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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…

    Yukon To Host 2017 Senior Men’s World Championship

    Friday, April 15th, 2016

    WBSC men's.1lr

    WHITEHORSE, YUKNO, CA – Softball Yukon was awarded the International Softball Federation (ISF) 2017 Senior Men’s World Championship at the ISF Congress in Cartagena, Colombia last fall.

    2017 will be the first time Yukon hosts a senior men’s event, however, Yukon has hosted three previous world championships – the Junior Men’s World Softball Championship in 2008 and 2014, as well as the 2012 Women’s World Softball Championship.

    The 2017 men’s worlds will be an open tournament, with all games taking place at the Pepsi Softball Centre in Whitehorse. ISF World Championships are held on a two-year cycle. The 2015 Men’s World Championship was hosted in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

    “We hope the exciting and fast-paced games at the 2017 Championship will inspire residents to take up the sport of softball, as well as inspire young athletes already enjoying softball to keep striving for a higher level,” said Executive Director of Softball Yukon, George Arcand.

    Algar, Sorenson and Abbott Anchor (hypothetical) World-Class Fastpitch Team

    Saturday, February 13th, 2016
    Paul Algar pitching in the 1997 ISC World Tournament, leading the Farm Tavern of Madison, Wisc. to its first world tournament championship. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Paul Algar pitching in the 1997 ISC World Tournament, leading the Farm Tavern of Madison, Wisc. to its first world tournament championship. Photo By BOB OTTO

    YUCAIPA, Calif. – Many great players have starred in the International Softball Congress World Tournament. Zack and White, Zimmerman and Stofflet, Paton and Rychcik have become iconic names in the 69 years of the greatest men’s fastpitch tournament in the world.

    But if a sponsor and manager were to assemble a world-class ball club capable of winning the World Tournament, could he do any better than drafting these three ball players: Paul Algar, Mark Sorenson and Colin Abbott.

    All three have since retired from the sport, but based on their resumes, they deserve status in the most hallowed club in any sport – “Greatest of All-Time.”

    Click to continue reading “Algar, Sorenson and Abbott Anchor (hypothetical) World-Class Fastpitch Team”

    Former Team Canada champ and sister giving their time to the Pan Am Games

    Thursday, April 30th, 2015

    By Mary Beth Hartill / Bracebridge Examiner

    BRACEBRIDGE — The excitement is brewing for Team Canada’s men’s softball at the Pan Am Games and a pair of Bracebridge siblings is hoping to bear witness to a gold-medal win.

    Former Team Canada softball pitcher Michael Crawford and his sister Susan Crawford of Bracebridge will be giving up their vacation time to volunteer at the 2015 games in Toronto this summer.

    Susan will be serving as a team host crewmember for the Team Canada Ladies’ Softball team and Michael will be one of two supervisors looking after the softball diamonds throughout the games.

    “I really don’t know what to expect,” said Susan. “I’m excited about going and being a part of it because I’ve played softball for so long that it will be really neat to see it at such a high level.”

    Continue reading

    Quick to make a mark

    Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

    By CALEY WILSON / e-tangata.co.nz/news

    NEW ZEALAND – Twenty five years ago, when Nathan Nukunuku made the Auckland under-14 softball team, he was easily the youngest in the squad. Staying with his team-mates in a motel for the first time was a big deal.

    A bunch of the boys had gathered in one room and Nathan was asked to flick the jug on. He was straight on to the job.

    A short time later, there was a massive bang from the kitchen…continue reading Quick to make a mark.

    2015 ISGU Tournament in Altamonte Springs, Florida

    Monday, November 17th, 2014

    2015 ISGU Men's Fastpitch Flier

    ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, FL – The 2015 International Sports Group Union (ISGU) International Men’s Fastpitch Tournament will be held Jan. 15-18 at Merrill Park Sports Complex in Altamonte Springs.

    Contact Information:
    Tournament Director, Alex Linares.
    407-300-4858
    INTLSPORTSGROUP@HOTMAIL.COM
    LINARESINTL@HOTMAIL.COM

    Thursday’s Turning Back The Pages: Remembering Brian Paton, one of Canada’s greatest fastpitch players

    Thursday, October 30th, 2014

    Brian Paton ISC HofF.7lr

    Paying tribute to Brian Paton, who was inducted into the International Softball Congress Hall of Fame in 2011. Photo By BOB OTTO / 1995 ISC World Tournament

    Woodstock, Ontario, CA – Brian Paton played in 12 consecutive International Softball Congress World Tournaments and was a member of three ISC championship teams – twice with the Toronto, Ontario Gators (1993-95) and with the Smokers of Tampa Bay, Florida (1998).

    In 1995, he helped to lead the Toronto Gators in their amazing come-back week to capture the ISC title in Sioux City, Iowa. In so doing, Paton established a new record for hits in a tournament (17) and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

    Patrolling centre field, he was one the best at stealing what appeared to be “sure-hits” and limiting base runners to singles. He was not simply a member of great teams – those teams enjoyed their successes in no small part as a result of Brian’s leadership – witness his nine “top-four” finishes in ISC world tournaments.

    Paton has numerous other notable softball accomplishments, including playing for Team Canada (1985-2002) and helping his country win four Pan-Am gold medals and silver and gold in the International Softball Federation World Championship.

  • Information courtesy of the International Softball Congress. For more information about world tournaments, statistics, photos, record-setting achievements, and more, please visit the: ISC website.
  • USA defeats Cuba in IX Pan Am games

    Sunday, October 26th, 2014
    Matt Palazzo (Des Moines, Iowa) drove in two runs to help Team USA defeat Cuba, 4-2, in the Pan American games on Sunday. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Matt Palazzo (Des Moines, Iowa) drove in two runs to help Team USA defeat Cuba, 4-2, in the Pan American games on Sunday. Photo By BOB OTTO

    PARANA, ARGENTINA – The pitching was steady, the hitting sufficient enough, and the USA Men’s National Fastpitch Team defeated Cuba 4-2 in the IX Pan American games, on Sunday.

    Click to continue reading “USA defeats Cuba in IX Pan Am games”

    COLUMN: Softball’s Olympic dreams remain uncertain

    Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

    JULY 8, 2014 BY JIM ALEXANDER

    IRVINE, Calif. — There are anthems, flags and, to some degree, national pride involved here this week, where World Cup of Softball IX has relocated in a one-year hiatus from its Oklahoma City home.

    And while watching this international event in expanded, 2,000-seat Deanna Manning Stadium — normally the home of CIF championship and national travel ball tournament final games — you can’t help but think that this sport and this atmosphere deserve a bigger, grander stage.

    You know, the one with the five interlocking rings. Continue Reading

    USA Junior Mens Fastpitch National Team wins championship at Midland Mich Tournament

    Sunday, June 15th, 2014

    ASA.usa

    BY STEVEN EMBREE | JUNE 15, 2014, MIDNIGHT (ET)

    Midland, Mich. – In their first event as a team, the 2014 USA Softball Junior Men’s Fastpitch National Team took the championship of a tournament in Midland, Mich. this weekend.

    Using the event as a tune-up for next month’s International Softball Federation (ISF) Junior Men’s World Championships, Team USA went 3-2 in the event with a 14-7 win over Reese’s A’s in the finals.

    Click to continue reading “USA Junior Mens Fastpitch National Team wins championship at Midland Mich Tournament”