fastpitch team
Organizations who will participate in the new California Fastpitch League include Athletics – Mercado, as well as the Batbusters, Firecrackers, Corona Angels and So Cal A's, among others. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Great Oak’s Dave Mercado named as Regional Director

The Texas FastPitch League ignited a fire for softball players, and within the last week, many have followed in their footsteps. Programs like the Heart of America Elite Fastpitch League, the Gulf Coast Fastpitch League and the Copper State Summer League are joining up with a powerful new league that will begin playing this fall in California.

As announced on their website, top California fastpitch clubs have banded together to form the California Fastpitch League, it was announced Monday, June 1, after months of discussion and work putting the new league together.

“Softball has a history of working together across organizations to improve the sport,” Mike Stith, CFL commissioner, who heads the Batbuster organization, said. “This is an exciting next step that will allow us to enhance further the state of play for all players and teams.”

Dave Mercado
Long time Great Oak High School softball head coach, Dave Mercado, who runs the Athletics – Mercado softball program, will also act as the new California Fastpitch League adviser and regional director. Valley News/Time Stood Still Photography

The CFL is a collaboration of leading organizations in the California softball industry to promote competitive play and enhancement of the sport. Working together, the CFL has created a postseason “collegiate-type” event structure and championship series to add purpose of play, excitement and equal opportunities for all. The league will be divided into regions from Northern California to San Diego, and teams will be ranked by region and by state level. Two nine-week sessions will begin in September with the first championship to be held in January.

CFL league games will take place within existing California tournaments. All California tournament directors are encouraged to have their events included in the CFL points structure. The goal is to include as many quality tournaments as possible throughout the state.

“Our mission is to bring an enhanced level of play and equal opportunity to all teams and players within California,” Tony Rico, deputy commissioner and president of Firecracker Softball Inc., said. “We are excited to kick off this new chapter with the cooperation of the top organizations in the state.”

Athletics – Mercado’s Brian Tidd will serve as the director of analytics and team data, and the program’s head, long time Great Oak High School head coach, Dave Mercado, will act as a CFL adviser and regional director.

Information will be coming soon from Sean Brashear, director of CFL Championship and Communications, on how those interested in registering teams or events can do so through the new league’s website at

Organizations that have committed to participate in this league so far include such high-profile and championship-winning programs as the OC Batbusters, Firecrackers, Athletics – Mercado, Corona Angels and So Cal Athletics.

The CFL is also joining forces with BLAST and AthletesGoLive to provide the latest technology in online player performance statistics and viewing. The CFL is also exploring opportunities with Wilson, New Balance and other top sponsors.

JP Raineri can be reached by email at