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Mission accomplished as USA men medal in the Pan American Fastpitch Championship

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

2017 USA SOFTBALL National Team that won the Bronze Medal at the 2017 Pan American Fastpitch Championship in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Sept. 15-24 The team bottom row from left, Kevin Castillo, Duane Weiler, Jenner Christiansen, Yusef Davis, Jr., Tyler Dudley, Jonathan Lynch, Cameron Schiller and Nick Mullins. Top row from left, Bruce Sidel, Joel Cooley, Jeff Nowaczyk, Greg Hicks, Alfonso Malaguti, Tony Mancha, Chase Turner, Gregg Leather, Travis Nevin, Chris Seben, Erick Ochoa, Ray Gutierrez and Nick McCurry. USA Softball Photo

SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – The USA Softball Men’s National Team embarked on a mission heading into the Pan American Fastpitch Championship, Sept. 15-24, in Santo Domingo: play outstanding softball and earn a medal.

Mission accomplished.

On the final day of play, on a late Sunday afternoon, 15 USA players and three coaches were all smiles as bronze medals were slipped over their heads, the reward for finishing third among 16 of the best men’s fastpitch softball teams in the world.

“The feeling I got was so amazing when I got the bronze medal,” said Yusef Davis, Jr., who earned his first selection to the national team and finished with a .429 batting average. “It was awesome to represent my country and wear those three letters (USA) across my chest. It’s an experience I’ll never forget.”

JEFF NOWACZYK proudly displays his Bronze Medal and the trophy during the awards presentation at the 2017 Pan American Fastpitch Championship in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Sept. 15-24. USA Softball photo

Team USA finished with a 5-2 record in Pool A, 1-2 in the playoffs. Among their victories, were impressive decisions over Dominican Republic and Cuba, along with beating tournament favorite Canada in the playoffs.

Gregg Leather, appointed head coach after Denny Bruckert resigned in August due to health reasons, praised his ball club for its fine performance.

“I am tremendously proud of this team and what we accomplished,” said Leather in a USA Softball press release. “We came into this tournament with some goals; to get double life in our pool, win a medal, and be on top of the podium receiving a medal. We came up short on the last goal, but are very happy with the Bronze Medal we did earn.”

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USA Men’s National Fastpitch Team putting up impressive stats

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Team USA has finished pool play in the X WBSC Pan American Fastpitch Championships with a 5-2 record, which gives the Americans
second place in the pool.

It was an important accomplishment, as Team USA secured a double life in the playoffs that begin Sept. 22 and conclude with the championship scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 24.

Many of you fastpitch fans are “stats” conscious, so to check out how our American boys are doing at bat, pitching and fielding, just click on to Team USA Pool Play Statistics

USA Clinches Second, Meets Canada In Pan American Fastpitch Playoffs

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

With two consecutive victories over Cuba and Puerto Rico, the United States clinched second place in Pool A of the 2017 WBSC X Pan American Fastpitch Championship, Wednesday, Sept. 20. Team USA will now meet Canada, which went undefeated at 7-0 to finish first in Pool B. Courtesy Photo WBSC

World Baseball Softball Confederation press release

SANTO DOMINGO, DR — The round robin has finished at the X Men’s Softball Pan American Championship held in the Dominican Republic and the playoffs were set with the eight teams to compete for the five spots for Lima 2019 Pan American Games.

    USA CLINCHES SECOND

Venezuela ended unbeaten in Pool A and clinch first place in the standings, followed by USA, Cuba and Colombia. These three teams finished with the same record of 5-2, but the US team earned the second place by the tie-breaker criteria.

    CANADA UNDEFEATED MEETS USA

On the other hand, Canada claimed first place in Pool B with no losses, followed by Argentina, Mexico and Guatemala.

This way, the payoffs will begin on Friday with two historic rivalries between Venezuela and Argentina, and Canada versus USA.

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Columbia holds off USA in men’s Pan American fastpitch games

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

SANTO DOMINGO, DR – On the men’s fastpitch world stage, Columbia isn’t regarded as a top tier team and a favorite to win a world softball championship.

But Columbia’s stock in the sport rose sharply after beating the United States, 3-2, in the Pan American Fastpitch Championship on Tuesday to improve its record to 4-1 in Pool A.

Columbia jumped out to a 3-0 lead before Team USA finally plated a run in the sixth on Erick Ochoa’s solo home run, and pulled within one in the seventh when Derrick Kennedy laced a run-scoring single plating Nick Mullins, who led off the inning with a single down the right-field line.

But Luis Amaya Fuenmayor struck out the next two batters and got a ground out to end the game with tying run on second base. Fuenmayor hurled the final two innings to pick up the save in relief of starter Elkis Chinchilla Prado.

Duane Weiler started for the USA and allowed one earned run on five hits with two strikeouts in three innings before giving way to Tony Mancha, who finished the final four innings, giving up a run on four hits with four strikeouts and two walks.

Team USA collected seven hits led by Kennedy who was 3-for-3 with an RBI, and Mullins, 2-for-3. Both Cameron Schiller and Ochoa had one hit each.

Josimar Cardozo Romero was 3-for-3, and and Eduardo Cuesta Baena was 3-for-4 with two RBI to pace Columbia’s nine-hit attack.

The United States drops to fourth place in the eight-team Pool A with a 3-2 record, and takes on second-place Cuba (5-1) on Wednesday.

    AT A GLANCE

…Team USA is batting a healthy .313 and has scored 34 runs…Derrick Kennedy leads the team with a .500 average (6-for-12), followed by Nick Mullins at .455 (5-for-11) with four RBI…Jeff Nowaczyk has driven in a team-high nine runs while batting .300 with two home runs…Yusef Davis, in his first promotion to Team USA, is No. 3 in batting at .400 (4-for-10) and has scored four runs.

Tony Mancha leads the pitching staff with 17 2/3 innings for a 1-1 record. He has struck out 17 and has a 2.37 ERA…Duane Weiler is 1-1 in seven innings, along with six strikeouts and a 2.00 ERA…and Joel Cooley, enjoying his first assignment with the national team is 1-0 in five innings of work, while striking out seven, and he hasn’t allowed any runs for a perfect 0.00 ERA.

USA Softball men competing in 2017 Pan American Fastpitch Championship

Friday, September 15th, 2017

SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Where would I rather be today than in beautiful Southern California?

Well, at the top of my list would be Santo Domingo for the X Pan American Fastpitch Championship featuring 16 countries that offer some of the very best in men’s fastpitch softball.

But since I can’t afford the expense that such travel would command, for just $11.95 I can watch the action by webcast, which I intend to do. (See subscriber link below.)

The championship features two pools of eight teams each. The United States is in Pool A which also includes Aruba, Brazil, Columbia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

Team USA begins play Sept. 15 at 5 p.m. (PT) against Brazil.

HELPFUL LINKS TO FOLLOW THE ACTION

  • USA Softball National Team roster
  • Pan American Games Internet TV
  • Live Stats
  • The Comeback Nation Slams Its Way To Gold In the Men’s Softball World Championship

    Monday, July 17th, 2017

    JOEL EVANS, seen batting in an earlier game against Australia, smashed a grand slam home run as New Zealand beat Australia, 6-4, in the Gold Medal game of the 2017 Men’s Softball World Championship in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, Sunday, July 16, 2017. ANTHONY AU-YEUNG / PHOTOSPORT

    WHITEHORSE, YUKON, Canada – Call the New Zealand fastpitch team what you will, the comeback nation or the never-say-die fastballers, as both monikers personify their amazing performance in the 2017 WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship.

    Trailing 3-2 in the sixth inning of the Gold Medal game, Joel Evans blasted a grand slam home run to help New Zealand claim the world championship with a 6-4 victory over the Australia Steelers at the Pepsi Softball Centre, Sunday afternoon.

    It was the second meeting of the ball clubs, as New Zealand took a 6-2 win in the opening round of championship playoffs among the top-eight teams.

    BRIMMING WITH GOLD

    For New Zealand, this becomes their seventh world championship. The Black Sox have won Gold in 2013, 2004, 2000, 1996, 1984 and 1976 (shared with USA and Canada after weather halted the tournament).

    “I’m really proud of the way they performed and how hard they worked to get to this stage,” said New Zealand Head Coach Mark Sorenson in a post-game interview. “It’s about never giving up and building pressure. Once we started getting quality at bats, we started to build that pressure.”

    Click to continue reading “The Comeback Nation Slams Its Way To Gold In the Men’s Softball World Championship”

    Australia holds off Canada to move into the Gold Medal game of the Men’s Softball World Championship

    Sunday, July 16th, 2017

    Adam Foulard turned in an effective relief effort to help Australia defeat Canada, 7-3, in the Bronze Medal game of the 2017 Men’s Softball World Championship at the Pepsi Softball Centre in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, Sunday, July 17. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2016 ISC World Tournament

    WHITEHORSE, YK, Canada – It’s been eight long years since Australia last won a world championship. After winning three straight playoff games, they’ll once again be battling for the Gold Medal.

    Thanks to James Todhunter and Nick Shailes who homered and Adam Folkard, who turned in an effective relief job, Australia defeated Canada 7-3 at the Pepsi Softball Centre, Sunday.

    With little time for rest, Australia (8-3) will be back on the ball diamond to take on New Zealand (8-1) in the Gold Medal game, while 2015 defending world champion Canada (8-2) leaves the tournament as the Bronze medalist.

    LONG BALL BOMBERS

    With Australia clinging to a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning, Todhunter squared up on a Sean Cleary rise ball sending it deep over the centerfield fence for a two-run home run, and Shailes homered over the left-field wall to give the Steelers a 7-1 lead, chasing Cleary in favor of Devon McCullough.

    But Canada’s big bats wouldn’t go lightly.

    Click to continue reading “Australia holds off Canada to move into the Gold Medal game of the Men’s Softball World Championship”

    Canada and New Zealand front runners in the quest for Gold at the Men’s Softball World Championship

    Saturday, July 15th, 2017

    Josh Pettit has a 4-0 record and is a prime reason New Zealand is making a strong run at winning the 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Men’s Softball World Championship. Courtesy Photo

    WHITEHORSE, YK, Canada – Where once there were sixteen of the world’s finest fastpitch teams battling for gold at the Men’s Softball World Championship, we are now down to six.

    And these six – their rosters filled with the finest hurlers and batsmen worldwide – are indeed the best of the sixteen.

    As the tournament heads into the final two days of championship play, Canada, New Zealand, Argentina, Japan, Australia and the United States remain in contention for the most treasured of all mens’ fastpitch softball titles: World Champion.

    My pick for Gold? Canada.

    The defending 2015 world champions are playing an incredibly high-caliber fastpitch.

    The Canadians rode through Pool A at 7-0, and in their opening playoff game Friday, shutout Japan 2-0, to extend their unbeaten streak to 8-0 and remain the only undefeated team in the world championship.

    Click to continue reading “Canada and New Zealand front runners in the quest for Gold at the Men’s Softball World Championship”

    Big sticks and Manley lead the United States to playoff win in Men’s Softball World Championship

    Friday, July 14th, 2017

    JEREMY MANLEY seen pitching for his native New Zealand Black Sox in an earlier time, turned in an outstanding pitching performance in leading the USA to an 11-3 victory over Venezuela.

    WHITEHORSE, YK, Canada – In what was predicted to be a tightly contested game, Team USA pulled off a shocker by pounding Venezuela, one of the world’s most powerful teams, 11-3, in five innings under the mercy rule in the first-round of playoffs, Friday afternoon.

    This huge victory moves Team USA (6-2) into the second round of the playoffs, Saturday, where they will take on the loser between New Zealand and Australia being played later Friday night.

    Tony Mancha started, but he struggled from the outset and gave up a two-run homer in the first inning to catcher Rafael Flores that put Venezuela on top, 2-1.

    After Mancha walked Jorge Lima, Head Coach Denny Bruckert was out of the dugout motioning for Jeremy Manley.

    Bruckert’s decision proved a game-changer.

    Click to continue reading “Big sticks and Manley lead the United States to playoff win in Men’s Softball World Championship”

    In The Spotlight: Matt Ratliff of the USA Softball Men’s National Team

    Friday, July 14th, 2017

    MATT RATLIFF made this amazing catch to rob Canada’s BRANDON HORN of a two-run homer in the fifth inning, and though the USA lost 7-1, Ratliff’s catch will long be remembered by his teammates and fastpitch fans worldwide as one of the greatest of the tournament, if not in the long history of the Men’s Softball World Championship. WBSC Photo

    WHITEHORSE, YK, Canada – Outfielder Matt Ratliff’s stock in men’s fastpitch took a sizable leap the past few days as he displayed his talent at the plate and in the field during the 2017 Men’s Softball World Championship.

    Playing in his first world championship for Team USA, Ratliff seized opportune moments to show just why he earned a spot on the squad.

    In the fifth inning against Canada in an early-round pool play game, Ratliff playing right-field, made one of the most spectacular catches in world tournament history by leaping, catching and crashing into and over the fence to rob Canada’s Brandon Horn of a two-run homer during a Pool A game, Sunday, July 17.

    If you think that was spectacular, it gets even better.

    Trailing the Republic of South Africa, 3-1, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Ratliff, who leads off and bats from the left-side, launched a two-run homer deep over the centerfield fence to pull Team USA even, and sending the game into extra innings which Team USA rallied to win, 4-3.

    Ratliff’s home run was huge as it helped the USA (5-2) finish in the top-eight of the 16 teams to qualify for chance at winning a medal – Gold, Silver or Bronze.

    To read about Ratliff’s journey in men’s fastpitch click on: Ratliff Aiming For USA Softball Men’s National Team

    In its first playoff game, Team USA takes on Venezuela (6-1), Friday, at 2 p.m. To watch the game, click on Sports Canada TV.