History of the USA Softball Junior Men’s National Team
at the ISF Junior Men’s World Championships
1981 – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada – Silver Medal (9-2)
The International Softball Federation hosted its first World Championship for Junior Men in 1981 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The USA Junior Men’s National Team completed round-robin play with a perfect 8-0 record to advance into the playoffs. In the playoffs the USA lost to Japan 4-1 in its opening game but rebounded to defeat Mexico 7-0 in the finals to move into the gold medal game. In the grand final the USA could not push a run across and lost to Japan 2-0 to finish with a silver medal.
1985 – Fargo, North Dakota USA – Silver Medal (7-3)
At the 1985 ISF Junior Men’s World Championship in Fargo, ND, the USA moved into the play-off round with a 6-1 record in round-robin competition. The U.S. defeated Canada 3-1 in its first game to move into the finals where it would face New Zealand. The Kiwi’s knocked off the USA 1-0 but despite the loss both teams advanced to the gold medal game. It was New Zealand once again getting the best of the U.S. winning 2-1 for its first World Championship gold medal while the Red, White and Blue settled for a second consecutive silver medal.
1989 – Prince Edward Island, Canada – Fourth place (6-6)
The III ISF Junior Men’s World Championship was held in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada in 1989. The USA Junior Men’s National Team finished fourth after completing round-robin competition with a 6-6 record and losing in the opening round of the playoffs, 5-0, to Japan.
1993 – Auckland, New Zealand – fifth place (4-8)
The USA dropped to fifth place in the world in 1993 at the IV ISF Junior Men’s World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand. With a 4-8 record in round-robin competition, the USA missed the playoffs for the first time in World Championship history. Eric Donaldson was the bright spot for the United States hitting .409 and was 2-2 in the circle.
1997 – St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada – Ninth place (3-7)
In 1997 at the V ISF Junior Men’s World Championship in St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada, the U.S. missed the playoffs for a second straight time after going 3-7 in round-robin competition. One of its three wins came against Australia (4-3) who won the gold medal with a 6-1 win over New Zealand. The U.S. finished ninth.
2001 – Sydney, Australia – Ninth place (2-9)
The VI ISF Junior Men’s World Championship was held in Sydney, Australia at the same facility that hosted the Olympic softball competition just a year prior. The USA Junior Men were unable to produce the same type of magic that came in 2000 when the Women’s National Team won its second consecutive Olympic gold medal. With a 2-7 record, the U.S. finished ninth.
2005 – Prince Edward Island, Canada – Fifth place (4-4)
At the 2005 ISF Junior Men’s World Championship the USA had its best showing in more than a decade. The Red, White and Blue finished fifth with a 4-4 record and just missed the playoffs.
The USA Junior Men’s hopes of advancing to the medal round for the first time since 1985 came to an end in the final game of round-robin play at the 2005 ISF Junior Men’s World Championship in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada as Japan rallied for a 5-1 win. The U.S. finished fifth with a 4-4 record, which is its best record in a World Championship in almost two decades.
The 17 players selected for the 2005 Junior Men’s National Team:
Matt Bezzant (Cedar Hills, UT); Drew Bode (Prairie de Chien, WI); Mike Bowden (Aurora, IL); Kevin Castillo (Long Beach, CA); Kyle Davis (Sioux Falls, SD); Bobby Donley (Templeton, CA); Brandon Huerta (Atascadero, CA); John Kelly (Chester, IA); Sean Krohse (Sioux Falls, SD); Curtis Leavitt (Acton, CA); Jason Loe (Sioux Falls, SD); Brian Malakowsky (Wells, MN); Andy Mathews (Cameron, WI); Bobby Olson (Amboy, MN); Evan O’Reilly (San Luis Obispo, CA); Zach Warne (Sioux Falls, SD) and Riley White (Lehi, UT). Alternates were Camden Decker (Aurora, IL), B.J. Hunhoff (Harrisburg, SD) and Nick Santos (Pueblo, CO
2008 – Whitehorse Yukon Canada – Eighth place (5-6)
Though finishing in eighth place, the USA Jr. Men were just a win away from fifth place, and two from qualifying for the medal round. The USA Jr. Men narrowly missed upsetting eventual silver medalists, and hosts, Canada, in a 1-0, eight inning nail biter pitched by B.J. Hunhoff in the final game of the round-robin. With the exception of their loss to gold medalists Australia, the red white and blue were in every game, a sign that the program may be ready to once again compete for the medal round.
Click here for photo gallery of 2008 ISF Jr. World Championships by Maddy Flanagan.
2012 – Parana, Argentina – Coming soon, November 2012
The ISF Jr. World Championships will travel to the Southern hemisphere for the first time in 2012, to Parana, Argentina. Parana, near Buenos Aires, is the hotbed for fastpitch in the country and home to many if not most of the top Argentina men’s players who have played in the USA in recent years, including a number of top pitchers. Argentina was 6-5 in the 2009 ISF Jr. World Championships, including a first-ever win over New Zealand, clinching that win with an extra-inning-game-ending triple play. The USA Jr. Men hope to improve on their 5-6 showing in 2009, but they will have to contend with the rising programs from Latin America (Argentina, Mexico and Venezuela, all 6-5 in 2009) to get to to the medal round, with this “mid-tier” quartet trying to unseat the 2009 medal round teams, Australia (Gold), Canada (Silver), Japan (Bronze) and New Zealand (4th place).
Parana, Argentina, host to the upcoming 2012 ISF Jr. Men’s World Championship
Click links below for more information on the USA Jr. Men’s team: