August 20, 2014

USA Softball Women’s National Team arrives in Europe for Italian Softball Week and ISF XIV World Championship

Click here for official USA Softball website.

Click here for official USA Softball website.

Editor’s note: From our friend Steve Embree, at USA Softball. Life is tough, but somebody’s got to make these trips !

Azzano Decimo, Italy – The USA Softball Women’s National Team arrived in Italy on Wednesday to compete in one last international tournament in preparation for the 2014 International Softball Federation (ISF) XIV Women’s World Championship which kicks off August 15 in Haarlem, Netherlands. Beginning today, Team USA will join Australia and Italy in the Italian Softball Week event in Azzano Decimo, Italy. Following the four-day tournament, the USA Women’s National Team will travel to Haarlem to begin their quest for a tenth ISF Women’s World Championship Gold.

Italian Softball Week, August 7-10

Italian Softball Week begins with round-robin play at 10 a.m. CDT (5 p.m. local) on August 7 when Team USA takes the field with Australia. The opening contest will be immediately followed by USA versus Italy at 1:30 p.m. CDT (8:30 local). Play continues August 8-9 with the three teams playing each other twice. On August 10, the teams with the second a third best records will play in a semifinal contest at 11 a.m. CDT (6 p.m. local) with the winner advancing to play the team with the best pool-play record in the finals at 2:00 p.m. CDT (9 p.m. local).

Click here for coverage throughout the Italian Softball Week event

Holland-ISF-2014ISF XIV World Championship, August 15-24

The USA Women will travel to Haarlem, Netherlands on August 11 for the ISF Women’s World Championship. They’ll kick off the event by playing the host country, the Netherlands on August 15 at 1 p.m. CDT (8 p.m. local time). Following their opening game with Netherlands, the USA is scheduled to play six other pool-play games: Botswana on August 16, Chinese Taipei on August 17, Great Britain on August 18, Australia on August 19, Dominican Republic on August 20 and Italy on August 21. The playoffs are scheduled to begin on August 22 with the finals on August 24.

In the most previous ISF Women’s World Championship in 2012, the USA fell to Japan 2-1 (ten innings) in the championship game to claim the silver medal. It was just the fourth time in the history of the event that Team USA came away with anything other than Gold. This season, the USA Women are coming off of a first-place finish in the General Tire World Cup of Softball and a second-place finish at the Canadian Open.

The ISF plans to stream the World Championship tournament online. The link for the streaming as well as live stats will be available via www.usasoftball.com throughout the tournament.

Click here for coverage throughout the ISF XIV World Championship

Athletes competing for USA Softball in Italy and the Netherlands: Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif./California 2012); Raven Chavanne (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Tennessee 2013); Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich./Michigan 2012); Samantha Fischer (Simi Valley, Calif./Loyola Marymount 2012); Kellie Fox (San Diego, Calif./Arizona Senior); Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md./Tennessee 2013); Jolene Henderson (Elk Grove, Calif./California 2013); Taylor Hoagland (Flower Mound, Texas/Texas 2013); Destinee Martinez (Corona, Calif./Oklahoma 2014); Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala./Alabama Junior); Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif./Oregon 2013) Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla./Florida 2012); Sara Nevins (Pinellas Park, Fla./South Florida 2014); Jessica Plaza (Huntington Beach, Calif./Stanford Junior); Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan./Florida Junior); Jackie Traina (Naples, Fla./Alabama 2014); Hallie Wilson (Santa Ana, Calif./Arizona Senior).

Ken Eriksen (Tampa, Fla./ Head Coach of Univ. of South Florida) leads the way in his fourth year as the head coach and is joined by assistant coaches Laura Berg (Corvallis, Ore../Head Coach at Oregon State), Howard Dobson (Orange, Texas/Assistant Coach at LSU) and Lisa Dodd (San Diego, Calif./Head Coach at the UNLV).

Schedule

August 15
8:00 PM
(1 PM CDT) USA vs Netherlands

August 16
12:30 PM
(5:30 AM CDT)
USA vs Botswana

August 17
4:30 PM
(9:30 AM CDT)
USA vs Chinese Taipei

August 18
3:00 PM
(8 AM CDT)
USA vs Great Britain

August 19
5:30 PM
(10:30 AM CDT)
USA vs Australia

August 20
5:30 PM
(10:30 AM CDT)
USA vs Dominican Rep.

August 21
2:00 PM
(7 AM CDT)
USA vs Italy

August 22-24 TBD Playoffs

2014 USA Softball Women’s National Team World Championship roster announced

Click for official USA Softball website

Click for official USA Softball website

2014 USA Softball Women’s National Team World Championship roster announced

OKLAHOMA CITY – Following a selection camp and series of exhibition games the roster for the 2014 USA Softball Women’s National Team that will compete in a number of events this summer highlighted by the International Softball Federation (ISF) Women’s World Championship is now set as announced today by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball. The 17-person roster will regroup next month for an exhibition game in Morgantown, W. Va. before traveling to Irvine, Calif. for the General Tire World Cup of Softball July 7-13.

“This group of 24 athletes that tried out is one of the rarest groups I’ve been around in a long time,” said USA Softball Head Coach Ken Eriksen. “Their college coaches, parents and teammates need to understand the greatness that is within each and every one of them. As always, it’s a very tough decision to narrow the group to 17 but I’m very excited about the potential this team has.”

Click here for the complete 2014 USA Softball Women’s National Team roster

In preparation for the ISF Women’s World Championships, August 15-24, 2014 in Haarlem, Netherlands, the 2014 Women’s National Team will compete in exhibition games as well as three tournaments that include the General Tire World Cup of Softball IX in Irvine, Calif July 7-13, the Canadian Open Fast Pitch International in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada July 15-21 and Italian Softball Week in Azzano, Italy August 6-10. Their complete schedule, including exhibition game dates and locations can be found here.

Click here for more information on the General Tire World Cup of Softball

Ken Eriksen (Tampa, Fla./Head Coach at USF) will lead the National Team and will be assisted by three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Laura Berg (Corvalis, Ore./head coach Oregon State) as well as Howard Dobson (Orange, Texas/assistant coach at LSU) and Lisa Dodd (San Diego, Calif./head coach at UNLV) throughout the summer events.

Visit www.usasoftball.com all summer for the most up to date coverage of all USA Softball National Teams.

USA Women earn two shutout wins in Findlay OH behind flawless performances from the circle

Info courtesy of Codi Warren, USA Softball

Click for official USA Softball website

Click for official USA Softball website

Findlay, Ohio – The U.S. pitching staff was lights out in Findlay, Ohio as the 2014 USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) Selection Camp continued its exhibition tour the Amateur Softball Association (ASA)/USA Softball announced today. In the first game of the evening, Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) went 3-for-3 at the plate to help lead USA to a 3-0 win, while Destinee Martinez (Corona, Calif.) was 3-for-2 with two RBI to launch the U.S. to a 5-0 victory in game two.

“We were ready and excited to get back out on the field together tonight,” said Lauren Gibson. “We had a few hiccups defensively, but we were able to come back together as a team.”

Click here to see stats from the exhibition games.


Game One

Behind the strong bat of Kelsey Stewart, Team USA produced a 3-0 shutout win in their first game of the doubleheader. Stewart ended the game going 3-for-3 at the plate, including a double and one RBI.

USA was held scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning as Sam Fischer (Simi Valley, Calif.) led off the side with a single to left field. A misstep by the shortstop put an additional runner on base for the U.S., bringing Stewart to the plate who would single to plate Fischer. Rhea Taylor (Atlanta, Ga.) then collected an RBI after grounding out to the shortstop to plate Nicole Hudson (Webb City, Mo.).

Aimee Creger (Yukon, Okla.) was lights out in her appearance in the circle, pitching the first four innings of the game. Creger held the Ohio All-Stars hitless over her four innings of work while striking out three.

The U.S. would add their final run of the game in the bottom of the sixth after Stewart came around to score after punching her second single of the game. Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) connected for the RBI single to centerfield, giving the U.S. a 3-0 lead.

Cheridan Hawkins (Anderson, Calif.) closed out the game for USA, pitching the final three frames in relief. Hawkins allowed just two hits while walking one and striking out eight.

Game Two

The U.S. pitching staff continued to dominate in the second game of the evening as Jaclyn Traina (Naples, Fla.) and Jolene Henderson (Elk Grove, Calif.) combined for a 5-0 shutout win.

Team USA got on the board in the bottom of the third inning after five-consecutive walks were issued to the U.S. lineup to plate Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.) for the first run of the game. The next run came via a Martinez groundout to shortstop before McCleney hit a two-run single to centerfield to clear the bases.

The U.S. held a 4-0 lead until the bottom of the fifth when Jessica Plaza (Huntington Beach, Calif.) doubled to left field with two outs. Kellie Fox (San Diego, Calif.), who entered to pinch run for Plaza, then scored on a single by Martinez.

The Ohio All-Stars lineup had no answer for the U.S. pitching staff as they managed just one hit off Traina, who struck out five during her four innings of work. Henderson threw the final two innings of the game, giving up just two hits while striking out two.

Up next for the Red, White and Blue is their final doubleheader exhibition game of the Selection Camp against the Virginia All-Stars on Thursday, June 19 in Purcellville, Va. The first game of the doubleheader begins at 6:30 p.m. ET and live stats can be found at USASoftball.com.

Michael White’s Oregon Duck women eliminated at WCWS

oregonHead coach Michael White’s Oregon Duck women’s softball team has plenty to be proud of for the 2014, after elimination at the Women’s College World Series, including a record 56 wins. They finished the World Series with a 2-2 record, with wins over Florida State and defending champion Oklahoma, losing only to the two eventual finalists, Florida and Alabama.

More here.

Kiwi coach succeeding in US

oregonFrom Stuff.co.nz

Black Sox pitching great Mike White has coached his Oregon University women’s softball team to an opening round win at the United States College World Series in Oklahoma City today. Click here to read the rest of the story at Stuff.co.nz.

Can’t help thinking of one of the Oregon Duck fans. (Michael and team were kind enough to send him the jacket while he was hospitalized.)

Game schedule released for the 2014 ISF XIV Women’s World Championship – August 15-24

Click logo for official tournament website

Click logo for official tournament website

From Steve Embree at ASA/Team USA:

OKLAHOMA CITY — The International Softball Federation (ISF), softball’s world governing body, announced the game schedule for the 16-nation ISF XIV Women’s World Championship, scheduled to take place August 15-24 in Haarlem, Netherlands. Team USA will look to build on a Silver Medal finish from the previous World Championships in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. The ten-day tournament features two pools of eight teams who will compete in round-robin games during the first seven days of play and then will be seeded into a page playoff format to determine the World Champion over the final three days of the tournament.

Team USA will open play against Netherlands August 15 at 8 p.m. (tournament local time) and will continue pool play through August 21. Playoffs begin at 12:30 p.m. on August 21 and end with the Gold Medal game at 3 p.m. on August 24.

Click here to see the complete World Championship schedule for Team USA.

Seventeen athletes will make up Team USA’s World Championship roster which will be announced June 22 following a team selection camp and exhibition series. Ken Eriksen (Tampa, Fla../head coach University of South Florida) will lead the Red, White and Blue into the summer with his assistants to be named at a later date.

The 16 teams that will compete are: Australia, Botswana, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Russia and the United States.

Click here for the ISF XIV Women’s World Championship website.

Prior to the ISF Women’s World Championship, the team will compete in an exhibition game in Morgantown, West Virginia on July 3, the ninth installment of the World Cup of Softball in Irvine, Calif. July 7-12, the Canadian Open Fastpitch International in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada July 14-21, another set of exhibition games in Waldorf, Md. July 29 and Italian Softball Week in Azzano, Italy August 6-10.

For updates on the USA Softball Women’s National Team and events throughout the 2014 season visit www.USASoftball.com.

Surrey wins bid for 2016 Women’s World Fastpitch Championships

Click logo for original news story.

Click logo for original news story.

By Nick Greenizan – Peace Arch News

The 2016 Women’s World Fastpitch Championships have been awarded to Surrey.

The announcement was made Friday at the conclusion of the International Softball Federation’s congress in Cartegena, Colombia.

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts and Coun. Tom Gill joined members of the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship committee – headed up by Greg Timm – in Colombia, and the committee made the announcement on Twitter and via a flurry of text messages.

“We got it – I just got a text from Greg. The (ISF) called it ‘an exemplary bid.’ It’s pretty exciting, and I can tell all the guys down there are excited, too,” Chuck Westgard, a member of the bid committee who did not make the trip south, told Black Press.

“It’s the first-ever world championship for Surrey, so it’s big – it’s big for the city and for softball in B.C.”

In Colombia, the bid committee made a handful of presentations to the ISF congress throughout the week, and a final vote among the ISF’s more-than-130 members was held Friday morning.

“Developing our bid was 18 months of work on behalf of the bid committee, and winning today is incredibly exciting,” Timm said in a news release sent Friday afternoon.

“This is the premier tournament in our sport, and bringing it home to Surrey and Canada is an incredibly proud moment.”

The world championships are set to take place in July 2016 and will likely coincide with Surrey’s Fusion Festival, according to the news release.

For one year, the tournament will replace the Canadian Open, which is played each summer in South Surrey and Cloverdale.

The world championships have been held in Canada just twice before – in 1994 in St. John’s, Nfld. and in 2012 in Whitehorse.

Westgard expected the process of organizing such a large event to be a grueling one. He said he and other supporters were able to take a celebratory breather Friday.

“It was a lot of hard work to put this together, and this was only the first part of it. We’ve got three years to go, and it’ll go by fast, but we’ve got Greg and the helm, so it’s lot of work, but we know we’ll be fine,” Westgard told Black Press.

What’s the next move for softball?


Commentary by Graham Hays

espnW.com

Click logo for complete  story at ESPN

Click logo for complete story at ESPN

Softball spent eight years hoping it could turn back the clock. It now needs to figure out what to do with the future.

The International Olympic Committee vote to restore wrestling to the program for 2020, at the expense of squash and a combined softball-baseball bid, did not qualify as much of a surprise. It’s difficult to read the tea leaves with the IOC, as demonstrated by the uncertainty over the host city voting in the days leading up to Tokyo’s win against Istanbul and Madrid. But Sunday’s final tally from Buenos Aires, in which wrestling received more votes (49) than the other two bids combined (24 for softball-baseball, 22 for squash), was wholly predictable.

Sunday was a day just about anyone with a softball stake didn’t want to admit they knew was coming.

It never made much sense that wrestling got the boot in the first place. Other than its omission in 1900, wrestling has been part of pretty much every Olympics anyone cared to chronicle, ancient or modern. Its various forms, including women’s wrestling for the first time, drew athletes from 71 nations in 2012. A total of 29 countries won medals.

It might not generate the same kind of television ratings every four years as gymnastics, swimming, or track and field, but wrestling is about as quintessentially Olympic as a sport can get.

Wait, we were talking about softball, right? But that’s kind of the point. It could partner with baseball and promise a condensed schedule, but softball was as powerless to help itself as the average Olympic batter against Cat Osterman.

AP Photo/Jack Dempsey
Softball gold medalist Jessica Mendoza was among the athletes who took part in a presentation to the International Olympic Committee in a bid to get softball back in the Olympics.
Really, the same could be said of the original decision eight years ago to drop baseball and softball from the program after the 2008 Beijing Olympics. There was some talk about the competitive imbalance after the United States outscored opponents 51-1 en route to a gold medal in 2004, but the sport’s real sin was being the women’s counter to baseball at a time when Major League Baseball was simultaneously mired in the backlash against performance-enhancing drugs and unwilling to follow the NBA and NHL leads and commit its players to Olympic participation.

Baseball went. Softball was collateral damage.

Three times since then — in 2006, 2009 and 2013 — softball tried to persuade the IOC to take it back, either on its own merits or in a joint bid with baseball. Three times, it failed. It’s not clear when the next chance will come, even if the IOC under a new president increases the number of sports it is willing to include in the program, and there is no indication any such move is imminent. We’re talking a decade. Maybe more.

The reality is that the ace of the next U.S. Olympic team probably hasn’t been born.

It isn’t time to give up on softball returning to the Olympics, but it is long past time to stop making that the objective.

When you push all your chips to the middle of the table and the IOC doesn’t even notice you’re in the game, it’s a sign without much subtlety. Move on.

This isn’t to downplay the pain of separation. The Olympics offered softball its greatest exposure and greatest financial opportunity. Without that stage, national programs receive less funding, or no funding. Players get knocked down the pecking order of sponsors, shortening careers. That’s all real. No amount of pluck or resoluteness changes the fact that Sunday was a bad day for the sport.

But these are not the end times for softball in the United States, not when an event such as the Women’s College World Series continues to grow into a bigger and bigger spectacle each year. Not when the University of Alabama drew more than 5,000 people on opening day — to a dome in Iowa in the depths of winter. Not when University of Oklahoma stars such as Keilani Ricketts and Lauren Chamberlain gained national followings as collegians that rivaled anything Lisa Fernandez, Jennie Finch or other stars of a previous generation experienced in college.

The challenge is how to keep players like Ricketts, and eventually Chamberlain, in the spotlight beyond college. The same grassroots energy that supported the bid for Olympic reinstatement would help.

“I think, here in the U.S., our energy needs to go the direction of our pro league and continue to get behind what we do have,” said two-time Olympic medalist Jessica Mendoza. “As much as I want softball in the Olympics and Americans want softball in the Olympics, we have this potentially great thing that is getting very little support compared to the Olympic movement.”

Click here to continue reading

Wrestling in, Softball out for 2020 Olympics

Click logo for original news story at USATODAY

Click logo for original news story at USATODAY

BUENOS AIRES – After a seven-month exile, wrestling was welcomed back into the Olympic program with a giant bear hug Sunday. Wrestling defeated baseball/softball and squash for a spot in the 2020 Summer Games as expected.

Wrestling received a majority of the votes with 49, followed by a joint bid by baseball and softball getting 24 votes and squash with 22.

“Wrestling has shown great passion and resilience in the last few months,” IOC president Jacques Rogge said. “They have taken a number of steps to modernize and improve their sport.”

In its presentation, wrestling was quick to stake its position as a sport of the future, not the ancient past. “Wrestling is new in virtually every way,” said Jim Scherr, a former wrestler and ex-CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

FILA president Nenad Lalovic said wrestling leaders weren’t allowed to watch the other presentations because of IOC rules. “But we heard our presentation was the best and the most emotional,” Lalovic said. “The burden we carried on our back was much bigger than the other sports have. We were fighting to survive.”

BRENNAN: Softball didn’t really have a chance

After wrestling was unexpectedly axed from the program in February, the international governing body ( FILA) made significant changes. It elected a new president, included more women in decision-making roles and adopted rule changes to make the sport easier to understand.

“The rule changes have made it more exciting to watch,” said Canadian Olympic champion Daniel Igali, who runs the Nigerian wrestling federation. He noted that scoring has been doubled, competitors who wrestle offensively are now rewarded more, leading to fewer clinches.

Before the 2016 Games, wrestling’s makeover will include a few tricks borrowed from the MMA world (perhaps no more singlets, the addition of music, lighting, visual effects) to make the sport more entertaining. Lalovic also said Friday the sport will bid adios to its red mat because network execs say it doesn’t look good on TV.

The exercise was understandably frustrating, and futile for baseball/softball and squash. Politics, as well as wrestling’s initial inertia, are to blame.

The obscure sport of modern pentathlon was expected to be cut in February, but a strong lobbying effort by board member Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., an executive with the modern pentathlon federation and son of a former IOC president, helped save the sport from elimination.

ELECTION: Tokyo will host 2020 Games

For softball, it was a particularly crushing blow. Baseball has top pro leagues around the world, the World Series, the World Baseball Classic. Softball had the Olympic

Roster named for 2013 USA Softball Women’s National Team

Click for official USA Softball website.

Click for official USA Softball website.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Following a three day selection camp at the ASA Hall of Fame complex in Oklahoma City, the roster for the 2013 USA Softball Women’s National Team is now set as announced today by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball. The 18-person roster will regroup next month for their first competition, the World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City July 11-14.

Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif./California 2012)
Lauren Chamberlain (Trabuco Canyon, Calif./Oklahoma junior)
Raven Chavanne (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Tennessee 2013)
Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich./Michigan 2012)
Aimee Creger (Yukon, Okla./Tulsa senior)
Amber Freeman (Lakewood, Calif./Arizona State junior)
Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md./Tennessee 2013)
Taylor Hoagland (Flower Mound, Texas/Texas 2013)
Nicole Hudson (Webb City, Mo./Missouri 2013)
Destinee Martinez (Corona, Calif./Oklahoma senior)
Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif./Oregon 2013)
Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla./Florida 2012)
Sara Nevins (Pinellas Park, Fla./South Florida senior)
Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif./Oklahoma 2013)
Kourtney Salvarola (Arnold, Md./South Florida senior)
Rhea Taylor (Buford, Ga./Missouri 2011)
Taylor Thom (Cedar Park, Texas/Texas senior)
Lindsey Ziegenhirt (Elk Grove, Calif./California 2013)

Click here for the complete 2013 USA Softball Women’s National Team roster

Team USA will compete in three separate events in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Following the World Cup, the Women’s National Team is slated to compete July 16-22 at the Canadian Open Fast Pitch International Championship in Surrey, B.C., Canada and August 5-18 at an International Softball Federation (ISF) Women’s World Championship/Pan American Games qualifier in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Click here for World Cup ticket information

Ken Eriksen (Tampa, Fla./Head Coach at USF) will lead the National Team and will be assisted by four-time Olympic Gold Medalist Laura Berg (Corvalis, Ore./head coach Oregon State) as well as Suzy Brazney (Huntington Beach, Calif./head coach Golden West College), Howard Dobson (Orange, Texas/assistant coach at LSU), Karen Weekly (Edmonds, Wash./co-head coach at Univ. of Tennessee) and Mike White (Eugene, Ore/ head coach Univ. of Oregon) throughout the summer events.

Visit www.usasoftball.com for the most up to date coverage of all USA Softball National Teams.