How it All Began
On a cold January day in 2004, Fastpitch Nation founder and owner, David Rocha, walked into a local baseball training facility with his little 9-year-old daughter looking for pitching lessons. He found an awful lot for boys and almost nothing for girls. That night when he got home, he told his wife what he had seen and that there needed to be a place like that for girls. So began the journey of education and research that went around the country and back to decide what to build. Fast forward to 2008 when Fastpitch Nation in Bloomfield, CT opened. The 24,000 sq ft facility not only had batting cages and pitching lanes, but a real field with a natural clay infield. Over the past 14 years the facility, now called Fastpitch Nation Indoor, has hosted more than 5,000 games, 3,000 team practices and 200 tournaments and leagues.
The Move Outdoors
In 2010 USSSA reached out to Fastpitch Nation about leading the effort to bring USSSA fastpitch tournaments to New England. Fastpitch Nation took on the challenge and signed an 8-year contract with the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Club in East Hartford, CT to use their slowpitch facility for fastpitch. Fastpitch Nation did many renovations at the park to make it playable for fastpitch softball and so began that journey that started from zero to becoming the largest and most respected fastpitch tournament provider in New England.
Creating Fastpitch Nation Park
In 2015 after hosting the first USSSA Nationals ever held in New England, we knew to grow and serve the teams to the level we wanted, we would need to build a park of our own. After an exhaustive search and countless negotiations with many municipalities, it was a private landowner in Windsor, CT, Mark Greenberg, who truly understood what we wanted to do and welcomed us to lease his land to build our park.
In 2019 Fastpitch Nation Park opened its gates with 11 fields, boasting the largest and finest dedicated fastpitch facility in the Northeast United States. Since 2019, we have hosted more than 3,000 teams and played nearly 10,000 games. We led all youth sports back to playing in the 2020 pandemic and set the tone for how it could be done safely with many places around the country emulating our process to get back to playing softball.
At end of the 2020 season we ended our 11-year relationship with USSSA and formed the PlayFPN Tournament Network, instantly becoming one of the largest independent fastpitch tournament providers in the country. Since then other independent tournament hosts have joined the network in CT, NY and RI with other hosts set to join for the 2023 season.
We have big plans for our future with much more to tell you all in the coming months so stay tuned for all the exciting news!
Who We Are
|David Rocha, Fastpitch Nation Founder, Owner and General Manager - David has been in the game of fastpitch softball for more than 20 years. Like many in the game, he started coaching his daughters and eventually ran the fastpitch softball program at the Simsbury, CT Little League. From there he coached travel ball in the CT Mirage organization, opened the Fastpitch Nation indoor facility, and then stepped away from coaching in 2010 when he started Fastpitch Nation's tournament business. Prior to Fastpitch Nation, David spent 15 years as a photojournalist at two CT newspapers and then the Associated Press in New York City. He then spent 12 years at IBM managing products in the professional digital photography field, before devoting his full-time efforts to Fastpitch Nation in 2012.|
Jessie Rocha, Fastpitch Nation Asst. General Manager and Lead Pitching Instructor - Jessie has been in the game for nearly 20 years as a player and coach. She was the inspiration for her father to create Fastpitch Nation. Aside from her FPN managerial duties, she has been a pitching instructor at FPN for the past 7 years. Jessie played all the way to college, playing one season for Western CT State University before hanging up her spikes to devote more time to her studies. Jessie is a former Asst. Coach and Pitching Coach for the East Catholic High School and was a pitching consultant/instructor to Bay Path University. She is a 3 time all-conference pitcher at Northwest Catholic High School and pitched for the CT Mirage and CT Mirage Gold Travel teams for 8 years. Jessie is also a part-time Surgical Technologist at UCONN Hospital in Farmington, CT.
|Dave Piggott, Fastpitch Nation Grounds and Facilities Manager - Dave has been in the game of fastpitch softball for nearly 25 years. Like many, he got involved with his children. He eventually coached at the Little League, travel ball and high school levels. In 2018 he was coaching travel ball in the Shoreline Sting organization in CT with his daughter and son-in-law, when his daughter became pregnant with her first child and had to step away from coaching. Dave was not ready to leave the game but decided to seek a new challenge. He contacted Fastpitch Nation about opportunities. In 2019 he joined our inaugural staff. In the late summer of 2020, he took over the position of Grounds and Facilities Manager.|
|Dan Cisowski, Fastpitch Nation Director of Umpiring - Dan is the Founder and Director of the Northeast Softball Umpire Association, the exclusive provider of professional umpires to Fastpitch Nation. Dan’s umpiring experience includes Little League District, State, Regional, European Regional and Softball World Series, post-season High School Tournaments which include the CIAC State Tournaments, College Conference Tournaments at the Division II & III levels. Dan continues to umpire at the High School and DI, DII and DIII College levels.|
|Rick Durham, Fastpitch Nation Umpire-In-Chief - Rick is the Umpire-in-Chief for the Northeast Softball Umpire Association and has more than 30 years of umpiring experience, starting as a baseball umpire working his way up his way up umpiring for MLB Spring training games for the Mets and Dodgers. The move to softball was an easy transition and he became one of the top officials in the country. His resume includes numerous CIAC state high school tournaments and finals. Rick’s college career includes several post-season assignments at DI, DII and DIII levels, which include 22 Regional and Super Regional NCAA tournaments.|