FM Fastpitch Association set to host World Series in Fargo
FARGO—Justin Feist was asked to play on a fall fastpitch softball team nine years ago not knowing what to expect. Feist had played baseball in high school, but didn't know much about fastpitch.
He got hooked.
"I really enjoyed it," said the 28-year-old Feist, now the president of the Fargo Moorhead Fastpitch Association. "I've played ever since."
The FM Fastpitch Association is hosting the North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) World Series, which starts Wednesday, Aug. 9, at Fargo's Northside Softball Complex. The tournament runs over two weekends and has more than 110 teams spread over six different divisions.
"It's been a lot of work, but I think it's going to be worth it," Feist said. "I'm excited to showcase the sport to the community once again. It's had a rich history."
There are teams from 26 states and seven Canadian provinces, said Jon Kegel, vice president for NAFA. The AA Major tournament, the top level, starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday and runs through Friday, Aug. 11. The AA Major division has eight teams.
"It's really elite ball," said Kegel, a longtime team sponsor who lives in Moorhead.
This is the 25th anniversary of the for the NAFA World Series, which Fargo has hosted two times before, in 2000 and 1997, Kegel said.
The top pitchers in AA Major top out near 80 mph, which is the equivalent of a 100 mph fastball in baseball, said Benjie Hedgecock, the executive director of NAFA.
Hedgecock said he's impressed with the North Softball Complex.
"It's gorgeous," Hedgecock said. "The infields are immaculate."
Feist plans to play on three different teams for the NAFA World Series in the various divisions. He played baseball at West Fargo High School before he tried fastpitch.
"I want to see young kids come out here and hopefully get interested," Feist said. "I've tried playing baseball since I've played fastpitch. It's not the same. It's kind of slow."
Four new members will be inducted into the Fargo-Moorhead Area Softball Hall of Fame at 6 p.m. Friday in conjunction with NAFA World Series. The new inductees are Mike Lien, Josef Olivieri and Karin Schumacher. There will also be an All-Fastpitch reunion on Friday night.
"I'm excited to see some of the old fastpitch players from back in the day come out and tell some of their stories," Feist said. "That will be kind of cool."
If you go
NAFA World Series
When: Wednesday through Sunday and Aug. 17-20 at Northside Softball Complex
Tickets: $8 for single day; $20 for weekend; Free for kids 12-and-under