Australia, New Zealand qualify for 2015 Men’s Softball World Championship
Wed 17 Dec 2014
Article originally published at www.wbsc.co on 17 December 2014
Australia defeated rival New Zealand to climb to the top of the podium at the Oceania Men’s Softball World Championship Qualifier this past weekend though both teams qualify for the flagship men’s event. Samoa finished third resulting in the small island country missing the next biannual world championship.
In a tightly contested final in wet conditions, pitchers Andrew Kirkpatrick and Adam Folkard shut out the powerful Black Sox to secure a 1-0 victory. Kirkpatrick started on the mound, scored the only run the Steelers would need, and was named the Qualifier MVP.
New Zealand, the defending world champions, dominated the tournament winning four out of five games but lost the final 1-0 - and the title - to Australia.
The tournament was able to experience unprecedented media coverage throughout the Pacific region. Under a set of landmark agreements, the Oceania championship saw live coverage throughout New Zealand via SKY Television and SKYGO live streaming.
Fox Sports acquired the broadcast rights in Australia for all the rivalry match-ups between Australia and host New Zealand, as well as all playoff contests.
In addition, live and delayed coverage was extended into the homes of nine emerging Pacific nations, including American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu, raising the profile of the bat-and-ball sports among new and growing audiences, while attracting more athletes and commercial interest for baseball and softball.
The 2015 Men’s Softball World Championship, being hosted in Saskatoon, SK, Canada, will feature sixteen national teams from all five regions. Ten of the 16 nations have already qualified, including host Canada, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Mexico, USA and Venezuela for the Americas, and Czech Republic, Denmark, and Netherlands for Europe.
Samoa 0 v. Australia 7 (5 innings)
New Zealand 4 v. Samoa 1
New Zealand 6 v. Australia 0
New Zealand 9 v. Australia 5
Australia 7 v. Samoa 0 (5 innings)
New Zealand11 v. Samoa 4 (6 innings)
Australia 1 v. New Zealand 0
Tournament MVP – Andrew Kirkpatrick