Aussies near perfect for 1st Men’s World Championship Gold

26/07/2009

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN — Two walks issued were all that separated pitcher Adam Folkard from a perfect game here in today’s 5-0 win over New Zealand. The fact that the lanky hurler not only no-hit three-time defending International Softball Federation men’s world champion New Zealand, but did so in the gold medal game of the twelfth edition of the event, probably will set just as well with him on the flight home to Australia.

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN — Two walks issued were all that separated pitcher Adam Folkard from a perfect game here in today’s 5-0 win over New Zealand. The fact that the lanky hurler not only no-hit three-time defending International Softball Federation men’s world champion New Zealand, but did so in the gold medal game of the twelfth edition of the event, probably will set just as well with him on the flight home to Australia.

At the last ISF Men’s World Championship, the Aussies medaled for the first time ever, winning bronze. Folkard’s ten-strikeout performance today leaves them sitting on top of the men’s fast pitch softball world following a ten-day tournament that began with 16 countries competing.

After a single run in the bottom of the second inning, Australia reignited their offense in the bottom of the fourth when a Jeff Goolagong sacrifice fly to center field gave the Steelers a 2-0 lead, with a runner still on third base and just that one out, prompting New Zealand coach Eddie Kohlhase to replace starting pitcher Heinie Shannon with Jeremy Manley. However, his first pitch resulted in an RBI single to left field by Aaron Cockman.

With one out in the next inning, centerfielder Zenon Winters smacked an RBI single to left field to up the lead to 4-0.

In the bottom of the sixth it was another single tally for the green and gold, coming on a two-out solo home run to center field by Cockman.

After that it was just a matter of putting away the Kiwis in the seventh inning and awaiting the medal ceremony.

New Zealand had advanced to the gold medal game with an 8-5 win over Canada.

Canada jumped out to quick 1-0 lead with a run in the top of the first, but New Zealand came up to bat and responded by scoring twice.

Canada added a single tally in the top of the third to tie the game at two. Then in the fifth inning, with one out and runners on second and third, shortstop Ian Fehrman hit a single to right field that enabled Canada to regain the lead, 4-2.

New Zealand came to bat to close out the fifth inning and, with one out, got back-to-back solo home runs from shortstop Nathan Nukunuku and first baseman Jarrad Martin to tie the score. When pitcher Todd Martin walked the next batter, Canada coach Mark Smith lifted him in favor of the team’s third pitcher of the game, Dean Holoien. The new hurler’s first pitch was promptly sent over the centerfield fence by New Zealand’s Donny Hale for a 6-4 Black Sox lead.

The next batter singled and Smith was quick with the hook on Holoien, turning instead to righty Trevor Ethier. The hurting continued as the first batter that Ethier faced, catcher Patrick Shannon, hit an RBI single to center field. One more run would score before the inning would end, and the Black Sox were on their way to the title game against the Aussies.

Jody Eidt doubled in a run for Canada in the top of the sixth, but the host team couldn’t get any closer and recorded their second ISF men’s world championship bronze medal finish (1988).

The next ISF world championship will be the women’s, next July in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (USA). That will be the first time that any of the ISF’s four world championships (men’s, women’s, junior men’s, junior women’s) will have taken place in the U.S. since the IX Men’s World Championship in 1996 in Midland, Michigan.