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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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Blast from the past - and other updates

Couple of updates:

1) The GOFL winter meetings are being planned, likely for a date sometime in mid-February. Not sure if there is any mystery team out there looking to join the Greater Ottawa Fastball League, but if there is now is a good time to make yourself known - send me an email at fastball [at] fitzroyharbour.com or contact any of the team reps listed at www.GOFL.ca.

2) For those of you keeping track at home, Fitzroy Junior's goal scoring drought continues despite a good showing at the Pembroke novice tournament this past weekend. He managed a couple of assists and got to hear his name announced over a rink PA for the first time, but he still has a goose egg under the G in his stats. We have changed from an "Ovechkin" model stick to a "Crosby" after a quick shopping trip at the Pemmy Canuck Pneu, so we're hoping that helps.

Now on to today's Blast from the Past. 1995 was a pretty solid year for ball in the Ottawa area, with two world class tourneys. Check out this story that was published in the Toronto Star.

Top-flight clubs to clash at fast-pitch tourneys
'Never has there been as many world-class games in Ontario'
Toronto Star; May 17, 1995, pg. B10
by Bruce Huff

Followers of world-class men's fast-pitch softball have never had it this good.

They are making a list and checking it twice to make sure they don't miss out on one of the most attractive menus of international competition to reach Ontario diamonds in decades.

Unfortunately, Toronto fans will need to travel to partake of the feast. None of the major events is scheduled for Metro.

"Never has there been such a concentration of world-class games as we will have in Ontario this summer,'' said Neil Fennell of Perth, director of the annual Perth International Shootout, July 14 to 16.

"Included will be a visit by the New Zealand Nationals (ranked No. 2 in the world behind Canada) and a rematch between the Toronto Gators and Green Bay All-Car Roadrunners.''

It was Green Bay who dethroned the Gators at the International Softball Congress world tournament final last August in Summerside, P.E.I. The ISC is considered the grandaddy of all tournaments.

Both clubs are entered in the $50,000 North American Challenge, June 7 to 11 in Ottawa, and the Perth Shootout. And they are scheduled to meet in an exhibition doubleheader July 13 in Port Perry.

Rounding out the Nor-Am field are the colorful Tampa Smokers, South Surrey (B.C.) Ravens (formerly the New Westminster Regents), Halifax Keith's, Waterloo Twins, Owen Sound Tiremen and host Kemptville Thunder.

In addition to the Gators and Green Bay, the Perth lineup includes the New Zealanders, led by pitchers Chubb Tangaroa and Marty Grant; Class Walls of Whiteford, Md.; Heflin Builders of Ballston Lake, N.Y.; the St. John's (Nfld.) Greensleeves (hosts for the Canadian championships Aug. 26 to Sept. 3); the Canadian National developmental team; Owen Sound, Waterloo and the Napanee Express.

From the Star on June 14, 1995:

The Green Bay All-Car Roadrunners ended the Toronto Gators' winning streak at 31 with a 1-0 win in the round- robin portion of the North American Challenge fastball tournament in Ottawa. Darren Zack gave up only one hit, but it was a homer by Newfoundlander Colin Abbott. Paul Algar got the win.

Algar also bested Zack in the Challenge final, 2-1, as each threw a four-hitter. Green Bay finished at 7-1 to take the $11,000 first-place prize. The Gators, now 34-2 over-all, were 7-2 and received $7,200 in the eight-team event.

Fourteen years later, Paul Algar is still pitching - in fact he threw for Elkland Thunderbellys this past summer in a Labour Day tournament against West Carleton Electric. Algar was the victim of a vicious assault back in his native New Zealand three years ago this month, so it's pretty impressive he came back to play ball. Check out this article, complete with photo on the attack.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fiasco in Florida

Check out how the AAU Tournament in Florida finished this weekend. A shame that a high quality tourney like this had to end this way.

Article on Darren Zack induction into hall of fame

from SooToday.com- h/t to TC

Z-Man inducted into Canada's softball hall of fame
By Joseph Corbiere
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Magic happens!

Darren was last on the program, but number one in our hearts. His mom, Edith and father, John, sister Leslie and brother Mack were there. Of course his wife, Charlotte and son Darren Jr. were in attendance. One of Darren’s catchers, Randy Peck and his wife, were there too.

Amidst the 300 people in attendance, 30 family and friends travelled to Ottawa to see and be with the Big Guy. Other inductees spoke highly of the Z-Man. There was a good number of umpires in attendance. It was truly entertaining to listen to the men in blue debate, when they first had the opportunity to ump one of Darren’s games. Stories were going back and forth on which of the big games did the ump with him. And here I thought Umpires didn’t have a heart.

In addition to Darren, the female player inductee was Phyllis Bomberry, a Six Nations woman from Oshweken. Phyllis was born in 1943. Her 25 year career began in 1951 and went till 1976. Phyllis collected her fair share of batting titles and MVP accolades. She was the first female to win the Tom Longboat award in 1969. Later after the ceremony was over it was great to listen to her and Darren swap stories. Phyllis subtle humour was soon apparent. Upon hearing the Z-Man describe his arsenal of pitches including the riser, the curve and drop ball along with a multitude of off speed pitches, Phyllis did not seem impressed. She explained that a woman from Connecticut used only 3 pitches . Fast, medium and slow. The Connecticut pitcher struck out 21 batters in a row from Phyllis’s team. A perfect game! “So why do you, Big Guy, need so many?”...You simply had to love her.

The Big Guy was so nervous, yet his speech was fantastic. A great example of heart speaking! No notes, no carefully memorised speech, yet he accepted the moment and seemed to speak to us individually. Each person who touched his life was mentioned, thought of..... it was great . The simple eloquence, honesty, respect and sincerity in Darren’s words, touched all the listeners.

Darren’s story of how it began was intriguing, yet so simple. He described how he had went away to play hardball in southern Ontario. After realizing that his life was meant to go in another direction, he returned home.

His dad, John, told him “Hey Boy we need a pitcher”. So John would come home, with his work boots on put his work glove on his catching hand and slap on his ball glove. Hours were spent throwing that ball. Gloves were worn out ...balls were worn out...and many trips to what ever was being used as a back stop were made. Of course Darren was not an overnight success. Hard work and innumerable hours of practice created him.

Darren has the unique ability to be able to learn from anyone, at any time. Stan Solomon, who was the GR pitcher, when Z first tried his hand at pitching was one of the early influences. I remember Darren trading secrets with Duke Madahbee on Duke’s mesmerising change-up. Darren also learned from local pitchers such as the late Donnie Newman, Ray Lato Jr., Jake Derosario, Shoeless Jimmy Coulis, Tony Bergman, Harold Barton, George Crack and others too numerous to mention.

Even after winning the World Championships in 1992 he was still willing to discuss pitching styles and techniques with every pitcher who would talk to him. It didn’t matter who they were a discussion on pitching was an ongoing topic that he could not pass up. It has been a pure pleasure to watch this humble but proud man.

His passion for learning is equalled by his ability to focus. After conferring with him on giving away his pitches by a particular motion he changed his pitching style that very inning. Darren repeatedly dreamt about games he had pitched and was going to pitch. His mind and body were so in sync that during his dreams he would sweat as if he a had pitched a full game. Many a time he woke up in a soaked bed.

The Z-Man is a fastpitch softball pitcher extraordinaire. His amazing speed, dazzling control and outstanding heart make him an batter’s nightmare. The big righthander can make his ball rise, drop, curve, screw and literally dance across the plate. The icing is that he can throw bullets and then come back at you with a deceptive change up. Darren has dazzled batters and fastpitch fans around the world. He as traveled to New Zealand, Manilla, Cuba, Argentina, Mexico and all over Turtle Island. His imposing presence and gentlemanly demeanor have made him a fan favorite where ever he goes. Can you imagine facing a 6'3", 275 pounder with a 32 oz piece of aluminum in your hand?

Now, in the 1995 International Softball Congress’s World Tournament Darren was simply miraculous.

He pitched seven straight days and on the seventh day, Darren did not rest. He hurled three consecutive games on that Sunday, in Sioux City Iowa. He won ten consecutive games to lead the Toronto Gators to the world championships. Total domination would be the classic understatement. Not only did he pitch 69 and 2/3 inning without giving up a run, he also struck out 150 opposition batters in 73 2/3 innings. Yes folks, that’s right no opposing batter crossed the plate in 10 games. He struck out an average of 2.1 batters per inning. That, readers is simply amazing.

Darren truly deserves the Hall of Fame recognition. His career began in the late 70's and has spanned some 30 years. Leading the Garden River Braves to places we never dreamed about. Pitching 6 or 7 games a weekend. Keeping the opposition from scoring, then hitting the winning home run to win the game. Truly a magical career!!!

PS- for an added bonus...wait till you hear Darren’s magical harmonica play the Free Willy theme.!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Rebels shortstop receives city softball player-of-the-year award

Rebels shortstop receives city softball player-of-the-year award
by Dan Plouffe, Orleans Star

Orléans Rebels shortstop Jenny Allen was chosen as the city’s top softball player for 2009 at the Ottawa Sports Awards banquet this past Wednesday at Algonquin College.

“I was completely shocked,” says Allen, who was the Rebels’ top batter this year. “It was a lot of hard work this summer, and it paid off.”

The big reward for Allen and her team was winning a bronze medal at the national championships. Allen, who also acts as assistant coach for the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees and played basketball for Algonquin, and her teammates were competing at the senior level for the first time this past summer since a few team members were no longer eligible for the 23-and-under tournament.

“Everyone kept saying, ‘Who’s Orléans and why are they winning?’” recounts Allen, a Colonel By Secondary School grad.

“We were huge underdogs heading into nationals and we ended up coming out with a bronze medal.

“We were ecstatic. It’s the biggest accomplishment we could have asked for.”

Canada Cup women's tourney cancelled

‘Pretty disappointing’: Canada Cup softball tourney killed by rescheduling of women’s worlds
By Gary Kingston, Vancouver Sun
VANCOUVER — A late rescheduling of this year's women's softball world championships has forced Glen Todd to cancel the women's division of the annual Canada Cup tournament at Softball City in South Surrey.
The International Softball Federation has moved the 2010 worlds to Caracas, Venezuela, June 23-July 2, from its original mid-July date in Oklahoma City.
The hugely popular Canada Cup, which annually attracts 120,000 fans during its nine-day run to watch some of the top countries in the game, was to be held from July 3-11 this summer.
"It meant teams would have had to get here in one day," said Todd, the businessman who has been the driving force and financier behind the tournament since its inception in 1993. "And coming right after worlds, you'd have had teams pulling out saying they were tired, or they've got injuries. The U.S. was just going to send a second team, a bunch of kids."
Todd established the tournament after women's fastpitch gained Olympic status for the 1996 Games. The sport was subsequently voted out of the Olympics, with its last appearance in 2008.
Todd said he's still looking to see if it's feasible to hold the Futures (under 18) and Showcase (under 16) divisions, which were to attract 72 teams. But without the senior women's event as a draw, it might be difficult.
Todd also said he's not sure the Canada Cup will return in 2011.
"I'm kind of disheartened right now," he said. "We'll see. I don't want to say something I'll regret."
Todd said the Australians, always a crowd favourite at Canada Cup, are "fuming" at ISF president Don Porter's decision to move the worlds. It was made after the ISF realized Cuba, Dominican Republic and Venezuela, all of whom had qualified for worlds, were committed to playing in the Central American and Caribbean Games in Puerto Rico at the same time as the event was scheduled in Oklahoma.
"As a lead-in to worlds, we were going to have our biggest tournament ever," said Todd, adding there was no opportunity to move Canada Cup into June. "We had most of the South American teams, all of the Asian teams, some European teams."
He said today he didn't want to know how much money had been spent on planning for the now cancelled event.
"I was thinking about that this morning. And I just said 'Pay the bills and forget it.' It's pretty disappointing."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Carleton Women's Fastpitch Team in search of Coach

from Stacey Lymer

Carleton's Women's Fastpitch team is in search of an assistant coach to add to the coaching roster. The team plays in the OIWFA (OIWFA.org), which is a league that begins at the end of August and follows through to the end of October. We practice once a week through the winter starting the beginning of January. We are in search of someone who has knowledge in fastpitch, specifically in the realm of offence and outfield. Coaching experience would be preferred but not necessary. For those that are interested please contact Stacey Lymer @ slymer@connect.carleton.ca.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Blast from the past - softball bat technology in 1985

This one is for Big Joe. Check out the exciting new softball bat technology available - in 1985! Also interesting to note are the prices and the 'conventional' weight of a bat back them.

New Tidal Wave bat could be splash hit
The Globe and Mail
Monday, July 08, 1985

New York NY -- NEW YORK (Reuter) - Two revolutionary bats - one powered by water and the other a graphite composite - are making their way to the sports market this summer.

That will not come as good news to pitchers, since both bats are intended to give hitters an extra advantage. The first to hit the market is the Tidal Wave, which uses water in its barrel to produce more power. It's been developed by the Spalding Co. of Chicopee, Mass., the oldest U.S. sporting-goods firm, which, ironically, was founded more than a century ago by Hall of Fame pitcher Albert Goodwill Spalding.

The Tidal Wave, an aluminum bat, can increase a batter's hitting distance by up to 10 per cent, says Richard Brandt, a physics professor at New York University and consultant for Spalding.
The conventional-looking 32-ounce bat has a cavity in the barrel. By unscrewing the knob at the bottom of the handle, a batter can add up to six ounces of water.

''As the batter swings, the water rushes up to the sweet spot of the barrel at the moment of impact,'' Brandt says. ''As a result, it gives the batter more power.

''For example, our tests show that a batter who hits a ball 290 feet with a conventional 32-ounce bat could hit the same ball approximately 309 feet while using the Tidal Wave.

''That could mean the difference between a triple and a home run. Over all, the Tidal Wave combines the speed of a lighter bat with the impact of a heavier one, giving a hitter the best of two worlds.''

The Tidal Wave sells for about $48 (U.S.), about double the price of Spalding's average aluminum fastball bats.

Still to be marketed is the graphite composite, which will be distributed on a limited scale this summer. It combines the durability, lighter weight and added distance of aluminum models with the sound and feel of a wooden bat, says Jess Heald, president of the Worth Sports Co. of Tullahoma, Tenn., the company that manufactures the bats.

Graphite tennis racquets and golf clubs have proved popular in recent years. And Heald thinks that graphite fastball and baseball bats will be just as popular.

Although the graphite-composite bat will be distributed only as a fastball bat this summer, Heald says a baseball model with the same features will be introduced next spring.

''The bat already has been approved by the Amateur Softball Association, whose rules govern most of the fastball played in this country,'' he says. ''Right now, we're trying to get approval from Little League and a number of other leagues for the baseball bat.''

Heald says he hopes that the composite baseball bat will be approved by major and minor leagues, which allow only wooden bats.

Spalding has not sought sanction of its water-powered bat from the ASA. Such sanction might be difficult to obtain because ASA rules forbid the use of moving parts.

Brandt concedes the swoosh of moving water in the bat barrel - which can be heard as a batter waggles the bat while awaiting a pitch and then while swinging - can be distracting.

''It can be at first, but I think hitters will get used to it,'' he says. ''And I think they'll be willing to put up with the momentary distraction to get more distance.''

ISC "Legends" category

Interesting - looks like the ISC is trying for an "oldtimers" category at the tournament in Michigan this August. More information here.

For those of you waiting impatiently for a Fitzroy Fastball Junior goal scoring watch update, just wanted to let you know that Junior is still seeking his first goal of the 2009-2010 Novice campaign. However, I am pleased to report that he did make a 60 foot tape to tape pass in his most recent game, setting up his linemate for a breakaway goal, so he has that going for him, which is nice.

Gil Read dates set

The dates for the 3rd Annual Gil Read Memorial fastball tournament in Ottawa have been set: July 23rd, 24th & 25th.

Al Read will be sending out detailed information soon.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

ISC Tournament - list of qualified teams

Here is the list of teams already qualified for the 2010 ISC Tournament in Midland, Michigan.

US East Region - 8 Berths , 4 awarded
1. Midland Explorers - Co-host team
2. Midland Mickey's - Co-host team
3. NY Gremlins - 2009 MAFTL Champs
4. Ashland Stockpack - 2009 Pete Schwab Qualifier

Canada East Region - 18 Berths, 11 awarded
1. Kitchener Rivershark Twins - Defending Champs
2. Port Elgin Blue Devils - 2009 ISC II Champs
3. KW Cubs - 2009 ISC II Finalist (Runner-up)
4. Jarvis Gamblers - 2009 Travel League Champs
5. Niagara Snappers - ISC II Move-up berth
6. Palermo Athletics - 2009 Travel League ISC II Champs
7. Wyevale Tribe - 2009 Northern Ontario Qualifier Champs
8. Waterdown Hammer - 2009 OASA Qualifier Champs
9. Elmira Expos - 2009 Ontario Challenge Cup West Champs
10. Quyon Combat Flyers - 2009 Ontario Challenge Cup East Champs
11. Blackburn Transport - 2009 Eastern Canadians Qualifier Champs

US Central Region - 13 Berths, 1 awarded
1. Sioux Falls Sox - 2009 West St. Paul Qualifier Champs

US West Region - 4 Berths

Canada West Region - 3 Berths

International Region - 2 Berths, 1 awarded
1. Dominican Republic

ISC qualifiers

The ISC has announced the list of qualifiers this season.

The closest 2010 qualifier to our area will be held in Napanee with at least two berths available. Note there will NOT be a "Challenge Cup" home league tourney held in eastern Ontario this fall - if the GOFL and other area leagues choose to participate they will need to travel to Mitchell, near Kitchener.

The OASA intermediate eliminations will offer a berth for the 2011 tournament.

Here are a few of the qualifiers that may interest local teams - click here for the full list.

For a berth in 2010:

June 18-20, 2010
Canada East ISC Qualifier - Napanee, ON
Berths: 2 ISC berths to highest finishing Canada East teams (additional berth may be available)
Format: Double-knockout
Entry Fee & Deadline: $365 CDN, payable to ISC Canada East - May 15, 2010 deadline
Local Contact: Karen Mills - millsk@limestone.on.ca
ISC Contact & Rep: Blair Setford - blairjs@rogers.com
UIC: Steve Bedard - sjbgolf@hotmail.com

June 18-20, 2010
Canada East ISC Qualifier - Innerkip, ON
Berths: 2 ISC berths to highest finishing Canada East teams (additional berth may be available)
Format: Double-knockout
Entry Fee & Deadline: $365 CDN, payable to ISC Canada East - May 15, 2010 deadline
Local Contact: Tim Wright - twri7823@rogers.com
ISC Contact & Rep: Blair Setford - blairjs@rogers.com
UIC: Peter Kluszczynski - kluzzy@sympatico.ca

For a berth in 2011:

July 30 - Aug 1, 2010
OASA Intermediate Eliminations
Location: tba
Format: Modified double knockout
Entry fee and deadline: $465 Cdn, payable to OASA by June 10, 2010
Berth: 1 for 2011 ISC World Tournament
Local Contacts: Brad Thomson - bradthomson41@hotmail.com, 519-954-1269
ISC Contact: Joe Todd - ftode739@rogers.com
UIC: tba

July 17-19, 2010
Northern Ontario ISC Qualifier
Location: Sudbury, Ontario
Format: tba Entry fee and deadline: $365 Cdn, payable to ISC Canada East by June 26, 2010
Berth: 1 for 2011 ISC World Tournament - minimum 8 teams for berth to be awarded
Local Contacts: Roger Legendre - er_legendre@sympatico.ca
ISC Contact: Blair Setford, ISC Canada East VP - blairjs@rogers.com
UIC: Larry Pederson - bluelight24@hotmail.com 705-897-1444

September 17-19, 2010
2010 Ontario Challenge Cup ISC Qualifier
Location: Mitchell, Ontario
Berths: 1 for 2011 ISC World Tournament - affiliated league teams only
Format: Double-knockout
Entry fee and deadline: $265 CDN - August 31, 2009
Local contact: Kory Dietz - jkdietz@quadro.net
ISC Rep: Joe Todd - ftode739@rogers.com
UIC: Paul Baier - wingman45@wightman.ca

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Softball Canada seeks Manager of Coaching

from Mike Branchaud

MANAGER – Coaching/Educational Programs

Softball Canada, the national sport governing body for Fast Pitch, Slo-Pitch and Orthodox softball is seeking a dynamic individual to manage our Coaching program, to develop/implement initiatives in the school system and assist in the creation and operation of new programming.

Key areas of responsibility include:
· Be responsible for the revision/editing of existing Coaching resources and creation of new resources to support volunteer coaches
· Evaluate and review Softball’s National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) and complete the transition to the new NCCP
· Work with the Manager – Long Term Player Development on the creation of new coaching related programming and then be responsible for delivery of that programming (Pitching and Curriculum/Practice Guides)
· Investigate new avenues for the delivery of coaching education and identify new revenue streams
· Initiate development of an integrated softball in schools program
· Work closely with Provincial/Territorial partners to support the delivery of the National Coach Certification program (NCCP)
· Liaise with the Coaching Association of Canada and Sport Canada on related issues
· Develop a mentoring program for Master and Regional Pitching Instructors, Regional coaches and identify/assist potential future National Team coaches
· Organize additional professional development opportunities for coaches

The successful candidate will ideally possess:
· A post secondary degree in sport administration or coaching or equivalent area of study
· Knowledge of the Canadian sport system
· Coaching Experience and knowledge of technical aspects of softball
· Fully certified Level 3 in the old NCCP or Competition – Development in the new NCCP (or progressing towards that designation) or equivalent training/experience
· Proven administrative skills managing a variety of projects
· Familiarity with Long-Term Player Development principles and the ability to develop related programming
· Excellent computer skills (Microsoft Office 2007)
· Outstanding communication skills (written and verbal) and excellent technical (softball) writing skills
· Bilingualism (English/French) is an asset for this position
· Experience working with volunteers and boards

This position is based in the Softball Canada office in Ottawa. Interested candidates are asked to submit their applications by mail or email, with cover letter and salary expectations by February 1, 2010 to:
Hugh Mitchener
Chief Executive Officer
Softball Canada
Suite 212 - 223 Colonnade Road
Ottawa, Ontario K2E 7K3

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Sens deals for friends of the GOFL

from Joe Allan

On Saturday January 9th, the February, March and April home games will go on sale to the general public. As a friend of fastball, you have access to these games before the general public at reduced rates for the vast majority of games. If you are looking for a couple tickets, please check out the link www.capitaltickets.ca/sensgroups and enter the promo code SENGRPGOFL. If you are looking to organize an outing of 10 or more, you can call Joe directly at 613-591-5404 or by email at allanj@ottawasenators.com

Other Elkand tournaments for 2010 "ESA II"

The Elkland Softball Association has dates for 3 ESA II level events that will take place in Elkland Pa for the 2010 season at the Elkland softball association's 3 field complex

May 1st: The 9th annual Saturday only 5 team limit round robin
Enterance fee- 200.00$
Prizes: 1st place 400.00$

May 29th-30th: The 4th annual Molly Sherman 8-10 team limit round robin
Enterance fee- 275.00$
Prizes- 1st place 900.00$ plus trophy
2nd place- 300.00

August 27-29: The 17th annual Elkland first weekend 16 team limit double elimination tournament
Enterance fee- 250.00$
Prizes- 1st place 1,000.00$ plus trophy
2nd place 500.00$ plus trophy
3rd place 300.00$
- tournament most valuable trophy award

- ASA banned bat list enforced
- With the changes to the ISC II, ESA will be using the 2009 ISC II ineligible pitcher and players list for all of our "ESA II" level 2010 events.