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Accidental softballer Nik Hayes hopes to strike Yukon gold

Friday, April 14th, 2017

NICHOLAS BOYACK
The Dominion Post
April 13 2017

NEW ZEALAND – If you want to know how tough it is being a Black Sox, you can ask Nik Hayes.

The Dodgers and Hutt Valley pitcher is a key member of Mark Sorenson’s team looking to win the World Series in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada in July.

Hayes has carved out a fine career in a Dodgers team that has dominated national club softball in recent years.

Finishes reading Accidental softball Nik Hayes hopes to strike Yukon gold

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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Bouley and Davis learning fastpitch the New Zealand way

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

TYLER BOULEY, left, and YUSEF DAVIS are playing fastpitch in New Zealand with the goal to improve their games for the upcoming 2017 North American fastpitch season. Courtesy Photo

NEW ZEALAND – It’s the off season for North American fastpitch and for most players, they’ve switched uniforms for a winter sport like basketball or hockey. Or they’re pumping iron at a fitness center muscling-up for the coming season.

Hitting, pitching, fielding? Not for a few months yet.

But not so for Yusef Davis and Tyler Bouley. These two young and budding stars – Davis, 22, and Bouley, 21 – shunned taking the winter off and instead boarded a plane for New Zealand.

All with the purpose of improving and pushing themselves to reach new heights in the sport they profess to love. As the saying goes, “to be the best you can be.”

Fastpitch is a pitcher’s game. Talented ones typically dominate hitters. So where better to improve one’s hitting than in pitching-rich New Zealand.

    TOUCH CHUCKERS

Bouley got a good feel for just how good these Kiwi hurlers are almost as soon as he landed.

“It has really helped my game because you don’t have to travel to (face) a quality pitcher,” said Bouley, who plays for Northcote Softball Club. “Every premiere team has a pitcher that either has competed at the (International Softball Congress World Tournament) or is capable of competing at the ISC. Two of the best I’ve faced so far are Bailey Hoani and Josh Pettett.”

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USA-bound Cooper Grant’s a chip off the old block

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Cooper Grant.1lr

“I’ve played softball most of my life and grew up with Dad (fastball pitcher Marty Grant) playing it,” Cooper Grant said.

By WAYNE MARTIN / www.stuff.co.nz

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND – The apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree.

He’s the son of three-time world champion Black Sox pitcher Marty Grant and in July, 12-year-old Cooper Grant heads to the United States for an international competition.

But not as a softballer, rather as part of the New Zealand under-13 All Stars baseball team to contest the 2016 Cal Ripken World Series in Maryland from July 29 to August 6.

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Six Kiwis make all-star team at major world softball club tournament in United States

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015
Wayne Laulu batted .524 (11-for-21, with 16 RBI, including five home runs, a triple, double and seven walks. Laulu was selected a First-Team, All-World outfielder for helping lead the Toronto, Ontario Gators to second place in the 2015 ISC World Tournament in South Bend, Ind. Contributed Photo,

Wayne Laulu batted .524 (11-for-21, with 16 RBI, including five home runs, a triple, double and seven walks. Laulu was selected a First-Team, All-World outfielder for helping lead the Toronto, Ontario Gators to second place in the 2015 ISC World Tournament in South Bend, Ind. Contributed Photo,

By TONY SMITH / Stuff.co.nz

Six New Zealanders were selected in the all-star team at the International Softball Congress (ISC) tournament in the United States this week.

Current Black Sox internationals Nathan Nukunuku, Brad Rona, Ben Enoka and Wayne Laulu, Canterbury hitter Frank Pointon and Auckland catcher Kallan Compain made the “all world” first team at the ISC tournament, widely regarded as world softball’s top club championship.

The sextet were all members of the Toronto Gators team which lost the grand final to Ontario rivals, the Hill United Chiefs, 6-4 at South Bend, Indiana.

Hutt Valley catcher Cory Timu, who played for the Circle Tap Dukes club from Wisconsin, made the “all-world” second team.

Laulu picked up the award for the most runs batted in (RBIs) with 16. continue reading Six Kiwis make all-star team…

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.

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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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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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Free passes help Argentina take down defending world softball champion New Zealand

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

argentina Argentina secures big win in world softball championship.

SASKATOON – As defending International Softball Federation (ISF) Men’s World Softball champions, the New Zealand Black Sox have everyone gunning for them. The Black Sox won the title in 2013, and have claimed more world championships than any other country – six times in 1976, 1984, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2013.

And once again, New Zealand is considered a top contender at the 2015 world championships in Saskatoon.

But the Black Sox road to defending their title took a huge hit Friday night as another of the favorites, Argentina, edged New Zealand, 3-2, in Pool A.

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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.