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The Comeback Nation Slams Its Way To Gold In the Men’s Softball World Championship

Monday, July 17th, 2017

JOEL EVANS, seen batting in an earlier game against Australia, smashed a grand slam home run as New Zealand beat Australia, 6-4, in the Gold Medal game of the 2017 Men’s Softball World Championship in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, Sunday, July 16, 2017. ANTHONY AU-YEUNG / PHOTOSPORT

WHITEHORSE, YUKON, Canada – Call the New Zealand fastpitch team what you will, the comeback nation or the never-say-die fastballers, as both monikers personify their amazing performance in the 2017 WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship.

Trailing 3-2 in the sixth inning of the Gold Medal game, Joel Evans blasted a grand slam home run to help New Zealand claim the world championship with a 6-4 victory over the Australia Steelers at the Pepsi Softball Centre, Sunday afternoon.

It was the second meeting of the ball clubs, as New Zealand took a 6-2 win in the opening round of championship playoffs among the top-eight teams.

BRIMMING WITH GOLD

For New Zealand, this becomes their seventh world championship. The Black Sox have won Gold in 2013, 2004, 2000, 1996, 1984 and 1976 (shared with USA and Canada after weather halted the tournament).

“I’m really proud of the way they performed and how hard they worked to get to this stage,” said New Zealand Head Coach Mark Sorenson in a post-game interview. “It’s about never giving up and building pressure. Once we started getting quality at bats, we started to build that pressure.”

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New Zealand Black Sox win Challenge Cup after smashing Argentina in final

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

WAYNE LAULU hit a grand slam homer to give the New Zealand Black Sox a walk-off 8-6 win over Argentina to send New Zealand into the finals of the 2017 Challenge Cup where they once again downed Argentina, 9-0, to claim the championship. Courtesy Photo

Newshub.com
Feb. 12, 2017

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – The Black Sox rediscovered their form with a disciplined 9-0 win over Argentina in the final of the Challenge Cup men’s fastpitch softball tournament in Auckland.

The New Zealanders had qualified directly for the final after a tempestuous 8-6 win over world No.3 Argentina on Saturday night gave them nine wins from 10 matches.

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A Step Back In Time: Jason Hanson’s home run ends Green Bay All-Car’s drive

Saturday, February 4th, 2017

All-Car teammates huddle around pitcher Michael White after he tumbled to the ground in the bottom of the seventh inning with an injured leg. White was unable to return and All-Car went on to lose to the Tampa Bay Smokers, 4-2, in the 1996 ISC World Tournament championship game. Photo By BOB OTTO

Tampa Bay claims title with dramatic 4-2 victory in 1996 ISC World Tournament

By Sharon Raboin / Green Bay Press-Gazette
Monday, August 19, 1996

KIMBERLY, Wisc. – Michael White of All-Car of Green Bay crumbled to the ground after pitching to Jason Hanson.

White groaned and grabbed his left leg while his teammates rushed to his side.

The crowd of about 5,000 became silent at Sunset Park.

It was the bottom of the seventh inning Sunday afternoon in the championship of the International Softball Congress World Tournament. All-Car and the Tampa Bay Smokers were tied 2-2

After a couple of minutes, White was helped to his feet. He desperately wanted to continue. He tested his injured leg.

“I just couldn’t,” White said. “There was pain shooting up my leg. I couldn’t put any weight on it at all. There was no way I could push it.”

Click to continue reading “A Step Back In Time: Jason Hanson’s home run ends Green Bay All-Car’s drive”

New Zealand roster set for 2017 TAB Challenge Cup

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Golden Homes Black Sox Head Coach Mark Sorenson has named a 17 man squad to compete in the inaugural TAB Challenge Cup commencing next month.

The side is again a youthful one but one that will offer both speed and power. A number of debutants from last Novembers Argentinian tour have been renamed along with Auckland based Alfonz Oveinikovas who will make his first appearance in the black jersey.

The team features the naming of the three Enoka brothers: Thomas, Ben and Campbell with Thomas once again being named captain.

Rising star Cole Evans returns to the team after a brief stint playing baseball in the Canadian, British Columbia Premier League. Evans who made the league All Star team is a welcome return and will provide further depth to the infield and hitting line-up.

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Looking forward to the 2016 ISC World Tournament

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016
Wonderful, nostalgic Phil Welch Stadium with its covered wooden bleachers in St. Joseph, Missouri, hosted the 2000 ISC World Tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

Wonderful, nostalgic Phil Welch Stadium with its covered wooden bleachers in St. Joseph, Missouri, hosted the 2000 ISC World Tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

MOLINE, Ill. – It’s been 17 years since I attented an ISC World Tournament, and that was at St. Joseph, Missouri in 2000 where the Decatur (IL) Pride won the championship by defeating the Broken Bow (Neb.) Travelers 2-1 at Phil Welch Stadium.

But after this long hiatus, I’ll be heading to Moline, Ill. and Green Valley Sports Complex to watch the final three days of the tournament as the best club teams the sport has to offer battle from Aug. 13-20 for the 2016 ISC World Championship.

The great Peter Meredith of Salt Lake City Larry Miller Toyota fires a pitch during the 2000 ISC World Tournament at Phil Welch Stadium in St. Joseph, Missouri. Meredith's ISC career extended from 1980-2001. He finished No. 2  all-time in world tournament victories with 60. Photo By BOB OTTO

The great Peter Meredith of Salt Lake City Larry Miller Toyota fires a pitch during the 2000 ISC World Tournament at Phil Welch Stadium in St. Joseph, Missouri. Meredith’s ISC career extended from 1980-2001. He finished No. 2 all-time in world tournament victories with 60. Photo By BOB OTTO

The players I once photographed have since left the game. No longer do White, Algar, Meredith, Rychcik, Abbot, Sorenson, Martin, Middleton, Boys, Zack, Wahl, Martie, Miljavac, Walford, Tangaroa, Schott, Seaman, Makea, Wallin and Wiebe…and so many other great stars of fastball of a bygone era thrill fans with their amazing talent.

But the current stars, of this new era are every bit as talented as the old guard. Stars such as Folkard, Jones, McCullough, Shailes, Kronk, Zechman, Mata, Cleary, Ellsworth, Ezekiel, Johnson and Mancha…will try with every ounce of their talent and toughness to win a world championship for their teams.

Let the games begin!

At the 2000 ISC World Tournament, a then young Billy Sizemore got St. Joseph Meierhoffer pitcher Chris Bigelow to autograph his softball. Bigelow (2-2, 0.88 ERA) helped St. Joseph finish fourth at 6-2 in the 48 team tournament.  Photo By BOB OTTO

At the 2000 ISC World Tournament, a then young Billy Sizemore got St. Joseph Meierhoffer pitcher Chris Bigelow to autograph his softball. Bigelow (2-2, 0.88 ERA) helped St. Joseph finish fourth at 6-2 in the 48 team tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

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.”

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Remembering great fastpitch times with New Zealand pitcher Jim Wana (Seaman)

Thursday, July 30th, 2015
Jim Wana (Seaman) pitching in the 1995 ISC World Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa, where he was named a Second-Team, All-World pitcher for hurling the Broken Bow Travelers to sixth place. Photo By BOB OTTO

Jim Wana (Seaman) pitching in the 1995 ISC World Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa, where he was named a Second-Team, All-World pitcher for hurling the Broken Bow Travelers to sixth place. Photo By BOB OTTO

Jim Wana shares his memories of pitching in the ISC World Tournament, and the great pitchers, players and teams he competed against from 1987 to 1996.

“Being a pitcher, I loved to watch pitchers ‘bring it.’ Pitchers like Peter Meredith, Brad Underwood, Darren Zack, Paul Magan…” – Jim Wana

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – Even now, 18 years after his last appearance in the ISC World Tournament, Jim Wana can feel the adrenaline start to simmer when he thinks back on pitching against some of the greatest teams in the most prestigious men’s fastpich tournament in the world.

“The ISC in my mind was the best tournament in the world,” said Wana, who was once known in fastpitch as Jimmy Seaman. “Back in the days when I played there was any number of teams that could have won the championship.”

And Wana can lay claim to a few championships himself.

Click to continue reading “Remembering great fastpitch times with New Zealand pitcher Jim Wana (Seaman)”

CANADA SLUGS ITS WAY TO GOLD IN WORLD SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

Monday, July 6th, 2015

2015 Team Canada.1lr Canada takes the Gold Medal at 14th ISF Men’s World Softball Championship. The team includes Ryan Boland, Sean Cleary, Paul Koert, Devon McCullough, Andy Skelton, Bryan Abrey, Jason Sanford, Ian Fehrman, Brandon Horn, Derek Mason, Kevin Schellenberg, Jeff Ellsworth, Brad Ezekiel, Steve Mullaley, Mathieu Roy, Ryan Wolfe, Jason Hill, and the coaching staff of Glenn Boles, Adam Davies, John Hill, Les Howey, and Head Coach John Stuart.

SASKATOON, SK, Canada – There is good hitting, great hitting, and on the rarest of occasions, phenomenal hitting.

What Steve Mullaley did in the championship game of the 14th ISF Men’s World Softball Championship will long live in Canada fastpitch lore, and in the memories of those who witnessed his incredible batting feat.

Mullaley belted three home runs – a solo shot, a grand slam, and a two-run blast – that tallied seven RBI, as Canada slugged its way to a 10-5 victory over the New Zealand Black Sox to claim the Gold Medal at Bob Van Impe Stadium, Sunday.

His seven RBI and Canada’s ten runs are believed to be International Softball Federation single game records since the world championship began in 1966.

    NO STRANGERS IN ISF CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY

The championship becomes Canada’s fourth ISF title, and the first since 1992 when Team Canada beat New Zealand for the Gold. The two teams have now met five times to decide the Gold Medal, with New Zealand claiming three, and Canada two.

Steve Mullaley hit three home runs accounting for seven RBI in helping Team Canada win the Gold Medal.

Steve Mullaley hit three home runs accounting for seven RBI in helping Team Canada win the Gold Medal.

For Mullaley, though, the victory over the defending 2013 world champion Black Sox was a team effort. The victory also eases the disappointment of expecting but failing to medal in the world championship in New Zealand.

“We knew coming in today that the big red machine could get it done,” Mullaley said to Ballpark Radio interviewer Blair Setford during post-game ceremonies. “We traveled a long way to New Zealand in 2013 and we were disappointed. But we’ve had a new commitment of buying into the team concept to get it done.”

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Teen making his mark with New Zealand Black Sox

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015
Team New Zealand infielder Cole Evans hits a grounder against the Philippines during the Men's World Softball Championships at Bob Van Imp park on Monday. Photograph by: Liam Richards, The Star Phoenix

Team New Zealand infielder Cole Evans hits a grounder against the Philippines during the Men’s World Softball Championships at Bob Van Imp park on Monday. Photograph by: Liam Richards, The Star Phoenix

BY SCOTT LARSON, THE STAR PHOENIX

SASKATOON, SK, Canada – When New Zealand’s Cole Evans came in to pinch hit against Canada on the weekend at the WBSC Men’s World Softball Championship, it looked to be a tough situation for a 17-year-old rookie.

The score was tied 0-0 in the fifth inning and New Zealand’s Black Sox had men on first and second with two out. Evans put a charge into a ball that had to be reeled in by a Canadian outfielder at the fence to keep the game tied. Canada would go on to win the game 2-1 but Evans showed at such a tender age he belonged at this level.

“I got in there looking for a good pitch to hit,” he said. “I thought, ‘You only get three strikes in an at bat so you take the most of each pitch that comes down. He threw a drop ball and I saw the drop spin, had a swing and came up just a bit short. But a strikeout or a pop out to the outfield is the same result.”

Evans is the second youngest player to don the senior men’s uniform. It just so happens the youngest player ever is Mark Sorenson, who is now New Zealand’s head coach.

“He’s on the team because he has earned his spot,” said Sorenson, who played on the national team as a 16-yearold.

Continue reading in Star Phoenix

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.