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Baseball and softball not included among shortlisted sports by Paris Organizing Committee for 2024 Olympics

Friday, March 1st, 2019

Baseball and softball not included among shortlisted sports by Paris Organizing Committee for 2024 Olympics

February 26, 2019
Web Release: Link

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Paris Organizing Committee met recently to determine which sports would make up the 2024 Olympic Program and decided upon breakdancing, surfing, skateboarding and sport climbing to make the final cut of shortlisted sports.

The decision comes after the groundbreaking Olympic Agenda 2020 passed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that gives Olympic host cities the right to propose sports that are popular in the host country and add to the appeal of the Games.

“We’ve taken our time to truly take in what Paris 2024’s decision means, not only to USA Softball as a whole but to the sport that means so much to people all around the globe,” said USA Softball Chief Executive Officer, Craig Cress. “While disheartening, the response we’ve seen from the softball community is a resounding display that our sport will continue to thrive and grow. We won’t give up, the work never ends – but we can promise you that our athletes will continue to compete each year and proudly represent our great nation on the international stage and we encourage fans to continue their loyal support of softball. We also stand with the international softball community in the fight for inclusion in future Olympic Games and we will continue to work with groups who value the growth of our sport both domestically and internationally.”

The IOC still needs to give final approval to the choices made by the Paris 2024 organizers during the executive board in December 2020.

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Aussies having a summer of fastpitch fun

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Blackshaw.Andy.McQuens.41web Australian pitcher Andrew Blackshaw, 23, is spending the summer in the U.S. pitching fastpitch softball. In the 2013 NAFA World Series, he was pitching for McQuen’s Pub of Des Moines. Photo By BOB OTTO

DES MOINES – Five young men sat in the top bleachers watching Winterset, Iowa battle the Rice Lake Orangemen of Wisconsin in a AA / AA-Major pool play game Wednesday night.

I noticed they had a decidedly different accent than your standard Midwesterner.

So curious, I asked, “where you all from?”

Australia came the answer from Shaun Goffer. I learned Goffer is a young man of 23 who plays outfield for the Bloomington (IL) Stix. He and his pals – James Todhunter, 23, Jesse Taws, 20, Aaron Boccardo, 23, Damien Nairn, 23, Andrew Blackshaw, 23, Nathan Dickinson, 19, Adam Pearce, 25, and Marshall Kronk, 19 – are spending an enjoyable time in the states playing a little fastpitch.

“This is good fun and a different atmosphere than back home,” Goffer said.

How so? “You have more fans here.”

True, there was a decent turnout for the opening night of the 2013 NAFA World Series at the Greater Des Moines Softball Complex.

All these Aussies are position players except for Kronk, who was pitching for Winterset (and got the win over Rice Lake in AA / AA-Major pool play), and Blackshaw, who pitched well but took a 3-0 loss for McCuen’s Pub against Willkomm Mobil.

These Aussie international traveling stars had about enough numbers to form their own team for the NAFA World Series, but instead were scattered about playing for various teams. Most of them will also play in the ISC World Tournament in the Quad Cities starting Aug. 10-17.

I had to ask the obvious question: what’s the difference between U.S. fastpitch and the Australian brand called “fastball?” Seems we in the states tend to “coddle” our young a bit.

“There’s a different philosophy here in the U.S.,” said Todhunter. “Here you wait for (young players) to develop. Back home we throw them in the deep end and see if they can go.”

Multi-sport athlete Jonathan Lynch choses fastpitch

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Jonathan Lynch shows his speed as he races around the bases at the 29th Annual Kelso Klassic tournament where he was selected the Most Valuable Player. Contributed Photo

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO – Sporting choices – young Jonathan Lynch has so many. Soccer? Yes. Baseball and basketball? Certainly.

And fastpitch softball? Most definitely.

The 19-year-old Lynch has played all four sports. He excelled in soccer, basketball and baseball in high school, and he recently finished his freshman year of baseball at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas.

But he’s set aside this summer for a sport he professes to love – fastpitch softball. And if his performance in the 14-team, 29th Annual Kelso Klassic tournament, June 8-9, is any indication, he’s off to a great start.

Lynch, who plays first base and outfield for Kelso Fastpitch, lit up some pretty good pitchers to the tune of a .667 batting average (8-for-12), four RBIs, one double, two triples and three stolen bases.

And when the awards were handed out, Lynch carted off the Most Valuable Player trophy. And well-deserved said tournament media coordinator, Jerry Wolsey, who also plays for Kelso Fastpitch (12-4), winner of two tournaments.

“He had an outstanding tournament. His stats were against some of the top pitchers in the tournament,” Wolsey said.

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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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Following In Dad’s Footsteps

Friday, December 18th, 2009

The Hunhoff family of South Dakota and California has a long tradition of men’s fastpitch softball pitching.
Courtesy Photos / Lori Hunhoff

HARRISBURG, SOUTH DAKOTA – If he were to call it quits and chuck his bat, glove and spikes in the closet and say, “I’ve been there and done that,” no one could really blame him.

For after all, Benjamin “BJ” Hunhoff – in the lingo of fastpitch softball – indeed has been there and done that.

He’s played and won at the international, national, and state championship levels. He’s collected a showcase full of most valuable pitcher and player awards.

By now if you’re thinking, let’s let the “old man,” ease back into his recliner and enjoy his well-deserved retirement, here’s the catch:

BJ Hunhoff is just 20-years-old. His fastpitch rocket is nowhere near leveling off, much less coming to a landing.

His thirst to compete, his drive to improve, his love of the game, and his desire to follow in his dad’s footsteps remain as strong as ever.

And it all started with John Hunhoff. BJ’s dad and the man he calls, “my hero.”

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Fastpitch softball, a Hunhoff family tradition

Friday, December 18th, 2009


HARRISBURG, SOUTH DAKOTA – First there was Tony then John. Next came BJ then Andy. And these Hunhoff’s all share something in common. They’re fastpitch softball pitchers.

Tony, 52, who now lives in northern California, started the foray as a 13-year-old back in Sioux Falls, South Dakota pitching in a Tri-County Boy’s Fastpitch League. Then John, his younger brother by four years came along and took up the windmilling trade.

“Our dad wasn’t a softball player,” said Tony Hunhoff. “But softball was so available to us. I remember me and my friends watching the men play and thinking, ‘we can do this.'”

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