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Let’s get talking

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Reporter and columnist, Mark Long, is a former Australian softballer who pitched Australia’s first World Championship Age 19-Under Gold Medal win in 1997.

CAMDEN ADVERTISER – Could a glimpse into the future, let’s say July 2012, hear the following line at the end of Sportscenter?

“Coming up on ESPN 2, the world’s best men’s fastpitch softball players touch down on the next stop of the tour as the teams battle for the number one seed before the ISC world tournament.”

A US-Canadian tour or a pro fastpitch league are two options that generations of players have dreamt about.
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Explosive game attracts 50,000 fans

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010


By MARK LONG
Reporter / Columnist
Camden Advertiser

CAMDEN, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA – Fifty thousand spectators walked through the gates in Saskatoon for the ISFs last summer.
Not bad for a sport supposedly in palliative care for at least the last decade.

Why did they come?

Because there is nothing like top line fastpitch softball.
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Ten-point plan for softball development can succeed

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010


Mark Long is a former softballer who pitched Australia to its first World Championship Gold Medal in young men’s fastpitch softball age 19-Under in 1997. He created and now manages Australia’s leading high school based health program Eat It Work It Move It

By MARK LONG
Reporter and Columnist
Camden Advertiser

CAMDEN, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA – “Girls play fast pitch, boys play baseball.”

A quote heard at a lot of ball parks across the U.S. when the issue of junior boys or lack thereof pops up. Another favourite is, “It’s not like Australia or New Zealand where boys play.”

Just focussing on Australia the plain and simple truth is that boys don’t play softball en masse.

In summer, many play cricket, Australia’s national summer pastime.

In winter it is often one of four of the versions of football.

Of course there are many other sports played by kids across the country, but boy’s fastpitch softball doesn’t break into the top 20.
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Clock is ticking in bid to save softball

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Newspaper reporter and columnist, and former Australian national team player, Mark Long, who also played with the Denmark, Wisconsin Dukes (1999 and 2000) in the ISC World Tournament is writing a five article series about the state of men’s fastpitch softball. This is the second of his five articles.

By MARK LONG
Camden Advertiser

CAMDEN, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA – A decade ago, at 19 years of age, I was playing my second season in the US.

Turning up was a more accurate depiction, as unknowingly I was trying to pitch with John Miller’s Denmark Dukes (Wisconsin) with an undiagnosed bout of mono, known in Australia as glandular fever.

The US summer of 2000 was a great year.

The ISF’s were in South Africa, a movie about men’s fastpitch was released and subsequently saw Darren Zack throw down some pitches to Matt Lauer and Al Roker on NBC’s Today show.

The buzz around the movie was high, and I remember being part of a fastpitch fan filled theatre in St Joseph, Missouri during the ISC World Tournament.

As great as it was to see fastpitch on the silverscreen, the story arc was unfortunately morbid. The game was sick and dying. Continue Reading

World championship win – one year on

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

(Newspaper reporter and columnist, and former Australian national team player, Mark Long, who also played with the Denmark, Wisconsin Dukes (1999 and 2000) in the ISC World Tournament is writing a five article series about the Aussie Steelers men’s fastpitch softball team. This is the first of his five articles.)

By MARK LONG
Camden (Australia) Advertiser

July 2010 – A year ago this week, Australia was competing at the International Softball Federation’s 12th Men’s World Championship.

Coming off the back of their first ever medal, a bronze at the previous event in 2004, the team was gaining momentum in their pursuit of international glory.

Meticulous planning and significant personal financial contributions by those involved appeared to be paying off as the event progressed.

Far from a forgone conclusion, Aussie tenacity would eventually topple the three-time defending world champions, the New Zealand Black Sox, in front of a jam packed stadium in Canada to win gold…

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