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In The Spotlight: Australian pitchers Andrew Kirkpatrick and Adam Folkard superb in ISF and ISC

Sunday, August 28th, 2016
AUSTRALIA'S AND NEW YORK GREMLINS GREAT LEFTY - Andrew Kirkpatrick has helped Australia win ISF and WBSC world championships, and in the 2016 ISC World Tournament, he pitched the New York Gremlins to third place with a 3-1 record that gives him 39 wins in world tournament competition. Photo by BOB OTTO

AUSTRALIA’S AND NEW YORK GREMLINS GREAT LEFTY – Andrew Kirkpatrick has helped Australia win ISF and WBSC world championships, and in the 2016 ISC World Tournament, he pitched the New York Gremlins to third place with a 3-1 record that gives him 39 wins in world tournament competition. Photo by BOB OTTO

YUCAIPA, Calif. – In fastpitch circles, Andrew Kirkpatrick and Adam Folkard are household names, as recognizable as baseball Hall of Fame pitchers Sandy Kolfax and Walter Johnson.

And surely, once Kirkpatrick and Folkard’s fastpitch careers come to an end and they become eligible, induction into the International Softball Congress Hall of Fame awaits them.

But before we talk about their ISC careers, let’s take a look at what these two have meant to their native Australia.

The highest level of men’s fastpitch is the International Softball Federation World Championship, (since surplanted by the World Baseball Softball Confederation). It pits country-against-country battling for world domination.

And in recent world championships, Australia always contends for a title because of Kirkpatrick and Folkard.

Since 2004, Australia has won the Bronze twice, fourth once, and in 2009 took the Gold by beating New Zealand, 5-0, led by the superb pitching of Folkard, who was just two walks away from a perfect game. Through much of the ISF competition, both men have been mainstays for their country.

FIVE-TIME ISC TOP PITCHER - Adam Folkard has won five ISC Most Outstanding Pitcher awards, and has led Australia to titles in the ISF and WBSC World Championships. 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

FIVE-TIME ISC TOP PITCHER – Adam Folkard has won five ISC Most Outstanding Pitcher awards, and has led Australia to titles in the ISF and WBSC World Championships. 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

And in the junior men’s program (age 19-under), Australia won four consecutive ISF World Championships (1997, 2001, 2005, 2008). Folkard and Kirkpatrick played huge rolls in winning the titles in 2001 and 2005.

So these two great pitchers will forever be linked when Australian’s reminisce about the “greatest ever” to play for their national softball team.

But Kirkpatrick and Folkard’s footprint extends far beyond Australia. In the United States and Canada – and virtually every corner of the fastpitch world – they are celebrities of immense proportion. Most notably in the International Softball Congress (ISC) World Tournament.

  • Both have created fabulous ISC careers, and are far from finished. Let’s look at their numbers in World Tournament competition.
  • NUMBER OF TIMES SELECTED ALL-WORLD

  • Kirkpatrick, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015
  • Folkard, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • If you’re counting, that’s eight times each. Well it gets even closer in what really counts for pitchers at the World Tournament – wins.

    At the conclusion of the 2016 ISC World Tournament, Kirkpatrick had a 3-1 record in leading the New York Gremlins to a third place finish, while Folkard was 4-1 for the runner-up Hill United Chiefs.

    So where do they stand all-time among pitchers with the most World Tournament wins? In a dead heat at 39 each, trailing Korrey Gareau with 40.

    And in reaching number 39, both pitchers leapfrogged Dean Holoien, Frank Cox and Brad Underwood tied at 36. And they pushed past Ty Stofflet (37) and Doug Middleton (38).

    In the 70-year history of the ISC World Tournament, only eight pitchers remain perched above Kirkpatrick and Folkard in most wins all-time. At the 2017 World Tournament, it’s conceivable that they could surpass Gareau, and perhaps tie or even get past Paul Algar and Todd Martin with 42 each.

    However, Folkard does have a leg up over Kirkpatrick in a couple of areas. In most consecutive wins, Folkard has 22 (No. 2 all-time, trailing only Gerald Muizelaar with 23), while Kirkpatrick had a string of 13 wins from 2004-2007.

    And as for the most coveted individual honor for pitchers in the World Tournament, Folkard reigns as co-king with five Most Outstanding Pitcher awards tied with the legendary Leroy Zimmerman for whom the award is named.

    Kirkpatrick has one MOP honor, coming in 2006 when he pitched County Materials of Madison, Wisc. to the title.

    Both pitchers appear in good health. Both pitchers can still hit the catcher’s glove with plenty of pop and movement. Both pitchers are two of the most competitive to ever step in the circle. So it’s conceivable that fastpitch fans will be enjoying Kirkpatrick and Folkard’s ISF, WBSC, and ISC exploits for years to come.

    As for ISC Hall of Fame induction when they become eligible? Shoo-ins.

    ISC WORLD TOURNAMENT / INDIVIDUAL PITCHING / MOST WINS

    70 Michael White (1980-2006)
    60 Peter Meredith (1980-2001)
    56 Darren Zack (1992-2012)
    48 Mike Piechnik (1985-2008)
    48 Gerald Muizelaar (1999-2014)
    42 Todd Martin (1993-2010)
    42 Paul Algar (1985-2012)
    40 Korrey Garreau (1995-2014)
    39 Andrew Kirkpatrick (2004-present)
    39 Adam Folkard (2004-present)
    …42 remaining pitchers with at least 20 wins…

    Check out 2015 ISC World Tournament promo video

    Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

    JohnsonJosh.MVP.123web
    The 2015 ISC World Tournament will be held at Belleville Softball Stadium in South Bend, Indiana, Aug. 8-16.

    To learn what the world tournament is all about, watch this four-minute
    ISC 2015 Promo.

    Art Gillis, fastpitch icon passes away

    Friday, January 2nd, 2015

    art gillis

    Gillis, Arthur 4/12/1925 – 12/30/2014 Saginaw, Michigan Passed away December 30, 2014, Age 89 years. Art was born April 12, 1925 in Saginaw, Michigan and grew up in Plymouth, Michigan. He returned to Saginaw shortly after high school. He married Janet Dougherty, October 16, 1954. She passed away March 26, 2001.

    Art was the owner of Gillis Locker, for many years the largest installer of lockers and shelving in the United States. He also owned the Saginaw Bolters Men’s fastpitch softball team, which won the 1979 ISC World Championship.

    Click to continue reading “Art Gillis, fastpitch icon passes away”

    Venezuela knocks off defending champion Australia to reach gold medal game

    Saturday, March 9th, 2013

    AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – The Venezuelan fastball team doesn’t rely on one pitcher to carry the load, choosing instead more of a “pitching-by-committee” approach.

    Through pool play and in the playoffs, four pitchers took their turn in the circle.

    On Sunday in the Bronze medal game against Australia, it was Erick Urbaneja’s turn, and he responded with five innings of shutout pitching. After he gave up a lead off single in the sixth, “the committee” summoned right-hander Ramon Jones.

    JONES IN RELIEF
    It proved a wise change because Jones responded by continuing the shutout the rest of the way as Venezuela knocked off Australia, 2-0, to advance to the Gold medal game against New Zealand.

    The victorious Venezuelans celebrated after the final out by rushing the mound, embracing Jones, dancing about and back slapping in glee. And rightfully they should.

    For this marked an epic achievement: it’s the first time Venezuela has ever advanced into the ISF World Championship Gold medal game.

    No one was happier and more exuberant than catcher Rafael Flores. He was so excited that he embraced an Australian coach. And then sprawled face-first on the ground from sheer emotion.

    “We are a family,” said Flores through an interpreter. “I am really proud of our team.”

    Click to continue reading “Venezuela knocks off defending champion Australia to reach gold medal game”

    Folkard and Kirkpatrick, the best pitching staff in fastball

    Saturday, March 9th, 2013

    kirkpatrick.2011.ISC.web
    Left-hander Andrew Kirkpatrick has won three games in the 2013 ISF World Softball Championships, and when teamed with right-hander Adam Folkard, the Australia Steelers have arguably the best pitching staff in the World Championships. Photo courtesy of the International Softball Congress.

    AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – Fans of just about any sport are enamored with speed. NASCAR drivers who reach speeds over 200 mph. Tennis players with serves over 100 mph. Track stars running the 100 meters under 10 seconds.

    And baseball fans?

    We lean forward in our seats when a pitcher rears back and brings the heat – 95, 98 and occasionally topping 100 miles per hour.

    Fastball fans are no exception.

    Reading the press, reveals that the darling of the radar gun is Australia’s Adam Folkard. The 26-year-old right-hander is recognized as the hardest thrower in the game today.

    Folkard has been “gunned” reaching speeds of 80 to 84 miles per hour. That’s really bringing it from 46 feet away. The equivilent to the high 90s in baseball.

    As Australia gets ready for the Bronze medal game against Venezuela, fans are probably asking:

    “Will Folkard throw? Can he go? After all he threw on Saturday against the tough Argentinians, before finally topping them 2-1 in eight grueling innings.”

    Click to continue reading “Folkard and Kirkpatrick, the best pitching staff in fastball”

    New Zealand looks golden against Venezuela

    Friday, March 8th, 2013

    isf.NZ.manley.8
    New Zealand pitcher Jeremy Manley gave the Black Sox a huge boast with a 15-strikeout effort to hold off a very good Venezuelan ball club in a winner’s matchup in the 13th ISF World Softball Championship.

    AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – Since finishing second to Australia in the 2009 ISF World Championship, the New Zealand Black Sox have been planning, working and striving to bring the title back home.

    As host to the World Championship, the Black Sox now have that opportunity.

    On Saturday night in a winner’s matchup with Venezuela, the Black Sox punched their ticket into the championship grand finale on Sunday by defeating Venezuela 2-0.

    Was finishing runner up in the 2009 event a motivator?

    “It was a huge motivator,” said former Black Sox Manager Wayne Small in an interview during the game. “A lot of men here were on that team. They remember that (losing 5-0 to Australia) and have used it to their advantage.”

    Click to continue reading “New Zealand looks golden against Venezuela”

    Australia stays alive in ISF World Softball Championship

    Friday, March 8th, 2013

    isf.NZ.Japan.5web
    Japan’s Tadaaki Saeki shows the hustle and determination that has helped Japan become one of the best men’s national teams in the ISF World Softball Championship.

    AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – Win and there’s life. Lose and it’s a knock out, a punch that sends a national team home.

    Australia left-hander Andrew Kirkpatrick kept his team alive by hurling a no hitter in leading the Steelers to a 4-0 victory over Japan in the second round of playoffs in the 13th ISF World Softball Championship on Saturday.

    Click to continue reading “Australia stays alive in ISF World Softball Championship”

    Remembering USA’s greatest men’s fastpitch players

    Thursday, March 7th, 2013

    USASoftball.web

    Ever wonder who has represented the United States in the Pan American games and International Softball Federation World Championships?

    Here’s a listing of the USA teams from 1979 to 2009. USA Softball

    Did you play on any of those teams? Do you know someone who did? Did you play against any of the USA’s best?

    If so, send a comment.

    For example, on the World Championship team of 1979 there was Bob Christensen, Joe Lynch, Harvey Sterkel, and Most Valuable Player Charlie Richard…1984 had Tom Penders, Jeff Seip, Owen Walford…

    1996 included Russ Boice, head coach, Bill Boyer, Brian Martie, Jimmy Moore…

    Check it out, interesting information.

    Aussie Colts primed for title defence in Argentina, USA Junior Men prepared as well

    Thursday, November 1st, 2012

    PARANA, ARGENTINA – Four years preparation is over and the Aussie Colts are ready to win their unprecedented 5th consecutive World title on the eve of the ISF IX Junior Men’s World Championships in Paraná, Argentina from 1-10 November 2012.

    Last night marked the end of the preparation, as the Aussie Colts played two played games against Japan winning both games. The team played in front of the large group of Australian supporters – who are converging on Argentina to support the Aussie Colts in their challenge for another title.

    Head Coach Gary Butler summarised the leadup to the World Championships:

    “The teams’ preparations have come along nicely, with our hitters having the opportunity to face some quality Argentinean pitchers. Our discipline in the box has been a large focus and this resulted in a strong performance in our final games. Our defence is set, so we are looking forward to our first game – the lads are ready to go.”

    Continue Reading

    Read about USA Junior Nen’s National Team

    Game schedule released for the 2012 ISF IX Junior Men’s World Championship

    Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The International Softball Federation (ISF), softball’s world governing body, announced the game schedule for the 14-nation ISF IX Junior Men’s World Championship taking place this November 1-10 in Parana, Argentina.

    USA Softball Junior Men’s