New Zealand softball great on hand to watch classic

Written by Bob on March 5th, 2013

“The batting has certainly come a long way, and it’s fair to say the pitching has gone back,” said the former first baseman who was also an elite coach.” – Dave Sorenson

By TONY SMITH / Stuff.co.nz

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – Dave Sorenson played in one of the greatest games in New Zealand softball and witnessed another this week. And the contrast couldn’t have been starker.

Sorenson and fellow teammates from New Zealand’s first gold medal squad were honoured in an on-diamond parade before the dramatic batting fireworks in the Black Sox’ loss to Canada at Albany on Monday night.

The Hutt Valley stalwart captained New Zealand in 1976 and featured in a 20-inning marathon match against the United States, a veritable pitching clinic between the world’s two premier practitioners – New Zealand’s right-hander Kevin Herlihy and American southpaw Ty Stofflet.

It was, quite possibly, the greatest personal duel within a team sport context in New Zealand sporting history.

Both men threw all 20 innings, with Stofflet striking out and dismissing 56 consecutive batters. Only one Kiwi made base – after he was hit by a pitch.

Herlihy gave up a handful of hits, including one to Stofflet, who drove in the winning run in the 20th inning.

Oh how times have changed at the ball yard.

The Black Sox-Canada clash was a classic for entirely different reasons. The slugfest featured 26 hits – 17 to the Canadians and nine by the Kiwis – and five automatic home runs.

Stofflet and Herlihy hurled close to three regulation seven innings games in one encounter. There was no question of bringing on reinforcements to relieve tiring arms.

The Black Sox and Canada used four pitchers each in eight innings on Monday.

Sorenson said the game, won by 9-7 by Canada, showed how much softball had changed since ’76.

“The batting has certainly come a long way, and it’s fair to say the pitching has gone back,” said the former first baseman who was also an elite coach.

Continue Reading

Leave a Comment