AUSTRALIA’S AND NEW YORK GREMLINS GREAT LEFTY – Andrew Kirkpatrick has helped Australia win ISF and WBSC world championships, and in the 2016 ISC World Tournament, he pitched the New York Gremlins to third place with a 3-1 record that gives him 39 wins in world tournament competition. Photo by BOB OTTO
YUCAIPA, Calif. – In fastpitch circles, Andrew Kirkpatrick and Adam Folkard are household names, as recognizable as baseball Hall of Fame pitchers Sandy Kolfax and Walter Johnson.
And surely, once Kirkpatrick and Folkard’s fastpitch careers come to an end and they become eligible, induction into the International Softball Congress Hall of Fame awaits them.
But before we talk about their ISC careers, let’s take a look at what these two have meant to their native Australia.
The highest level of men’s fastpitch is the International Softball Federation World Championship, (since surplanted by the World Baseball Softball Confederation). It pits country-against-country battling for world domination.
And in recent world championships, Australia always contends for a title because of Kirkpatrick and Folkard.
Since 2004, Australia has won the Bronze twice, fourth once, and in 2009 took the Gold by beating New Zealand, 5-0, led by the superb pitching of Folkard, who was just two walks away from a perfect game. Through much of the ISF competition, both men have been mainstays for their country.
FIVE-TIME ISC TOP PITCHER – Adam Folkard has won five ISC Most Outstanding Pitcher awards, and has led Australia to titles in the ISF and WBSC World Championships. In 2016, he pitched the Hill United Chiefs of Ontario, Canada to runner-up in the ISC World Tournament and was named an All-World pitcher for a eighth time. His 4-1 record gives him 39 wins all-time in ISC World Tournament play. Photo By BOB OTTO
And in the junior men’s program (age 19-under), Australia won four consecutive ISF World Championships (1997, 2001, 2005, 2008). Folkard and Kirkpatrick played huge rolls in winning the titles in 2001 and 2005.
So these two great pitchers will forever be linked when Australian’s reminisce about the “greatest ever” to play for their national softball team.
But Kirkpatrick and Folkard’s footprint extends far beyond Australia. In the United States and Canada – and virtually every corner of the fastpitch world – they are celebrities of immense proportion. Most notably in the International Softball Congress (ISC) World Tournament.
Both have created fabulous ISC careers, and are far from finished. Let’s look at their numbers in World Tournament competition.
NUMBER OF TIMES SELECTED ALL-WORLD
Kirkpatrick, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015
Folkard, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
If you’re counting, that’s eight times each. Well it gets even closer in what really counts for pitchers at the World Tournament – wins.
At the conclusion of the 2016 ISC World Tournament, Kirkpatrick had a 3-1 record in leading the New York Gremlins to a third place finish, while Folkard was 4-1 for the runner-up Hill United Chiefs.
So where do they stand all-time among pitchers with the most World Tournament wins? In a dead heat at 39 each, trailing Korrey Gareau with 40.
And in reaching number 39, both pitchers leapfrogged Dean Holoien, Frank Cox and Brad Underwood tied at 36. And they pushed past Ty Stofflet (37) and Doug Middleton (38).
In the 70-year history of the ISC World Tournament, only eight pitchers remain perched above Kirkpatrick and Folkard in most wins all-time. At the 2017 World Tournament, it’s conceivable that they could surpass Gareau, and perhaps tie or even get past Paul Algar and Todd Martin with 42 each.
However, Folkard does have a leg up over Kirkpatrick in a couple of areas. In most consecutive wins, Folkard has 22 (No. 2 all-time, trailing only Gerald Muizelaar with 23), while Kirkpatrick had a string of 13 wins from 2004-2007.
And as for the most coveted individual honor for pitchers in the World Tournament, Folkard reigns as co-king with five Most Outstanding Pitcher awards tied with the legendary Leroy Zimmerman for whom the award is named.
Kirkpatrick has one MOP honor, coming in 2006 when he pitched County Materials of Madison, Wisc. to the title.
Both pitchers appear in good health. Both pitchers can still hit the catcher’s glove with plenty of pop and movement. Both pitchers are two of the most competitive to ever step in the circle. So it’s conceivable that fastpitch fans will be enjoying Kirkpatrick and Folkard’s ISF, WBSC, and ISC exploits for years to come.
As for ISC Hall of Fame induction when they become eligible? Shoo-ins.
ISC WORLD TOURNAMENT / INDIVIDUAL PITCHING / MOST WINS
70 Michael White (1980-2006)
60 Peter Meredith (1980-2001)
56 Darren Zack (1992-2012)
48 Mike Piechnik (1985-2008)
48 Gerald Muizelaar (1999-2014)
42 Todd Martin (1993-2010)
42 Paul Algar (1985-2012)
40 Korrey Garreau (1995-2014)
39 Andrew Kirkpatrick (2004-present)
39 Adam Folkard (2004-present)
…42 remaining pitchers with at least 20 wins…