Archive for March, 2009

News from Fargo

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Fargo, North Dakota, as readers will recall, was the host of the 2004 ISC World Tournament. Many of you have no doubt been watching the news of their battle with flooding. We pass along a note from Paul Lybeck, the tournament director in 2004, sent to the ISC:

Thanks for the concern. This is an amazing story about the human spirit. It is our school that was damaged, but things are as good as we can hope for. An amazing recovery was made on Sunday with the help of Blackhawk helicopters slowing the leak buy airlifting in 22,000 lbs of sand in 11 drops. This has slowed the rupture in the dike and we have pumped out the campus only loosing 3 total floors in 2 separate buildings. The 2 new buildings we have built since you were here have been saved. (amazing – even the professionals didn’t think it could work). Otherwise my work and home are fine. Plugged all basement drains in the
basement and moved all contents up to the ground floor. So the house looks like we are living in a war zone. So does the neighborhood. Six foot dikes have been constructed behind the houses across the street from me. Our city leaders were all in place back in 1997. So they are experienced. The leadership is unbelievable. they are doing a job for the ages. Fargo has only lost 5 homes. Thanks again for the concern. We really appreciate the prayer support!


Treasure Valley Idaho Fastpitch

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Open House for New Teams, New Players April 11, 2009

New league forming in Treasure Valley, Idaho. Click here for their PDF flyer.

Their approach is a good one, that has worked elsewhere – they’ve lined up a pool of pitchers, so that teams without one that want to compete can still join the league, and pick up one of the pool pitchers.

A Facebook Group to go with it. If you “friend” them, tell ’em Fastpitchwest sent you.

ISC Stat Triva Poll No. 3 – Highest Batting Average from 2002-2008

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Here is the latest “ISC Stat Trivia” poll — can you name the hitter with the top batting average at the ISC World Tournament over the past seven years ? (2002-2008).

Eligibility for this select group is a minimum of 70 at bats (average of 10 AB’s per year).

PICK THREE when voting.

Who has the highest ISC World Tournament batting average from 2002-2008? (minimum 70 AB’s) PICK 3
Keith Mackintosh
Chris Delarwelle
Jason Hill
Colin Abbott
Jeff Ellsworth
Kyle Beane
Chad Boom
Chris Miljavic
Donnie Hale
Ian Fehrman
Travis Wilson
Ted Kosceisza
Reno Dambrosio
Don Garvey
Evan Potskin
Todd Budke
Jeff Goolagong
Frank DeGroat
Jody Eidt
Jarrad Martin
Rob Gray
Tex Lessard free polls

Passing of Brad Merrill

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Brad Merrill was a teammate of mine, on the 1981 and 1982 Phase Alloy Miner teams. Brad passed away last Wednesday at age of 76. His fastpitch career spanned 62 years. In 2005, he was inducted into the National Senior Softball Hall of Fame. I’ve heard from a number of our teammates from that team, including Carl Catlin, who passed along the news. and Steve Miner who shared their memories of Brad.

That ’82 Phase Alloy Miners team was my first ever trip to a National tournament, and Brad was the veteran leader on the club. Brad was a favorite among an ecclectic collection of talented ballplayers. He was immortalized in a poem written about that championship squad by another teammate, Dave Schneiders, for loving to call the squeeze play from the third base coaches’ box. (“Brad, with his one-touch squeezies….”.) He was the relief pitcher with a sideways rise ball that often defied gravity, and the sluggers of his day.

The photo above captures him to a T. To me, he was the affable, likeable reliever, never far on the bench from our skipper and resident comedian, Ted Jensen, always ready to take the ball when things went wrong, and always quick with a good word to whomever he was replacing. I was a youngster of 26 when I played on Brad’s team, and he was already 59, the senior statesman on the team. He enjoyed the company of the younger players, taking pride in the fact he was still competing. I can still hear Ted Jensen hollering encouragement to him….“C’mon Methusula…”..a term of endearment to be sure. And then he’d sneak that sideways rise ball by a right hander to get out of that inning, flashing that smile that you see above as he headed back to join his teammates in the dugout…

Brad’s obituary appeared here, in the North County Times newspaper, with a legacy guest book here for people who wish to leave a note.

A story paying tribute to Brad
by Terry Monahan also appeared in the North County Times (San Diego) reprinted below:

Popular North County coach remembered fondly by former players

By TERRY MONAHAN – Staff Writer

If you played recreational softball in Escondido, you probably knew Brad Merrill during his 62-year playing career.

If you watched high school basketball in Escondido in the 1970s and into the ’80s, you knew about Merrill and his 1-3-1 zone defense with Orange Glen High’s boys team and later with San Pasqual’s girls team.

Merrill’s softball playing career, which included induction in 2005 into the National Senior Softball Hall of Fame in Plano, Texas, didn’t end until last fall. He was still coaching in a senior softball tournament in Peoria, Ariz., in late February, just weeks before he died of cancer Wednesday at the age of 76.

Merrill, who was married to his wife Liz for 53 years, coached boys basketball at Orange Glen for nine seasons and five seasons at San Marcos in addition to a short stint with a San Pasqual girls basketball team that reached the CIF San Diego Section 2A finals in 1987 before losing to La Jolla.

Russ Reilly, a point guard at Orange Glen (1978-80), remembered Merrill as an ultra-competitive person who taught his players the art of winning.

In the summer before Reilly’s senior year, the Patriots reached the playoffs in the old Pepsi Basketball League. They beat Madison, Morse and Helix to reach the finals against Kearny, then one of the county’s top programs.

Because teams were not allowed to wear school uniforms, the Patriots wore tank tops from the track team with board shorts for games. But for the finals, which was a warm-up game to the City-County All-Star game at Peterson Gym, teams could wear their school uniforms.

Reilly and Sean Salisbury, then a junior, picked up the uniforms at school, but Merrill wouldn’t let his team wear them. He told them to wear the track jerseys and board shorts.

“He said we were on a run in the other things, so we had to finish with them,” Reilly said Friday. “Kearny was out on the court styling with their cool uniforms and we were in our mismatched board shorts and track jerseys.

“Merrill told us we were on a run, and you can’t break a run.”

Orange Glen went on to win the championship.

Ten years after graduation, Reilly crossed paths with Merrill again, this time on the softball field in a fast-pitch game. Merrill was pitching, and quickly got ahead of Reilly with two strikes before throwing a changeup that Reilly blooped down the right-field line for a double.

“He was destroying us and talking trash,” Reilly said. “After the game the first thing he said was, ‘How could I throw a lame hitter like you a changeup?’

“That’s why I loved playing for the man.”

Salisbury, who played football at USC and later in the NFL, remembered Merrill’s competitive nature as being legendary and how it became infectious.

“If you didn’t pick up his competitiveness, you got left behind,” Salisbury said. “We weren’t a big X’s and O’s team. He taught us how to compete with what we had.

“This loss is a very sad day for me. I’m devastated by this loss.”

Lori Becker played for Merrill at Orange Glen, coached with him at San Pasqual and he later helped her with the girls basketball team at Escondido.

“This is a huge loss,” said Becker, the girls volleyball coach at Escondido. “It has left a void in my life.

“The last time I saw him Brad remembered a play he called for me to win the league title at OG. I think it was the old picket fence, but he remembered it in detail.

“That 1-3-1 defense of his stopped so many teams we had no business beating. I know I could never coach basketball again without Brad around to help me with the defense.”

An open-house celebration will be held by Merrill’s family from 1-4 p.m. on March 28 at the Mission Hills Church in San Marcos, 400 Mission Hills Court.

Contact staff writer Terry Monahan at (760) 739-6648 or

Look Who’s Blogging Now

Monday, March 30th, 2009

While we’re mentioning fastpitch players who coach women’s fastpitch teams (see post below), another is mentioned in this new blog.

The fastpitch player mentioned at Maddy’s blog is Steve Miner, a longtime friend and teammate of mine, player-manager from my Vista Bomber days, as well as my Masters team, Long Beach Deadwood. Steve was a member of the original Vista Bombers founded by Carl “Slick” Davis in the 1970’s. That squad finished as high as 4th in the 1977 ISC World Tournament, when Slick’s son, Cory was one of the younger players in the Western Softball Congress. Steve went on to play for the Long Beach Nitehawks, including their runner-up ISC World Tournament finish in 1979, then back to the Vista Bombers again during the 1980’s when Cory ran the team, and a third tour when I had the team in the 1990’s. Steve was one of the pioneers of “slap hitting”, a skill that he is passing on to the girls that he now coaches. And for one final bit of trivia, you can spot him briefly in the Jeremy Spears feature film, “Fastpitch”, coaching third base for the opposing team, the LB Painters.

Maddy’s photos of the San Diego State women’s team, taken on March 20, 2009 are linked at her blog post, but also here.. With a win over Fullerton that day, the team improved to 21-13 with the victory, and has now won 10 of its last 12 games, 12 of its last 15 and 16 of its last 21 contests.

(Steve Miner, photo from San Diego State website)

Steve’s bio from the SDSU website:

Entering his second season at San Diego State, Steve Miner brings 25 years of coaching experience to The Mesa.

“We’re very excited to have the experience that Steve brings to the program,” Van Wyk said. “He’ll have an immediate impact by helping out with the infield and working with our slap-hitters.”

Miner has been a head coach at the collegiate level for four years and has two decades worth of experience in the high school ranks. He coached Alliant International (then U.S. International) in 1983 and was a three-year coach at Southwestern College (1998-2000), where he led the squad to two state regional berths.

Miner’s success at the high school level has been even more impressive. Over his 20 seasons as a head coach, Miner’s teams have gone 206-84 (.710). During that span, he guided his teams to 11 league championships, three CIF championships and three CIF runner-ups.

Miner, a 1970 San Diego State graduate who played freshman basketball (1965-66) and volleyball (1967-69) for the Aztecs, played fast-pitch softball at the national level for 23 years and has been a part of three national runner-up teams (1979, 1991-92), as well as two third-place squads (1991 and 1994).

At the national level, Miner was a four-time All-American (1979, 1988-90), a seven-time Western Softball Congress all-league selection (1975-81) and the 1975 AAA San Diego Player of the Year. In addition, he set the WSC batting average record in 1979 and hit a national tournament record .793 in 1988.

Miner may be best known in the softball world as the first player to try crossover slap-hitting at the men’s national fast-pitch level, a technique that is widely used in the women’s game today. In fact, last year’s Aztecs had six slap-hitters on the team.

Miner has also had success as a high school football coach with various schools in San Diego County. He led Clairemont High School to five consecutive CIF playoffs and a 1981 CIF championship. As an offensive coordinator at Kearny High School, Miner helped the team win four league championships, five CIF playoff berths and a runner-up finish in the CIF championship game in 1990. Since 2004, Miner has been an assistant coach with Madison High, after leading the school to a 2002 league championship as a head coach.

Miner, who earned his master’s at Azusa Pacific in 1978, retired in June 2007 after teaching high school math for 35 years.

Miner and his wife, Maureen, have been married for 40 years. They have one daughter, Amy, who was a former Aztec assistant coach for two years and San Diego CIF Player of the Year.

Adco Tool Shed’s Joe Wuensch Gets First Varsity Coaching Win

Monday, March 30th, 2009

From (Staten Island Live):

St. Joseph Hill softball gets coach Joe Wuensch first varsity win
Daniel O’Leary, March 30, 2009 6:17 p.m.

St. Joseph Hill rallied for five runs in the fourth inning and three more in the fifth to take down St. Peter’s 11-1 in a mercy-rule shortened contest in South Beach on Monday.

It is the first varsity win for new Hilltoppers coach Joe Wuensch.

“I thought we played pretty solid,” said the coach, who has over 15 years of experience on the men’s fast-pitch softball circuit. “Our defense made plays when we had to, our pitcher threw well and our batters put the ball in play.”


Las Vegas Road Trip – SCIFL

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Viva Las Vegas

(Click logo for official SCIFL website)

NAFA and So Cal Independent Fastpitch League (SCIFL) present the “Las Vegas Road Trip” Men’s fast pitch tournament this weekend. This will be a NAFA sanctioned event with the winners of each division having their 2009 NAFA World Series entry fee paid.

Twenty-six teams will be competing in 3 divisions with teams from Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. In addition, there will also be a team representing Mexico. The NAFA 3-game guarantee bracket will be used for all divisions. Unfortunately due to field limitations, we were not able to accommodate all teams that hope to play.

We will hopefully be able to secure additional fields for next years Road Trip. In the AA-Major/AA division, last years Champion New Image of Wisconsin will be returning to defend their title as last year’s finalist Innovative Communications of Utah. This will be an 8 team divison.

In the A-Major division, last year’s NAFA World Series “A” finalist Fat City of California will compete against other teams from last years World series, the Manor Dirt Bags of Texas and Wilkomm Mobil of Wisconsin. In addition, Maccabi USA will be appearing in the tournament as they prepare for the Maccabi games set for July in Israel. This will also be an 8 team division.

The “A” division has a host of up and coming teams with both of last year finalist coming back, the champions Caribbeans and Palm Springs Express both of California. Last years NAFA 23 & under champions the Young Bucks will also be back and appearing in the tournament This division will have ten teams participating.

Games will be played at Sunset Park and Paradise Park starting at 8:00 AM on Saturday, April 4th. Games continure at both parks throughout the day with the remaining teams coming back to Sunset Park on Sunday. The Championship games for all divisions is scheduled for 3:00 PM.
For additional information and a complete list of teams, please visit . Depending on Internet availability, the SCIFL web site will be updated through the weekend.

Robert Hernandez
NAFA Pacific Coast VP
P.O. Box 1891
Anaheim, CA 92806

rmh323 ( at )
Don’t forget to change the at to an @

Most Wins in ISC World Tournament – 2002-2008 ? Gerald Muizelaar

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Bob from Chilawack Tops Readers for “Most Win” Predictions

Gerald Muizelaar was the overwhelming readers’ choice as the pitcher with the Most Wins in the ISC World Tournament from 2002-2008 — which proved to be the correct answer in the latest “ISC Stat Triva Poll”. The tall lanky Canadian righthander garnered 138 of the 410 votes cast – one out of every three votes, outdistancing his nearest competition by more than 85 votes.

Astute Fastpitchwest and Al’s Fastball readers correctly pegged the top three – and in the correct order of finish, no less, Muizelaar, Gareau and Kirkpatrick. (Maybe I should start posting the list of horses running at nearby Los Alamitos race course in advance :-))

Paul Koert appears to be the most underrated pitcher, racking up wins under the radar. Koert garnered 13 of the 410 votes, (only 3%), but is tied for third with Andrew Kirkpatrick, with a whopping 20 wins. The foursome of Muizelaar, Gareau, Kirkpatrick and Koert are the only members of the “20-win” club. Koert’s stature on this list makes his addition to Team USA’s squad for the ISF Worlds this summer look to be a good one.

Voters also hit the mark by correctly tabbing Todd Martin for 4th place, and Frank Cox for 6th, who have 18 and 15 wins respectively. Ironically, it was Martin helping Cox notch that 15th win and inch closer to his total of 18 in last summer’s ISC World Tournament championship game. Martin started the game, gave way to Cox in relief, with Kitchener rallying late in the game for the come-from-behind win. An injury to Cox forced Martin to re-enter the game, and pick up a save, protecting Cox’s win.

Robbie O’Brien and Grant Patterson were also underrated, garnering only 2% and 1%, with 8 and 5 votes, respectively, but the duo are tied for seventh on the actual win list, with 14 wins.

One notable name not on the list – or in the poll — was Darren Zack. Darren, of course, was racking up wins by the handful, but in a different time period – late 1980’s and throughout the 1990’s. The poll only looks at the past seven years, when Darren was well into his 40’s.

Two other pitchers – both to be inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer — rank lower on this list than might be expected, but again, only because they were notching more of their wins a decade before the slice of time viewed in this stat database. (2002-2008) The two ? Mike Piechnik and Michael White. Even so, the two still notched double figure win totals, just in the past eight years.

Take a peek at the ISC Media Guide when it comes out next month, and you’ll see that the trio — Darren Zack, Michael White and Mike Piechnik rank among the all time leaders in wins.

The list of top winners is dominated by Canadian pitchers. Kirkpatrick the top Aussie, in third place with 20 wins, while Lucas Mata the top Argentine is fifth with 17. Jeremy Manley is the top New Zealander, ninth place with 12 wins. No Yanks to be found.

Top 3 (4) – The “20 Win Club”

Gerald Muizelaar, 27
Korrey Garreau, 24
Andrew Kirkpatrick, 20
Paul Koert, 20

Here are the actual win totals for 2002-2008, as shown in a comprehensive ISC statistical data provided by a Fastpitchwest reader, Anon E. Moose. The first poll (“Most Hits”) drew over 300 votes, while this one (“Most Wins”) pulled in over 400 votes.

Actual Win Totals for ISC Pitchers – 2002-2008
(voter’s predicted finish shown in parentheses)

1. Muizelaar Gerald, 27 (1)
2 Gareau Korrey, 24 (2)
3. Kirkpatrick Andrew, 20 (3)
3. Koert Paul, 20 (9)
4. Martin Todd, 18 (4)
5. Mata Lucas, 17 (7)
6. Cox Frank, 15 (6)
7. Patterson Grant, 14 (11)
7. O’Brien Robbie, 14 (10)
8. Underhill Nick, 13 (13)
9. Manley Jeremy, 12 (12)
9. McKenzie Colin, 12 (12)
9. Urquhart Brian, 12 (14)
9. Simpson Jamie, 12 (12)
9. White Michael, 12 (5)
10. Langley Steve, 11 (14)
10. Gollan Karl, 11 (12)
11. Piechnik Mike, 10 (8)

The voter prediction tallies are show below:
(Again, these are the voter’s predictions, not the actual win totals)

Selection Votes

Gerald Muizelaar 34% 138
Korrey Gareau 13% 53
Andrew Kirkpatrick 13% 52
Todd Martin 9% 35
Michael White 6% 25
Frank Cox 5% 22
Lucas Mata 5% 21
Mike Piechnik 4% 17
Paul Koert 3% 13
Robbie O’Brien 2% 8
Grant Patterson 1% 5
Karl Gollan 1% 4
Colin Mc Kenzie 1% 4
Jeremy Manley 1% 4
Jamie Simpson 1% 4
Nick Underhill 1% 3
Brian Urquhart 1% 1
Steve Langley 1% 1

410 votes total

This poll had a number of astute comments posted before the actual results were announced. One reader (“Ty”) had Muizellar and Gareau picked as the top two, noting:

Gareau was more dominant in the last 4 years, but Muizy was clearly more dominant in the first 4

Another noted the point mentioned above about the database skewing a bit against players of an earlier era. From “DiDirt”:

white didnt pitch in 07 or 08 and probably pitched little in 06 at the WT, so his stats will be pretty skewed go from 98-05 and whitey would be right up there; of course Zack would be too and a few others

Commenter “Katman” was not one of those overlooking Paul Koert’s achievments:

paul koert is for sure top 10

Another reader posted a snarky comment about Jamie Simpson, suggesting that he didn’t belong on the list. Twelve (12) ISC World Tournament wins say otherwise. Scoreboard, baby. He’s in pretty select company over the past 7 years.

Bob from Chilawack was one of the few brave enough to post his Top 10 picks ahead of time. He wasn’t far off on any, and one of the few to pick Koert among the leaders. His picks are shown below, with the actual result in parentheses:

1. Muizy (1)
2. Gareau (2)
3. Martin (4)
4. Kirkpatrick (3)
5. Koert (3)
6. Cox (6)
7. Manley (9)
8. Underhill (8)
9. Patterson (7)
10. White (10)

Another commenter thought Bob’s predictions were off the mark:


— but Bob proved to be the ranking Nostradamus among Fastpitchwest readers.

2009 California Athletics Roster

Friday, March 27th, 2009

2009 Roster for the “California Athletics”
(Sponsor Taylor Farms)
(pitchers in bold)

Mike Butler
Kevin Castillo
James Close
Nate Devine
Dave Drotzmann
Mike Egerdeen

Pat Fuentes
Dave Kimura
Shawn Mandolesi
Eddie Martin
Steve Pinocchio
Jason Porto
Marcus Tan
Chase Turner
Jeff Twist
Ron Guzman

Editor’s Note: Here is a breakdown of the players’ affiliations from last year:

So Cal Bombers

Mike Butler
Nate Devine (Member, Team USA 2009)
Dave Kimura
Steve Pinocchio (Member, Team USA 2009)

Team Rainey

Jason Porto
Chase Turner (Member, Team USA 2009)

California Lumberkings (ISC II champs)

James Close
Dave Drotzmann (2007 ISC II All Tournament pitcher, 2008 ISC II Most Valuable Pitcher)
Mike Egerdeen
Pat Fuentes
Marcus Tan (2008 ISC II MVP, Member, Team USA 2009)
Jeff Twist (2007 ISC II All Tournament catcher)
Ron Guzman (2008 ISC II All Tournament infielder)
Shawn Mandolesi
Eddie Martin

Santa Barbara Bucks 23-and-under

Kevin Castillo

More Editor’s notes: California has had two strong entrants to the ISC World Tournament the past few years, archrivals Team Rainey and the So Cal Bombers, not to mention a number of very strong ISC II teams, the Lumberkings, A-1 Taylor Farm, the River City Rockers and Rude Pac.

The Bombers added Lucas Mata midway through the 2007 season, and finished strong, winning the Monkton tournament over the Kitchener Hallman Twins, the Vancouver Challenge, with a win over then-number-1-ranked Broken Bow, and finished 2nd in the 2007 ISC World Tournament, the highest finish for a California team since Mark Smith’s Camarillo Kings won it in 1981.

Correction: (cap tip to Herb Dower)

The Kings won it again in 1982 in Kimberly, WI, and placing second was Dave Frye Plastering of Bakersfield. The Lancaster Chameleons won the 1983 tournament held in Bakersfield, CA, and Ed Smith Welding of Bakersfield and the Chameleons finished 1-2 in the 1984 tournament in Decatur. Il. The Chameleons then finished second (behind Pay ‘n Pak of Bellevue, WA) in 1986 in Sioux City, IA.

In 2008, Team Rainey bested the Bombers for the Best of the West title, in a classic pitchers duel between two of Argentina’s top pitchers, Lucas Mata and Sebastian Gervasutti. Rainey went on to finish 2-2 in the 2008 ISC World Tournament, with wins over Kegel ND and the Bahamas, and losses to The Farm and Circle Tap. The Bombers finished the same tournament with a 3-2 record, with wins over Stoneyard, Midland and Townline.

Meanwhile, just down the road in the ISC II division, he Lumberkings won the ISC II Tournament of Champions in 2008 after a runner-up finish in 2007. A-1 Taylor Farms finished 3rd in 2007, with their nucleus moving over to the Lumberkings 2008 championship squad. River City and Rude Pac both qualified for the playoffs in the first ISC II T of C in 2008.

In short, the golden state has been blessed with a good number of top quality teams in the upper levels of the men’s game in recent years. Pitchers including Travis Price, Tony Peeples, Sonny Perkins, Bricklen Anderson, Sebastian Gervasutti, Lucas Mata, Sean Whitten and Ryan Brand. Players including catcher Todd Garcia, Chris Hunt, Rod Rainey, Jesse Duncan, Nate Devine, Mike Butler, and a collection of imported stars from Canada like Darren Box, Evan Potskin, Chad Ghostkeeper, and more. The successes of recent years, harkened back to the 1990’s when the LB Painters challenged the world’s best, and the 1970’s and 1980’s when the LB Nitehawks, Camarillo Kings and Lakewood Jets roamed the ISC World Tournament.

In the expensive world of high powered fastpitch teams, though, it is difficult to keep teams playing year in and year out. At the conclusion of the 2008 season, California fastpitch fans got a triple-whammy, learning that its three top teams were shuttering their operations. No more Rainey, no more Bombers and no more Lumberkings.

But the good news, as we have learned recently, is that from the ashes rises a new team, made up of former members of the three teams, who will compete in the 2009 ISC World Tournament, the California Athletics. The team will be sponsored by Taylor Farms (who fans may remember finished 3rd in that star-studded 2005 ASA “C” National in Stockton), and will be headed up by Ron Guzman, the man behind that team, and who anchored the infield for last year’s ISC II Champs, the Lumberkings, earning All Tournament honors in the process. He says he’s “managing”, but still has a swing that this editor thinks will provide some key hits in 2009.

As you can see from the roster above, the new team will boast some of California’s finest talents, including the Lumberkings’ pitching staff, Dave Drotzmann and Mike Egerdeen. The World Tournament will be a step up for the talented duo, but both have shown they can pitch and compete with World Tournament caliber teams, in matchups in the Rose Cup and AAU tournaments. (Drotzmann and Sean Whitten dueled in the 2007 AAU Tournament, once of the best pitched games in that tournament’s history). As ISC World Tournament teams go, it would not be surprising to see the squad add one more arm for the August classic.

The California Athletics roster also includes a number of Team USA members for the squad that will be in Saskatoon in July Nate Devine, Chase Turner, Steve Pinnochio, and Marcus Tan. Jason Porto and Nate Devine have proven to be among the game’s top power hitters, giving the squad a potent middle of the order, while youngsters Marcus Tan and Chase Turner should provide plenty of RBI opportunities to the team. Veteran Pat Fuentes figures to anchor a solid defense.

Above all, perhaps, the squad is made up of players who have achieved success in their fastpitch careers, and who know what it takes to win at the upper levels. Few ISC II teams to date have accepted the challenge of playing at the next level. 2005 ISC II champion Elmira did it in 2007, and 2007 semi-finalist the Snappers did it in 2008. It is no easy feat to compete the best teams in the world, many of whom as much more heavily financed. But the California Athletics will combine the best of the ISC II division, with a talented group of players who have ISF and ISC World tournament experience. The results, for California fastpitch fans, should prove well worth watching.

49th Annual Seattle Invitational

Friday, March 27th, 2009


Where: Kasch Park
Everett, WA
Class: ‘B’/’C’ Classifications
When: August 1-2, 2009
Format: 3 Game Round Robin – Saturday
Single Elimination – Sunday
All Teams Advance To The Championship Round
At least 5 Game Guarantee
Cost: $300
Contact: Charlie Bendock
(206) 524-0426 (H)
(206) 601-2720 (Cell)

Editor’s note: How old were you when this one started?