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Fast rising New Zealand pitcher takes his talent to Japan

Monday, July 6th, 2015
19-year-old Ethan Johnston is pitching in Japan after spending two tours pitching in the United States, while also pitching in his native country of New Zealand.

19-year-old Ethan Johnston is pitching in Japan after spending two tours pitching in the United States, while also pitching in his native country of New Zealand.

OSAKA, Japan – Learning to control and make a softball spin up and down can take years of practice and patience for many young pitchers. And once that’s mastered, it can take even longer to rise from the lower to the upper ranks where the best teams contend for national and international championships.

Well, that slow and steady route may apply to some, but not so for Ethan Johnston.

At 14 he started pitching. At 17 he was pitching in the United States. At 18 he was pitching for his country in the International Softball Federation (ISF) Junior Men’s World Tournament. And now, 19-year-old Ethan Johnston is pitching in Japan.

Is Ethan Johnston on the fast track to the top in men’s fastpitch softball? Well, it kind of looks that way.

But if not for an injury and sibling role models, Johnston may have stayed a position player and never learned to spin the riser, drop and change-up that has established him as one of the best young pitchers worldwide.

“I used to be a catcher and third baseman until a knee injury,” said Johnston. “I decided to stop that and become a pitcher. My brother and sister pitched and being the youngest, I wanted to copy them. I had a lot of help from my older brother Carl.”

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Johnston leads New Zealand past Argentina into Gold Medal game

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

johnston.kiwi.pitcher.183web Ethan Johnston pitching in the 2013 NAFA World Series for the Kansas City Outlaws. Against Argentina he scattered four hits, walked one and struck out 11 in leading New Zealand to a 3-1 victory and into the Gold Medal game of the 10th ISF Junior Men’s World Championship. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2013 NAFA World Series

WHITEHORSE, YUKON, CA – Argentina swept through the ISF Junior Men’s World Championship undefeated in round-robin play. The hitters scored 66 runs, while the pitching staff did not allow a single run in the first six games, and only three the rest of the way.

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