Men's Major National Championship underway in St. Joseph, Mo.

July 19, 2019, 9:05 p.m. (ET)

St. Joseph, Mo. –Over the course of three days, 12 teams will battle on the fields of Hyde Park, home of the 2019 USA Softball Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship, with the goal of earning a spot in Sunday’s Championship Game. The Men’s Major National Championship kicked off today in St. Joseph, Mo., a city that has hosted the Men’s Major National Championship previously in 1981, 1984, 1998 and 2002.


The 2019 USA Softball Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship includes teams from across the country, including the AWP Lumberjacks (Fairview Heights, Ill.), Bear Bottom Lodge (Ephrata, Pa.), Circle Tap Dukes (Denmark, Wisc.), Hallman Twins (Chesterfield, Va.), Hill United Chiefs (Machias, N.Y.), Kegel Black Knights (Amboy, Mich.), New York Gremlins (Clifton Park, N.Y.), Northwest Implement (Stanberry, Mo.), Ostrander Norsemen (Chanhassen, Minn.), Pueblo Bandits (Aurora, Colo.), Rio Grande Senators (Midland, Texas), and Wizards of OZ Kansas (Silver Lake, Kansas).


The Gremlins entered today having won the last three National Championships, and will look to make it four straight on Championship Sunday. The Clifton Park, N.Y. team has finished with a perfect 5-0 record the last three years, while finishing in the Top 5 since 2009. The Hill United Chiefs have finished runner-up to the Gremlins the past two years.


Four teams remain in the winner’s bracket at the conclusion of opening day. The Gremlins (1-0) shut out Ostrander Norsemen, 12-0, and Hill United Chiefs (1-0) plated 14 runs in their 14-1 victory over the Pueblo Bandits. Kegel Black Knights (2-0) outscored their opponents, 12-2, while Bear Bottom Lodge posted back-to-back victories over Wizards of Oz Kansas and Circle Tap Dukes. Fans will see the four face off tomorrow at 10 a.m. CT as Kegel Black Knights plays Hill United Chiefs and Bear Bottom Lodge is matched with the Gremlins.


The AWP Lumberjacks (2-1), Circle Tap Dukes (2-1), Hallman Twins (2-1), Rio Grande Senators (1-1), and Wizards of OZ Kansas (0-2) also return for a second day of action and will fight their way through the loser’s bracket in hopes of advancing to Sunday’s Championship Game.


A number of athletes from the Men’s National Team (MNT) are participating this weekend, with Ostranger Norsemen having six U.S. MNT members: Tyler Bouley (Champlin, Minn.), Kevin Castillo (Long Beach, Calif.), Tony Mancha (Las Cruces, N.M.), Gil Saenz (El Paso, Texas), Marcus Tan (Union City, Calif.), and Duane Weiler (Richland, Pa.). Jenner Christiansen (Hayward, Calif.), Nick Mullins (Toms River, N.J.), Erick Ochoa (Imperial, Calif.), and Matt Palazzo (Pleasant Hill, Iowa) are playing for the three-time defending Men’s Major National Champions, New York Gremlins. Jonathan Lynch (Cape Girardeau, Mo.), Jeff Nowaczyk (Midland, Mich.), and Cam Schiller (Prescott, Ariz.) are on the Hallman Twins roster, while Tyler Dudley (Battle Creek, Mich.) and Matt Ratliff (American Fork, Utah) are competing for Circle Tap Dukes. Yusef Davis (Long Beach, Calif.) is on the roster for the Kegel Black Knights, and Jon Gwizdala (Bay City, Mich.) is in the circle for Wizards of OZ Kansas.


After competing with their various club teams, members of the U.S. squad will cap off the 2019 season with the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru set for July 25 – Aug. 1. Coming off their fifth-place finish at the 2019 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Men’s Softball World Championship (MSWC), the U.S. squad will face world-ranked No. 5 Argentina, No. 24 Cuba, No. 9 Mexico, No. 47 Peru, and No. 8 Venezuela, two of whom they faced most recently for the MSWC in Prague, Czech Republic.