The Fastpitch Chronicle

Men's Fastpitch News
From Around the World
This Page dedicated
to the memory of Brendan Fisher.

Dates announced for Kimberly's Jack Grafmeier Tournament
November 1, 2007

Vancouver Grey Sox sign Brian Ree & Kevin Rasmussen
Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Russ Snow - victim of terrible fires in California

Vancouver Grey Sox sign Mike Piechnik for 2008 - 10/26/07

Fastpitch Chronicle's Bob Tomlinson inducted into ISC Hall of Fame
article in Portage Daily Register on 9/13/07 by Kevin Morales

Fastpitch Chronicle/Ohio Battery wins 2007 NAFA 50+ Masters World Series title in Rockford, IL

beat United Sports Academy of California for title

Rockford, IL – It wasn’t the normal way to win national title but the Fastpitch Chronicle/Ohio Battery men’s’ 50+ Masters team did it anyway with an interesting win over United Sports Academy of California in the NAFA 50+ World Series.
The win avenged a round robin loss on Saturday night to the California contingent.

The Fastpitch Chronicle/Ohio Battery club opened the NAFA 50+ Masters with a hard-fought 4-2 win over Bowar Electric of Middleton, Wisconsin. Victor Flores started in the circle for the champions but suffered a calf muscle injury early on and as replaced by Lonnie Brooks. Brooks pitched well and got out of several tight spots en route to the win. Neil Jones took the loss but pitched well in holding off the big bats of the eventual champions.

They had a game off and then took on the California crew in that second round robin game that turned into a high-scoring affair early when USA jumped on them for a quick four runs in the first inning. The two teams battled back and forth for the #1 seed with USA claiming the win, 8-5. Russ Snow was the winning pitcher while Brooks took the loss.
On Sunday the Fastpitch Chronicle/Ohio Battery club took on Symba’s (Duck Creek Masters from the Green Bay, Wisconsin area in) another slugfest. Rick Ferry opened in the circle for Duck Creek while Lonnie Brooks got the ball for the eventual champions. The game was tight most of the way but Jeff Gaugler nailed a three-run homer in a pinch hitting role to open up a wider margin and The Chronicle Battery men went on to a 14-9 win.

The next opponent up was Cardinal Home Improvement of St. Cloud, Minnesota. Steve McFadden started in the circle for The Fastpitch Chronicle/Ohio Battery club and got relief help from Brooks who eventually got the win as the men in blue came back with an 8-4 win. They were trailing 3-0 as they headed into the sixth inning.

The championship game was played on two different fields, twenty minutes apart as the lights went out at Sportscore 1 right after the 6th inning had been played. The Fastpitch Chronicle/Ohio Battery club was ahead 9-8 as both teams were knocking the ball around pretty well. The teams packed up their stuff, moved to another complex 20 minutes away and waited for the slowpitch distances to be switched to fastpitch ones. They had to prepare the diamond, move the pitcher’s plate, move the bases in where they needed to be, chalk the field and then play ball.

The Fastpitch Chronicle/Ohio Battery went down without scoring in the top of the seventh and Brooks faced Unites Sports Academy in the bottom of the 7th. Brooks fanned the leadoff batter before the next USA batter reached first. When USA attempted to move the runner into scoring position the bunt was popped up and the runner at one was retired to set off a Fastpitch Chronicle celebration.

Shortstop Steve Betts (Indianapolis, IN) was named the Most Valuable player of the tournament and was joined on the All World Team by Lonnie Brooks, Jeff Gaugler and centerfielder Tim Kauffman.

Russ Snow of United Sports Academy was named the tournament Outstanding Pitcher.

For detailed results of the entire tournament and results from the 35+, the 40+ and the 45+ NAFA Masters tournament go to and see them there.

“for Nick and me, it was a pleasure getting these guys together,” said Fastpitch Chronicle publisher Bob Tomlinson. “Nick was much more nervous than was I so winning it was pretty special for him. We’re happy for all of them.”

Tomlinson and the legendary Nick McCurry of Ohio Battery sponsored the club on the weekend and look forward to going back to Rockford in 2008 to defend their title.

“It was a fun weekend in Rockford,” said Tomlinson. “Getting to see so many of the people that subscribed to The Fastpitch Chronicle over the years was great. I had some great conversations in Rockford. I’ve said all along, since 2004, that I wasn’t going to disappear from the men’s’ fastpitch scene.”


Vancouver Grey Sox sign Mike Piechnik for 2008 season

Vancouver, BC - October 26, 2007

The Vancouver Grey Sox are pleased to announce the signing of veteran lefthanded pitcher Mike Piechnik for the 2008 season.

Piechnik a resident of Victoria, BC spent the 2007 season with the Portland, Oregon Demarini Merchants. Highly regarded at the open level for his numerous accomplishments and fine pitching performances, "Peaches" is a most welcome addition to the Grey Sox program.

The veteran leadership qualities that Mike Piechnik possesses and positive influence it is expected he will provide to the entire Grey Sox team and in particular the pitching staff, made him a priority for the organization as we attempt to improve upon our 7th place finish at the ISC World Tournament, and defend the Softball Canada National Championship.

More news and a schedule announcement will be forthcoming in the weeks and months ahead.

Larry Kancs
Vancouver Grey Sox

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Russ Snow's ranch was right in the heat of the fire in California
Here's an update from Cindy as of October 26th

To dear friends and family,
Thank you for the calls and e-mals. I'll tell you what I know. Russ' ranch is in Highland Valley. The area has been hit badly by the fire. His folks beautiful family home and ranch is only about 800 meters away from his place. Last night at 11pm Russ drove
out to help his folks pack. At about 3 am he decided that they had to leave. No evacuation call had come. This morning, this is causing him great concern as he worries for his neighbours. The road going up to the ranch was completely on fire. Structures were burning on both sides of the road. Many of the homes that are familiar land marks were ablaze. The new house with the private Christmas Tree grove on the corner was on fire, the hill between the main road and Russ' ranch was on fire when he drove by.

He stopped and called Andy his closest neighbour and woke him up. Andy had packed at about midnight and fell asleep in his
living room chair. Russ' call was the only thing that woke him. Andy believes Russ saved his life and we have no reason to doubt this.
The evacuation drive down the road to the 15 was very frightening. Russ said the heat inside his truck was incredible. The neighbour that followed him down the road by only 8 minutes had the tires blow out of her car. Lucky, her husband was following in another vehicle and picked up her up. We beleive the fire has now passed Snow's ranches, but there were two that went across that area, one that came up from the Wild Animal Park (which is currently safe but under threat again) and one that came from the east and Romona. The fires are now in the residentual areas off of West Bernardo Drive (Russ' exit off the 15).

We are simply waiting to hear news and get a chance to get in, but the fire is still huge, the freeways are closed and it continues to burn all around the area. The winds are blowing betwen 40 and 80 miles an hour, so there is no reassurance that
it won't circle around and hit the area of the ranch again. We will keep everyone posted. We count our blessings today. All family members are safe. Nancy's horses were safely evacuated from the ranch in the San Pasqual Valley, John and Nancy have Pablo, their dog and one of their cats. (Yesterday, Russ had the kids up on the ranch and they picked up the last of Nancy's
kittens and they are safe with us in Carlsbad. It is nice to remember what a happy day we had yesterday when 'Shortstop" and "Twiight" joined our family.) It is a day to be thankful, a day to wait and a day full of hope.

We will let you know what is left of the ranch when we get a chance to go up and see. Once again, thank you for your concern.
All my love,

Update #2 from Cindy - October 28, 2007

Dear Friends and Family,
Here is the update on the Snow ranches. Wonderful news! John and Nancy Snow’s beautiful home is safe. We are so very happy and are counting our blessings.

Several of the houses near their home, including one on their private ranch road and four on their old ranch, across the street, are gone. We feel very fortunate.

Russ’ situation is different.
Tuesday morning, We waited until about 10am and then headed back up to his ranch in Highland Valley. Roadblocks were everywhere, but with Russ’ local knowledge and ability to charm Cal Trans employees, we got to his ranch about noon. There is no other way to put it, but “we took a hit”. Russ’ home is gone; his mobile home caught fire and melted. With it went most
of his personal items, he will miss among other things, his grandfather’s tackle box, a lifetime collection of reels and poles, his golf clubs, a Rolodex with his entire wood client list, his baseball card collection, photos and his wedding and world
championship rings. He has retained his sense of humor and has told me that now he doesn’t have to go through his clothes and filing cabinets, this being the fastest “sort out” he has ever done.

Business wise he is counting his blessings, despite the fact that the fire and the wind did do damage. On the plus side all of his vehicles and tools are safe.

On the down side, he lost all his wood for this season, about 200 cords piled and waiting to be sold, are ash. The fish also died, due to water pipe damage. The prospect of repairing the hundreds and hundreds of irrigate pipe leaks is almost beyond my comprehension. Any PVC pipe that was above ground melted. I asked him how many leaks he thought were out there and with a laugh he said, “somewhere between 300 and 1,000.

I’ll be busy next week.”
The grove was on fire when we got there, but only in spot flash areas. There were literally hundreds of ash fires still burning on the mountain. The big firestorm had gone through the night before. Russ lost about 30% to 40% of his trees and probably
about 80% of this year’s crop. The wind did equal damage to the fruit as the fire. Thousands of pieces of fruit were on the ground. Still, there were fruit and trees to save so we went to work putting out fires, clearing leaves and building firebreaks. We did our best to stop as many of the fires as we could, both on Russ’ ranch and on the properties bordering his land. When we left around 8pm ash fires still dotted the mountain but we had done our best.

We returned “home” to our neighbor, Kim, who was feeding our children and my father, plus feeding and housing three other families who had been evacuated from the Fallbrook fire. Her kindness and care will never be forgotten.
Russ went out to his ranch again this morning, accompanied by buddy, Craig Heber. (Thanks Big Guy, we love you.) Much to Russ’ grief, he found that his nearest neighbor, Andy, whom he had woken the first night of the fire, lost his house during the night. When we left the evening before, the house was still standing with no sign of fire anywhere close. It only goes to show how dangerous those ash fires continued to be. As Russ drove up Highland Valley Road, he realized that somewhere between 20 to 30 homes, many of them historic and part of his childhood memories were gone. High school friend Steve Olsen, lost
everything, his entire wood business, several big rig logging trucks, two family homes. Absolutely everything on the Olsen estate was turned to ash. The sadness Russ feels for his friends is of the deepest magnitude. Neighbors hearing that Russ had made it
past the roadblocks were calling him for news throughout the day. Several times, Russ had to be the first person to tell his dear friends that their houses were gone. Russ’ attitude about his own property and business’ is incredibly up beat. He is grateful for
the things that he retained and is counting his blessings. Tonight he began making lists of the things he has to do. The work to be done on this one man farm is amazing, but he will be out there tomorrow fixing irrigation lines, dealing with downed power lines and taking care of his trees. Actually he will be out at his ranch AFTER he has gone down to Carlsbad High School, our closest evacuation centre, to see if there is anything he can do to help those who are less fortunate. I have never been so proud of him.
So, to all our friends and family, we are counting our blessings, first and foremost, for all of you, secondly, for our safety and the safety of our friends. Despite lost of property their has been no loss of life in Highland Valley. Finally, we are grateful for the property and the trees that survived and the opportunity to rebuild. Plus, Russ may drop a few strokes if he gets a new set of clubs.

Thank you for your concern and warm wishes.
PS. I took several pictures on my phone, but the cables and the software to download the images were in Russ’ house, so when I figure out a way to down load the stuff, I’ll send some images. PSS. To Peter, your two trees are still standing, will send picture. To Eric, your vineyard should be served with jam and butter. Sorry, pal.

PSS. To those who have asked about the kids, they are doing great. They are giving their folks lots of hugs, plus all the local schools are closed until next Monday, so hey, life can’t be all that bad.

Commentary by Bob Tomlinson
No matter whom you talk to or no matter whom you ask – the one answer that everyone gives when asked what fastpitch softball has offered them is: the great people you meet.

Russ Snow is one of those great people in my fastpitch life. I first met Russ a long time ago at an ISC World Tournament somewhere. Being the publisher of the Fastpitch Chronicle newspaper afforded me an opportunity to meet thousands and thousands of great people. Russ is among the greatest. Tonight Russ is certainly in my thoughts.

At the NAFA Master’s Eastern Nationals Russ and I were able to connect again. He filled me in on his coaching experiences with the Great Britain program and we talked about each other’s lives since we’d last seen each other.

I left Rockford, Illinois on the final day of that NAFA event with a renewed passion for people in the men’s game. I’d lost a lot of something over the past couple of years. My main purpose for going to Rockford wasn’t to actually play as much as it was to see great friends I hadn’t seen in several years.

Today I received a message from Russ (actually from Cindy). Russ’ ranch out there in California is right smack in the middle of one of those raging wild fires that torched the hillsides.

I’ve posted the message from Cindy on my Fastpitch Chronicle website. If you’d like to read it just go to and click your way to the mens’ news page and read it.

If you know Russ and didn’t get the message, you now know he was and is right in the middle of things out there.

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Vancouver Grey Sox sign Brian Ree and Kevin Rasmussen
Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Vancouver, BC

The Vancouver Grey Sox are pleased to announce the signings of infielder Brian Ree and catcher / outfielder Kevin Rasmussen for the 2008 season.

Both Ree and Rasmussen were members of the 2007 edition of the Portland, Oregon DeMarini Merchants. Ree a resident of Gresham, Oregon and Rasmussen a resident of Everett, Washington are expected to provide open level experience and depth to the Grey Sox line up as we attempt to improve upon our recent result at the ISC World Tournament.

Further updates regarding our roster and 2008 schedule will be provided in the weeks ahead.

Larry Kancs
Vancouver Grey Sox

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Kimberly Announces dates for 2008 Jack Grafmeier Invite
November 1, 2007

The 2008 Jack Grafmeier Invitational Fastpitch Tournament will be held at Sunset Park in Kimberly, Wisconsin on June June 6-8. The format will be round robin and should provide some great fastpitch entertainment for fans and players alike. The Jack Grafmeier Tournament is actually a Memorial Tournament to honor Jack, a one-time Wisconsin ISC Travel League Commissioner and curator for the ISC Hall of Fame. Jack Grafmeier did more for fastpitch in Kimberly than any person has every done. It's a fitting tribute to have a tournament of this nature named after him. For more information on the Jack Grafmeier Memorial Tournament contact Dave LeBlanc in Kimberly via e-mail or by phone. Those contact numbers are or by phone at 920-851-2349. LeBlanc has named Hank St. Claire as the Tournament Umpire in Chief for the event. Interested people can contact St. Claire at 216-533-520

Fastpitch Chronicle's Turn Back the Pages
stories from the past

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Ty Stofflet's Book - Lefty Legend

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