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New Zealand Black Sox Men’s Fastpich Softball Team looks at change in style

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013


NEW ZEALAND – A change in roster could herald a shift in game plan for the New Zealand men’s softball team as they build towards the defence of their world title.

A loss of experience and power hitting could mean a change of style for the Black Sox men’s softball team under new coach Mark Sorenson.

In naming his first squad, Sorenson has cast the net wide as New Zealand begin a two-year build-up towards the defence of the world crown they won in Auckland this year.

Sorenson is excited by the replacements he has found for several veteran players who have called it a day, but says it doesn’t mean a continuation of a formula that has been successful.

Mark_Sorenson Mark Sorenson was appointed as Head Coach of the New Zealand Black Sox National Men’s Fastpitch Team in 2013. The Black Sox won the 2013 International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championship with a 9-1 record, and will defend its crown in 2015 at Saskatoon, SK, Canada, June 26-July 7 in the 14th occasion of the world wide men’s fastpitch championships.

“Not only have we lost a lot of experience, we’ve also lost a lot of power,” he said. “While we’ve still got big boppers like Brad Rona and Donny Hale, most of the other guys are very, very fit and fast, so we’ll have to approach the game differently and use those skills to build pressure on the opposition.”

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Mark Sorenson enters the ISC Hall of Fame

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Mark Sorenson, Class of 2010 ISC Hall of Fame, and ISF Hall of Fame in 2009.

NEW ZEALAND – For 18 years the New Zealander boarded a plane and flew halfway around the world. His destination, the United States. His mission, win another International Softball Congress World Tournament championship.

And Mark Sorenson has certainly won a few of those.

During that 18-year span, Sorenson’s teams won four ISC World Tournament championships, along with eight runner-up, and a third place finish. And he was selected ISC All-World 12-times – second only to Cleo Goyette’s 16 in the 62 year history of the World Tournament.

But after the 2004 season Sorenson, just 37, retired from the sport he began playing as a five-year-old in 1972 in the Lower Hutt Valley Leagues.

But come August, he’ll once again board a plane bound for the U.S. His destination, Midland, Michigan where he will be inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame during World Tournament ceremonies.

“Making it into the ISC Hall of Fame is the ultimate honor,” he said. “I was fortunate to come to the U.S. during the mid to late 1980s when the game was really prospering and talented teams were everywhere.”

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Canada and New Zealand hitters feast in an ISF world championship classic

Monday, March 4th, 2013

The New Zealand Black Sox perform the haka during the ISF World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo By Ben Campbell / World Softball Championships

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – Fastball purists, those who relish a masterfully pitched, low-scoring game, would have turned away in disgust. But for those fans who delight in seeing softball bats smashing a yellow sphere all over a ball diamond – as well over the fence – they would have loved this classic matchup.

And numbers crunchers would have glowed over these stats.

The Canadian and New Zealand men’s national fastball teams combined for 26 hits, 16 runs, and five home runs on Monday night in the 13th International Softball Federation World Championship. See Box Score

And when the bats were finally set-aside for the night, Canada had outslugged New Zealand 9-7 to win a marquee matchup at Rosedale Park in Albany.

As for the pitching?

It was a game of survival, of weathering a tornado of hot hitters. Eight pitchers toed the rubber – four on each side.

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The New Zealand Black Sox seek ISF World Championship crown

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Eddie Kohlhase, New Zealand Black Sox Head Coach

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – The New Zealand Black Sox men’s fastball team is seeking to win the 13th International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championship held on it’s own soil, March 1-10, at Rosedale Park in Auckland.

But Black Sox coach Eddie Kohlhase acknowledges it won’t be easy.

“It’s a very, very demanding draw,” he said. “Canada, Japan and Argentina are three of the big powers in world softball. It’s a tough draw, not just in terms of qualifying for the quarterfinals, but also building up some powerful momentum going forward. It will be a real test for us…”

“Canada Softball Canada has been New Zealand’s traditional rival at the tournament. Like the Kiwis, they have taken the crown four times, last winning in 1992, when they beat the Black Sox in the final,” Kohlhase continued.

But they also lost to the Kiwis at the final stages in 1996 and 2004.

“They’re always a very tough team to play,” Kohlhase said. “They have powerful pitching – they throw the ball very hard…”

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USA Men’s National Team in Pool A of softball World Championship

Sunday, February 10th, 2013


AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – The 13th International Softball Federation Men’s World Championship is just a few weeks away (March 1-10) and will be held at Rosedale Park in Auckland’s North Shore.

And TEAM USA will be competing. The schedule Pool Play Draw has been released, and the U.S. squad will compete in Pool A, which includes:

    United States
    Great Britain
    Czech Republic
    South Africa

Team USA’s National Team roster opening game on Mar. 1 won’t be an easy one as the Americans play defending world champion, Australia.

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Softball: Black Sox coach sees US tour as chance to build

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

NEW ZEALAND – Black Sox softball coach Eddie Kohlhase regards his team’s upcoming tour to North America with a view to the future.

The team leaves today for a 20-day tour which will take in the Legends of Fastball Classic tournament in Kitchener, Canada, and the Peligro Tournament in New York.

“The youth component in our team is vital. We must keep on building this team and ensuring we have the mix between experience and youthful enthusiasm just right,” Kohlhase said. Continue Reading

This and that in men’s fastpitch

Friday, April 16th, 2010

YUCAIPA, CA – Much of what goes on in men’s fastpitch softball never reaches the eyes and ears of the folks that love this sport. And some of the information I gather during interviews for a story gets cut – just not enough room to include everything.

So here’s some news and tidbits I’ve collected from interviews with folks from the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand.

Mark Sorenson writes about 2010 ISC Hall of Fame inductee (field manager category) John Becker. “As a player I remember the ISC World Tournament in Prince Edward Island in 1994, which was really his crowning moment as a player,” Sorenson said.

“John was our mainstay behind the dish and I think caught almost every inning. But the biggest thing I remember was the clutch hits he came up with at the plate. Hitting in the bottom half of the order he always seemed to be the guy we looked to in crucial situations, and he came through with some ‘big’ hits.

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