Argentina men’s fastpitch

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Circle Tap taps international market for top talent

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Marty Kauffman, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
12:22 p.m. CDT August 3, 2016

DENMARK, Wisc. – The Circle Tap Dukes are a powerhouse in the fastpitch softball circuit, year in and year out. Not just in Wisconsin or the United States, but the world.

And their roster reflects that.

The Dukes, based out of Denmark, were ranked ninth to begin the 2016 season by the International Softball Conference after finishing seventh last season at the ISC World Tournament. Circle Tap has placed seventh or better in the world dating to 1996, including third- and fourth-place finishes in 2004 and 2005.

Being a successful team has helped Circle Tap draw many players from outside of Wisconsin and the United States. This season, Circle Tap’s roster has eight international players from Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, while also having players from Illinois and Minnesota.

According to Circle Tap general manager Dean Kane, the addition of international players began years ago when the team was looking for pitching.

“We’ve always brought pitchers in from New Zealand and Australia because they start playing the game at a young age,” Kane said. “There’s not many American pitchers, so in order to compete with the big teams you have to bring in foreign pitchers, and it steamrolled from there.”

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USA wins thriller over Argentina in IX Pan Am games

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
Josh Johnson drilled a first-inning RBI single, scoring the only run the USA would need in defeating Argentina, 1-0, in the IX Pan American games in Parana, Argentina, Thursday. Photo By BOB OTTO

Josh Johnson drilled a first-inning RBI single, scoring the only run the USA would need in defeating Argentina, 1-0, in the IX Pan American games in Parana, Argentina, Thursday. Photo By BOB OTTO

PARANA, ARGENTINA – The United States Men’s National Fastpitch Team scored a run in the bottom of the first inning and made it stand up to defeat Argentina, 1-0, in the IX Pan American games on Wednesday.

The win was critical in USA’s quest to finish in the top four in round robin play and advance into the four-team playoffs that start on Friday. The win evens the American’s record at 3-3, while Argentina is still in second place at 4-2.

Josh Johnson had but one hit, but it was huge as his single to right field drove in Nate Devine with the winning run. Devine reached safely on a walk, moved to second after Matt Palazzo was hit by a pitch, and then raced home on Johnson’s hit.

The pitching tandem of Gerald Muizelaar, who started, and Tony Mancha, who relieved in the sixth, made the run stand up.

Muizelaar was nearly unhittable through five innings, allowing but one hit to Francisco Sabate in the third, and striking out six with two walks to craft a 2-0 record in the eight-team international tournament.

Gerald Muizelaar pitched five strong innings to lead the USA to victory over Argentina. USA Softball Photo

Gerald Muizelaar pitched five strong innings to lead the USA to victory over Argentina. USA Softball Photo

“Our backs were up against the wall tonight,” said Muizelaar. “It was a complete team effort, from top to bottom, and everyone contributed. We’ve been a bit inconsistent this week, but we beat two of the top three teams and had a lead on Canada. It just proves that we can play with anybody.”

But Argentina had Team USA sweating in the final two frames.

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