Huge Upset at Men's World Cup of Softball

Aussies Win Gold Without Allowing A Single Hit

By TSC Contributor JIM POLJAK

SASKATOON  The International Softball Federation's Men’s World Softball Championship was a battle between the old and new powers in softball as Australia and New Zealand faced off in Saskatoon, Canada. New Zealand was the three-time defending champion, a veteran team that has been there and done that. Australia was making its first appearance in a championship game and was relying on 22-year-old Adam Folkard to stymie the potent Black Sox offense. Stymie was an understatement. 
Folkard tossed his second no-hitter to lead the Aussies to a 5-0 win over the 3-time defending champions.  It was the second time in three days Australia beat the odds-on favorite in the tournament, with Folkard allowing just one hit in the two games he faced against the offensive juggernauts. 
“He gave up one hit in the two games we played against him,” Black Sox coach Eddie Kohlhase said.  “He just had us scratching around.” 
A modest Folkard tried to shy away from the spotlight of his achievement: “It’s great,” he said. “The fielders were great. It’s got to come back to them as well.” 
But the fielding wasn’t great on the other side as the Aussies took advantage of three miscues by the Sox. Nick Shailes scored in the second inning off a throwing error and reached base again in the fourth on a fielding error. The deciding blow was delivered by Tyron Bartorillo with his home run in the bottom of the sixth. 
Aussie head coach Bob Harrow wasn’t surprised that his young team upset the tournament favorites: “I was quietly confident that we could do it,” he said. “These guys have been put together, molded.” 
Canada took home the bronze medal after losing 8-5 to New Zealand in the bronze-medal game.  The US failed once again to take any hardware home by finishing fourth in the tournament.  Despite the loss, head coach Peter Turner sees reasons for optimism: “We’re progressing far beyond where I thought we would be,” he said. “The core unit is competitive enough to beat anybody. This program is in good shape.”


USA Men Strive To End Hardware Famine

ISF Men's World Softball Championships held in Canada  

SASKATOON  Twenty-one years have passed since the USA Softball Men’s National Fast Pitch Team won gold. Starting July 17th, they will look to reverse their fortunes, or lack thereof, when they compete in the International Softball Federation Men’s World Softball Championship in Saskatoon, Canada. 
It will be a tough road to the gold as the US will open up against one of the most dominating teams in the world, five-time World Champion New Zealand, who has also won the last 3 World titles (1996, 2000, 2004). The US is also looking to rebound from a disappointing showing in 2004, the last time the World Championships were contested, when they finished fourth. 
“Not winning a medal was a little shocking to us to be quite honest,” Chase Turner said. “We were cruising through the pool play but when we got to the playoffs, I think we kind of got ahead of ourselves and lost control of the situation. Before we knew it, we were out of contention and asking what just happened. I don’t think any of us want to feel that way again.” 
Coach Pete Turner thinks his team can be competitive, even if they don’t bring their bats, “We have some great hitters but if our bats are struggling, it’s not game over for us. We have a strong pitching staff that I think can carry us through.” 
The US will need to be firing on all cylinders if they want to escape Saskatoon with some hardware.  The best teams representing every region of the world will be vying to stand on the championship podium.  Rounding out the list of teams are:  Australia, Cuba, Denmark, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Botswana, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Japan, the Philippines, South Africa, Venezuela and Canada. 
Additional pool play matches for Team USA are with Denmark on July 18; Japan on July 19; Philippines on July 20; Botswana on July 21; Great Britain on July 22; and Mexico on July 23. 
The tournament will consist of 21 round-robin games at Gordie Howe Park and 45 games at Bob Van Impe Stadium, including the playoff games.