20th Annual Best of The West – Schedule and Team Profiles

[Santa Barbara, CA] – Ten strong ball clubs will converge on the central California coastal resort city of Santa Barbara for the 20th Annual “Best of The West” Men’s Fastpitch Softball Tournament.

The longest running Open Tournament held in California returns to the 3 field softball complex at Elings Park on June 5 – 6. Each team will play a 3 game modified Round Robin schedule on Saturday June 5, and all 10 teams will qualify for a single elimination playoff bracket on Sunday June 6.

Two berths in the 2010 ISC World Tournament will be handed out to the top two finishing ISC Western Region ball clubs, using only their 2010 ISC submitted rosters. Six of the ten teams have turned in official ISC Rosters, and those six teams will be battling for the two berths.

“This is probably the most talented gathering of teams that we have fielded in our 20 years of running this Tournament,” said Dave Blackburn, Best of The West Tournament Director. “We will be showcasing the skills of lots of former ISC All-World players, and some who are even probable future ISC Hall of Fame inductees.”

The field will be lead by the defending “Best of The West” Champions and ISC #5 ranked California Athletics of Salinas. The A’s feature flame throwing Canadian National Team pitcher Sean Whitten, a 2nd team ISC All-World selection in 2009. USA National Team pitcher Travis Price joins Whitten on the A’s staff. Hard hitting Canadian Catcher/DH/1B Darren Box is also a 3 time ISC All-World selection (01, 02, 03), as well as being named ISC World Tournament MVP (01). Five time ISC All-World selection Todd Budke, who lead the 2009 ISC World Tournament in batting average (.583), is also on the California A’s ISC roster, and is a deep threat against any pitcher.

The Italian Athletic Club (IAC) team out of Stockton, CA will also be very tough, coming off a first place finish in the recently completed Bakersfield Silverhawks Invitational Tournament. They feature young up and coming Canadian pitching star Tyson Barkman. Veteran hurler Matt Barnes backs up Barkman in the circle for IAC.

The ISC #10 ranked Bakersfield Silverhawks boast Argentina’s Sebastian Gervasutti as their top hurler, and young Canadian pitcher Andrew Putnam as his back-up. Former US National team pitcher Phil “Sonny” Perkins rounds out the pitching staff, and also carries a big stick, as the 2005 ISC World Tournament’s leader in batting average (.600).

ISC #30 ranked Maccabi USA has veteran pitching in two foreigners that have resided in the USA for many years. New Zealander Darren Rea, and Canadian Dewey Dyck team with Russ Snow to lead the Maccabi USA staff. Maccabi USA is captained by Steve Schucker, a 3-Time ISC All-World Centerfielder (99; 06; 07).

ISC #44 ranked Rude Pac of Sun Valley, CA was able to coax former ISC All-World infielder Joe Vigil out of retirement, adding some offensive punch, and veteran fastpitch leadership. Nova Scotian college student Cory Avery is spending the summer living in Southern California, and he teams with Gerald Pyle to deliver Rude Pac’s 1-2 pitching punch. Avery is an excellent young pitcher and hitter, and is part of the 40-man Canadian National Team Athlete development pool. The Utah connection for Rude Pac include hard hitting Catcher/1B Brandon Bingham, infielder Ronnie Branin, and outfielder Canyon Vance.

Dave Carlton’s California Builders ball club have experienced Canadian hurler Darren Strang, and young John Peterson of Lake Chrystal, Minnesota, as their leading pitchers. Veteran hurler Dave Jordan rounds out the Pitching staff. Peterson is considered among America’s most promising future pitching prospects.

Of the 4 teams not attempting to qualify, Mexicali Santa Cecelia and the Mexico National Team will bring great hitting, solid pitching, and a Latino flavor to this year’s Tournament. National Team hurler Panfilo Valdez will be on loan to his club team, which will allow him to pitch for Mexicali Santa Cecelia. Mexicali organizer and power hitter Arturo Solano leads the Santa Cecelia ball club both on and off the field.

Rounding out the field are the Caribbean Fastpitch, and Liberty Fastpitch ball clubs. Both clubs are mainstays in the NAFA affilated SCIFL Travel League. Pitcher Ron Rupp and catcher Fred Hanker will be on loan for the weekend to the Caribbeans, making them a stronger ball club. Gilbert Joiner also pitches for The Caribbeans.

Liberty Fastpitch has several up and coming fastpitch players, lead by Five Tool Player David Carillo, and hard hitting Joe Janicke. Ed Patterson and Darren McCall lead the Liberty pitching staff, which is completed by veteran hurler Doug Rooney.

Clyde Bennett is serving as the Umpire-in-Chief.

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