Archive for September, 2009

Tuolumne County Softball Hall of Fame

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

From the Union Democrat, Tuolumne County, CA

Softball Hall of Fame has returned

Written by Kevin Sauls, The Union Democrat September 30, 2009 05:31 pm
The Tuolumne County Softball Hall of Fame is back.

A hall of fame committee is seeking community input toward making the first inductions in 15 years.

“We’re looking for nominees and we do not want to forget any deserving person who meets the criteria,” said Elaine Wolfgang, a committee member and herself a notable longtime women’s slowpitch player.
The criteria for nominees are three:

1. Must have played in Tuolumne County Recreation Department or ACOR leagues for a substantial amount of time.

2. Must have contributed to the softball programs with an encouraging, positive attitude and good sportsmanship.

3. Must have made a significant contribution to softball in Tuolumne County.

“Our idea,” said committee member, veteran fastpitch player and manager, and former county softball director Jon Abernathy, “is basically to throw it open to the public and let everyone run with it.”

Nominees can be players, umpires, managers, teams or sponsors.

Nominations can be made within the next two weeks by calling 532-2917.

The hall began in 1988 with the induction of Bud Castle, a men’s fastpitch ace in from the 1940s into the 1980s, and Barbara Persson, a longtime women’s fastpitch and slowpitch star.

Sarah Kiriluk of women’s fastpitch and slowpitch, Bummy Keefe of men’s fastpitch and Stan Cross of men’s slowpitch were added in 1990; Erline Heldstab of women’s slowpitch, Bob Buck of men’s fastpitch, umpire Slim Day and umpire and men’s slowpitch player Louis Castner were inducted in 1991; umpire and men’s slowpitch player Vic Day and men’s fastpitch hurler Bob Pedro were honored in 1993; and the last inductee was the late Wally Berry, a men’s fastpitch ace known as the “Slingin’ Sheriff,” in 1994.

A monument to Berry stands behind the first-base dugout on Field 4 at Standard Park, home of the county softball program since 1983.

“Our thought is to have two (inductees) each year for the 15 years we missed and then continue on with one or two annually,” Wolfgang said. “Our main idea, or first considerations, will be the ‘old-time players,’ those who started playing in the 1970s or before, and then move up from there.”

Abernathy said the experiences and recollections of the committee members only go back so far.

“We have a pretty good cross-section of people who go back to the 1970s, or maybe the ’60s, but there are a lot of deserving people who came before then that we don’t know about,” Abernathy said.

New inductees will have their names inscribed on a perpetual plaque which will be on display at Standard.

Jim Schultz, who managed a number of powerful men’s slowpitch teams in bygone days and now is on the hall of fame committee, said, “We just need to put some names on the plaque so they can put it out at the ballpark.”

Bayonne native on barnstorming King and His Court softball team

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Bayonne native Rich Hoppe, a member of the fast-pitch softball team the King and His Court, on the diamond at Memorial Park in Linden last week.

Patrick Villanova/The Jersey Journal

Bayonne native Rich Hoppe, a member of the fast-pitch softball team the King and His Court, on the diamond at Memorial Park in Linden last week.

He stands blindfolded, some 40 feet from home plate, gleefully hurling pitch after pitch at weary batters as fans in Linden’s Memorial Park cheer on the peculiar feat.
He is Rich Hoppe — Bayonne native and pitcher for the King and His Court, the iconic four-man barnstorming softball team.

Founded in 1946 by Hoppe’s mentor, “The King” Eddie Feigner, the King and His Court travels the country and globe playing exhibition games, with proceeds often going to charity.

The catch?
Hoppe and his crew only use a pitcher, a catcher, a first baseman and a shortstop, while the opposition uses nine players.

Score isn’t kept, and in fact, you’re likely to see Hoppe or one of his teammates run from first base across the infield to third, bypassing second base altogether, to the laughter and enjoyment of the crowd.

Basketball has the Harlem Globetrotters. Men’s fast-pitch softball has the King and His Court.
“It’s entertainment — it’s comedy,” Hoppe says.

For Hoppe, it all started in 1961 when he was a junior in high school and saw Feigner and his team play in Bayonne. Enthralled by what he saw, Hoppe hooked up with Feigner’s crew for Midwest tours the following two summers.

After making a name for himself in the 1970s as a premier men’s fast-pitch softball pitcher, Hoppe re-joined the King in the 1980s and has been in the signature red, white and blue uniform ever since. It has taken him all over the world, playing in the smallest of American towns, at USO events for American soldiers, and even in prisons against inmates.
But Hoppe’s story is about more than just trick pitches and entertaining a crowd. Hoppe has fought his own wars away from the diamond, on the battlefields of Vietnam and in the darkest trenches of his personal life.

Drafted into the Army and sent to Vietnam in 1966, on his 13th day at war the 19-year-old Hoppe witnessed three fellow soldiers get decapitated by a mine. Later that night, Hoppe saw two children blown up right in front of him during a Viet Cong raid.

“I had lost any courage to do anything. It took me years to talk about it,” Hoppe said. “No matter what they trained you in, you haven’t seen that.”

Hoppe said he relied on a mixture of Vietnamese marijuana and black tar heroin to cope with the emotional and psychological damage that the incident and the war had on him. “I went to the other side,” Hoppe said, referring to his mental state. “You don’t care. It’s beyond dangerous, it’s numb.”

Upon returning home after two years at war, Hoppe opened a bar in Bayonne and began attending night school. He quickly became a successful businessman and got back into softball, but his alcohol and drug addictions intensified.

His life would then come crashing down in 1988, when his brother Robert died of AIDS. Rich had taken care of the ailing Robert for the last nine months of his life, and he was left tormented by “intense suicidal thoughts” when he passed away.

“After my brother died and that 100 days that followed, I literally had lost everything,” Hoppe said. “I was a broken man.” In the aftermath of his brother’s death, Hoppe faced down his addictions and got his life back on track. He’s been with the King and His Court ever since.

To Hoppe, it is not merely a softball team, but a means to rediscover himself and spread a message of hope. “It became my anchor,” Hoppe said. “This is big. It’s always been my Yankee Stadium. You get to touch people and leave them with a message.”

After last Thursday’s game in Linden, Hoppe, who has been clean and sober for two decades, briefly shared his story with the crowd. He hopes to inspire all of those who have battled addiction and felt trapped within their own lives. “I know what I am, a recovering addict,” he said. “I found a way out.”

Editor’s note: Rich was a teammate of mine in 1986 with the Lakewood Chameleons, where we were honored to share a dugout with two ISC Hall of Famers, Kevin Herlighy and Greg Sepulveda.

AAU International 2010 – Reminder

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

AAU International

January 21-24, 2010 – Orlando, FL

I have now 40 teams that have send me the ” Intent to Participate ” form and 5 teams on the waiting list.

If you are one of the 40 teams but know now that your team will not be able to make it for whatever reason, please send me an e-mail or call me and let me know so I could go to the waiting list and make these teams part of the tournament.

I also would like everyone to know that I will have in March 2010 another International Fastpitch event in Panama City, Panama.

Anybody interested, please send me an e-mail.


Alex Linares
Amateur Athletic Union Of The United States, Inc.
Sports Manager
Panama & Puerto Rico Liaison
International Events
407- 828-5602
407- 934 – 7242 (fax)

Mark Sorenson Voted Into ISC Hall of Fame

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

During the ISC Hall of Fame Committee meeting in Quad Cities in August, an oversight occurred which removed Mark Sorenson’s name from consideration. Only after the ISC meetings were completed was this error discovered and steps were immediately taken to address it.

In a recent email vote of the ISC Board of Directors, Mark Sorenson was unanimously voted into the Hall of Fame for induction in 2010 in Midland, MI

We congratulate Mark and all other previously announced 2010 inductees into the ISC Hall of Fame:

Joe Avila – Hanford, CA (Old Time Player category)

John Becker – Holmen, WI (Manager category)

Dennis Johnson – St. James, MN (Administrator category)

Alan Rohrback – Lakeside, CA (Player category)

The Sonnentag Family (Tim, Billy and John) -Marathon, WI (Recognition of Services category)

Mark Sorenson – New Zealand (Player category)

Darren Zack – Garden River, ON (Player category)

Dean Oscar
ISC President
Reedsburg, WI

Class of 2010 announced for ISC Hall of Fame

By John Thompson

The ISC Hall of Fame held its 2009 induction breakfast for a half dozen of fastball’s finest and within days announced the stellar Class of 2010.

Royce Heath, chair of the ISC Hall of Fame Selection committee, announced that the ISC Board of Directors approved a stellar slate of softball luminaries for induction in Midland, MI in August 2010.

Six inductees will be recognized for their collective accomplishments and achievements as players, management and sponsors.

Darren Zack, Garden River, ON

Heading the list is legendary Canadian pitcher Darren Zack who toed the rubber for 18 seasons in the ISC World tournaments between 1987 and 2008. His pitching achievement includes 54 career wins (3rd All-time), including 29 shutouts. His career was punctuated by a 15-game consecutive winning streak (1994-96), the second best all-time in ISC. Zack’s life-time ERA is a miniscule 1.57. The “First Nations” native was named the Most Outstanding Pitcher four times between 1992-2000, and was ISC All-World nine times between 1992-2004. His personal success carried his club teams to ten “top four” finishes, with a quartet of ISC World Championships – Toronto Gators 1993 and 1995; Tampa Smokers 1998 and Decatur Pride 2000.

Darren is active in this year’s ISC II Tournament of Champions in Rock Island, IL with the Ohsweken, ON Redmen.

John Becker. Holmen, WI

Success as a player came to John Becker as a catcher with the Madison Farm Tavern (1987-91) and was highlighted by his final season with Green Bay All Car as 1994 ISC World Champions and a personal 1st Team All-World selection. In 1995, John doffed the catcher’s tools and instantly established himself as a bona-fide and successful team leader. His ten seasons as a field manager span 1995-2006 and include seven “Top-3” finishes, all with Wisconsin based squads. The pinnacle of success was the four-year string of ISC championship game appearances from 2003-06. Following two “runners-up” finishes, John’s County Materials squads won back-to-back ISC crowns in 2005-06. In a true season of competition dominance, the 2006 County Materials won every tournament in which it played – Eau Claire, Orillia, Boys of Summer, Monkton, Allentown, Madison and finally the ISC in Kitchener.

Alan Rohrback, Lakeside, CA

In 1981, Alan Rohrback was named as “rookie of the year” in the Western Softball Congress with the San Diego Vista Bombers. His youthful skills resulted in his being added to the Camarillo Kings roster for his debut ISC World tournament in Saginaw, MI. The Kings won that memorable tournament, and Alan was selected ISC 1st Team All-World player, with team-mates Larry Nolan (ISC HoF 2002) and Floyd “Blue” LaVergne (ISC HoF 2008). In 1983, Alan joined the Lancaster, CA Chameleons, where he won the WSC batting championship (.411) and MVP honours. The Chameleons won the ISC tourney and the following year placed third, when Alan was named to his second ISC All-World team. Two years later, with the new-look Lakewood, CA Chameleons, he acquired his third ISC All-World Selection. Alan continued to play with various competitive teams in California, highlighted by an ASA championship ring in 1991 with Santa Rosa CA Guanella Brothers.

Joe Avila, Hanford, CA

From his debut in 1964 with the Armona CA Merchants, Joe Avila was a skilled player and great ambassador for softball. As a shortstop possessing lightning speed, great hitting and fielding and an intensive competitive desire, Joe was among the best in the business. In ten ISC State tournaments, he was selected to the All-Tournament team each year. At the ISC tournaments in Kimberly, WI (1972) and Sun City, AZ (1974) Joe was named to the ISC All-World team as a member of the Clovis, CA Cowboys.

The Sonnentag Family (Tim, Billy and John) – Marathon, WI

Since 1986 when the Sonnentag family’s County Materials formed its first open level fastpitch team, with sponsorship based on the principle of “Chemistry and Culture” and doing things right both on and off the field, the game of softball has benefitted. In addition to a commitment to excellence, the family has been true promoters and ambassadors of the game, locally, state-wide and internationally. While winning is important, winning with class is the true measure – a trait synonymous with the Sonnentag family.

Mark Sorenson, New Zealand

Mark came on the international softball scene in 1984 as a 16-year old who was named to the New Zealand national men’s team. Five years later he was named captain of the New Zealand national team and led them to 3-consecutive ISF World Championships in 1996, 2000 and 2004.

He began his ISC career in 1986 with The Farm Tavern team of Madison, WI and ended in 2004 with County Materials. During that 18 year span, Mark’s teams won 4-ISC World Championships, Mark was named ISC All-World a record breaking 12-times, was MVP and RBI Leader once each. More important than titles and individual accomplishments, Mark was known throughout the sport as a great teammate. He was one of those who inspired his teammates to be better. He led by example and understood the mechanics behind the “team” concept and the chemistry needed to build a championship team.

When discussions are held about the best men’s player of all time, Mark Sorenson’s name is at the top of the list. Not only a great player and a tough out, he held the respect of his teammates, opponents, umpires, tournament officials and fans.

Dennis Johnson, St. James, MN

The love affair with softball for Dennis Johnson began June 4, 1959 when he got three hits in his first game of local rounders in the Augustana Lutheran Church League in his hometown. A half century later, he is being recognized for his decades of service to the sport including his stint as the ISC Commissioner of the Gopher State Softball League in 1981, a position he held until 2004 when he was appointed as an ISC Commissioner Emeritus. In recognition of his tireless efforts to have two new fastpitch diamonds built at the Watonwan County Fairgrounds, the city named the facility the “Dennis Johnson Field.” An example of his longevity and dependability is his record of having attended every game, home and away, since 1961 of his local high school basketball team, for whom he serves as scorekeeper – 1,060 consecutive games. WOW!

ASA 50+ at Prescott

Monday, September 28th, 2009

ASA Men’s 50-Over Fast-Pitch National Championship

Airtronics of Galt, Calif., captured the title in the Men’s Senior 50-and-Over Fast-Pitch National Championship on Sunday at Ken Lindley Field.

Airtronics went 4-0 over three days, averaging more than 10 runs per game. They capped the title on Sunday afternoon with a 14-8 win over Ohio Battery of Ashland, Ohio.

The Prescott Patriots finished fourth. They played Airtronics closer than any team with a 12-9 loss on Saturday afternoon. Prescott lost 2-0 on Sunday morning to Harold’s Supermarkets (Lexington, Mo.).

Michael Rhines Drywall, also of Prescott, finished tied for ninth in the 13-team tournament.

Patriots’ players Wade Max (utility) and Ronnie Rupp (pitcher) made first-team all-American.

Sunday’s Scores

(at Ken Lindley Field)

Losers’ Bracket

Harold’s Supermarkets (Lexington, Mo.) 2, Prescott Patriots 0

Ohio Battery (Ashland, Ohio) 11, Harold’s Supermarkets 10

Winners’ Bracket

Airtronics (Galt, Calif.) 14, Ohio Battery 8 (championship game)

You Tube Video – Rob Schweyer – Limodom 2009

Monday, September 28th, 2009

From the Facebook page of Nebraska Sporting Goods:

Rob Schweyer – Delfines de Bonao vs Titanes del Distrito – LIMODOM 2009

Remember you can click “HQ” button for high quality video.

Airtronics Wins ASA 50+ National Title

Monday, September 28th, 2009

[Prescott, AZ] – The Airtronics squad out of northern California captured the ASA 50+ National title over the weekend, capping their championship run with a 14-8 win over Ohio Battery.

Ohio Battery, OH, reached the championship game on Sunday, with a wild, come-from-behind, 11-10 win in the semi-finals. Ohio Battery trailed Harolds Supermarket in the bottom of the 7th inning 10-4, rallying for 7 runs to win 11-10, and advance to the championship game in the championship game.

Dennis Brownfield was named the tournament’s Most Valuable player, while pitchers Russ Snow (Airtronics) and Ronnie Rupp (4th place Prescott Patriots) were tabbed for All American pitching honors. Scott Summers of third place Harold’s Supermarkets was the tournament batting champion.

Click links below for additional details:

Final Bracket

Final Order of Finish

All American Teams


California Classic – June 5-6, 2010

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Update:: For those asking about the facility hosting the new “California Classic” tournament next June, we provide additional information and photos below.


Hosted by the California A’s & Bakersfield Silverhawks

Date: June 5th & 6th, 2010
Where: SanDiego/Poway, CA
SportsplexUSA Complex
Entry Fee: $450
Format: Round Robin Single Elimination
With a 4 Game Guarantee

For more information, please contact:

David Weldin:
Bobby McCormick:
Chris McGehee:

(click logo to visit official SportsplexUSA website)

Sportsplex USA, 12349 Mcivers Ct in Poway, CA 92064.

Sportsplex USA Constructed in 1994, a beautiful 15 acre facility is San Diego’s Premier Sports and Recreational complex. They have three tournament quality softball fields, two indoor soccer arenas, batting cages, children’s playground and a sports pub with draft beer and your favorite ballpark food items.

Sportsplex USA in Poway was built in the 1990’s, and is located about a half hour north east of Petco Stadium, downtown San Diego, CA. (home of the San Diego Padres)

and a half hour east of the Solano Beach Amtrak station.

and a half hour from the San Diego airport (Lindbergh International):

View Larger Map

View Larger Map

NAFA 45+ Masters West Scores

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

Scores from NAFA 45+ Masters World Series West from last weekend, courtesy of Herb Dower:

Santa Rosa 9, Savala Painting 3
QMax 8, Ladner Masters 1
The Fog 12, Tulsa Grey Sox 2
Qmax 9, Santa Rosa 0
Tulsa Grey Sox 6, Santa Rosa 3
QMax 9, The Fog 0
Ladner Masters 15, Savala Painting 13
The Fog 18. Savala Paining ?
Tulsa Grey Sox 3, Ladner Masters 2
Pool Play Records:
Pool One–The Fog 2-1, Ladner Masters 1-2, Santa Rosa 1-2
Pool Two–QMax 3-0, Tulsa Grey Sox 2-1, Savala Paining 0-3

Single-Elimination Playoffs
Savala Painting 6, Tulsa Grey Sox 2
Santa Rosa 9, Ladner Masters 6 (8)
The Fog def. Savala
Qmax 13, Santa Rosa 1 (4 innings)
QMax def. The Fog


NAFA Masters West Results

Friday, September 25th, 2009

(Carson City, NV.) September 21, 2009
Perfect weather again for the West Masters and the Final Event of the Year will be the Las Vegas Battle of the East and West October 17-18. Any team that participated in the East or West Masters may attend. It is a 4-game guaranteed event starting at 9am Saturday with the final at 3pm on Sunday. Saturday night the East Champ will play the West Champ in each age group.

Special thanks to Carson City Staff Joel & Jeremiah and their concessions and field prep staff. Thanks to KC for doing a great job with the scorekeepers, Sylvia Isaac on stats, Bob Chapel for doing an excellent job as Tournament Director, Carley Parish as UIC and thanks to Pat Bucknell and Dewey Yoke for supervising the games down at Field 1, Kris Russom with souvenirs and Melissa and Mikel who handled the gates.

Final Order of Finish and All World Selections are below as we are having some issues with our website getting the info loaded.

Congratulations to the Champions of this year’s West event:
35 & over – CR Rockers, Portland in a slugfest over Taylor Farms/IAC
40 & over – Cal State Builders in a battle over Long Beach Black Sox, (Utah was upset by the Black Sox in semis)
45 & over – QMax from Calgary, Canada over Santa Barbara Fog
50 & over – Bay Area Merchants over Texas Stars/Si Senor-AZ (Texas Stars knocked off Ohio Battery in the Semis)

For the complete brackets and All-World Teams, please see the results on our web site at .

The teams voted overwhelmingly to return to Carson City for the West Masters next year on the same weekend September 17-19 in 2010, two weekends after Labor Day. They also voted to keep the same four-game guarantee format with one round robin Friday night game at 5PM or later, two more round robin games on Saturday that seed all teams into a single elimination on Sunday. The championship games will be scheduled at 4:45PM or earlier and preferably at 3PM.

The teams in the 35 asked us to drop the age limit from 35 to 30 for next year and we will do that but will probably make everyone be 30 in the calendar year, no three year grace period, like we do with the 55 division. The teams wished to continue using the NAFA ball but nearly 50% want to change to a yellow ball for visibility, especially for night games which was consistent with the input we got from the East Teams. Almost half the people wanted to allow the courtesy runner be the last out like the present. They would also like a player not in the game to be able to be a designated runner once per inning. I will give other players and coaches the chance to fill out the survey for another week and post the rest of the survey results as soon as possible.

To the teams that have made NAFA the first choice in Masters play, we thank you for your support. 60 master’s teams from the U.S. and Canada are participating this year in the East and West and the growth is surely due to your participation and your willingness to give input to our NAFA Directors who guide your program and it is truly the “Players Program”.

Teams in the West pleaded for some rule to make the games stay on time which would be a time limit or an inning limit for next year. The awards, fields, field preps, ball, format, , supervision, the friendliness, openness & willingness to make things right, along with the camaraderie between the teams in the Masters program is unmatched anywhere. Overall the umpiring was very good and consistent (of course we all wanted that one call that went against us to be corrected).

From the 31 year old who is turning 32 this calendar year to the 71 year olds(there are 7 of them), the NAFA Masters program is supremely successful because of you the players. We wrote down pitching velocities for most pitchers and the new player photo ID check went well and was well received and appreciated by all coaches.
Every event is not without hiccups and we had a couple dealing with a few pitching plates and long games, but we made every attempt to make them right when they were brought to our attention.

Thanks to each and every player, coach and spectator for making this an event to remember.

MVP John Bishop, CR Rockers Pitcher
Most Valuable Pitcher, Keith Fry, Taylor Farms/IAC
Brian Ree, CR Rockers
Kevin Rasmussen, CR Rockers
John Simmers, CR Rockers
Rick Martin, CR Rockers
Bobby Harris, CR Rockers
Jeff Twist, Taylor Farms/IAC
Jason Porto, Taylor Farms/IAC
Greg Glacier, Taylor Farms/IAC
Larry Michaudo, Taylor Farms, IAC
Junior Keizer, Dresslerville
Rob Lopez, Dresslerville
Dorcy Tom, Dresslerville
Jack Andreas, Oregon Masters
Mark Connolly, Oregon Masters

MVP Paul Reyes, Cal State Builders
Most Valuable Pitcher Paul Algar, Cal State Builders
Mario Periaria, Cal State
Duey Christenson, Cal State
Craig Budrock, Cal State
Steve Garcia, Cal State
Eddie Martin, Black Sox
Dave Demaio, Black Sox
Anthony Rocha, Black Sox
Fred Hanker, Black Sox
Ronn Rupp, Black Sox Pitcher
Tony Corda, Fat City
Todd Hodge, Fat City
Marc Benjamin, Utah FP
Tommy Gray, Utah FP
Gin Barnes, Utah FP
Jay Johnson, So Cal Bandits
Dean Clark, Yard Dogs
Russ Wedmore, Tule Lake
Ray Thompson, RMC Builders

MVP Tony Phillips, QMax
Most Valuable Pitcher, Rob Scheller, QMax
Randy Bell, QMax
Lanky Johnson, QMax
Glen Bush, QMax
Mitch Ventura, Fog
Phil Hernandez, Fog
Russ Arellanes, Fog
Tim Gerund, Santa Rosa
Tom Dower, Santa Rosa
Tony Lopez, Santa Rosa
Dennis Brownfield, Savala
Kirk Jackson, Savala
Herman Augerhole, Tulsa
Lance Day, Tulsa
Kelly Wenstrom, Ladner
Sam Aldridge, Ladner

MVP Ray Biagina, Bay Area Merchants
Most Valuable Pitcher Ray Camacho, Bay Area Merchants
Chris Newbold, Bay Area
Larry Scheffield, Bay Area
Lonnie Brooks, Texas Stars/Si Senor
Phil Cain, Texas Stars/Si Senor
Paul Rubin, Texas Stars/Si Senor
Mike Hazel, Texas Stars/Si Senor
Kevin Engelhart, Boise Fog
Brian Stanton, Boise Fog
Greg Wertz, Yard Dogs
Dan Zupp, Yard Dogs
Greg Fleener, Nevada
Kirk Long, So Cal Relics
Terry Sporrong, Seattle FP
Ken Hall, Ladner
Jimmy Huerta, Ohio Battery

Benjie Hedgecock
NAFA Executive Director
Nafafastptich ( a t )