Drotzmann aims for National Team

Drotzmann aims for National Team

The East Oregonian

HERMISTON – In the world of men’s fastpitch softball, few have had the kind of year Dr. Dave Drotzmann can boast.

Not only did the Hermiston optometrist and school board chairman help his Bakersfield, Calif. club team – the Lumber Kings – win the International Softball Congress championship over the summer, he won the Most Valuable Pitcher award at the tournament and was invited to compete for a spot on the U.S. National team.

It was the fifth time Drotzmann had pitched at the international tournament, and though he has a lifetime ERA of under 1.00 at the event he had never reached the gold medal.

“It’s an absolute team game and the team that makes the least mistakes almost always wins,” he said. “That’s the reason I play – the challenge of trying to be the best.”

At the 32-team tournament, 32 games were decided by fewer than two runs and 17 were decided by one.

The 38-year-old and the Lumber Kings finished third in the 2007 tournament, losing in the semifinals by a run.

“The reason we didn’t win last year was the pressure,” he said. “You have to minimize your mistakes.”

Drotzmann carries a mid- to upper-70s fastball, which translates to about 110 miles per hour at the major league level.

In the off-season he works out four times a week and throws two or three times to keep his pitching sharp. The U.S. National team tryout is later this month in Chula Vista, Calif., near San Diego, where he will join teammate and tournament MVP Marcus Tan.

The National team will play in two international events, the AAU Tournament in Orlando, Fla. in January and the ISF World Softball Tournament in Saskatchewan in July.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Drotzmann said. “It will be fun to be a part of if nothing else. Just to be invited and train at the facilities will be a lot of fun.”

Many players in men’s fastpitch are former major league players, and a total of 34 were invited to tryout for 17 spots on the National team. Drotzmann is one of eight pitchers trying out for four spots.

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