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The captain and pitcher lead Black Sox to World Championship

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

nzl.jub.3web The New Zealand Black Sox celebrate their sixth ISF World Championship after beating Venezuela, 4-1, at Rosedale Park in Auckland, Sunday, March 10.

“No two words (world championship) sound so pretty together.” – Black Sox catcher Patrick Shannon

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – The New Zealand Black Sox had a couple of concerns going into the ISF World Softball Championship. Would their injured captain be able to perform at his world-class standard? And which pitcher would step forward as New Zealand’s go-to guy?

The captain, Rhys Casley, and the pitcher, Jeremy Manley, put those concerns to rest in grand style. Between the two of them, they helped lead New Zealand to a record-breaking sixth world softball championship Gold medal with a 4-1 victory over Venezuela on Sunday.

In front of a packed Rosedale Park in Auckland, Casley belted a three-run home run in the third inning to break a 1-1 tie. With the lead, Manley buckled down and pitched a gem, scattering four hits in going the distance.

For Manley, it was his second win over Venezuela. In the deciding winner’s playoff game, he shackled the South American’s on four hits and 15 strikeouts for a 2-0 win.

Along with its sixth championship, New Zealand won the gold in 1976 at Christchurch (shared with the USA and Canada after the tournament was rained out), 1984 and ’96 at Midland, Mich.; 2000 in East London, South Africa, and again at Christchurch in 2004.

After the game, about 3,500 delirious Black Sox fans – cheering and dancing in the stands – showed their appreciation for their national team bringing the championship back home.

“All the hard work and all the training was worth it,” said catcher Patrick Shannon, who helped the Black Sox cause with a home run. “We proved ourselves in the world championship. No two words sound so pretty together.”

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New Zealand looks golden against Venezuela

Friday, March 8th, 2013

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.”

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Australia stays alive in ISF World Softball Championship

Friday, March 8th, 2013

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.

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Venezuela holds off Canada in ISF World Softball Championship playoffs

Friday, March 8th, 2013

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – The Canadian Men’s National Fastball Team came into the 13th International Softball Federation World Championship with one of the strongest hitting lineups.

In claiming the top spot in Pool B, with a 6-1 mark, Canada outscored its opponents 43-12.

So going into the first playoff game against Venezuela, it stood to reason that the Canadians would score a few runs.

But Erick Urbaneja and Ramon Jones had other ideas.

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New Zealand Black Sox win thriller over Australia Steelers

Friday, March 8th, 2013
New Zealand Black Sox Brad Rona belted two home runs and scored the game-winning run over Australia in the bottom of the 10th inning.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – It took 10 innings, a bench-clearing skirmish, and the tiebreaker rule to help decide things. But closely contested fastball games between Australia and New Zealand are the norm when the two powerhouses meet in the ISF World Championship.

This time around, New Zealand came out on top in a wild affair, by scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 10th to pull out a 5-4 victory in the first round of playoffs on Friday before a packed Kiwi crowd at Rosedale Park. Both teams combined for 19 hits – 10 by Australia, nine for New Zealand, and three home runs.

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