2012 ISF SOFTBALL YEAR IN REVIEW
Each year we present a wrap-up of what took place in the world of softball in the preceding 12 months and this New Year’s it’s no different. Here is a summary of the activities for 2012.
A team from Pennsylvania poses in front of Plant City Stadium with their runner-up award for the 50+ AAA Division.
Kicking off 2012 was the ISF/ISSA Masters/Seniors International Tournament of Champions which took place at the ISF’s world headquarters complex in Plant City, Florida (USA), and at additional fields around the Tampa Bay area. Fifty four teams in 15 divisions with age categories ranging from 50 to 75 were featured in the men’s slow pitch tournament.
Teams had two opportunities to warm-up for the 13th ISF Women’s World Championship with two ISF sanctioned softball World Cups. The first took place at the home of USA Softball in Oklahoma City (USA) for the 7th World Cup of Softball. Six teams went head to head with USA winning over Australia. Canada, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, and Brazil also played (in order of finish).
Next stop was Softball City, in Surrey, BC (CAN) for the Women's Canadian Open International Championship. In a preview to the World Championship, Japan defeated USA for the title in this seven team tournament. Also attending (in order of finish) was Australia, Canada, Venezuela, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico.
| Japan after receiving their gold medals at the ISF Women's World Championship.
(Photo courtesy of Justin Kennedy)
The 13th ISF Women’s World Championship took place in Whitehorse, Yukon (Canada) with the maximum participation of 16 countries. All 66 games were shown via webcast. Countries playing in order of finish were Japan, USA, Australia, Canada, China, Netherlands, Chinese Taipei, Puerto Rico, Czech Republic, Italy, Great Britain, Venezuela, New Zealand, Argentina, South Africa, and Mexico. IOC observers attended this championship as part of the inspection process to help determine which of the shortlisted sports should have a place on the 2020 Olympic Games programme.
Czech Republic defeated the Netherlands in Amstelveen, Netherlands to win the 9th Men’s European Championship to qualify for the 13th Men’s World Championship. Seven teams played over the course of five days. Great Britain, who finished third, also qualified. Other teams participating (in order of finish) were Denmark, Croatia, Belgium, and Israel.
Canada dethroned defending champion Venezuela at the 8th Pan American Men’s Softball Championship. The seven-day, ten-team fast pitch event was played in Medellin, Colombia and served as the Americas qualifier for the 13 th ISF Men’s World Championship scheduled for March in New Zealand. Besides Canada and Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia also qualified. Others that participated in addition to the ones above were (alphabetically) the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Puerto Rico.
Niimi City (Japan) hosted six teams for the 11th Asian Men’s Softball Championship. The championship was the qualifier for the Asian region for the 13th ISF Men’s World Championship. Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia booked their ticket to the World Championship. Hong Kong, Singapore, and India rounded out the field of participants, in order of finish.
| USA in action at the Jr. Men's World Championship.
(photo courtesy of Fabian Eder)
Argentina was crowned World Champion, for the first time in history, after beating Japan 5-0 in the final game of the 9th ISF Jr. Men’s World Championship. The home team won the title undefeated, winning all their games in the tournament. Third place went to Australia, losing in the playoff with Japan by 5-4, in ten innings. This was Argentina (and South America’s) first Gold Medal in World Championship history. Other participants included Canada, USA, New Zealand, Mexico, Denmark, Venezuela, Czech Republic, India, Singapore, and Croatia.
The Softball Confederation of Asia proposed and passed three new sub-regional events: The South West and Central Asia Cup, the East Asia Cup, and the South East Asia Cup.
The ISF announced host sites for the 2013 and 2015 editions of the junior women’s world championship (19-and-under fast pitch). Next year’s World Championships will take place in Brampton, Ontario (Canada) and two years later it will be played in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (USA).
SPECIAL CONGRESS VOTES ON NEW CHARTER
The International Softball Federation held a Special Congress in Houston, Texas (USA) to consider and vote on a resolution to combine with Baseball (the International Baseball Federation) for the 2020 Olympic Programme. After considerable discussion and debate, the Special Congress approved the creation of a charter for a new international confederation for Softball and Baseball. The Congress voted for the new international confederation with 71% in favor.
Announced later by the ISF and IBAF, Helios Partners was chosen to provide critical support to the ISF & IBAF team on preparing the presentations to the IOC Olympic Programme Commission in December and the IOC Executive Board in May 2013, as well as the overall strategy for the campaign.
| (left to right) ISF President Don Porter, Jennie Finch, ISF Secretary General Ms. Low Beng Choo
Recently retired pitcher Jennie Finch was among three former Olympians honored for their contributions to foundations and charities and for inspiring others after their Olympic/sports careers are over at the Women’s and Sport Conference in Los Angeles, CA (USA). Finch won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and a silver medal with the Americans in 2008 in Beijing.
The United States Olympic Committee formally inducted the USA softball team that won the gold medal at the 2004 Summer Games in Athens into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Chicago, IL (USA). In addition, three-time gold medal-winning pitcher Lisa Fernandez was inducted in the Individual category. The U.S. softball athletes from the Olympics in Greece eight years ago were the only team honored, while Fernandez was one of six individuals inducted.
NATIONAL FEDERATIONS CELEBRATE ANNIVERSARIES
The Royal Dutch Baseball & Softball Association celebrated the 60th anniversary of softball and 100th anniversary for baseball at ceremonies in Rotterdam.
Softball New Zealand celebrated the organization’s 75th anniversary.
HALL OF FAME INDUCTIONS
Juan Manuel Arambula (MEX)
Alfred “Ali” Culmer (BAH)
Guller Eriksen (DEN)
Linda Ford (BAH)
Bob Harrow (AUS)
Paul Maisey (AUS)
Russell Moffatt (NZL)
Robert “Chubb” Tangaroa (NZL)
Ray Tilley (CAN)
Huang-Chen Tseng (TPE) - Accepted by his wife, Tsem Yiau Show Cheng
Gina Weber (NZL)
| World Softball Day activity in Iran.
(Photo courtesy of Iran Softball Association)
World Softball Day was celebrated for the eighth straight year. The occasion was marked by activity around the world, all in commemoration of the date in 1991 (June 13) when the International Olympic Committee announced that softball (women’s fast pitch) would be added to the Summer Olympics, effective with the 1996 Games in Atlanta. Events took place in all five regions of the world.
A group shot of the participating teachers in the Level 1 Certification Course in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
In Malaysia, a Level 1 certification course for school teachers was held in March co-sponsored by the Malaysian Ministry of Education and Softball Association of Malaysia. A Level 1 certification course for coaches sponsored by the National Sports Council was held in December; this was the first certification course for the Softball Association of Malaysia, ISF director of competition, Laurie Gouthro, and professor and coaching instructor Dr. Karen Sykes, conducted both of the seminars.
In Zimbabwe, a Level 1 Coaching/Umpiring/Scoring workshop was held. Taking place at Victoria High in the Masvingo Province, the course was geared toward primary and secondary teachers. The Zimbabwe Softball Association co-hosted similar courses in other locations.
In Europe, a Balkan Advanced Pitching Clinic took place in Bulgaria. For six days, ISF coaching instructor Chad Shatz instructed top pitchers and coaches from the following countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Romania, Serbia, and Turkey.
The Balkan Softball Association sponsored a three day Level 2 and 3 clinic for the Turkish Softball Federation in Kirikale, Turkey. Youri Alkalay, president of the Bulgarian Softball Federation, and Alexandrina Bogdanova, deputy head coach of the Bulgarian National Team, conducted in the clinic. Over 20 coaches, teachers, officials, and players attended.
ISF director of umpires, Bob Stanton, conducted three umpire certification seminars in Japan, Venezuela and Guatemala. A total of 30 umpires have become ISF certified.
IN MEMORIAM OF THOSE LOST
Dr. Fernando Aren (ARG): He served on the ISF Board of Directors from 1994 through 2009 and was inducted into the ISF Hall of Fame in 1997. He also served as president of the Argentina Softball Confederation for over 45 years.
Shirley Fogarty (AUS): She played softball in the 1950s and 60s, including having been a reserve for the team that captured the first-ever ISF world championship (1965 in Melbourne). Later in her softball endeavors she served as a scorer at the 8th ISF Men’s World Championship in 1992 in the Philippines.
Eriberto (“Bert”) Landero (PHI): He developed and promoted softball in southeast Asia for more than 25 years and was later elected to the ISF Hall of Fame in 1995 in the Administrator/Organizer category. He played a major role in organizing the 1972 and 1992 ISF men’s world championships and was responsible for softball being included in the Southeast Asian Games.
Carlos Larrañaga Gomar (GUA): He was elected to the ISF Hall of Fame in 2007 in the Administrator category. He was the president of the Guatemala Softball Association from 1996-1999 and 2004-2007. He was also the president of the Central American Softball Confederation from 1996-2001 and the Central American vice president for the Pan American Softball Confederation from 1998-2004.
Marlene Sabogal (COL): In 1996 she had become the fourth umpire from Colombia to gain ISF certification. Two years ago in Venezuela she worked the 12th ISF Women’s World Championship and last year she was the home plate umpire in the final game at the Pan American Games softball competition in Guadalajara, Mexico.
O.W. Bill Smith (USA): He was the president of the Amateur Softball Association (1990-91) and Pan American Softball Confederation vice president. Mr. Smith was elected to the ISF Hall of Fame in 2001 in the Administrator category and, having served as the state commissioner for Nebraska for more than 30 years, was inducted in 1986 into the ASA (National) Hall of Fame.
H. Franklin Taylor (USA): He was Vice President for North America for the ISF for six years, where he authored the international tie-breaker rule which is used throughout the world and in the Olympic Games. He was elected to the National Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, and the Central Virginia Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame. He was also Commissioner of the Central Virginia Amateur Softball Association for 35 years, National President of the Amateur Softball Association for two terms, and a member of the ASA Board of Directors.