Eastern Ontario Fastball Blog

A blog dedicated to news about the Greater Ottawa Fastball League and other happenings in the world of fastball / fastpitch softball in eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with occasional stories featuring Mrs Fitzroy Fastball, Fitzroy Fastball Junior and the Caveman. If you have info to send on, send me an email at fastball[at]fitzroyharbour.com. Follow @fitzroyfastball on Twitter.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all blog readers from Fitzroy Fastball and of course Mrs. Fitzroy Fastball.

61,498 "page impressions" this year to date, and just under 158,000 since I set up this counter thing in June 2006. Thanks for checking out the blog!

I'll be updating semi-regularly in the offseason. Feel free to send me news about your team or league to fastball{at}fitzroyharbour.com or my work email if you have it.

ISC Qualifying Tournaments

Some info now on Al's Fastball about the 2009 ISC and ISC II qualifying tournaments.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Softball player happy to stay home

Softball player happy to stay home
by Dan Plouffe, Orleans Star

Orléans Rebels softball player Jill Taylor is expecting this Christmas season won’t be quite as chaotic as the last one.

At this time last year, she had settled into her role as a pitcher for the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees and was finally getting her education on track after she was set back due to a failed attempt at playing for a small Florida school on an athletic scholarship.

But then Taylor got a call on Dec. 28, 2007 asking her if she would join Simon Fraser University – the home of many Canadian national team players – for the winter semester and their spring season. And she’d have to be there in about a week.

“I thought, ‘That is such a huge opportunity and I would love it,’ but it was really overwhelming,” says Taylor, who flew out to Vancouver to see the campus and practice with the softball team for a week, but returned to Ottawa for the second week of school. “It was the shock of not being prepared at all to move away. (The offer) was a huge compliment – I felt really honoured – but it was not something I could fully commit to.”

Taylor was coming off a season where she was named the Gee-Gees’ team MVP, and because she was registering for classes late, none of her courses would transfer back to Ottawa U. Although she says the Simon Fraser offer would have been perfect in her first year, Taylor decided it wasn’t the right fit or the right time to make that big a change.

“I think Jill was really hurt by growing up in Ottawa – Ontario’s one of the best provinces for ball, but the top teams are all from Toronto,” says Gee-Gees coach Scott Searle, who also coaches for the Rebels and is a teacher at St. Peter Catholic High School. “She lacked exposure and elite competition, so I think that hurt her development at the beginning.”

It wasn’t until Taylor started competing at the university level, and the Rebels began drawing players from as far as Pembroke and Kingston, that Taylor really blossomed and attracted more attention. This past summer, Taylor was named MVP of the provincial under-23 championships as the Rebels earned the first trip to nationals for an Ottawa team in a decade. She followed that up with her second Gee-Gees team MVP award in the fall, and also took home top pitcher honours from the Ontario university finals.

“With the university team and expanding the Orléans team, she’s been able to compete against better teams and she’s really been able to bring her game up,” Searle says, pegging Taylor as one of the best five or six players in Canada who aren’t on the national team. “She’s one of the most dominant players in Ontario now.”

Taylor, who was also the Gee-Gees’ top hitter, doesn’t expect she’ll get another chance to make it to the national team level as a player, but she’s quite eager to help the next generation try to reach those goals. Taylor has helped out with clinics – for free, Searle notes – and can frequently be found at the ballpark, often with her dad, teaching youngsters how to pitch.

“I just love working with kids,” says Taylor, whose Starbucks job four days a week starts at 5 a.m. “I think it’s important for kids to have a positive coach who’s knowledgeable in what they’re doing.”

Taylor hasn’t had time to coach a team of her own yet, and for now she’s hoping that her playing career with the Gee-Gees can continue – she’s applied for teacher’s college at the school for fall 2009.

“I love the Gee-Gees. I’m really sad that it could be my last year,” Taylor says, noting trips in rented vans to tournaments were her favourite memories – even when they got lost in places like Deseronto without directions, cell phone service, gas, or any sign of life. “Even though I play for softball, when I think back to Gee-Gees, I think of all the fun we’ve had and the friendships we’ve made through those trips.”

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

2009 ISC II information

from Blair Setford

While most of us are getting ready for Christmas, the planning for next season never stops at the ISC.

We are pleased to announce that the 2009 ISC II Tournament of Champions will be expanded to 40 teams and will be played at the Campbell Sports Complex in Rock Island, Illinois, part of the Quad Cities on the Iowa-Illinois border.

The ToC will start on Tuesday August 18 with the Championship Game scheduled for Saturday August 22. All teams will be guaranteed a minimum of four games.

In the very near future, we will be annoucing the list of qualifiers in our region. You will need to play in a qualifier in order to be eligible to compete in the ToC.

If you have any questions about competing in ISC II or qualifying for the ToC, please don't hesitate to contact either myself or ISC II VP Jim Williamson or Canada East Regional Commissioner Joe Todd.

Have a great off-season and we look forward to seeing you in August in Quad Cities

Blair Setford

Elkland 2009

If you haven't been, you gotta consider a trip to Elkland this year:

2009 Elkland mens tournament dates

Here are the 2009 Elkland PA men's tounament dates held at the Elkland Softball Association's complex.

May 2: 5 team limit round robin (Sat. only)

May 23, 24: 8 team limit 3rd annual Molly Sherman memorial (round robin Sat. single elimination Sun)

August 28, 29, 30: 16 team limit 16th annual "B" double elimination tournament

September 4, 5, 6 and 7: 24 team limit 57th annual "open" double elimination tournament

For more information please contact Bill Sherman at 814-258-7096 esabill30@yahoo.com or call the ball park at 814-258-5229.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Blair Sauve

Condolences to the Sauve family of Braeside on the death of Blair, aged 47.

Blair died from complications due to a heart problem on Thursday at the Arnprior hospital after collapsing at The Beer Store in town where he worked.

Blair was the organizer for many years of the Arnprior Men's Fastball League. He was a familiar sight on the Arnprior diamonds both playing and coaching at third base for the Branigan's team in the league for many years throughout the 80s and 90s.

The Sauve family (10 kids) is very close and I know the death of Blair will be difficult for them. Blair's dad Ben has been active in sports in the past, as a former fastball umpire, as well as a sponsor of the "Ben's TV" team many years ago. Ben also is a former owner of the Arnprior Jr B Packers hockey team. Blair's brother Paul continues to be active in fastball, both as a coach in the women's game at Carleton U and he was also involved in the Kars men's tournament team last summer.

Blair was a generous guy - after games in the AMFL, he always made sure that the guys around his van had a beer in hand no matter what team they played for.

I'll miss seeing Blair at The Beer Store and talking ball with him. Blair was always ready with a "Case of 50, Bruno?" whenever I went in. I think the only time I ever saw Blair mad was when somebody brought in a case of empties with green and brown bottles mixed up!

Rest in peace, Blair-dog.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

GOFL allstars announced for 2008

Congratulations to the 2008 Greater Ottawa Fastball League All-Stars as voted on by the nine GOFL team representatives. Each team ranked the nominated players and were not able to vote for their own players. There were plenty of close races for the first and second team - here are the results:

First Team:

Pitcher: Dan Bradley, Stittsville 56ers
Catcher: Joe McCleary, Quyon Flyers (unanimous)
First Base: Joran Graham, Quyon Flyers
Second Base: Kevin Chevrier, Ottawa Team Easton
Third Base: Chad Milne, Ottawa Team Easton
Shortstop: Scott Herriott, Stittsville 56ers
Outfield: Dan Jessiman, Stittsville 56ers
Outfield: Cory Morrison, Ottawa Team Easton
Outfield: Jon Daley, Fitzroy Harbour WC Electric
Designated Player: Darren Featherstone, Stittsville 56ers

Second Team:

Pitcher: Dan Konkle, Ottawa Team Easton
Catcher: Randy Peck, Ottawa Team Easton
First Base: Scott Jessiman, Stittsville 56ers
Second Base: Joel Langford, Orleans Gators
Third Base: John Craig, Stittsville 56ers
Shortstop: Kevin McGuire, Carp I4C Victory
Outfield: Steve McCord, Quyon Flyers
Outfield: Dave Tubman, Ottawa Team Easton
Outfield: Joe Allan, Manotick Lomor Printers
Designated Player: Todd Fraser, Ottawa Team Easton

Previous years' All-stars: