july2007

Al's Weekly Update / BLOG

July 4, 2007

Monkton, ON


Well one day late this week but that is due to the July 1st long weekend in Canada.


Results are still trickling in but for the most part we believe that we have received the bulk of the results from those tournaments that were scheduled including at least two that we did not know about.


As is becoming my habit, on those weekends where there is a lot of activity I have not been sending out updates to my List as its just too much information to send to over a 1,000 subscribers at a time. Thus, I am sending this weekly "blog" to summarize what happened (that we know of) over the weekend. By the way,  I do not use e-mail to send out this newsletter, it’s web-based and takes about 30 minutes for each issue to go to the subscribers.

As usual, all the results received have been posted to our main site, NEWS-1 at http://www.alsfastball.com/  and many items have been posted at NEWS-2 at http://fastpitchwest.com/alsfastball including many inning by inning updates via my blackberry from the park in beautiful downtown Monkton where the 4th annual Monkton World Fastball Invitational was just held, June 28 to July 1.

Those individual inning reports on NEWS-2 are very short and sometimes contain more than a few spelling errors as I am typing blind (sun) onto a QWERTY keyboard. My apologies for the spelling errors and shortage of info, but it was one way to give updates from the park while the game is still on. The erors stay as we cannot remove postings from NEWS-2, they are there for good.


Luckily in Monkton I have super facilities to work with after each game as I have access to the Monkton Arena office complete with a high speed connection. Normally I have updated my main site with a complete game summary within 20 minutes of the end ofeach game. Thanks there to the professional score keepers in Monkton for handing me a Game Summary Sheet right after each game. Each game went into the News section of our main site and was added to the running report from Monkton at http://www.alsfastball.com/uploads/File/Monkton2007.htm
That link is from the Monkton logo on our front page.

Individual reports may be found on the NEWS section of http://www.alsfastball.com/
or you can look at all the July postings at http://www.alsfastball.com/index.php?page=25
and since the weekend covered June and July, you can see the June postings at
http://www.alsfastball.com/index.php?page=142

Before I write a few words about the Monkton tournament, I must apologizefor the mix up with the ISC U23 Tournament results from Walcott, Iowa.  Gary and Brett Baughman did a great job of preparing very detailed stats on each game and did
send them to me. One problem, I did not know they were coming. This tournament was not on my tournament schedule
http://www.alsfastball.com/index.php?page=127
its been added now, complete with all the Baughman reports. Had I realized this tournament was on this weekend, I would have been prepared to post the information received. As you will note in the report, the information is mainly in HTML links.  I was not able to work with these on the weekend. The ISC U23 results are all up now on one link on our NEWS-1 site and thanks to Gary and Brett for all their hard work. As well, thanks to the good folks in Walcott, Iowa for hosting this important tournament. I hear from Gary and Brett that they did a super job (and Gary got his pork chops).


Now back to the Monkton tournament. This was the 4th Monkton World Fastball Invitational tournament and the 3rd for me.
First off, it is an honour and a privilege to be invited back to the Monkton tournament. It is so easy to see why this annual event is now regarded by many fans and players as the best or one of the best tournaments of its kind. A lot of credit goes to Brian Baillie for his hard work and creativity for planning and delivering this super tournament each year. Brian would be the first to tell you he is not alone.... he has a lot of help. Virtually everyone in the village of Monkton gets involved. He has a hard working executive committee and a large list of volunteers that give freely of their time to prepare for and deliver the tournament. I get to meet many of these volunteers each year and this year was no exception. From the gate controllers to the score keepers / announcers, from the food concession workers to the accounting staff, one and all are open and friendly and there to make sure all the guests to this special village are having a great time and look forward to coming back again the next year. They also listen to their guests, players and fans alike, and that is why this great tournament keeps getting even better.

Some personal comments on this year's Monkton tournament:
The ball: Simply outstanding! Each day dozens of people would say to me "the ball today was great", "what a fantastic game", "the ball this weekend was the best ever", "so many great games on one weekend", and so on. This was because they had some of the best teams in the world there and they were evenly matched. There were a lot of very close games, some so-called upsets, and not a lot of blow outs.
They few games with lopsided scores were not as bad sometimes as the score might indicate. Example: local teamJarvis Merchants vs The Farm Tavern. This was a close game most of the way and we saw Brian Urquhart throw five innings of world class fastball (just ask home plate umpire Bob Henning). And who can forget two of the best defense plays of the weekend, both from Rino Dambrosio... first he made a spectacular sliding catch and then later he had fans on their feet with a cannon shot from RF to home plate to nail a runner. Great entertainment all the way around. Jarvis gave the famous Farm Boys a run for their money and the fans some great ball to watch.

Going into the weekend, everyone had their own predictions on who would play in the championship on Sunday, for some it was going to be Broken Bow Gremlins vs Patsy's. For others it may have been local favorites Kitchener Hallman Twins vs that other Ontario team, the Orillia River Sharks, a team loaded with talent. No one ever counts out the Farm Tavern of Madison Wisconsin and the boys from Saskatoon have long been a favorite of the Monkton fans. The So Cal Bombers are not as well known but came to town with a mission and were off to a good star with their 8-0 win over Jarvis. They were set back more than a bit by their 8-1 loss to Patsy's but roared back in a 7 - 3 win over Kitchener. That put them up The Farm early Sunday morning in the playoff round and led to them going up against the formidable Gremlins at high noon. Their victory over Doc's team from New York set the path for them to play against Kitchener in the championship game.


Kitchener had an interesting weekend, starting off with a close one against the Saskatoon Aspen Interior Black Sox, a team that current Twins coach Larry Lynch used to coach. This was the first game of the weekend and it set the tone, close game with great pitching. Local favorite Donnie Scott threw a great game against well known pitcher Dean Holoien, coming out with a 1 - 0 victory over the prairieboys. The Twins next played on Friday evening again with a large local crowd to support them when they went up against Patsy's. Another great pitching contest between Twins Todd Martin and Patsy's Adam Folkard, the highly regarded young pitcher from Australia. Martin threw a two hitter and Patsy's got the only run of the game off of an RBI by Travis Wilson who brought in Thomas Makea in the T3. Brad Rona had walked after Makea's hit. All of these players, Wilson, Makea and Rona are long time members of the New Zealand National Team, the Black Sox that had toured the area just a few weeks ago. On Saturday afternoon the Twins went up against the So Cal Bombers and took a 7 - 3 loss. In their playoff match up on Saturday night, the Twins drew the talented Orillia River Sharks. Todd Martin went up against Rob O'Brien and it was a very close game with River Sharks drawing first blood with a run in the 2nd inning. Todd Budke tied it up in the 4th forKitchener with a solo home run. In the 5th, local favorite Jody Eidt hit a two run home run that would eventually give the Twins the win. One of the highlights of that game was catcher Chris Shewfelt getting rammed hard at the plate but having the presence of mind to recover quickly and nail the runner at second. This showed a level of maturity that will be admired by his club team as well as the national team. On Saturday morning the Twins drew the formidable Patsy's in their playoff game. Once again we saw Donnie Scott get the ball and once again, we saw him bear down and give it his best. A great pitching duel against Adam Folkard and Scott came out on top with the help Blake Miller bringing home Shewfelt n the 3rd inning. In the 5th they got the insurance run with Budke bringing home Evan Boyd.

The win over Patsy's set the Twins to face the So Cal Bombers in the Championship Final. Todd Martin got the ball this time for the Twins and SeanWhitten got the call from So Cal. Whitten is Larry Lynch's old pitcher from Saskatoon but it gave the Twins no advantage, the Newfoundland native was on his game and held the Twins to 2 runs. Meanwhile the Twins were down 2 - 0 after the first inning thanks to Nate Devine's home run. Box drove in the 3rd, and winning run in the 3rd.  The Twins countered with 2 in the 4th but they could not find that elusive 3rd run to tie it up. They lost 3 - 2 to So Cal but played well, as they had all weekend.  Congratulations to the So Cal Bombers on their championship win in Monkton.

Congratulations to all the teams that played this weekend in Monkton, you provided a lot of fans with a great weekend of ball.


Thanks to the people of Monkton for hosting this terrific tournament. Your hospitality was outstanding and will not be forgotten by the many fans that came out to enjoy fantastic ball in a great setting.


Thanks to allthe players who traveled no matter how far this weekend to Monkton to play your best and provide great entertainment to a large group of your best fans. Some of you came a long way while others just came down the road a bit, but no matter what the distance, your dedication to your game is very much appreciated by those people who sit in the stands each week and cheer you on. Thanks to So Cal for going to bed early so I could get a few hours of sleep. You did not know I was next door did you? Once again I enjoyed the hospitality of the Listowel Hilton, aka the Country Inn http://www.listowelmotel.com/


A special thanks to all the team sponsors who make it possible for their even to be teams to play in a great tournament like Monkton. It’s fully appreciated that without you, we would not have this level of ball to watch. Not only do you give a lot of time and money to build and field your greatteams, but you come out and cheer them on, as well as becoming part of the experience. I had the pleasure to talk to a number of sponsors over the weekend, sometimes before and even after they had completed their games, and what struck me most was the sportsmanship manner you all left the park with. No matter if you went home early or got to play in the final game, your professional manner will leave a lasting impression with us all.


I would like to give a special mention to one group that seldom gets the courtesy of a Thank You and that is the Blue Crew. The Monkton tournament gets almost as many requests for umpires to work as does the ISC World Tournament each August. Umpires take their craft seriously and once they have reached a certain level they all want to work the best tournaments like Monkton and The Big Show. Umpires apply for and lobby hard to get on the crew for the Monkton tournament and only the best are selected. Thisyear saw a rather small contingent of umpires working the games but we saw some of the best in the business. I was very happy to see Bob Henning from Surrey, BC on the crew this year. Bob is regarded as one of the best working umpires in the world and on top of that, one of the best teaching umpires. Even long in the tooth Level V umpires like working with Bob and seek his counsel on how they are doing at their own craft. Peter Kluszczynski is one of the top umpires in the ISC circuit and was the UIC for this tournament and chose his umpires carefully.

A mix of long in experience blue like Doug Cundall, Brian Sharples and Steve Bedard who have worked many major senior level tournaments over the years to some newer guys who have proven their ability at ISC II Tournament of Champions and ISC World Tournaments. The Blue Crew sometimes does not have an easy job or an enviable job but they do it the best they can and the group in Monkton excelled at it.There will always be some level of controversy in the game; it’s a fast paced game with the ball, and people moving very fast. When a call is close there will always be one side pretty happy with the call while the other side may not be exactly pleased about it. Either way there has to be a well trained and competent umpire making the call and one way or the other everyone has to work within the rules of the game. Thank You to the Monkton Blue Crew of 2007.


I should also thank the fans, however this year; I think their greatest thanks came in the way of great ball for four days in the lovely setting of Monkton. I will not even attempt to thank anyone individually as I would be sure to miss a few. We all know who you are, many of you come out to every tournament while others can only get to a few but make Monkton a regular stop and we all know why.  We had large crowds each evening in Monkton, my guess from 400 on Thursdayevening, to over a thousand on Sunday and lots in between. Thanks to the many old friends who stopped by to chat while I watched from the same perch all weekend behind home plate, it was great seeing you again. And thanks to the many new friends who stopped by to comment on the reports we turn out. I hope you realize that the major part of what gets posted on Al's Fastball is written by people like yourselves, fans and players who care about the game. And a special thanks to the guardian angels of Monkton who make my job easier and more enjoyable each year.


I had mentioned to my good friend Jim Flanagan that Monkton is a very special place to visit. I am sure my blood pressure level dropped a dozen points after I made the turn from Kitchener and headed the Buick towards Monkton last Thursday. Jim and Maddy are big fans of the area, having taken many pictures in the Mennonite areas while visiting Kitchener for the ISC II ToC.  Ilook forward to going back next year when the tournament will be held July 3-6, 2008.

If you check the links above you will see that a number of other tournaments have been reported on this weekend, including:
Walcott IA ISC 23 & Under North American Championship
Results From Wyevale
Croghan NY Results
OASA Midget Elimination Tournament

Some other items of interest:
Junior Elimination Tournament Draw
Congratulations to the SoCal Bombers!!! by Peter J Porcelli, II
Napanee Express Capture Midget Elim Top Seeding

One thing we have tried to do to make it easier to find results is to add the results to our 2007 Tournament Page at
http://www.alsfastball.com/index.php?page=127
This should also make it easier for the ISC and ISC II ranking people to find the results from each tournament. It also shows which tournaments have reported their results.


Coming up next for us is Orillia, another great tournament, July 13 -15.  See the Orillia logo at http://www.alsfastball.com/


Follow all the action this summer at:
Al's Fastball News
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