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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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Old time fastball in Detroit

An anonymous reader passes on this story about a fastball star in Detroit in the 70's.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Softball Canada AGM

some information from the Softball Canada AGM, courtesy of Mike Branchaud

- Beginning in 2012 the Junior Age category will move to Under 21 and the Midget to Under 18

- Any nonresident player who is of master’s age will not be considered an import, limit of 1 per team. Players will have to be 40 or older (born in 1969 or earlier) to compete as a master player during the 2010 Canadian Championships. A P/T release is needed prior to any Master player participating with another P/T

- Midget girls pitching distance will be 43 feet effective 2010

- Softball Canada and the Canadian Championship committee shall have the authority to deem players eligible to participate in the Canadian Championships for the betterment of the event and National body. Each circumstance will be treated separately and a decision will be made based on the situation at hand. The outcome of this decision cannot be protested or appealed. A P/T release will be needed for each circumstance.

- In 2010, a pilot open Canadian Championship in the Pee Wee girls age category will be held. This event will be unlimited teams from each province to a maximum based on the facilities available. This event will be held in Ille Perot, QC.

- Pudge also commented on how the local umpiring fraternity was out in force as volunteer drivers helped shuttle the delegates around. Word is that they also made good use of the hospitality suite!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fastball down under

An article in the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder about the Aussie trip for the Cornwall Masters team.

Fastball Down Under

He spearheaded a Cornwall club's participation -- as Team Canada -- at the 2009 World Masters Games in Australia.

And, at age 58, local softball legend Jim Martell played in the competition, too.

And he may not be done yet. Martell, of Glen Walter, suggested that his next international project could have Cornwall players representing their country in two years at a fastball competition in South Africa. Beyond that, there's the World Masters Games again, in four years in Italy.

"It took a lot of money, a lot of sponsorship from businesses in Cornwall and (support from) family and friends to put this all together,'' Martell said of what was a silver-medal-winning adventure Down Under.

"Now that everyone was there, now that they've experienced it, they have the bug (to go again).''

The Cornwall-based squad may still be catching its breath after a whirlwind visit to Sydney that had the club play 15 times in eight days, advancing to the gold medal game and taking the silver after a 7-0 setback against the Krushers from New Zealand.

Cornwall mixed in some culture, too -- Martell, no stranger to the Aussie lifestyle, cooked up a kangaroo meat backyard barbecue at a friend's place in Sydney.

It was all part of an unforgettable visit to the Games that have become the world's largest multi-sport competition in terms of participation numbers, with thousands of athletes representing over 100 countries in 28 different sports.

And it all got started four years ago, involved detailed planning, the obtaining of personal and financial commitments and an ambitious fundraising drive that included a Murder Mystery Night dinner theatre performance.

It was all worth it for Martell, a former tour player with the California Cuties novelty squad in the late Seventies who went on to front his "Prince and his Knights'' team.

"I tried to get a (Cornwall) team to go to Edmonton (for the World Masters) four years ago,'' Martell said the other day during a construction break at his new home in Glen Walter.

"I didn't give myself enough preparation time back then . . . it's a lot of work, getting the commitment from people.''

So Martell, now a veteran of seven international masters tournaments, immediately got to work on Sydney, 2009, and his efforts were concurrent with the growth of the then fledgling Cornwall Men's Fastball League. (Indeed, all four league founders, Martell, Brian O'Neill, Steve McGillis and Frank Marceau, made the trip to Australia.)

"You know, I was going to all of these world championships, but we didn't have a league in Cornwall,'' Martell said. "We got the league going, and this (Masters Games) was an opportunity to play (internationally) with friends from home . . . it really was a dream I had, to put together a league in Cornwall, which would (eventually) allow us to put together a team to play at the World Masters Games.''

The league, by the way, is, according to Martell, "looking very solid. Now that we've accomplished this, I think we'll have other fastball players from other areas who'll want to
be a part of our league.

"And the fans who come out to our games (at King George Park), game after game, they deserve a lot of credit -- they help us to play at a higher level.''

Martell made a more personal committment to be ready for Sydney, dropping 40 pounds before the event.

"I wanted to make sure I was in shape to play with these guys,'' said Martell, who's on track to reach another of his fastball goals -- playing internationally at the age of 60.

On Cornwall's overall performance in Sydney -- the team was 7-5 in round-robin play before going 2-1 in the playoff round--Martell noted the hardship of competing with a 15-hour time difference.

"We were playing when we should have been sleeping,'' he said. "But overall, everybody just contributed so much. I'm proud of our guys. The umpires would come over and say it was a privilege to (work) our games. I was taken by that, to hear that game after game from umpires. I think they appreciated our sportsmanship and our approach to playing the game.''

Martell also noted the contribution made by Cornwall umpire Herman Rogalsky who made the trip, and he had special thanks for the support from the City of Cornwall, Team Cornwall, and the players in the fastball league.

"They push us, they're the ones who make us better, especially the younger ones we have coming into the league,'' Martell said. "Hopefully, the younger ones will stay with us, and (eventually) take over all of the (international event organizing).''

* Playing in the 35+ B division, Cornwall dropped its opening-day doubleheader to the Krushers (6-1) and the Tweed Phantoms from Australia (5-1).

But Cornwall had a bounceback day two, posting wins over Australian teams the Animals (8-3) and Midwest Masters (7-0).

Cornwall would go on to win six straight round-robin games, before dropping three of its last four, including a 1-0 setback against Rollyview from Alberta.

But at crunch time, third-place Cornwall thrashed the fourth-place Animals 8-1 in a playoff opening-round showdown.

And, in the bronze medal/semifinal contest, Jason Smith tossed a one-hitter and Cornwall advanced to the gold/silver game with a 7-0 decision over Rollyview.

Mike Crawford article

An anonymous reader sent on this link to a story about Mike Crawford, a familiar face to fastball players in this area.

Fastball player wins silver at World Masters
November 11, 2009 - by Karen Longwell

Bracebridge fastball pitcher Mike Crawford, 45, helped bring home silver for Canada at the World Masters Games last month.

Crawford was invited to play on Team Canada, from Cornwall, for the World Masters Games in Sydney, Australia from Oct. 10 to 18.

Crawford describes the games as the old-timers Olympics. The games are for people over 35 years old and are scheduled every four years.

The events in Sydney were held in the same venues as the 2000 Olympics.

“We had the opening ceremonies at Olympic stadium and it was incredible. It was a great show they had there and it was packed,” said Crawford.

Approximately 28,000 athletes gathered for events such as track and field, soccer, basketball and all types of Olympic sports, he said. There were approximately 2,700 people playing on women’s and men’s fastball teams.

“There were people there from all over the world,” said Crawford.

The competition was excellent and Team Canada lost the first two games, he said.

“That put us in the hole … and then we won a bunch in a row to put us back in the playoff spot.”
Teams must finish in the top four to make the playoffs. Canada did so with a winning streak of six games, he said.

In the playoffs, Team Canada lost to New Zealand and Australia took third place.

The trip was busy with the team playing about two games each day.

Overall, Crawford enjoyed the experience and the chance to visit Sydney.

“It was well organized and there were great facilities,” said Crawford.

This isn’t Crawford’s first experience with the World Masters Games; he played in Edmonton in 2005 where his team won a bronze medal.

Crawford has travelled all over the world playing fastball. He started playing when he was eight years old in Bracebridge. He started, he said, because there was a good minor ball system in town.

As a player on Canadian teams and teams in the United States, Crawford has travelled to Europe, Dominican Republic, United States, Mexico and across Canada.

After a break from fastball, Crawford got back into the game last year after former teammates asked him to join a team in Pennsylvania.

“They have just encouraged me to keep playing down there,” said Crawford.

He plans to continue playing in Pennsylvania, which involves flying down on the weekends. He also hopes to play with Team Canada again.

The next World Masters is in Turin, Italy. Crawford has been invited to play with the Cornwall team for a tournament in South Africa in two years.

Discount Sens tickets

from Joe Allan

As a player (or friend of) in the Greater Ottawa Fastball League, you now have access to purchase discounted tickets to select December and January games! If you wanted to secure the best seats available as the Sens take on Chicago, Philadelphia, Minnesota, etc. I suggest you log on today. As of December 8th, we will only have 25 regular season home games left … many against higher quality teams that will be fighting for playoff position.

The link is www.capitaltickets.ca/sensgroups

If you have any questions, please call or email me directly.

Joe Allan

1970 London Cable national champions

An anonymous reader passes on this video about the 1970 Canadian champions, London Cable.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Gil Read to be inducted into Softball Canada Hall of Fame next week

Softball Ontario News Release - Hall of Fame inductees
Five Ontario Nominees will be Inducted to Softball Canada Hall of Fame

Softball Canada is pleased to announce that Phyllis Bomberry (Athlete), Don Bracey (Official), Gil Read (Builder), the 1949 Tip Top Tailors (Team) and Darren Zack (Athlete) will be inducted into the Softball Canada Hall of Fame in recognition for their contribution and excellence in the sport of softball across the country.

These five inductees will join the select group of Canadians who have had this honour bestowed upon them at the Induction ceremony which will be held Saturday, November 14th, 2009. The ceremony is held in conjunction with Softball Canada’s Annual Meeting in Ottawa, Ontario, which will take place from November 12-14.

Phyllis Bomberry (Athlete – Ontario), born in 1943 in Oshweken, Ontario, grew up playing softball in a time when there were no Canadian Championships, and once they were created, it was very difficult for women’s teams to qualify. Phyllis played in several world-class tournaments, most notably the Bulova Watch Tournament at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto where she had three (3) first-place finishes and two (2) second-place finishes. From 1967 to 1970, Phyllis was by far one of the best players in the country. In 1967, she won a Canadian Championship and was named All-Star Catcher, also collecting Top Batter and Most Valuable Player awards. The following year, she won her second straight Canadian Championship and once again was named All-Star catcher. In 1969, Phyllis became the first woman to win the Tom Longboat award (created in 1951) annually awarded to the most outstanding First Nations athlete. That same year, she won a Gold medal at the first Canada Games.

Don Bracey (Official – Ontario), an official from Oshawa, Ontario, has made many contributions to the sport of softball in addition to his many years of officiating. His umpiring career began in 1980 and he quickly made an impact at the local, provincial and national level, umpiring at numerous Provincial and National Championships. He was granted Level V status in 1989 at the Canadian Senior Men’s Championships. At the International level, he worked the 1992 (where he worked the plate during the Gold medal game) and 2004 ISF Women’s World Championships. In addition to his hard work on the field, Don was also very involved in the administration side of officiating, serving as a member of the Officiating Development Committee ODC and working as Umpire in Chief at various Canadian Championships. He mentored many officials as a Master Instructor and Evaluator, and his greatest impact on the Softball Canada Umpire Program was when he created and maintained the Softball Canada Umpire Case Book.

Gil Read (Builder – Ontario), a long-time coach from the Ottawa region, led three teams to the Canadian Championships in 1993, 1995 and 1999 and also coached Team Ontario to Gold medals at the 1997, 2001 and 2005 Canada Summer Games. Gil was a member of Softball Ontario’s Coaching Committee from 1995 to 2002, also served on Softball Canada’s Coaching Committee and was a Softball Canada Master Course Conductor from 1994 to 2006. In addition to all his contributions to the coaching community, Gil also served as a member of Softball Canada’s Initiation Committee, and was Canada’s Team Leader at the 2003 ISF Junior Women’s World Championship, at the 2003 Women’s Olympic Team Qualifier and at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Gil suddenly passed away in 2007.

The 1949 Tip Top Tailors (Team – Ontario) are the only Canadian team ever to win an ASA Championship, which at the time was considered the World Softball Championship for Men’s Fastpitch. 2009 marks the 60th anniversary of the Championship win, and four members are still alive (Ray Pulfer, Bill “Babe” Gresko, Pat McCullagh, and Len Gaull). In the late 40’s and early 50’s, softball would attract thousands of fans in the Toronto area.

Darren Zack (Athlete – Ontario), born in Garden River, Ontario in 1960, was the top pitcher in Canadian Fastpitch from 1992 to 2002. He is a great ambassador of the game, and is treated as a legend whenever he appears at a Canadian ballpark, a certain sign of the respect that he has earned in the softball community. Zack has participated in numerous Canadian Championships, winning Gold medals in 1993, 1995 and 1996 and a Silver medal in 1992. His National awards include Top Pitcher in 1992, Top Player in the Championship Round in 1993, All-Star Pitcher and Top Player of the Championship Round in 1995, and Most Valuable Player and Top Pitcher of the Qualifying Round in 1996. Darren also represented Canada at numerous International events from 1991 to 2004, winning a Gold medal at the 1992 ISF World Championship, a Silver medal at the 1996 ISF World Championship, and three Gold medals at the Pan American Games (1991, 1995 and 1999).