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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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Boland’s blast gives Toronto Gators ISC World Tournament championship

Saturday, August 20th, 2016
Ryan Boland, No. 10, and the rest of the Toronto Gators are ecstatic and waiting at home plate to greet Ryan's brother,  Shane Boland, who hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 6-3 victory over the United Hill Chiefs, Saturday night, in the 2016 ISC World Tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

Ryan Boland, No. 10, and the rest of the Toronto Gators are ecstatic and waiting at home plate to greet Ryan’s brother, Shane Boland, who hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 6-3 victory over the United Hill Chiefs, Saturday night, in the 2016 ISC World Tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

MOLINE, IL – In last year’s ISC World Tournament, the Toronto Gators came so close to winning the championship, so close to upending the Hill United Chiefs, three-time defending titlests.

But the Gators of Ontario, Canada fell short, suffering a gut-wrenching 6-4 loss after holding the lead going into the sixth inning.

However, Gators manager, Terry Baytor, knew some good could come from that loss in the way of learning a valuable lesson. So he put his pen to work.

“I wrote a team letter,” Baytor said. “I told them we had to lose before we could learn how to win. And this year we came ready to win.”

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Home runs and Cleary lead Toronto Gators over the New York Gremlins

Thursday, August 18th, 2016
Toronto Gators Brad Rona reacts after his two-run, home run cleared two fences in left field and traveled over 300 feet, giving the Gators a 3-1 win over the New York Gremlins at Green Valley Sports Complex, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. Photo By BOB OTTO

Toronto Gators Brad Rona reacts after his two-run, home run cleared two fences in left field and traveled over 300 feet, giving the Gators a 3-1 win over the New York Gremlins at Green Valley Sports Complex, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. Photo By BOB OTTO

MOLINE, IL – Ryan Boland and Brad Rona cleared the fence, and Sean Cleary did the rest.

After trailing in the fourth inning, 1-0, and being held to one hit by New York Gremlins Andrew Kirkpatrick, the Toronto, Ontario Gators suddenly found a power surge.

And it came from Boland who hit a solo shot, and Rona who’s two-run blast cleared TWO fenses in left field – over 300 feet – to give the Gators a 3-1 advantage that Cleary made stand up, Thursday, in the ISC World Tournament.

The win moves the Gators (4-0) into the winner’s bracket final Friday at 7 p.m. where they will play the winner between the Hill United Chiefs and Scarborough Force that was being played late Thursday night.

Sean Cleary helped the Toronto, Ontario Gators defeat the New York Gremlins, 3-1, in the 2016 ISC World Tournament, Thursday, Aug. 18, at Green Valley Sports Complex. Cleary allowed but three hits and struck 18 in picking up his fourth win of the tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

Sean Cleary helped the Toronto, Ontario Gators defeat the New York Gremlins, 3-1, in the 2016 ISC World Tournament, Thursday, Aug. 18, at Green Valley Sports Complex. Cleary allowed but three hits and struck 18 in picking up his fourth win of the tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

Toronto gave up a run in the first tainted by two errors, but from then on Cleary (4-0) dominated, finishing with a three-hitter, two walks and 14 strikeouts. in his four games, Cleary has hurled 24 innings, not allowed an earned run, while walking two and striking out 55 with a 0.00 ERA.

Kirkpatrick went three innings, allowed three runs on three hits with a walk and five strikeouts. In relief, Roman Godoy was perfect through four innings with six strikeouts.

The Toronto Gators greet Brand Rona after he hit a home run off New York Gremlins pitcher Andrew Kirkpatrick. Photo By BOB OTTO

The Toronto Gators greet Brand Rona after he hit a home run off New York Gremlins pitcher Andrew Kirkpatrick. Photo By BOB OTTO

For ISC World Tournament results, visit: ISC Pointstreak Scoring