 Plangger’s Furniture 5
Thomson Area Merchants 2 Bloomington Stix 1, eliminated
Townline 6 Dolan & Murphy 0, eliminated
New Image 7 Plangger’s Furniture 1, eliminated
Midwest Stampede 9 Kegel Black Knights 0, 5 innings, eliminated
Circle Tap 2 MinnDak Millers 1, 8 innings
Albaugh, Inc. 7 The Farm Tavern 3
New Image 8 Thomson Area Merchants 7, 12 innings, eliminated
Townline 8 Midwest Stampede 0, 5 innings, eliminated
Circle Tap 5 Albaugh, Inc. 2

Sunday’s Games

New Image vs MinnDak Millers
Townline vs The Farm Tavern

8am game winners

Albaugh, Inc. vs 10am game winner

2pm, Championship Game
Circle Tap vs noon game winner

Once again, we will attempt to update the website if a strong enough internet connection can be acquired.

Brett Bresnahan

Bombers Drop One at Vancouver, Still Alive

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

# 4 Bombers Fall to # 1 Gremlins in Battle of “Double Life” teams

(click logo for official team website)


Vancouver Challenge Playoff Round Gremlins vs SoCal

PLAYOFF ROUND (Blue 1 vs Red 1)

Broken Bow Gremlins 4 R 4 H 1 E
SoCalBombers 0R 2 H 1 E

Broken Bow

Jeremy Manley (W) 6 IP 0 R 2H 8 K
Andrew Kirpatrick 1IP 2K 1 BB

Jarrad Martin 2for 3 (2B,3B) 1 Run 2 RBI’s
Patrick Shannon 1 for 3 (HR) 1 Run 2 RBI’s

Sean Whitten (L) 5 IP 4R 3 ER 4 H 7 K
LucasMata 1IP 3 K

Adam Lalonde 2 for 3 (1B,1B)

Submitted by Craig Donaldson

Vancouver Challenge – Saturday Results

Saturday, July 28th, 2007

(click logo for official team website)

Portland/Piechnik Top Horse Lake/Zack in Battle of Legends


Vancouver Challenge Tournament Game 2

Portland Demarini Merchants 4R 5H 1E
Horse Lake Thunder 2R 4H 1E

Mike Piechnik (WP) 7IP 4H 2R 1ER 12K

Brian Ree 2 for 4 1RBI

Horse Lake
Darren Zack (LP) 7IP 5H 4R 3ER 3BB 9K

Logan Goodswimmer 1 for 3 1 RBI
Corey Giroux 1 for 3 (triple)

Game 3

Portland Demarini Merchants 0 Runs 3 Hits 0 E
So Cal Bombers 4 Runs 6 Hits 1 E

Bricklen Anderson (LP) 6 IP 4 R 4 ER 6H 2 BB 6K

So Cal
Lucas Mata (WP) 5 IP 0 R 0 ER 3H 2 BB 8K
Sean Whitten 2 IP 6 K

Darren Box 3 for 3 (2 singles, HR) 2 Runs 2 RBI’s

Challenge Cup Game 4 Results

Broken Bow Gremlins 5 Runs 7 Hits 0 Errors
Linus Software Stealers 0 Runs 2 Hits 1 Error

Broken Bow
Jeremy Manley (WP) 7 IP 0 Runs 2 Hits 15 K’s

Eduardo Leonardo 2 for 3 (1B,2B) 1Rbi
Rhys Casley 1 for 3 (HR) 2 Rbi’s 2 Runs

Linus Software Stealers
Darren Strang (LP) 2 IP 4Runs 3ER 4 Hits 1 HR 1K
Mike Egerdeen 4 IP 1Run 1ER 3 Hits 1 BB 6 K’s

Craig Donaldson
ISC Regional Commissioner

Still throwing strong

Saturday, July 28th, 2007

From the

(click logo for original story)

(Photo: Canadian softball pitcher Mike Piechnik during his wind up in Winnipeg at the Pam Am games in 1999. John Lehmann/National Post Files)

A pair of underhand flamethrowers will make some magic for fans at this weekend’s Vancouver Challenge

Gary Kingston
Vancouver Sun

Mike Piechnik is reaching back into a memory bank that seems to spew out games as quickly and cleanly as an ATM spits out crisp 20s.

It’s 1988. U.S. fastpitch nationals. The Victoria native, hurling for The Farm out of Madison, Wisc., is in a classic bionic-arm pitching matchup with Peter Meredith, the standout from New Zealand who was throwing then for Trans-Aire of Elkhart, Ind.

Two hired-gun imports, two wizards of the windmill delivery.

“He threw every game as I did,” says Piechnik. “We met up in a game before the winner’s bracket final. Twenty innings, five hours and 50 minutes. We beat them 1-0. He struck out 26 guys. I struck out 46.”

That’s right, 46, which, ironically enough, is the current age of the still active Piechnik.

“Bottom of the 20th, I had one run and I’m thinking ‘I ain’t losing this.’ And I struck out the side.”

Piechnik, a transit driver in Victoria, is pitching this summer for American club team Portland DeMarini, which is in the six-team Vancouver Challenge tournament this weekend at South Memorial Park.

Also entered is the Horse Lake, Alta., Thunder, who have recruited another 46-year-old hurler, righthander Darren Zack of Garden River, Ont., to be their ace.

The two might be edging past their prime — though the lefty Piechnik threw a perfect game at the Vancouver Grey Sox last weekend in Portland — but for fans, it’s the first time the legendary Canadian chuckers will have played on the same field in B.C. in a decade.

Asked about other career highlights, Piechnik rattles off years and teams, scores and strikeout totals like they happened yesterday.

“What I compare that to, is it’s the same as a war veteran who goes through so many battles and then they win the war,” he says. “Like the veterans on the road through Italy [in the Second World War], you remember those hard-fought battles with close friends. The stress is huge and you band together and you win and your recall is strong because of that. You’re doing this with close, close friends, close teammates who make you better. That’s why you remember.”

Men’s elite fastpitch has always been a low-profile, niche sport in North America, its U.S. hotbeds in places like Sioux City, Iowa, and Madison, Wisc., and its Canadian status similar to senior level lacrosse. In the last couple of decades, it has even been eclipsed by the women’s game, which made it into the Olympics in 1996 and thrives in the U.S. college system.

The heyday of the men’s game was from the 1960s to early ’90s, and Piechnik and Zack were two of the best to ever take the circle, certainly the two greatest pitchers in Canadian fastpitch history. They led Canada to Pan Am Games gold medals in 1991, 1995 and 1999, and Piechnik started and Zack closed when Canada won its only International Softball Federation world title in Manila in 1992, beating New Zealand in the final of the quadrennial event.

Both also have been standouts in the annual International Softball Congress world tournament, playing for various North American club teams. In a 2003 story that compared their ISC stats, Piechnik, the career wins leader for lefthanders, was 45-16 with 770 strikeouts in 438 innings and four perfect games, though his teams never won a title; Zack was 46-14 with 797 strikeouts in the same number of innings with four ISC titles

In 1995, when his Toronto Gators won their second crown in three years, Zack was 10-0 with a 0.36 ERA and 150 strikeouts, a record for Ks that still stands.

Zack, a genial giant at 6-3 and 285 pounds, figures he’s played for “at least” 30 to 40 teams. The 6-2, 220-pound Piechnik hasn’t added his up, and simply rattles off a road map of stops: “Started with Victoria, went to Wisconsin, back to Victoria, then to Sioux City, Iowa, two teams there, then to All-Car [in Green Bay, Wisc.], then I went to New Jersey, from there to Nebraska . . .

In an officially “amateur” game where they are supposed to be reimbursed only for travel expenses and wages lost, two of the greatest have-arms-will-travel gunslingers are loathe to discuss money, just in case the taxman is reading. But it’s a fair assumption that the sponsors of the stacked teams they were recruited to play for generously looked after guys who could pitch all day while striking out 16 batters a game.

“Is that right?” said a laughing Zack.

The itinerant life of an underhand flamethrower, at least in his 20s and 30s and single, was a “rush,” says Piechnik. And there was definitely a “love of the game” feel to what he did.

“Actually, Love of the Game (starring Kevin Costner as a baseball player) is one of my favourite movies. It explains a lot of the life of a ball player. Tone it down a bit and it’s a softball player’s life. You still meet the girls, get the fans. You get to go places and do things you wouldn’t normally do.”

But at 46, with kids eight and 11, Piechnik’s days as an elite level arm for hire are just about done. He’ll pitch for Portland at next month’s ISC tournament in Kitchener, Ont., then call it quits.

“Pitching is not that demanding once you’re in shape. It’s a fun game when you can throw great, hit your spots, make the ball move. But as you get older, it’s a tougher climb each spring [to get physically ready]. And recovery is a bugger. The next morning [after pitching] it really hurts. You wake up sometimes and feel like four guys did you in.”

Zack, a member of the Garden River First Nation and a genuine hero to native youth for whom he stages pitching clinics, says he’s taking it year by year while keeping a close eye on his 17-year-old son, Darren Jr., also a pitcher.

“If I’m effective, still throwin’ it, I’ll keep playing as long as I can,” Zack said by cell phone this week while driving from Horse Lake to Vancouver. “I’d like to play with my boy.”

The Vancouver Grey Sox, the tournament hosts this weekend, plan to honour Zack and Piechnik and their careers with a small ceremony this afternoon at South Memorial Park. They have their own mutual admiration society, even if, as Zack jokes, Piechnik “throws with the wrong arm.”

“Darren is the most naturally gifted pitcher I’ve ever seen,” says Piechnik.

“And what an awesome ambassador for the game, a real gentleman of the sport. I loved playing with him, just to watch what he could do with a drop ball.

“When he was at his best, nobody had the variety of pitches he did and then he had the gas to back it up. And longevity, he could throw for frickin’ ever.”

Grey Sox co-sponsor Conrad Margolis had Zack in Vancouver from 1990-92 with the old Magicians.

“What set him apart … was he had the best set of changeups of anyone in the game. At 270 pounds, of course he could overpower batters with a riseball, but he developed a changeup riseball and a change curveball and a devastating drop change. He could keep batters off balance like nobody else.”

Both guys will get a good feel this weekend for their clubs’ chances at the ISC worlds. The No. 1 ranked Broken Bow Gremlins out of New York and No. 4 So Cal Bombers are in the Vancouver tournament.

Zack and Piechnik are likely to be the oldest pitchers in Kitchener or, as Piechnik likes to add, “the oldest effective ones.

“There’s some out there who might be older,” says Piechnik, “but they don’t have a hope in hell of beating a world-class team.”
© The Vancouver Sun 2007
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