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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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Australia holds off Canada to move into the Gold Medal game of the Men’s Softball World Championship

Sunday, July 16th, 2017

Adam Foulard turned in an effective relief effort to help Australia defeat Canada, 7-3, in the Bronze Medal game of the 2017 Men’s Softball World Championship at the Pepsi Softball Centre in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, Sunday, July 17. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2016 ISC World Tournament

WHITEHORSE, YK, Canada – It’s been eight long years since Australia last won a world championship. After winning three straight playoff games, they’ll once again be battling for the Gold Medal.

Thanks to James Todhunter and Nick Shailes who homered and Adam Folkard, who turned in an effective relief job, Australia defeated Canada 7-3 at the Pepsi Softball Centre, Sunday.

With little time for rest, Australia (8-3) will be back on the ball diamond to take on New Zealand (8-1) in the Gold Medal game, while 2015 defending world champion Canada (8-2) leaves the tournament as the Bronze medalist.

LONG BALL BOMBERS

With Australia clinging to a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning, Todhunter squared up on a Sean Cleary rise ball sending it deep over the centerfield fence for a two-run home run, and Shailes homered over the left-field wall to give the Steelers a 7-1 lead, chasing Cleary in favor of Devon McCullough.

But Canada’s big bats wouldn’t go lightly.

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Canada and New Zealand front runners in the quest for Gold at the Men’s Softball World Championship

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

Josh Pettit has a 4-0 record and is a prime reason New Zealand is making a strong run at winning the 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Men’s Softball World Championship. Courtesy Photo

WHITEHORSE, YK, Canada – Where once there were sixteen of the world’s finest fastpitch teams battling for gold at the Men’s Softball World Championship, we are now down to six.

And these six – their rosters filled with the finest hurlers and batsmen worldwide – are indeed the best of the sixteen.

As the tournament heads into the final two days of championship play, Canada, New Zealand, Argentina, Japan, Australia and the United States remain in contention for the most treasured of all mens’ fastpitch softball titles: World Champion.

My pick for Gold? Canada.

The defending 2015 world champions are playing an incredibly high-caliber fastpitch.

The Canadians rode through Pool A at 7-0, and in their opening playoff game Friday, shutout Japan 2-0, to extend their unbeaten streak to 8-0 and remain the only undefeated team in the world championship.

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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.

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Canada continues unbeaten streak at world championships

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

By Marissa Tiel
Daily Star

WHITEHORSE, YK, Canada – Team Canada continued their winning streak at the 2017 Men’s World Softball Championship with a 9-4 win over Australia Tuesday night.

“We’ve got a motto as a team, it’s one step at a time, so this is just another step along the ladder,” said thirdbaseman Derek Mayson.

“We do have benchmark games and Australia is one of them because they’re a very deep team, they’ve got some of the best pitching in the world. So we knew we were in for a tough game.”

Continue reading in Whitehorse Daily Star

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.

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Team Canada undefeated in world softball championships

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

By Emily Blake / Whitehorse Daily Star

WHITEHORSE, YK, CanadaTeam Canada (5-0) was on a winning streak this weekend at the Men?s Worlds Softball Championship.

The returning champs and hosts started off this year?s championship strong, remaining undefeated after the first three days of competition in Whitehorse.

Facing off against South Africa Friday night they won 10-2 and went on to win 8:3 against Argentina the following evening.

Sunday night?s game was a nail biter against Team U.S.A. with Canada starting off slow and ending with a resounding finish.

Canada continued its winning streak culminating with a 9-4 win over Australia to improve to 5-0 in Pool A on Tuesday. Continue reading in The Daily Star

Nowaczyk’s slam leads USA over India in Men’s Softball World Championship

Monday, July 10th, 2017

DUANE WEILER of Bedford, Penn. pitched a shutout to lead Team USA to an 11-0 victory over India in the 2017 WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship, Monday, July 10 at the Pepsi Softball Centre in Whitehorse, YK, Canada. Photo USA Softball

WHITEHORSE, YK, Canada – Duane Weiler fired a shutout, Jeff Nowaczk blasted a grand slam, and the defense was once again superb as the United States beat India, 11-0, in four innings under the mercy rule, at the Whitehorse Pepsi Softball Centre, Monday.

The win evens Team USA’s record at 2-2 in Pool A of the Men’s Softball World Championship and keeps the team in the hunt for a medal-round playoff spot.

Weiler was in command the entire way, allowing one hit and a walk, along with eight strikeouts to notch his first win in the tournament.

The USA scored four runs in the first inning, highlighted by Tyler Dudley’s two-run homer over the centerfield fence. Back-to-back singles in the second by Pat Sagdal and Marcus Tan added another run, and a six-run barrage in the third put the game safely in the win column.

JEFF NOWACZYK of Midland, Mich. went 1-for-3 against India, but his hit was huge: a grandslam that helped Team USA notch an 11-0 victory in the 2017 Men’s Softball World Championship, Monday, July 10. USA Softball Photo

Catcher Jeff Nowaczyk provided the fireworks in the sixth with his bases-loaded home run, and Ochoa’s double plated the final two runs in Team USA’s 10-hit attack.

The United States (1-2) returns to action Tuesday against the Dominican Republic which currently sports a 3-0 record, tied with Canada for the top spot in Pool A.

The game is scheduled at 5 p.m. (PT) and can be watched live on Sports Canada TV

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.

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