Softball New Zealand (SNZ) is organising a five-team series planned for March at Rosedale Park in Albany. This would include the New Zealand Black Sox
It’s thought that Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Samoa and Czech Republic will be involved. All of these teams rank well within the top ten Fastptich Softball Nations in the world and it should be a fast paced and intense tournament.
Giles has stated that negotiations were underway with a potential broadcaster and event sponsor and he expected to confirm details shortly.
Australia – ranked third in the world – have already named a training squad to prepare for the event. Coach Laing Harrow’s squad does not include pitching aces Adam Folkard and Andrew Kirkpatrick, but it does feature hitters Aaron Cockman and Ryan Merriman, who have recently played in New Zealand.
Interview – Black Sox Head Coach Mark Sorenson’s
Black Sox coach Mark Sorenson said the Auckland tournament would be a perfect way for his team to prepare for the July 2017 championships in Whitehorse, Canada.
Mark Sorenson stated “The Black Sox went through a stage where they didn’t play at home for four or five years. Any time we can get an opportunity to play at home and expose our world class athletes has got to be a good thing. We’ve had Australia over a couple of times and we’re looking for another three or four countries to be involved in this series.
Mark Sorenson made mention that the the March tournament would follow on from the Las Americas Cup tournament in Venezuela in November. The Black Sox will take on one of the Worlds Best Fastpitch Teams in Venezuela with key battery duo Rafael Flores and Ramon Jones (Rated in to have the number two best Dropball in the world)
“It will be possibly be the biggest tournament we’ve attended outside a world championship,” he said.
“It’s going to be a huge few months, but the good thing is it will give us an opportunity to expose a wider group of talent to that level of ball. We’re unlikely to have exactly the same group going to both events.”
The Black Sox had a training camp in Auckland in mid-April and will come together for additional testing in September when Sorenson and his assistants will name the squad to tour Venezuela.
There’s a total of Thirteen Black Sox squad members will be playing club ball in North America this winter.
The Black Sox last played in New Zealand in December 2014 when played Australia and Samoa in the Oceania series to clinch their place in the 2015 world championships series. This tournament saw Samoa removed from the 2015 World Series even after securing a finals birth in the previous World Championship.
The Black Sox defeated the Australian Steelers in a test series at Albany in March 2014, taking 2 games to 1, this was around a year after winning their sixth world title at the same venue Rosedale Park in 2013.
Information received from Stuff.co.nz
Australian Training Squad