Argentina’s Men’s National Fastpitch Team has a roster full of talent recognized as among the best on the worldwide stage of men’s fast pitch.
PARANA, ARGENTINA – I was curious, so I did some checking about some of these familiar names on the Argentina men’s national fastpitch team roster.
The same team that the United States beat 1-0 in the IX Pan American games on Wednesday. A team loaded with pitching and hitting talent; superstars largely applauded as some of the greatest athletes in the current-era of the sport.
And for odds makers, a team that should have been highly favored over the USA. But through the gut-check pitching of Gerald Muizelaar and Tony Mancha, along with the game-winning hit by Josh Johnson, Team USA pulled out the win. Odds makers be damned.
But I digress.
What I was really inquisitive about was the impact Argentina’s stars had on U.S. major-division teams. How many of them are routinely recruited to play stateside during the North American fastpitch season.
The numbers are an eye-opener.
The name of the game is pitching, of course. And Argentina pitchers Roman Godoy, Lucas Mata, Juan Pottoliccio, and Maximiliano Montero are highly recruited and considered in the upper echelon of worldwide pitching talent; and no doubt on the wish list of many a U.S. sponsor and manager.
Each summer, this foursome can be found pitching for the likes of Circle Tap of Denmark, Wisc., and Pennsylvania Power of Harrisburg.
But U.S. club teams don’t just recruit pitching talent; they go after the worlds’ best position players as well.
And Argentina has an abundant supply in the likes of Bruno Motroni (catcher), Fernando Petric (outfielder), Ladislao Malarczuk (infielder), Juan Cruz Zara (infielder), Manuel Godoy (outfielder). And the list goes on.
And when you take into account that Argentina’s junior men’s team has won back-to-back International Softball Federation World Championships in 2012 and 2014, the supply chain for U.S. teams should continue for year’s to come.
For without the contributions of Argentina’s international fastpitch stars, the fortunes of several U.S. clubs competing in the International Softball Congress World Tournament would be substantially watered down.
So it stands to reason that host Argentina has to be considered one of the favorites to win the IX Pan American championship being held in Parana (Oct. 24-Nov.3)
Argentina currently resides in second place with a 4-2 record, trailing only Canada at 6-0. And in a match-up that’s sure to fill Estadio Panamericano de Softbol Nafaldo Cargnel, the two teams meet today (Thursday) at 8 p.m. (EDT).
I also took a look at the top producers in the tournament. And Argentina’s talent, like cream rising to the top, is among the leaders.
Motroni is batting .333 – second only to Canada’s Mathieu Roy at .368.
And as for pitching, Pottoliccio (0.38 ERA, 36 strikeouts in 18.1 innings) and Montero (0.78 ERA, 17 strikeouts in 9 innings) have each won two games, and are among the tournament’s upper echelon of hurlers.
But as scintillating as Argentina’s pitching obviously is, Canada’s is even better. Sean Cleary leads all pitchers with 21.2 innings; has the best record at 3-0, and carries a perfect 0.00 ERA, with 45 strikeouts and only three walks.
So today’s Canada and Argentina matchup should be a great one.
On tap today is a huge game for the USA against Guatemala (1-5), and Venezuela (4-2) versus Domincan Republic (3-3).
The USA needs Venezuela to knock off the Dominicans to be assured of a top-four finish that would qualify the United States for a playoff spot.