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Hill United Chiefs open fastball season in Peter Hallman classic that features six ISC top-ranked teams

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

FIVE-TIME ISC TOP PITCHER – Adam Folkard has won five ISC Most Outstanding Pitcher awards. 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

SIX NATIONS, ONTARIO, CA – The No. 1 ranked Hill United Chiefs opens its fastball season at the 2017 Peter Hallman Memorial Fastball Tournament in St. Clements, Ontario, June 23-25.

Topping the International Softball Congress (ISC) early-season poll, the Chiefs return with a star-studded lineup that includes the world’s top pitcher, Australian right-hander Adam Folkard, who has led the team to ISC World Tournament championships in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Along with runner-up in 2016.

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CANADA SLUGS ITS WAY TO GOLD IN WORLD SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

Monday, July 6th, 2015

2015 Team Canada.1lr Canada takes the Gold Medal at 14th ISF Men’s World Softball Championship. The team includes Ryan Boland, Sean Cleary, Paul Koert, Devon McCullough, Andy Skelton, Bryan Abrey, Jason Sanford, Ian Fehrman, Brandon Horn, Derek Mason, Kevin Schellenberg, Jeff Ellsworth, Brad Ezekiel, Steve Mullaley, Mathieu Roy, Ryan Wolfe, Jason Hill, and the coaching staff of Glenn Boles, Adam Davies, John Hill, Les Howey, and Head Coach John Stuart.

SASKATOON, SK, Canada – There is good hitting, great hitting, and on the rarest of occasions, phenomenal hitting.

What Steve Mullaley did in the championship game of the 14th ISF Men’s World Softball Championship will long live in Canada fastpitch lore, and in the memories of those who witnessed his incredible batting feat.

Mullaley belted three home runs – a solo shot, a grand slam, and a two-run blast – that tallied seven RBI, as Canada slugged its way to a 10-5 victory over the New Zealand Black Sox to claim the Gold Medal at Bob Van Impe Stadium, Sunday.

His seven RBI and Canada’s ten runs are believed to be International Softball Federation single game records since the world championship began in 1966.

    NO STRANGERS IN ISF CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY

The championship becomes Canada’s fourth ISF title, and the first since 1992 when Team Canada beat New Zealand for the Gold. The two teams have now met five times to decide the Gold Medal, with New Zealand claiming three, and Canada two.

Steve Mullaley hit three home runs accounting for seven RBI in helping Team Canada win the Gold Medal.

Steve Mullaley hit three home runs accounting for seven RBI in helping Team Canada win the Gold Medal.

For Mullaley, though, the victory over the defending 2013 world champion Black Sox was a team effort. The victory also eases the disappointment of expecting but failing to medal in the world championship in New Zealand.

“We knew coming in today that the big red machine could get it done,” Mullaley said to Ballpark Radio interviewer Blair Setford during post-game ceremonies. “We traveled a long way to New Zealand in 2013 and we were disappointed. But we’ve had a new commitment of buying into the team concept to get it done.”

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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

Hot-hitting New Zealand thrashes Canada in ISF Men’s World Softball Championship

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

SASKATOON, SK, Canada – No team in the 14th ISF Men’s World Softball Championship is hitting – make that slugging – the ball better than the New Zealand Black Sox.

In its last four games, New Zealand has outscored its opponents 37-7. The latest victory was huge, 9-5 over Canada in the playoffs Saturday that moves New Zealand into the Gold medal game on Sunday.

    FENCE BUSTERS

The Black Sox pounded out 10 hits, including home runs by Jerome Raemaki, Wayne Laulu, Thomas Enoka and Brad Rona.

Raemaki hit a home run in the third inning; Laulu blasted a two-run bomb over the left field fence erasing Canada’s lead for good, and pushing the Black Sox in front, 4-3, in the fourth inning. Tyson Byrne followed with a run-scoring triple that scored Cole Evans, and in the fifth, Enoka cleared the left-center field fence for a two-run homer.

Brad Rona finished the Black Sox fence-busting attack with a two-run shot in the seventh.

    CANADA GOES LONG BALL TOO

Ian Fehrman and Brad Ezekiel gave Canada hope when they hit solo home runs in the sixth and seventh innings off New Zealand’s Heinrick Shannon. But he withstood the onslaught and after Ezekiel led off the seventh with his homer, Shannon retired three in a row to seal the win.

Shannon threw seven innings to improve to 2-0 the playoffs. He allowed three earned runs on six hits, walked one and struck out four.

    DEFENDING CHAMPS SEEK SECOND GOLD

Now New Zealand – the defending ISF Men’s World Softball champions from 2013 – move to the Gold medal game, Sunday afternoon. Canada remains in the running for the gold, but must defeat the winner between Venezuela and Australia played Saturday night (results not available at publishing time).

    CANADA STILL IN CONTENTION

Canada came into the game against New Zealand undefeated and the top team in Pool A at 7-0. And the Canadians began the playoffs in dominating fashion, beating Australia and its ace pitcher Adam Folkard, 8-3, on Friday.

New Zealand finished round robin play in Pool A as the number four team at 5-2. The Black Sox entered the playoffs stinging the ball and beat the Dominican Republic, the top team from Pool B with a 6-1 record, 8-0, to set up the meeting with Canada.

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

Monday, March 4th, 2013

nz.haka
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.

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Ezekiel brothers pitted as title-game foes

Monday, July 30th, 2012

By DOUG HAIDET
Ashland Times-Gazette Sports Editor
www.times-gazette.com

ASHLAND, OH / BROOKSIDE PARK – The way he hit the ball Sunday during the finals of the ASA Men’s Major Fast-Pitch National Tournament, no one at Brookside Park would have thought Brad Ezekiel was getting a taste of bad luck.

The 25-year-old leadoff hitter for the Hill United Chiefs (based in New York City) smacked three home runs in his team’s two games against the New York Gremlins — two of them coming in the winner-take-all game that ended the tournament.

But one of the story lines of Sunday’s games turned out to be the fact that Ezekiel was playing against his brother…

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