Matt Ratliff

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In The Spotlight: Matt Ratliff of the USA Softball Men’s National Team

Friday, July 14th, 2017

MATT RATLIFF made this amazing catch to rob Canada’s BRANDON HORN of a two-run homer in the fifth inning, and though the USA lost 7-1, Ratliff’s catch will long be remembered by his teammates and fastpitch fans worldwide as one of the greatest of the tournament, if not in the long history of the Men’s Softball World Championship. WBSC Photo

WHITEHORSE, YK, Canada – Outfielder Matt Ratliff’s stock in men’s fastpitch took a sizable leap the past few days as he displayed his talent at the plate and in the field during the 2017 Men’s Softball World Championship.

Playing in his first world championship for Team USA, Ratliff seized opportune moments to show just why he earned a spot on the squad.

In the fifth inning against Canada in an early-round pool play game, Ratliff playing right-field, made one of the most spectacular catches in world tournament history by leaping, catching and crashing into and over the fence to rob Canada’s Brandon Horn of a two-run homer during a Pool A game, Sunday, July 17.

If you think that was spectacular, it gets even better.

Trailing the Republic of South Africa, 3-1, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Ratliff, who leads off and bats from the left-side, launched a two-run homer deep over the centerfield fence to pull Team USA even, and sending the game into extra innings which Team USA rallied to win, 4-3.

Ratliff’s home run was huge as it helped the USA (5-2) finish in the top-eight of the 16 teams to qualify for chance at winning a medal – Gold, Silver or Bronze.

To read about Ratliff’s journey in men’s fastpitch click on: Ratliff Aiming For USA Softball Men’s National Team

In its first playoff game, Team USA takes on Venezuela (6-1), Friday, at 2 p.m. To watch the game, click on Sports Canada TV.

USA rallies to escape upset minded Republic of South Africa in Men’s Softball World Championship

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

WHITEHORSE, YK, CanadaKevin Castillo gave Team USA hope, Matt Ratliff gave them new life, and Tyler Dudley gave them the winning run as the United States rallied in extra innings to defeat the Republic of South Africa, 4-3, Thursday night in the final game of pool play.

The win moves Team USA (5-2) into Friday’s first-round of playoffs in the Men’s Softball World Championship at the Pepsi Softball Centre in Whitehorse. RSA, playing well in the tournament, drops to 2-5.

But in the bottom of the seventh, victory seemed improbable with Team USA trailing 3-0 and down to their final out.

Castillo, however, had other ideas.

Click to continue reading “USA rallies to escape upset minded Republic of South Africa in Men’s Softball World Championship”

Dudley and Mancha drive USA closer to playoff spot in Men’s Softball World Championship

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

WHITEHORSE, YK, Canada – Lean and fit Tyler Dudley doesn’t have the big, burly build of the prototypical power hitter, but his incredibly quick hands can whip a bat around with lightning speed.

When Dudley hits a softball, it can go a long way.

And two of his gigantic wallops did just that in leading Team USA to a 12-2 victory over the Dominican Republic in the Men’s Softball World Championship at the Pepsi Softball Centre in Whitehorse, Tuesday.

With the USA trailing 1-0 in the bottom half of the first inning, Dudley came to the plate with the bases loaded and promptly drilled a triple down the left-field line to clear the sacks and give Team USA a 3-1 advantage.

Click to continue reading “Dudley and Mancha drive USA closer to playoff spot in Men’s Softball World Championship”

Canada converts USA walks into blowout in Men’s Softball World Championship

Monday, July 10th, 2017

WHITEHORSE, YK, Canada – One walk, troublesome; two walks, alarming; three, flirting with disaster, but five consecutive? Well, against a prolific hitting team like Canada, it can mean only one thing: catastrophe and game over.

For five innings in the Men’s Softball World Championship, Sunday, the United States and Canada battled toe-to-toe like two heavyweight fighters, with Team USA holding a 1-0 advantage heading into the sixth inning.

And until the sixth, USA pitcher Tony Mancha had been pitching tough-minded and making crucial pitches at critical times. The defense had made superb, run-saving plays behind him. And the offense had taken a first inning 1-0 lead on Erich Ochoa’s (2-for-2) RBI single.

Everything seemed to be going Team USA’s way. They had powerful Canada on the ropes. A United States victory was a very real possibility.

Then disaster struck in the sixth.

Click to continue reading “Canada converts USA walks into blowout in Men’s Softball World Championship”

United States defeats Australia for crucial win in softball world championship

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

WHITEHORSE, YK, Canada – The defense? Stellar. The pitching? Superb. The offense? Clutch.

Team USA put together an outstanding game to defeat Australia, 2-1, in the second round of the 2017 Men’s Softball World Championship at the Pepsi Softball Centre in Whitehorse, Saturday.

And it was without a doubt a team win.

Let’s start with the pitching.

Jeremy Manley started and went five innings giving up just two hits – one of them a first-inning home run to Nick Shailes that gave the Aussies the early lead.

Often, that’s all the run support Aussie hurler Adam Folkard needs. Considered by many fastpitch experts as the best pitcher in all of men’s fastpitch, he can be nearly impossible to hit with his 80-plus mph riser and drop.

Click to continue reading “United States defeats Australia for crucial win in softball world championship”

Homers and Montero send Team USA to opening round defeat in Men’s Softball World Championship

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

WHITEHORSE, YK, Canada – The long ball and the pitching of Maxi Montero gave Argentina a 5-1 first-round victory over the United States in the 2017 XV Men’s Softball World Championship at the Pepsi Softball Centre in Whitehorse, Friday night.

Team USA certainly got the start they wanted when second baseman Tyler Dudley drilled a double up the middle, scoring Matt Palazzo, who walked to open the game.

But Argentina struck right back in the bottom half when Ladislao Malarczuk homered over the right-field fence to even the score. And from that point on, the offensive firepower belonged to the Argentinians.

Click to continue reading “Homers and Montero send Team USA to opening round defeat in Men’s Softball World Championship”

Defending world champion Canada knocks off the United States to claim Vancouver Challenge

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

Devon McCullough pitched a one-hitter in leading Canada to a 4-0 victory over the United States in the Vancouver Challenge championship, July 3, in Vancouver, BC. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2014 NAFA World Series

VANCOUVER, BC, Canada – Is Canada peaking at the right time for the Men’s Softball World Championship?

All indications that the Canadians are poised to make a strong run at defending their 2015 title was evident after an impressive performance in the Vancouver Challenge that featured several of the world’s best teams.

Canada ran roughshod in the tournament by outscoring its opponents 54-6, while posting a 7-0 record, including a 4-0 victory over the United States in the championship.

That perfect mark also includes a 10-3 hammering of the world’s No. 1 ranked New Zealand Black Sox in the semi-finals.

Click to continue reading “Defending world champion Canada knocks off the United States to claim Vancouver Challenge”

Team USA beats one of fastball’s best in big win over Globe to claim Rodney Fox Memorial Tournament championship

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

PAT SAGDAL belted a two-run home run to help the USA Men’s National Softball Team defeat Globe, 8-0, in the 2017 Rodney Fox Memorial Tournament, Sunday, May 21, 2017. USA Softball Photo.

STEVENS, Penn. – The USA Men’s National Team bullied their way to a 4-0 mark in the Rodney Fox Memorial Fastpitch Tournament on Saturday. They bludgeoned opposing pitchers for 38 runs, and on Sunday in the opening game of the playoffs they kept on swinging those hot bats, beating Elanco, 13-3.

That set up a matchup with Globe for the tournament championship.

Now surely this title game would present a far greater challenge for Team USA. For the guy toeing the rubber for Globe was an internationally renowned pitcher: Sean Cleary.

The hard-throwing Canadian right-hander has an impressive resume:

  • He’s a Canadian national team pitcher.
  • He’s the 2016 International Softball Congress Most Outstanding Pitcher for hurling the Toronto, Ontario Gators to the ISC World Tournament championship.
  • In 2015, Cleary helped pitch Canada to the World Softball championship.

    But on this day, the United States’ batsmen got the better of Cleary and Globe for an 8-0 victory that gives Team USA its first tournament title of the season, and great preparation for the 14th World Softball Championship tournament at Saskatoon, Canada, June 26-July 5.

    In the quest for the title, they roughed up Cleary for five runs on five hits in four innings before he gave way to reliever Jon Gwizdala in the fifth.

    Bryce Kay hammered a two-run homer in the second inning, Nick Mullins drove a run-scoring double into left-field that ignited a four-run fifth, and Pat Sagdal homered with one aboard to close out the scoring in the sixth, ending the game on the mercy rule.

    That was more than enough runs for Team USA veteran pitcher Tony Mancha who held Globe to two hits with nine strikeouts and a walk. Both runs were unearned.

    Team USA had seven hits, with Mullins perfect at 2-for-2, and Jeff Nowaczk, Bryce Kay, Kevin Castillo, Sagdal and Matt Ratliff getting one hit each. Both Sagdal and Kay homered, and Mullins and Castillo doubled.

    (I wasn’t aware this was the championship game. Congratulations Team USA. Off to a great start in preparation for the 2017 WBSC World Championship.)

  • USA National Softball Team stays perfect in Rodney Fox Memorial Tournament

    Saturday, May 20th, 2017

    Jonathan Lynch led a 16-hit attack to power Team USA to victory in the Rodney Fox Memorial Tournament, Saturday, May 20. Photo By BOB OTTO

    STEVENS, Penn. – Jonathan Lynch was perfect at the plate, B.J. Runoff dominated in the circle, and Team USA cruised to a 16-0 victory over Kelly’s in the second-round of the Rodney Fox Memorial Men’s Fastpitch Tournament in Stevens, Saturday morning.

    Click to continue reading “USA National Softball Team stays perfect in Rodney Fox Memorial Tournament”