november2009

Congratulations to Darren Zack - Fastpitch Chronicle

November 29, 2009

Vancouver, BC


Congratulations to Darren Zack.
From Bob Tomlinson – The Fastpitch Chronicle
 
The following article is from the 1990 Vancouver Magicians team program. I was able to garner a program from my good friend Doug Roberts that summer. Later in 1990 I got my first view of Darren Zack from behind home plate as he pitched for the Magicians in an exhibition game the night before the ISC World Tournament began. He was an imposing sight and, during that world tournament, was as thin as I have ever seen Darren. He was amazing and a pitcher that everyone went to the ball yard to watch. Here is the article, which is just one of six or seven about Darren in that program.
 
When ‘Magic Man’ takes the mound, teeth chatter
 
By Steve Frost – Sports Reporter
            His name isn’t Mr. Wizard so the things he does on the pitching mound at South Memorial Park can’t be explained away that way.
            Although his teammates have branded him with the moniker Magic Man, basically what Vancouver Magicians fastball pitcher Darren Zack does without hocus pocus is make batters miss. You know: now you see the softball, now you don’t.
            In 11 games this season Zack 10-1, has fanned 162 batters, more than 100 more strikeouts than the next closest pitcher in the seven-team, Senior A Nor-West League. Tonight, when Vancouver hosts Abbotsford Fast-as-Flite in a 6:30 doubleheader, he will certainly add to that total.
            “I haven’t seen a pitcher quite his caliber, who throws as hard with so many different pitches,” says Magician manager Al Mitchell, who has been around the league for 20 years. “He is really quite amazing.”
            Standing on the pitching mound 46 feet away the 6’3” 275 pound Zack is an imposing presence for hitters.
            His reputation as a fearsome pitcher is even bigger.
            Earlier this season, Zack struck out 20 of 21 batters in the opening game of a doubleheader and then came back to fan 15 in the second game.
            For his part, Zack says he doesn’t have a secret bag of tricks. He relies on speed and deception.
            “I’ll tell you, when you put 275 pounds behind a ball it’s going to move,” the righthanded Zack says.
            Using his overhead, windmill wind-up, he routinely throws the ball in the 85-90 mph range.
            “I can throw it hard to get it by ‘em but if you change speeds you keep them guessing and get them mad,” he says.
            Mitchell says most pitchers have three pitches and the good ones use four. Zack works six different pitches off a ball that either curves, drops or rises.
            “If I just threw it straight it would get pounded out of the park,” he says.
            Zack a 29-year-old Ojibwa Indian from Sault Saint Marie, has transformed the Magicians into a contender for the International Softball Congress world championship August 10-19.
            Seattle and host Victoria Payless have already grabbed berths in the 48-team tournament. Vancouver can gain entry by winning the Nor-West league title. It is currently in second place behind Seattle.
            “I’ve never won a championship – it’s always come down to one run or one mistake,” says Zack. “I’d really like to be able to wear one of those rings.”

            Bob’s Notes: Darren does indeed have some championship rings but not from the 1990 tournament. He’d later win Most Outstanding Pitcher awards at the ISC world Tournament in 1991 in Sioux City, 1993 in Kimberly, 1995 in Sioux City and again in 2000 with the Decatur Pride. He also won other Most Outstanding pitcher awards in the ASA and Canadian tournaments. In the late 1990s, I had my good friend Ron Jordak do a painting of Darren in a Toronto Gator uniform but the picture we used was actually one I’d taken of Darren in a Magician uniform that night in Victoria. Doug Roberts was the first owner the original painting. It has now moved on to another collector and Darren fan. I have two of the photo-reprints at my home here in Wisconsin. I had my radar guns on Darren many, many times from 1990 through the end of his ISC career. The fastest speed I ever got on Darren was 86 mph. His change ups, and there were several varieties were always 62-63 mph. His rise ball was usually around 81-82 mph.
           
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