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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Saturday, January 15, 2011

GOFL Player Interview - Kyle Jamieson

Next up on for a GOFL Interview is Kyle Jamieson. Not too many people get to make a living out of fastball, but KJ is, coaching the Arkansas Razorback women's team in the NCAA. Kyle has had some great fastball experiences and agreed to take some time to share them in the interview below.

Q: Where did you play your minor and junior softball?

I always played in Stittsville until Midget ball, and then in midget and junior, I played in Stittsville, St. Catharines, Kemptville, and Oshawa. Three silver medals in Canadian Championships with Stittsville, St. Catharines and Oshawa. Never got the big one there.

Q: Who is the Coach or teammate that has had the biggest impact on your softball career?

Biggest coach is easily my Dad, he coached me all my life until I was 17. He put a lot of hours in the backyard and up at the diamond with me. I still to this day in my career use a lot of the drills he used to make us do when we were in minor ball. Biggest teammate, that’s a hard one, played with so many great players and great friends over the years. But I would say Randy Peck had a big impact on me. We got to know each other when I was about 17, and he kind of took me under his wing, and brought me along to some of the Senior teams he played with back then, Stittsville had a senior team, and then I got to play with Heflin Builders quite a bit when he was playing with them as well. He just studies the game, loves the game, and has a lot of fun while at the ballpark. I think when I coach now I act like him when he was at practice. Sometimes serious, and sometimes goofy. A good balance!

Q: As someone who has played in New Zealand, Europe and across North America, what is your most memorable moment in fastball?

Well there is a lot of great and fun moments, but winning the gold medal in New Zealand with Canada’s jr team was pretty awesome and probably the most special.

Living in Denmark for 10 months with Greg MacMillan where we were playing, coaching and developing the sport over there was another great experience.

Also the Ontario championships in Midget used to be like 45 teams. And it was pretty special to win that title with my hometown Stittsville.

Q: What was it like playing and coaching fastball in Denmark? Is fastball “big” in Denmark?

As mentioned earlier it was an awesome experience. Greg and I played on a club team but also coached the National Team. We got to see a lot of Europe, places like Sweden, Belgium, Amsterdam. Who knew they played fastball there right? The level of play was surprisingly pretty good. They have some really good pitchers over there, and since Greg and I were there, in 2001 (hard to believe 10 years), Denmark has played in the ISC World Tournament a few times. They really do love their ball, and they don’t play as many games as we would over here, but they train all the time. The team Greg and I were on was called the Ballerup Vandals, and we won the Danish Cup that year, in a close 3 game series. Won the third game in extra innings. I wouldn’t say fastball in Denmark is big, but they are working hard on developing players, and they are probably in a better situation than us in Canada with young kids playing the game. One of the top hitters in ICS now, Freddy Terkelsen, was 13 when we were there. He just won a ISC title with Jarvis.

Q: Where is the best tournament you have ever played in?

Again so many good ones, and so many ball parks, but hardest competition was Perth Shoot out, big crowds and always a great event. I didn’t get to play much, but the few times I did, I got a chance to face some tough teams and hitters.

My favorite tournament though would be Campbell’s Bay Bash. Loved that tourney. So many laughs and great memories. Some big battles with Chevy’s team against Micksburg every year, with Konkle and Costello going at it. They need to bring that tourney back.

Q: Who is the toughest hitter you have ever faced in fastball?

I remember back in like 1994 at North American Fastball Challenge I pitched against All Car Greenbay. Their 2, 3, 4, 5 batters were Sean Rychick, Mark Sorenson, Colin Abbot, Brad Underwood. Pick one of them.

But locally Greg Macmillan was always tough, and if he wanted to keep playing good ball, back in the day, he would have been a great hitter.

Q: You have made a career out of softball and have coached NCAA women’s softball in Syracuse, Bowling Green and are now an assistant for Arkansas Razorbacks. Tell us a bit about your experience coaching at this level.

Who knew you could make a career in coaching women’s softball? Right? But honestly it is an amazing job. In nine years I went from a tiny school at Bowling Green, to a bigger school at Syracuse to now I’m coaching in the SEC Conference, which is one of the biggest and toughest softball conferences in NCAA. So it’s been a steady progression and now that I have my green card (work visa), I hope to become a Head Coach when the right situation comes about.

Softball in the states for girls is huge! I wish many of you could see the level of play at the highest level, and the facilities we get to play in. A lot of our games are on ESPN, and it is covered pretty well here. The budgets are enormous, we fly all over the place, stay in nice hotels and eat at good restaurants.

Coaching softball at this level is awesome, almost every day, I’m out on a ball field, playing catch, hitting fly balls, and messing around on a ball field.

Coaching at this level though there is a lot of pressure. Now that softball has become bigger, and the schools are building multi-million dollar stadiums, they want to win. It’s really changed in last ten years. It used to be, if your girls graduate, stay out of trouble and are semi-competitive you were safe, now it’s like the big leagues, win or you're gone.

Q: What do you find is the biggest difference between the men’s game and women’s game?

1. The amount of pints that are drank after the game would be the first big difference. Haha. The socializing and fun we have after a game or on the road is a lot different. With the girls, after the game, they usually go eat, throw the ipod on and study.

2. In the women’s game we practice 6 days a week, and weight train, and agilities 5 days a week. The GOFL would be playing some pretty good ball if we had that regime.

3. There's not much difference as far as the game, obviously men’s speed and strength is a big difference. The game is a little quicker with men. However because the girls practice every day and get coached every day, they probably are better mechanically. The infielders are pretty good at this level, since they get about 200 ground balls everyday. I know the 56ers take about 4 before their one game a week.

4. Girls need to feel good to play good, guys need to play good to feel good.

Q: If you could change one thing about the GOFL or fastball in general, what would it be?

I always wished that it was a professional game, I think it’s one of the best sports out there, and not a lot of people ever get to see it.

I also hate to see the sport declining so rapidly. I hope it keeps going in Eastern Ontario, but there just isn’t a lot of minor ball being played, and players coming up after we're done. But at the same time I think the GOFL has done a great job in keeping ball alive in the area. When I left Ottawa 9 years ago, their were like 4 teams playing, and now you are up to 8. I also know a lot of people are pretty appreciative of your work on the website and keeping people informed as to the standings, write ups etc.

Q: What is one thing that most guys in the GOFL probably don’t know about you?

That even though I love my job, I wish every day I was able to do the same job in Ottawa. It’s a tradeoff, I have an amazing job, but miss friends and family, and the ball and hockey leagues back home.

Great stuff KJ, thanks for participating and good luck with Razorbacks this season. We'll track the progress of the team on the blog.



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