Rhys Casley

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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.

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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New York Gremlins men’s fastpitch team finalizes roster

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013


CLIFTON PARK, NY – The New York Gremlins are happy to announce that Sean Whitten, Jeff Goolagong and Tyson Byrne will be joining the squad for the 2013 season. (Whitten, one of fastball’s top pitchers, played for the Eugene, Oregon / California A’s in 2012.)

The Gremlins, an annual threat to win an ISC World Tournament championship finished fourth ISC chronological order of finish in 2012 with a 4-2 record.

The Gremlin roster:

Andrew Kirkpatrick – P
Sean Whitten – P
Bill Hillhouse – P
Bryan Abrey – C
Blair Ezekiel – 1B
Rhys Casley – 2B
Tyson Byrne – 3B
Todd Schultz – SS
Travis Wilson – INF/DH
Nick Mullins – INF/C
Mathieu Roy – OF
Jeff Goolagong – OF
Derek Pukash – OF
Wayne Laulu – OF
Ben Wideman – OF
Vahram Mateosian – C/DH
Frank Perez – INF

Denny Bruckert – MGR
Gregg Leather – Coach
Jeff Hook – Coach
Peter Schmitt – Coach
Greg Nydick – Scorekeeper
Bruce Tanski – Sponsor
Bob Nydick – Sponsor

Gremlins Facebook
Gremlins website

The captain and pitcher lead Black Sox to World Championship

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

nzl.jub.3web The New Zealand Black Sox celebrate their sixth ISF World Championship after beating Venezuela, 4-1, at Rosedale Park in Auckland, Sunday, March 10.

“No two words (world championship) sound so pretty together.” – Black Sox catcher Patrick Shannon

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – The New Zealand Black Sox had a couple of concerns going into the ISF World Softball Championship. Would their injured captain be able to perform at his world-class standard? And which pitcher would step forward as New Zealand’s go-to guy?

The captain, Rhys Casley, and the pitcher, Jeremy Manley, put those concerns to rest in grand style. Between the two of them, they helped lead New Zealand to a record-breaking sixth world softball championship Gold medal with a 4-1 victory over Venezuela on Sunday.

In front of a packed Rosedale Park in Auckland, Casley belted a three-run home run in the third inning to break a 1-1 tie. With the lead, Manley buckled down and pitched a gem, scattering four hits in going the distance.

For Manley, it was his second win over Venezuela. In the deciding winner’s playoff game, he shackled the South American’s on four hits and 15 strikeouts for a 2-0 win.

Along with its sixth championship, New Zealand won the gold in 1976 at Christchurch (shared with the USA and Canada after the tournament was rained out), 1984 and ’96 at Midland, Mich.; 2000 in East London, South Africa, and again at Christchurch in 2004.

After the game, about 3,500 delirious Black Sox fans – cheering and dancing in the stands – showed their appreciation for their national team bringing the championship back home.

“All the hard work and all the training was worth it,” said catcher Patrick Shannon, who helped the Black Sox cause with a home run. “We proved ourselves in the world championship. No two words sound so pretty together.”

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Hitting a high-velocity fastpitch softball; a skill only the great ones possess.

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Abbott.Colin.98 ISCwt
Colin Abbott, three-time ISC World Tournament Most Valuable Player, one of the all-time great fastball hitters.

By BOB OTTO / www.ottoinfocus.com

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – I studied Canadian Brad Ezekiel and Ryan Wolfe. I leaned in closer to my computer screen, zoning in on New Zealand’s Rhys Casley, Donny Hale and Brad Rona.

How do they do it?

How do they hit a softball speeding toward home plate at 80-plus miles per hour from 46 feet away from a pitcher that can make the yellow sphere dive and dance and soar like a Hummingbird on steroids?

And then with the cruel nature of a sadist, the pitcher changes speeds. It’s as if the ball is attached to a string and our righty or lefty (prankster) yanks it back just when the batter starts to swing. Like Lucy pulling the football away from hapless Charlie Brown just as he’s about to kick it.

What special athletic gifts have been bestowed upon fastball’s great hitters, enabling them to hit the riser, the drop, the curve, and the change-up with such proficiency?

I remember in 1986 standing behind a backstop watching Kiwi Peter Meredith throw a softball harder than ANY ball I had ever seen thrown. I stood in awe of Meredith’s amazing talent.

ISC Hall of Fame pitcher, Peter Meredith, who once pitched for TEAM USA.

I wondered: “how can anyone possibly hit his pitches?”

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