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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.

Click to continue reading “Australia holds off Canada to move into the Gold Medal game of the Men’s Softball World Championship”

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.

Click to continue reading “Canada and New Zealand front runners in the quest for Gold at the Men’s Softball World Championship”

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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Defending world champion Canada knocks off the United States to claim Vancouver Challenge

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

Devon McCullough pitched a one-hitter in leading Canada to a 4-0 victory over the United States in the Vancouver Challenge championship, July 3, in Vancouver, BC. Photo By BOB OTTO / 2014 NAFA World Series

VANCOUVER, BC, Canada – Is Canada peaking at the right time for the Men’s Softball World Championship?

All indications that the Canadians are poised to make a strong run at defending their 2015 title was evident after an impressive performance in the Vancouver Challenge that featured several of the world’s best teams.

Canada ran roughshod in the tournament by outscoring its opponents 54-6, while posting a 7-0 record, including a 4-0 victory over the United States in the championship.

That perfect mark also includes a 10-3 hammering of the world’s No. 1 ranked New Zealand Black Sox in the semi-finals.

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Team USA beats one of fastball’s best in big win over Globe to claim Rodney Fox Memorial Tournament championship

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

PAT SAGDAL belted a two-run home run to help the USA Men’s National Softball Team defeat Globe, 8-0, in the 2017 Rodney Fox Memorial Tournament, Sunday, May 21, 2017. USA Softball Photo.

STEVENS, Penn. – The USA Men’s National Team bullied their way to a 4-0 mark in the Rodney Fox Memorial Fastpitch Tournament on Saturday. They bludgeoned opposing pitchers for 38 runs, and on Sunday in the opening game of the playoffs they kept on swinging those hot bats, beating Elanco, 13-3.

That set up a matchup with Globe for the tournament championship.

Now surely this title game would present a far greater challenge for Team USA. For the guy toeing the rubber for Globe was an internationally renowned pitcher: Sean Cleary.

The hard-throwing Canadian right-hander has an impressive resume:

  • He’s a Canadian national team pitcher.
  • He’s the 2016 International Softball Congress Most Outstanding Pitcher for hurling the Toronto, Ontario Gators to the ISC World Tournament championship.
  • In 2015, Cleary helped pitch Canada to the World Softball championship.

    But on this day, the United States’ batsmen got the better of Cleary and Globe for an 8-0 victory that gives Team USA its first tournament title of the season, and great preparation for the 14th World Softball Championship tournament at Saskatoon, Canada, June 26-July 5.

    In the quest for the title, they roughed up Cleary for five runs on five hits in four innings before he gave way to reliever Jon Gwizdala in the fifth.

    Bryce Kay hammered a two-run homer in the second inning, Nick Mullins drove a run-scoring double into left-field that ignited a four-run fifth, and Pat Sagdal homered with one aboard to close out the scoring in the sixth, ending the game on the mercy rule.

    That was more than enough runs for Team USA veteran pitcher Tony Mancha who held Globe to two hits with nine strikeouts and a walk. Both runs were unearned.

    Team USA had seven hits, with Mullins perfect at 2-for-2, and Jeff Nowaczk, Bryce Kay, Kevin Castillo, Sagdal and Matt Ratliff getting one hit each. Both Sagdal and Kay homered, and Mullins and Castillo doubled.

    (I wasn’t aware this was the championship game. Congratulations Team USA. Off to a great start in preparation for the 2017 WBSC World Championship.)

  • 2017 ISC World Championship Guide ready for pre-ordering

    Saturday, April 1st, 2017

    Mississauga, ON – Celebrate the arrival of spring and the imminent return of the North American fastball season by pre-ordering your 2017 International Softball Congress World Championship Guide.

    The 2017 ISC Guide has a striking cover that features ISC MVP Brad Rona and Most Outstanding Pitcher Sean Cleary, of the Toronto Gators, along with the Gators’ Shane Boland and his World Tournament clinching walk-off home run.

    The 2017 ISC Guide has over 130 color photos along with 140 pages of stats and stories on the ISC World Tournament, ISC II Championship, ISC Legends 50+ Championship and the ISC U21 Championship from the Green Valley Sports Complex in Moline, IL.

    You can now order and pay for the 2017 ISC Guide online at the ISC website through the convenience of PayPal by visiting iscfastpitch.com/paypal-2/ and choosing the Guide option in the drop down menu.

  • The 2017 ISC Guide will also be available in the near future in a convenient and easy-to-read electronic format on the ISC website at www.iscfastpitch.com.
  • We thank all of our ISC sponsors, including Cooper Tire and First Ontario Credit Union, for enabling us to bring you the 2017 ISC World Championship Guide.

    For additional information, please contact

    Blair Setford
    ISC VP Operations/Guide Managing Editor
    blairjs [@] gmail.com

    or

    Larry Fisher
    ISC Executive Director
    iscfastpitch [@] gmail.com

    Nicholas Mercer: The violence of throwing a softball

    Tuesday, September 13th, 2016
    FIVE-TIME ISC TOP PITCHER - Adam Folkard has won five ISC Most Outstanding Pitcher awards, and has led Australia to titles in the ISF and WBSC World Championships. In 2016, he pitched the Hill United Chiefs of Ontario, Canada to runner-up in the ISC World Tournament and was named an All-World pitcher for a eighth time.  His 4-1 record gives him 39 wins all-time in ISC World Tournament play. Photo By BOB OTTO

    FIVE-TIME ISC TOP PITCHER – Adam Folkard has won five ISC Most Outstanding Pitcher awards, and has led Australia to titles in the ISF and WBSC World Championships. In 2016, he pitched the Hill United Chiefs of Ontario, Canada to runner-up in the ISC World Tournament and was named an All-World pitcher for a eighth time. His 4-1 record gives him 39 wins all-time in ISC World Tournament play. Photo By BOB OTTO

    The Telegram Sports
    By Nicholas Mercer
    Sept. 12, 2016

    ST. JOHNS, NL – Seeing high-level fastpitch softball play out on a computer screen over a webcast doesn’t do the game justice.

    Nor does it allow the average fan to appreciate just what goes into throwing the softball very hard at the plate.

    When you’re watching the game 20-feet from the pitching rubber, it’s easy to see the webcast sells the act incredibly short.

    A hush falls over the crowd as the pitcher takes his signs from the catcher. They’re counting on seeing something great with every pitch.

    That sense of anticipation only heightens when the pitcher rocks back before leaping towards the plate and uncoiling a ball that travels at ungodly speeds.

    Continue Reading in The Telegram

    In The Spotlight: Kyle Linton, renowned Canadian and ISC pitcher

    Tuesday, August 30th, 2016
    Kyle Linton of the Toronto Batmen pitched the Canadian squad to 8th place (4-2) in the 36-team, 2016 ISC World Tournament. Linton had a 3-2 record in six games , one shutout; and in 31 innings allowed 26 hits, walked 12, struck out 50 with a  2.25 ERA.  Photo By BOB OTTO

    KYLE LINTON of the Toronto Batmen pitched the Canadian squad to 8th place (4-2) in the 36-team, 2016 ISC World Tournament. Linton had a 3-2 record in six games , one shutout; and in 31 innings allowed 26 hits, walked 12, struck out 50 with a 2.25 ERA. Photo By BOB OTTO

    TORONTO, ONTARIO, CA – When Kyle Linton was 12 years old, he says, “I bugged my dad to teach me how to pitch.”

    Dad must have been a very good teacher and Kyle a studious pupil. Because 19 years later at 31, Linton has developed into one of the world’s top fastpitch pitchers.

    His resume in Canada and the ISC World Tournament fairly glows with success. Let’s start with his exploits in his homeland.

    Click to continue reading “In The Spotlight: Kyle Linton, renowned Canadian and ISC pitcher”

    Ezekiel and Cleary, two world-class performers at the 2016 ISC World Tournament

    Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
    New York Gremlins Kyle Ezekiel rips into a pitch from Sean Cleary of the Toronto Gators and drives it into left-field for a hit. Ezekiel was 1-for-2 off Cleary , but the right-hander came out on top by leading the Gators to a 3-1 victory in the 2016 ISC World Tournament, Aug. 20 at Green Valley Sports Complex in Moline, IL. The Gators went on to dethrone two-time titlest Hill United Chiefs in the final, 6-3, and Cleary was selected the Most Outstanding Pitcher with a 5-0 record, 35 2/3 innings, 19 hits allowed, with 70 strikeouts and a 0.98 ERA. Photo By BOB OTTO / www.ottoinfocus.com.

    New York Gremlins Kyle Ezekiel rips into a pitch from Sean Cleary of the Toronto Gators and drives it into left-field for a hit. Ezekiel was 1-for-2 off Cleary , but the right-hander came out on top by leading the Gators to a 3-1 victory in the 2016 ISC World Tournament, Aug. 20 at Green Valley Sports Complex in Moline, IL. The Gators went on to dethrone two-time titlest Hill United Chiefs in the final, 6-3, and Cleary was selected the Most Outstanding Pitcher with a 5-0 record, 35 2/3 innings, 19 hits allowed, with 70 strikeouts and a 0.98 ERA. Photo By BOB OTTO / www.ottoinfocus.com.

    MOLINE, IL – One can hit, the other can pitch. In the world of top-caliber men’s fastpitch softball, Kyle Ezekiel of the New York Gremlins and Toronto Gators’ right-hander Sean Cleary are two of the best.

    In 2015, Cleary was a Second-Team, All-World pick for helping the Toronto Gators finished second to Hill United Chiefs in the ISC World Tournament.

    But this year, he uped his production. And what a difference it made for the Gators.

    SEAN CLEARY of the Toronto Gators, was selected a first-team, All-World pitcher for leading the Gators to the 2016 70th ISC World Tournament championship. Cleary's production (5-0 record) earned him top honors as the LEROY ZIMMERMAN MOST OUTSTANDING PITCHER, thus ending the three-year reign of Hill United Chiefs ADAM FOLKARD (2015, 2014, 2013). Cleary outdueled Folkard in the championship in helping the Gators defeat the Chiefs, 6-3, Aug. 20, at Green Valley Sports Complex in Moline, IL. Photo By BOB OTTO / www.ottoinfocus.com

    SEAN CLEARY of the Toronto Gators, was selected a first-team, All-World pitcher for leading the Gators to the 2016 70th ISC World Tournament championship. Cleary’s production (5-0 record) earned him top honors as the LEROY ZIMMERMAN MOST OUTSTANDING PITCHER, thus ending the three-year reign of Hill United Chiefs ADAM FOLKARD (2015, 2014, 2013). Cleary outdueled Folkard in the championship in helping the Gators defeat the Chiefs, 6-3, Aug. 20, at Green Valley Sports Complex in Moline, IL. Photo By BOB OTTO / www.ottoinfocus.com

    In a return match-up, Cleary reversed the order and beat his counterpart, Adam Folkard, in leading the Gators to a 6-3 victory in the 2016 70th ISC World Tournament championship game.

    Will the Gators return and repeat in 2017? Or will the Chiefs avenge their loss and regain top billing? Time will tell.

    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.”

    Click to continue reading “Boland’s blast gives Toronto Gators ISC World Tournament championship”