ISF IX MEN'S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

LOCATION: Midland, Michigan (USA)
DATES: July 5-13, 1996
PARTICIPATING COUNTRIES (22): Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Botswana, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mariana Islands, Mexico, Netherlands, New Guinea, New Zealand, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, USA, Venezuela

UMPIRES

FINAL STANDINGS

  Bracket Play Overall
Team
W
L
W
L
New Zealand
10
0
14
0
Canada
10
0
13
2
Japan
8
2
10
5
USA
9
1
10
4
Mexico
8
2
9
3
Venezuela
8
2
9
3
Australia
7
3
7
4
South Africa
7
3
7
4
Argentina
7
3
Bahamas
5
5
Puerto Rico
5
5
Czech Republic
5
5
Netherlands
5
5
Chinese Taipei
4
6
Denmark
3
7
Mariana Islands
3
7
Korea
2
8
Botswana
1
9
Papua New Guinea
1
9
Israel
1
9
Russia
1
9
Pakistan
0
10

Preliminary Round
Semi-Finals

Canada 4, Japan 2
Mexico 3, South Africa 1
New Zealand 3, USA 2 (10 innings)
Venezuela 1, Australia 0
Finals
Japan 8, Mexico 0
USA 4, Venezuela 2
Grand Final
Canada 5, Japan 1
New Zealand 3, USA 0
Championship Page Playoffs
New Zealand 4, Canada 1
Japan 4, USA 2
Final
Canada 1, Japan 0
Grand Final
New Zealand 4, Canada 0

GOLD MEDAL: New Zealand
SILVER MEDAL: Canada
BRONZE MEDAL: Japan

NEW ZEALAND DEFEATS CANADA FOR ISF MEN'S WORLD CROWN

MIDLAND, MI - New Zealand pitching ace Michael White knew he had his work cut out for him against a powerful Canadian batting order.

White was up to the challenge, retiring 13 batters on strikes and not allowing a runner on base to lead New Zealand to a 4-0 win over Canada to claim the gold medal at the 1996 ISF Men's World Championship.

White understood fully what lay ahead of him, especially after losing to Canada at the 1992 ISF World Championships. "I came in in relief at the 1992 final and gave up a three-run homer to Jody Hennigar in the bottom of the seventh to give the title to the Canadians. I ended up the loser then. I'm glad the 1996 championship had a different ending," White said.

In the title game, pitching took center stage with two of the sport's top performers in White and Darren Zack (Canada) squaring off in a shootout for the gold.

Zack looked impressive early, recording three fly-outs and a ground out before settling down and retiring nine of the next eleven batters on strikes. White also started strong with seven strikeouts in the first four innings. New Zealand was the first to punch a hole in their opponent's defense when Taifau Matai started the fifth with a triple. Dean Taikato followed, punching a ball past a drawn-in shortstop Chris Jones, scoring Matai.

New Zealand scored again in the sixth on a two-run homer by Paul Walford and once again in the seventh to insure the 4-0 win and New Zealand's claim to the number one spot in men's fast pitch softball.

White jammed the big, left-handed Canadian batters inside and allowed only four lazy grounders that first baseman Jarrad Martin easily handled unassisted.

"Jarrad took away three hits himself," White said. "Canada's got great power-hitters. My object was to keep the ball down, and on the ground." Despite a solid offensive and defensive performance, the USA succumbed to stronger pitching, including a 4-2 loss to Japan, who took the bronze. It was the USA's worst finish ever in ISF World Championship play and the only time the program has not produced a medal.

"We worried coming in that our pitching might not be up to the level of Canada and New Zealand. We felt if we could hold the teams down and just outscore them with our offense, we still might have a legitimate shot," said USA coach Tom Wagner.

But, in the end it was Japan that held down the USA hitters, allowing only five hits and snuffing each threat with sparkling defensive play.

"This is the biggest win in Japan's history. Our goal was to become one of the Big Three and we have achieved it," said Japan coach Hidetomi Ikawa.


(This article appeared in the September 1996 edition of World Softball magazine.)

 

 

 

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