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Hot-hitting New Zealand thrashes Canada in ISF Men’s World Softball Championship

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

SASKATOON, SK, Canada – No team in the 14th ISF Men’s World Softball Championship is hitting – make that slugging – the ball better than the New Zealand Black Sox.

In its last four games, New Zealand has outscored its opponents 37-7. The latest victory was huge, 9-5 over Canada in the playoffs Saturday that moves New Zealand into the Gold medal game on Sunday.

    FENCE BUSTERS

The Black Sox pounded out 10 hits, including home runs by Jerome Raemaki, Wayne Laulu, Thomas Enoka and Brad Rona.

Raemaki hit a home run in the third inning; Laulu blasted a two-run bomb over the left field fence erasing Canada’s lead for good, and pushing the Black Sox in front, 4-3, in the fourth inning. Tyson Byrne followed with a run-scoring triple that scored Cole Evans, and in the fifth, Enoka cleared the left-center field fence for a two-run homer.

Brad Rona finished the Black Sox fence-busting attack with a two-run shot in the seventh.

    CANADA GOES LONG BALL TOO

Ian Fehrman and Brad Ezekiel gave Canada hope when they hit solo home runs in the sixth and seventh innings off New Zealand’s Heinrick Shannon. But he withstood the onslaught and after Ezekiel led off the seventh with his homer, Shannon retired three in a row to seal the win.

Shannon threw seven innings to improve to 2-0 the playoffs. He allowed three earned runs on six hits, walked one and struck out four.

    DEFENDING CHAMPS SEEK SECOND GOLD

Now New Zealand – the defending ISF Men’s World Softball champions from 2013 – move to the Gold medal game, Sunday afternoon. Canada remains in the running for the gold, but must defeat the winner between Venezuela and Australia played Saturday night (results not available at publishing time).

    CANADA STILL IN CONTENTION

Canada came into the game against New Zealand undefeated and the top team in Pool A at 7-0. And the Canadians began the playoffs in dominating fashion, beating Australia and its ace pitcher Adam Folkard, 8-3, on Friday.

New Zealand finished round robin play in Pool A as the number four team at 5-2. The Black Sox entered the playoffs stinging the ball and beat the Dominican Republic, the top team from Pool B with a 6-1 record, 8-0, to set up the meeting with Canada.

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

Mullaley homers Canada past New Zealand

Sunday, June 28th, 2015
Steve Mullaley homered to lead Team Canada over New Zealand in the ISF Men's World Softball Championship, Sunday, June 28, 2015.

Steve Mullaley homered to lead Team Canada over New Zealand in the ISF Men’s World Softball Championship, Sunday, June 28, 2015.

SASKATOON – Steve Mullaley hammered a two-run homer, Sean Cleary allowed just one run, and Team Canada survived a tense 2-1 victory over New Zealand Sunday afternoon at Bob Van Impe Stadium.

The win keeps Canada undefeated at 3-0 in Pool A of the 14th ISF Men’s World Softball Championship, while New Zealand drops to 1-2.

    MULLALEY HOMER ATONES

The game stayed scoreless until the bottom of the sixth when Mullaley came to the plate. And he greeted newly-entered pitcher, Kurt Schollum, by drilling his rise ball offering deep over the right-centerfield fence with Brad Ezekiel on first by way of a leadoff walk.

For Mullaley, his home run was an atonement of sorts. He took a called third strike with the bases loaded in the third to let New Zealand and Heinie Shannon escape unscathed.

    SHANNON PITCHES WELL

Schollum was called on to relieve Shannon at the start the sixth. It appeared a surprise move as Shannon had been throwing well. He didn’t sit long as New Zealand manager Mark Sorenson was forced to re-enter him after Schollum continued to struggle.

Shannon promptly put an end to Canada’s uprising by retiring Ian Fehrman on a ground ball. But the damage had already been done.

    LAULU HOMERS, CLEARY CLOSES

All Cleary had to do was close out the Black Sox in the seventh. He started well enough with a strikeout, but pinch hitter Wayne Laulu drove a Cleary rise ball over the left field fence to pull New Zealand within one.

Sean Cleary held New Zealand to just one run to help Team Canada improve to 3-0 in the World Softball Championship.

Sean Cleary held New Zealand to just one run to help Team Canada improve to 3-0 in the World Softball Championship.

But the right-hander finished strong by striking out Joel Evans and Josh Harbrow with his rise ball jumping above the letters.

In seven innings, Cleary (2-0) gave up just four hits, two walks, struck out nine and allowed the one earned run. He was selected the “Player of The Game” for his efforts.

Shannon, in his first appearance in the tournament, was nearly as good, allowing four hits, two walks and no runs, while striking out six in 5 2/3 innings. Schollum took the loss, giving up two earned runs on two hits, with a walk and a strikeout in 1/3 inning.