Auckland men’s fastball

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New Zealand softball great on hand to watch classic

Tuesday, 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.

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Canada and New Zealand hitters feast in an ISF world championship classic

Monday, March 4th, 2013

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The New Zealand Black Sox perform the haka during the ISF World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo By Ben Campbell / World Softball Championships

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – Fastball purists, those who relish a masterfully pitched, low-scoring game, would have turned away in disgust. But for those fans who delight in seeing softball bats smashing a yellow sphere all over a ball diamond – as well over the fence – they would have loved this classic matchup.

And numbers crunchers would have glowed over these stats.

The Canadian and New Zealand men’s national fastball teams combined for 26 hits, 16 runs, and five home runs on Monday night in the 13th International Softball Federation World Championship. See Box Score

And when the bats were finally set-aside for the night, Canada had outslugged New Zealand 9-7 to win a marquee matchup at Rosedale Park in Albany.

As for the pitching?

It was a game of survival, of weathering a tornado of hot hitters. Eight pitchers toed the rubber – four on each side.

Click to continue reading “Canada and New Zealand hitters feast in an ISF world championship classic”

Folkard winds up for worlds defence

Friday, March 1st, 2013

By DAVID POLKINGHORNE / The Canberra Times

His action resembles something out of a Bruce Lee movie and Adam Folkard’s pitching is just as hard to hit.

Folkard dominated in Australia’s 5-0 victory over New Zealand in the 2009 World Championships final in Canada.

The ACT and Aussie Steelers pitcher was so feared by the New Zealand softball team, it got the laws changed to try to reduce his effectiveness.

But rather than be deterred, Folkard simply changed his action. Continue reading

USA drops opener to Australia in ISF Men’s World Championship

Friday, March 1st, 2013

folkard
Australian pitcher Adam Folkard hurled Australia to victory over the United States in the 13th International Softball Federation World Championship on March 1.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – Beating the world’s best fastpitch softball pitcher can by a daunting task. And many in the world of men’s club teams, believe Australian Adam Folkard the best in the game today.

The United States national team may second that assessment after Folkard hurled a two-hit, 12 strikeout gem in leading Australia to a 6-0 victory over Team USA in the opening game for both teams in the 13th ISF World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand on March 1.

While Folkard held Team USA scoreless, his teammates gave him a three-run cushion in the second inning, and added single runs in each of the third through fifth innings to complete their scoring in the 16-team international tournament that runs March 1-10.

Click to continue reading “USA drops opener to Australia in ISF Men’s World Championship”