Archive for June, 2009

Martin making his pitch for elusive softball bauble

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

=”” />

Todd Martin will pitch for Team Canada at the ISF world tournament that gets under way July 17 in Saskatoon.

By John Cudmore

Within every ball player there seems to be a little kid waiting to bust out.

The way Todd Martin sees it, his inner kid has unfinished business before he hangs up the cleats on a stellar international softball career.

The 39-year-old Aurora resident has used his significantly talented throwing arm to pitch his way to several major championships, including an International Softball Congress title with his current team, the Kitchener Rivershark Twins, at the 2008 global showdown in Kimberley, Wis.

But the six-foot, four-inch righthander needs an International Softball Federation title to complete a set of five significant championships near and dear to North American softball players. He’ll get the chance as a member of Team Canada for the ISF world tournament that gets under way July 17 in Saskatoon.

While he won’t say never, the Bracebridge native suggests this may be his last kick at the ISF version of the world championship, since it only comes around every four years.

“I guess I won’t get completely out (of softball) until my body shuts down, but this could be my last with Team Canada,” said Martin, one of four pitchers listed on the Canadian roster. “But I said I’d had enough the last time and Team Canada came calling again. This is only every four years and I’d love to win it. When you’re young, you don’t mind going to the training camps and having some fun, but, at some point, you have to put other things first.”

In most sports at an elite level, young blood is a necessity to keep the line moving. In Canada, the state of the game among young players required to follow in the footsteps of the veterans is faltering. Few members of the Canadian roster check in at under 30.

“There simply are not a lot of young guys to force us older guys out,” Martin said. “That’s why they asked us to come back and help out.

“It’s too bad because the rest of the world is getting very good and playing a lot of it. It’s becoming a worldwide game. That we’re not producing guys is sad. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s a love-of-the-game type of sport.”

Winning in Saskatoon would complete a set of titles that already includes two ISC crowns, a Pan American Games gold in 1999 and American Softball Association and Canadian national titles (two each).

“That it’s being hosted in Canada was a big draw for me to come back,” said Martin, who still chucks for his buddies on the Aurora Shoeless Joe’s entry in the Oshawa City&District Softball League. “I’ve represented Canada all over the world, but it’s pretty special to play for your country in your own country, especially if you get to hear the (Canadian) anthem at the end.”

The pinnacle of his career is the gold captured in the Pan Am Games in Winnipeg. It’s a feeling he would gladly duplicate later this month.

“Standing on the podium in Canada with four or five thousand fans singing along … to win in Canada for Canada is awesome,” Martin said.

“They will fill the stands and it’ll be exciting and we’ll have a chance to win it.”

New Zealand figures to be the team to beat and are three-time defending champs with claims in 1996, 2000 and 2004. Canada is typically considered among the top three or four softball-playing nations.

Canada begins play in its round-robin pool against Argentina. Rounding out the group are the Czech Republic, Venezuela, Australia, South Africa, Puerto Rico and Indonesia.

Martin figures to get three starts in the round-robin and playoff portion, but has one target in mind.

“I want the ball on Sunday against New Zealand. That’s my little kid dream.”

LB Black Sox Win SCIFL Weekend at Santa Fe Springs

Monday, June 29th, 2009

(Click logo for official SCIFL website)

From the official SCIFL website:


Long Beach Black Sox take the long way and win their fourth Championship of the year over San Diego Primetime, 8-4. More info to follow shortly.

Click here to view a YouTube video clip of Fred Hanker doubling in their second game Sunday against the Caribbean. I was making the rounds of all three games underway mid-morning Sunday and stopped to shoot a little video as the Black Sox were batting in the 3rd inning. Fred Hanker led off the inning with the double shown in the video clip. Todd Budke followed, reaching base when hit by a pitch, and the rest of the Black Sox squad followed by sending 11 men to the plate in the inning, including Hanker and Budke twice each, plating five runs before the inning was over. Hanker and Budke made the second and third outs, in their second at bats of the inning, Hanker’s a long fly out to deep left and Budke’s on a hard smash to second base. The Black Sox struggled on Saturday, going 0-3, including a 7-0 loss to San Diego, but bounced back Sunday with a morning win over Flor de Cana, the win over the Caribbean, another win, and then beat San Diego for the weekend title.

Farewell for softball champ

Monday, June 29th, 2009

SAFE TRAVELS: Among those bidding Marty Grant, back row, middle, farewell were, back row, councillor Aldo Miccio and Jack Fletcher and front, from left Lewis Miccio, Grant’s son Cooper and Hugo Fletcher

Around 30 friends and supporters bid Nelson’s Marty Grant an emotional farewell on Sunday as the veteran Black Sox pitcher left for his fifth world championship softball campaign in Canada.

With three world crowns already under his belt, the 42-year-old Grant is chasing title No 4 in Saskatoon starting on July 17.

An official sendoff from councillor Aldo Miccio, representing Mayor Kerry Marshall, and a rousing Haka Tika Tonu performed by the Nelson kapa haka group Whatukura were part of the brief farewell ceremony at Nelson Airport.

Grant thanked his supporters and training partners Derryn French, Sam Miller, Simon Ashby and Jack Fletcher, and his friends who in a surprise gesture last week presented Grant’s wife Abbie and son Cooper with air tickets to travel to Canada for the championships. Abbie is recovering from successful breast cancer surgery.

Grant’s progress can be followed on his Twitter page or via the international softball federation website link for the champs, which will provide coverage of games and Ballpark Radio.

Editor’s note: “Bon Voyage” might be a more suitable headline; “Farewell” sounds like retirement and Marty is very much on the active player list, earning All World honors at last year’s ISC World Tournament at age 42. The last line of the story is not quite accurate — we’ll be broadcasting the Black Sox games on Ballparkradio at the World Fastball Invitational at Monkton this coming week/end, July 2-5, 2009, but not the ISF Championships which start July 17, 2009. Ballparkradio did submit a proposal to broacast the 2009 ISF World Championships in Saskatoon, but was not selected to do the broadcasting.

Passing of Lloyd Poirier

Monday, June 29th, 2009

We regret to pass along news of the passing of ISC II ToC umpire Lloyd Poirier of Nova Scotia. Lloyd, it seemed, was everywhere we went to cover tournaments, the ISC II T of C, the ISF in Whitehorse, and the AAU in Orlando. He was always among the first to greet us and make us feel welcome. A kind man, he will be missed.

Please see the tribute page at Al’s Fastball.

You Tube Videos – ISC II action at Innerkip

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Want to catch a few more YouTube videos? Be sure to visit our brother blog, “The Deuce”. ISC II Commish Blair Setford has some great clips of the action at Innerkip. My personal favorite is the perfectly executed squeeze play. Visit the Deuce to see them all.

Here’s a short sumary of the clips:

Perfect squeeze executed by Port Elgin

Darryl McKinnon (batting) and Shawn Detzler of the Port Elgin Blue Devils work the squeeze bunt to perfection against the Orangeville Kings in Sunday morning action at the 2009 Innerkip ISC II qualifier. You can watch in standard definition or click the HD button in the bottom right of the video to see in high […]

CPI’s Rankin Called Out for Leaving Early on Tag up Play

With CPI’s Keith Rankin at second base, batter Craig Buttar flies out to left field. Rankin advances to third on the play but is called out for leaving early to the delight of the Port Elgin Blue Devils. You can watch in standard definition or click the HD button in the bottom right of the […]

Keith Rankin video clip from Innerkip Qualifier

CPI’s Keith Rankin doubles home Charlie Walseman in the loser’s bracket final against Port Elgin Blue Devils. Pitching for Port Elgin is Scott Smith. You can watch in standard definition or click the HD button in the bottom right of the video to see in high definition.

Fred Follings video clip from Innerkip

Shakespeare Falcons’ Fred Follings gets Wyevale Tribe’s Mike Kelly to pop out to end the inning in their opening night match-up at the 2009 Innerkip ISC II qualifier. You can watch in standard definition or click the HD button in the bottom right of the video to see in high definition.

Brad Thomson video clip from Innerkip

Brad Thomson, of the champion K-W Cubs, singles home two runs in an opening night tilt against Innerkip Eagles. Later in the tournament, Thomson would homer over the tree and past the R/V parked beyond the outfield fence! You can watch in standard definition or click the HD button in the bottom right of the […]

Wolfe-Uhrig video clip from Innerkip

Brad Wolfe, Glencoe Astros, battles Todd Uhrig, Wellington Sox, in this clip from Friday night at the 2009 Innerkip ISC II Qualifier. You can watch in standard definition or click the HD button in the bottom right of the video to see in high definition.

Video clip from Innerkip Qualifier

Here’s the first of a few videos from the 2009 Innerkip ISC II Qualifier. In this one, Brad Wright, of the host Innerkip Eagles, smacks a two-run double to right-center to tie their game with the eventual champion K-W Cubs. You can watch in standard definition or click the HD button in the bottom right […]

YouTube Video – Fred Hanker Doubles

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

(Click logo for official SCIFL website)

Fred Hanker doubles for the Long Beach Black Sox in SCIFL action at Santa Fe Springs, California, on Sunday, June 28, 2009, against the Caribbean. (Click that little “HD” button for high definition quality. Camera? The Flip Mino HD.)

World Fastball Invitational in Monkton less than a week away

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

The World’s Best at Monkton, July 2-5, 2009

(click banner for official tournament website)

Less than a week ’til the World Fastball Invitational tournament in Monkton, Ontario, Canada. The tournament field boasts the top six (6) ISC ranked teams in the world, plus the reigning ISF World Champion New Zealand Black Sox. Tournament director Brian Ballie is in the midst of final preparations for what figures to be a whale of a weekend – for the teams, and of course, fastball fans.

Al Doran of Al’s Fastball, Fastpitchwest, Ballparkradio, and Maddy’s Photos will be on hand, in Monkton, to bring you all of the action.

(click to enlarge)

The final schedule of live streaming audio broadcasts is due out this weekend, so be sure to keep an eye out here at the Morning Brief for that post.

Kyle Smith will head up the broadcasts for the weekend, and will be joined by yours truly, Steve Sabourin, Blair Setford, Joe Todd, and tournament director Brian Ballie. As readers know, Kyle has been broadcasting men’s fastball at the ISC II for several years, along with his minor league hockey broadcasting. A graduate of a Canadian broadcasting school, Kyle’s knowledge of the game, its players, and his blend of information and humor have made him a listener’s favorite. Kyle headed up last summer’s live audio broadcasts of the ISF Junior World Championships from Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, heard by thousands ’round the world.

A short clip of Kyle’s dramatic call of the conclusion to the Canada v. New Zealand game can be heard by clicking here. (give it time to load)

Earlier this week, Kyle was named by the ISC as one of four play-by-play broadcasters for the 2009 ISC World Tournament.

Steve Sabourin is a pro sports broadcaster from Canada, and the original “Voice of the Monkton Tournament”. Steve has done live local radio broadcasts from the tournament since its inception, via the radio station that he works for. In 2007, Steve accepted the invitation of ISC II commish Blair Setford to join the Ballparkradio crew for part of the ISC II T of C in Kitchener, and has graciously agreed to do some live streaming broadcasts on Ballparkradio at Monkton this year, on Friday and Saturday, in between his Thursday night and Sunday broadcasts for local radio. We at Ballparkradio are pleased to add Steve to the lineup, and know that fastball fans will enjoy the professionalism he brings to the broadcasts.

Ballparkradio will feature Steve’s local radio stream for Thursday night, and broadcast Friday through Sunday.

Salem Virginia welcomes USA fast pitch softball team

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

Salem welcomes USA fast pitch softball team


Our older viewers will remember the “king and his court” touring the nation back when men’s fast pitch softball was all the rage.

After falling from the limelight, it’s enjoying a bit of a renaissance.

Team USA is in Salem this weekend. The red white and blue squad is coming together after a three and a half week break, and this is their last stop before the World Cup competition in Canada.

Because these men go back and forth to their regular jobs, they relish the chance to compete at the sport they love.

Friday night against a group of Salem stars, Team USA won 9-2. Then they promptly dispatched a ranked team from Pennsylvania, Keating Fitness, 12-2.

Coach Peter Turner explained that men’s fast pitch used to get the attention, but now the women’s game has taken over, and the roles are reversed. Because his team doesn’t get as many opportunities, they relish the ones they get—even if they are little ones.

Saturday, June 27 11am – Salem Local All-Stars vs. Keatings Fitness
6pm – Team USA vs. Salem Local All-Stars
8pm – Team USA vs. Keatings Fitness Center
General Admission – $5 person per day

Who can you spot in the video?

(The video features an interview with Pete Turner)

Kansas Tournament – July 3-5

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Fastpitch tourney set for July 3-5

Newton Kansan

The 61st Annual Mexican-American Men’s Fastpitch Tournament will begin at 6 p.m. July 3 at Fischer Field in Athletic Park in Newton with an opening prayer, honor guard, national anthem and a first pitch before the first game will begin.

All tournament games will be played at Fischer Field, and Centennial and Washington parks. All evening and night games will finish at Washington and Centennial parks on Saturday. The tournament finals will be July 5 at Washington and Athletic parks.

In addition to the tournament, there will be Mexican food sales at the 4-H building on July 4 and 5.

This tournament was created on July 4, 1948. Newton is home of the oldest Mexican men’s fastpitch tournament in the country.

For more information, contact Richard Martinez, president of the Newton Mexican-American Athletic Club, at 804-0423 or Teams will be announced at a later date.

SCIFL in Santa Fe Springs This Weekend – SFS III

Friday, June 26th, 2009

(Click logo for official SCIFL website)

Click here
for Santa Fe Springs III page.

Click here for Saturday schedule of Games.

Click here
for PDF bracket for Single Elimination Sunday.