By Darryl G. Smart
Rob Schweyer continues to show that his right arm is one of the best in the world.
Over the weekend, the right-handed pitcher from Simcoe, who now calls California home, helped lead the Kegel Black Knights to a third-place finish, and was named to the All-American Team for the second-straight season at the 2021 USA Softball Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship in Oklahoma.
“The weekend was a great test for our guys,” Schweyer said. “To be the team that had to play eight games to get to third place opposed to the winners who played four to get first and second says a lot about our team.”
The Black Knights, based out of Fargo, ND, kicked the tournament off with a 7-2 win over Fishers Softball. Saturday, a 2-1 loss to Circle Tap in the morning forced Schweyer and the Knights to dig themselves out of their bracket of the double-knockout tournament. And that’s when Schweyer began to shine.
Schweyer went the distance in a 5-2 win over Marchi Sausage Co. In the effort, he struck out eight batters. Next up was an 18-1 win over the Hallman Twins, before Schweyer got the save in a 8-1 win over AWP Lumberjacks. This time Schweyer struck out three batters in two innings.
On to championship Sunday, the Black Knights earned a spot in the semifinal with a 2-1 win over Circle Tap. Schweyer was sharp again, striking out six batters in three and two-thirds innings of work.
Unfortunately that’s when the Black Knights ran into trouble against a fresh Hill United Chiefs team, who ended up knocking Schweyer and his teammates out of the tournament they won last year with a 10-3 decision. Schweyer had one strikeout in two innings of work.
The Chiefs ended up losing 7-5 in the final to the New York Gremlins.
As usual, Schweyer pointed the praise to the guys around him after receiving the All-American award.
“They actually made me a better pitcher and put a fire under my butt to kind of overachieve this past weekend,” the 46-year-old said. “We got to rest our No. 1 pitcher a little for the (ISC) worlds, and hopefully it pays off. But the boys got a number of quality swings in and played some amazing defense and overcame the adversity of heat and humidity, rain delays and lack of sleep to end up third.
“I’m super proud and so happy that my wife and son could be there to see dad still has a little pep in his step.”
Like most of the teams at the USA Softball Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship, Schweyer and the Black Knights have their eyes set on the International Softball Congress World Tournament August 14-21 in Eldridge, IA.
“They’re prepared to battle,” Schweyer said of he and his teammates. “Even in 100F weather.”
HILL UNITED CHIEFS
The Six Nations-based team began the tournament Friday with a 7-0 win over Marchio Sausage Co. Saturday they beat AWP Lumberjacks 4-1, before losing 3-2 to the Gremlins to set up their date with the Black Knights.
Infielder Steve Mullaley, pitcher Pablo Migilavacca, and catcher Bruno Motroni were also named All-Americans, while Brad Ezekiel tied for the homerun championship.