Fairfax NZ News
New Zealand softball team manager Carl Gould has cried foul and claimed an Australian pitcher ”deliberately hit” a Black Sox batter with a pitch for the fourth time at an international tournament in Canada.
The Black Sox lost the Legends of Fastball Classic tournament final in Kitchener, Ontario yesterday to Hill United Chiefs, who had Australian international pitcher Adam Folkard on the mound.
Folkard is widely regarded as the best pitcher in the world after hurling Australia to a 5-0 shutout victory over the Black Sox in the 2009 world championship final.
Gould the catcher in the Black Sox’s 1984 world championship winning team and a former Auckland policeman said after Hill United won the game with a two-run home run that the Chiefs ”were the better team”. The Chiefs beat the Black Sox for the fourth time on the New Zealanders’ current North American tour.
But Gould said in a report on the Softball New Zealand website the Black Sox bench ”was not happy” when Folkard ”deliberately hit” Christchurch-based infielder Tyron Bartorillo ” in the ribs” in the fourth inning.
”This is the 4th time he has done this. Tyron used to play for the Aussie national team and is now a committed Black Sox player,” Gould said.
Bartorillo and Folkard were teammates on the 2009 Australia gold medal winning team but Bartorillo, 27, pledged his international allegiance to New Zealand after living and playing club softball in Christchurch since 2005. He said at the time of his switch he thought the Australian softball community would respect his decision.
The Black Sox and Australia will next meet in March at the 2013 world championships at Albany, Auckland.
The Black Sox played three games on the final day of the Legends tournament. Gould said their first encounter, a 5-4 tiebreaker win over the Midland Explorers from Michigan, was ”a flat performance”.
But the Black Sox batters were on fire in their 10-3 semifinal victory over Ontario club Jarvis Travelers with captain Rhys Casley (Hutt Valley) and Patrick Shannon (Auckland) both slamming two automatic home runs. Gould said Canterbury’s Penese Iosefo and United States-based Karl Gollan combined to produce a tight pitching performance.
Gould said the final against Hill United was ”one of the best game of softball I have ever seen or been a part of”.
The Black Sox fought back from a 5-0 deficit after the Chiefs slugged three runs off New Zealand’s starting pitcher Heinie Shannon in the first inning. ”So many teams would fold [in that situation], but not this team,” Gould said.
The Black Sox came back with two runs in the second inning but the Chiefs responded with one of their own. Casley hit a captain’s knock-on two-run homer off the first pitch to tie the score at 6-6.
But the Chiefs went ahead 7-6 in the sixth inning until Black Sox veteran Thomas Makea slammed a line-drive homer for two runs. ”It went low and flat and went out [of the park] in a hurry,” Gould said.
The Chiefs then clinched the title with a two-run home run shot in the seventh inning.
The Black Sox will play the Northend All Stars tomorrow [Tuesday] at Stevens, Pennsylvania. They will then face the Pennsylvania Power in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Thursday (NZ Time). The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Ty Stofflet, the legendary left-handed pitcher who led the United States to a 1-0 win over New Zealand at the 1976 world championships in Lower Hutt after a 20-innings pitching duel with late Kiwi pitcher star Kevin Herlihy.