14th WBSC ISF World Softball Championship

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McCullough perfect, Carmona homers and A1-Bombers advance in the 2015 ISC World Tournament

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015
Devon McCullough pitched a perfect game in leading the A1-Bombers to a 5-0 victory over the Bloomington, Ill. Stix, Wednesday, in the 2015 ISC World Tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2014 NAFA World Series

Devon McCullough pitched a perfect game in leading the A1-Bombers to a 5-0 victory over the Bloomington, Ill. Stix, Wednesday, in the 2015 ISC World Tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2014 NAFA World Series

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Devon McCullough pitched a perfect game and Freddy Carmona homered to lead the A1-Bombers of Cambridge, Mass. to a 5-0 victory over the Bloomington, Ill. Stix in the quarterfinals of the ISC World Tournament, Wednesday.

The win advances the ISC’s No. 7 ranked Bombers into Thursday’s winners bracket semifinals where they will take on the winner between the New York Gremlins and Pennsylvania Power being played late Wednesday night.

Tyler Dudley put the Bombers on the board in the first with an RBI single, scoring Kris Bogach, who reached on a base hit. Then in the second, Carmona launched a three-run homer to finish the Bombers scoring to give McCullough all the runs he would need.

McCullough latest win improves his record to 3-0, and he has earned all three of the Bombers victories. Against the Stix (2-1), he struck out 14 and lowered his ERA to 0.41, and over 17 innings has given up just one earned run, while striking out 35, and walking three.

McCullough was selected a Second-Team All-World pitcher in the 2014 ISC World Tournament, and he pitched Team Canada to the 2015 WBSC 14th International Softball Federation World Softball Championship in July.

EXPLOSIVE CANADA KNOCKS OUT VENEZUELA IN THE QUEST FOR GOLD

Sunday, July 5th, 2015
Sean Cleary allowed one hit in pitching Canada to a 10-0 win over Venezuela to advance Team Canada into the Gold Medal game of the 14th ISF Men's World Softball Championship, Sunday, July 5.

Sean Cleary allowed one hit in pitching Canada to a 10-0 win over Venezuela to advance Team Canada into the Gold Medal game of the 14th ISF Men’s World Softball Championship, Sunday, July 5.

SASKATOON, SK, Canada – In somewhat of a surprise, Venezuela started its No. 2 pitcher, Erick Urbaneja, rather than handing the ball to Ramon Jones against Canada in the Bronze Medal game, Sunday morning.

All Jones had done was win six games in the ISF Men’s World Softball Championship including back-to-back, one-hit shutouts in the playoffs to get his team to this desirable juncture in the championship round.

Was the pitching decision made to counter the left-handed Urbaneja against the seven lefties in Canada’s lineup? Was it made because his slower speed and great change-up had given Canada problems in the past?

    CANADA SCORES EARLY AND OFTEN

Maybe so. But it didn’t work. And the way Canada was swinging the bats, it probably didn’t matter who Venezuela threw at them.

Team Canada exploded from the starting gate by torching Urbaneja for four runs on five hits including two home runs by Brad Ezekiel and Steve Mullaley to send the left-hander to the bench. Another lefty, Eder Pineda, came on in relief, but he wasn’t effective either as Canada continued the onslaught.

And before the first inning had ended, Canada had sent 10 batters to the plate, scored six runs on seven hits, and the game was essentially over as Canada went on to win 10-0 in a mercy-rule, four innings.

The win moves Canada into the Gold Medal game, Sunday afternoon against the defending 2013 champion New Zealand Black Sox.

    EZEKIEL DRIVES IN FIVE

Canada kept pounding the ball, adding four more runs in the third, highlighted by Ezekiel’s bases-loaded triple. Canada’s center fielder and No. 2 hitter was perfect in going 2-for-2 with five RBI, including his first-inning homer.

Brad Ezekiel hit a home run and accounted for five of Canada's 10 runs against Venezuela.

Brad Ezekiel hit a home run and accounted for five of Canada’s 10 runs against Venezuela.

    CLEARY NEARLY PERFECT

Sean Cleary got the start for Canada and he was on top of his game, mixing his rise ball effectively with his knee-buckling change-up against the free and hard-swinging Venezuelans.

The right-hander struck out six of the first nine batters he faced and carried a perfect game into the fourth inning. But pinch hitter, Kerlis Rivero, broke up Cleary’s gem with a clean single.

Venezuela continued to threaten by loading the bases on an error and walk, but Cleary struck out Edwin Linares to end the game and send Canada into the Gold Medal game with New Zealand, waiting in the wings.

    GREAT SHOWING BY A WORLD-CLASS TEAM

Venezuela exits the world softball championship with the Bronze Medal, finishing 3-1 in the championship round and third in Pool B at 5-2. Venezuela has shown outstanding ability at the world level, taking the Silver Medal in the 2013 ISF World Championship.

    CLEARY STAYS PERFECT

The win boasts Cleary’s record to 5-0 (2-0 in the playoffs). Against Venezuela, he allowed the one hit and struck out nine. All totaled, Cleary has pitched 30 2/3 innings, allowing 11 hits, crafting a 2.05 ERA, with 12 walks and 45 strikeouts.

Now the question? Will Cleary get the ball and go as far as he can against New Zealand? Or will Canada Head Coach John Stuart opt for left-hander Paul Koert, or the young right-handed Devon McCullough?

On Saturday the two teams met and Cleary lasted just 2 2/3 innings before being lifted after allowing two earned runs on three hits. New Zealand went on to rough up relievers Paul Koert and Devon McCullough as well in a 9-5 victory, earned largely by four home runs.

Gold Medal game time is 1:30 p.m. PDT. To watch live, visit: Sports Canada TV

IN BATTLE OF TOP PITCHERS, JONES TOPS FOLKARD

Sunday, July 5th, 2015
Venezuela's Ramon Jones turned in a dominating pitching performance in a 4-0 victory over Australia in the medal round playoffs of the 2015 ISF Men's World Softball Championship, Saturday.

Venezuela’s Ramon Jones turned in a dominating pitching performance in a 4-0 victory over Australia in the medal round playoffs of the 2015 ISF Men’s World Softball Championship, Saturday.

SASKATOON, SK, Canada – Ramon Jones versus Adam Folkard.

Venezuela’s talented workhorse versus Australia’s ace, the fastest throwing pitcher on the planet.

Jones and Folkard have proven in the 14th ISF World Softball Championship that they are the two best pitchers in the world of men’s fastpitch softball.

They were destined to meet in the 16-team tournament. And Saturday night they did.

One team would win and stay alive in pursuit of a gold, silver or bronze medal, while the other would head for home, with a fourth-place finish.

    JONES AT HIS BEST

This time around, Jones and Venezuela came away the winner, besting Folkard and Australia for a 4-0 victory that moves Venezuela into Sunday’s coveted medal day in which they can finish with no less than a bronze.

Jones was simply brilliant in leading Venezuela to its third win in the playoffs. The right-hander with the best drop ball in the game, held Australia to just one hit over seven innings with a walk and 11 strikeouts. His victory comes on the heels of beating the Dominican Republic 3-0 on a one-hitter with nine strikeouts earlier on Saturday.

    HOMERS FOLKARD’S UNDOING

Folkard, who has pitched nearly every inning for his country, wasn’t quite as sharp as he needed to be. He only allowed five hits, but two of them were game-busters.

Edwin Linares blasted a solo home run in the second inning, which actually was the game-winner. Then Luiger Pinto sunk Australia’s dreams of a gold medal when he launched a three-run homer in the third.

Iran Perez and Rogello Sequera both singled to set up Pinto’s blast.

Folkard allowed just one hit and a walk the rest of the way, but the damage was done as Jones closed out the Steelers in the seventh with his 10th and 11th strikeouts to move Venezuela on to Sunday’s Bronze Medal game with Canada.

    BACK-TO-BACK OUSTINGS

It is the second consecutive ISF world championship that Venezuela has eliminated Australia. In 2013, the two teams met in the Bronze Medal game with Venezuela coming away with a 2-0 win. Venezuela went on to take the Silver Medal, losing 4-1 to Gold Medalist New Zealand.

Adam Folkard pitched superbly and nearly every inning for Australia.

Adam Folkard pitched superbly and nearly every inning for Australia.

    AUSSIE GREAT GIVES HIS ALL

Throughout the 2015 ISF world championship, Australia has leaned heavily on Folkard as left-hander Andrew Kirkpatrick was injured and unable to help in the circle.

Australia finishes with a 5-2 record in Pool B, and 1-2 in the playoffs, in which the Steelers lost 8-3 to Canada, and beat Japan 3-0.

Folkard certainly gave his all as he appeared in eight games, hurling 50 innings in which he allowed just 28 hits, struck out 82 batters, issued 12 walks, had an ERA of 1.68 and leaves the world championship with a personal 5-2 record.

    JONES SOLDIERS ON

However, Jones has been better, pitching in 10 games over 41 2/3 innings for a 1.18 ERA. He has given up 19 hits and 10 walks, while striking out 62 batters. He continues on in the playoffs, and will try and improve his 6-1 record against Canada Sunday morning.

Erick Urbaneja (2-0) has pitched just 11 2/3 innings. With gold gleaming so close and so temptingly, Venezuela has to hand the ball to Jones and ride their workhorse as far as he can go.

    SUNDAY’S MEDAL DAY SCHEDULE
  • Venezuela vs. Canada, Bronze Medal game, 10:30 PDT
  • Winner vs. New Zealand, Gold Medal game, 1:30
  • To watch live, visit Sports Canada TV .