World Cup 2014

The 2014 ISF World Cup is held at the International Softball Federation’s headquarters complex in Plant City from 23rd – 26th January.

plant-city

The pitches look fantastic, the weather looks good, its time to play ball!

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Day by Day Updates

13th January

Our new “World Cup” travel and training t-shirts have arrived back from the printers and are looking fantastic.

A huge thank you to MediaCom for sponsoring the new shirts!

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shirts-back

18th January

The team and coaching staff leave the UK and head for the U.S.A. The London lot are all ready to board the plane.
Team london

After a full day of travel from all cornersnor the Uk, everyone met at Orlando airport where we picked up the GB busses and headed to the villas. around 1am UK time we arrived in Davenport which is where we’ll be staying for the next 10 days.

The villas are absolutely amazing, they are like something from an episode of cribs!

Tomorrow we are entered into a one day local tournament where the team will play and compete together for the first time. The rules are slightly different tomorrow as your allowed to steal bases which brings a whole new dynamic to the game.

The whole team are buzzing and ready to show the USA what we’ve got.

19th January
The main focus of Sunday was team bonding, adapting to playing on the diamonds against tough competition, under floodlights and working on communication. The team came away feeling very positive about the progress made; elements of the tournament were challenging (1&1 count, 4ft to 10ft pitching arc and stealing) but each time GB took the diamond we got better, gathering an interested crowed of spectators wondering who this team from Europe were and how did they learn to play ball.

The team will now rest on Monday ready for the training and scrimmage matches to resume on Tuesday.

Sunday

20th January
Today was our one and only rest day and a chance for the team to chill out and relax for the day before we really start training and preparations or the World Cup on Thursday.
Half the team took advantage of the opportunity to do some shopping at the outlet centres and buy some new softball gear whilst others spent time by the pool and hot tub. We discovered a new sport called whirlyball (you’ll have to look it up) which we might try later on in the week.

We head over to Plant City tomorrow for an afternoon training session followed by some scrummage games under the flood lights in the evening against some local players.

21st January
Today the GB team visited the “Randy” stadium in Plant City for the first time. It’s an impressive complex with a clover leaf of pitches and a grand stand stadium pitch which seats 7000 people.

The team had an intensive training session in the afternoon sun which got everyone in the right frame of mind for the evening scrummage games.

After stopping for a bite to eat the team then travelled north of Davenport to a local sports complex where a composite U.S team was waiting.

It was a very windy night and the floodlights added extra challenges to already difficult conditions. However for both of the two matches which saw very different teams fielded the end result was the same – convincing wins for GB. The onslaught of base hit after base hit was relentless and everyone played their part.

All the players adapted very well to both the floodlights and the wind. This was extremely important as some of the World Cup games will be under floodlights.

23rd January
Plant City, Florida: 23 January – Three easy wins and one tough loss on a sunny but chilly first day of the ISF Slowpitch World Cup competition in Central Florida today has left the players and coaches on the GB Slowpitch Team with a good idea of what they need to do to get to the final and win the gold medal.

What’s clear after the 14 round-robin games that were played on Day 1 is that of the eight teams contesting this tournament from seven different countries, three are competitive and have a shot at winning the title, with a medal pretty much guaranteed. The other five teams, all of whom suffered mercy rule defeats at the hands of top three, will be left to fight it out for places.

The three competitive teams are the two American entries – USA Fort Walton Beach and USA Ink Daddyz, both from Florida, and both undefeated on Day 1 – and Great Britain, who lost only to USA Fort Walton Beach by 12-7 in the final game of the day, a game that was closer than the score might suggest.

Earlier, GB had beaten Canada by a score of 13-3 this morning, and then steamrollered France by 25-2 in four innings and Curacao by 30-5 in five innings this afternoon.

A GB team containing a number of international rookies and very few veterans of more than the last European Championship has gained in confidence throughout the day, and was completely in the game against the tournament favourites, Fort Walton Beach. But that game also served as a demonstration that little mistakes can cost you against tough opposition.

“I thought that overall we outplayed them,” Head Coach Steve Patterson told the team after the game was over. “They’ll come back with more the next time we meet them – but so will we.”

But before GB got to their encounter with USA Fort Walton Beach, they ran up the runs against three easier opponents.

GB v Canada

This morning’s opening game 13-3 win against Canada has already been described on the BSF website. See: http://www.britishsoftball.org/news/view/gb-slowpitch-opens-world-cup-with-win-over-canada.

GB v France

Next up at 1.30 pm was France, who are not really a national team, but rather the club team from Brevannes near Paris that hosted the first-ever European Slowpitch Cup in 2007.

This game was over almost as soon as it began. Whereas GB had started slowly in the opening game against Canada, here they put up 14 runs in the top of the first inning on just five hits, five French errors and six walks issued by two French pitchers. It was the prelude to a 25-2 win.

Slowpitch can be a hopeless game if pitchers can’t throw strikes, and neither French starter Thomas Malecot or his replacement Alexis Sardella were able to find the plate with any consistency in that nightmare opening frame. The base hits in the inning to go with all the Gallic generosity came from Kirstie Leach, Claudine Snape, Ruth Macintosh, Adam Haywood and Chloe Llewellyn.

France replied with a pair of runs on three hits in the bottom of the first inning, but those were they only runs they scored in the four-inning game, as GB pitcher Brad Gilmour gave up only five hits.

GB added six runs in the second inning, four in the third and a final run in the fourth to roll up their mercy rule score on a total of 19 hits plus nine French errors. But at least the French didn’t walk anyone else after the first inning.

Brad Gilmour had a perfect game at the plate with three hits and two walks, while GB newcomer Adam Haywood had three hits and a bunch of players – Kirstie Leach, Ian Kulka, Ed Watkinson, Ruth Macintosh and Chloe Llewellyn – each chipped in with two.

GB v Curacao

The next game, against Curacao, an island off the coast of Venezuela that has produced some top Major League Baseball players, was almost a mirror image of the game against France.

Once again, GB batted first, and once again they scored 14 runs in the top of the first inning, this time on eight hits, three Curacao errors and five walks. Walks will kill you – something that GB was to experience at first hand later in the day.

After four innings, the score was 21-5 in GB’s favour, but that wasn’t quite enough to trigger the mercy rule (20 after four) and there was just enough time left on the clock (no new inning after 75 minutes) to start another inning. GB promptly racked up nine more runs in the top of the unnecessary fifth inning to take the final score up to 30-5.

This time, GB had 22 hits to go with only four Curacao errors but a horrendous 10 walks.

Kirstie Leach had a single, a double and a ringing triple to lead the GB attack, while David Lee, Ian Kulka, Richie Browne and Areej Elmaazi also had three hits each and Claudine Snape drew three walks.

David Lee started for GB but struggled with control, walking three over the first two innings, and Brad Gilmour pitched the last three frames. But the two pitchers held Curacao to eight scattered hits.

GB v USA Fort Walton Beach

Once it became clear, fairly quickly, that the tournament had three good teams and five others, the 6.00 pm clash between GB and USA Fort Walton Beach was eagerly awaited by both teams.

And there was a connection between the two teams in the shape of Fort Walton captain Cheryl Trapnell, who was sent by the American Amateur Softball Association to delivered slowpitch coaching clinics in Britain last summer, and who also played on the Scottish team The Clan that won the last ISF Slowpitch World Cup in 2005.

Although she twisted her ankle early in the game, Cheryl led Fort Walton from the front, with two hits and two exceptional plays in the field at first base.

Despite the 68 runs racked up by GB earlier in the day and the 55 runs scored by Fort Walton, most of the runs in this game, with good defense on both sides, were scored in ones and twos. After two innings, GB held their only lead of the contest at 3-2.

But the game was decided by a seven-run Fort Walton outburst in the bottom of the third inning on four consecutive hits and a crucial walk to clean-up hitter Skeeter Johnson yielded by GB starter David Lee.

That walk led directly to two of the seven runs, and after GB closed the gap, the final two Fort Walton runs that took the game out of reach in the bottom of the fifth inning were the direct result of a two-out walk to Andy Collins surrendered by GB relief pitcher Brad Gilmour.

Otherwise, as Head Coach Steve Patterson had said, GB had more than held their own, with 15 hits to 12 for Fort Walton. Both teams committed only three errors.

But Fort Walton pitcher Timmy Chapel gave up only one walk while GB pitchers surrendered five, including two automatic walks to women with two out. Those walks were arguably the difference, and when the teams meet again at some stage in the playoffs, GB will have to ensure that they don’t give Fort Walton another free lunch.

And GB will also have to tighten up on defense. GB players dropped three infield pop flies or line drives in this game that should have been caught – but managed to get a force out every time. On another day, they might not be so lucky.

Brad Gilmour had another perfect game at the plate, with four singles in four at-bats, while Chris Yoxall had three hits including a long double and David Lee and Ed Watkinson had two hits each.

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23 January – Three easy wins and one tough loss on a sunny but chilly first day of the ISF Slowpitch World Cup competition in Central Florida has left the players and coaches on the GB Slowpitch Team with a good idea of what they need to do to get to the final and win the gold medal.

What’s clear after the 14 round-robin games that were played on Day 1 is that of the eight teams contesting this tournament from seven different countries, three are competitive and have a shot at winning the title, with a medal pretty much guaranteed.  The other five teams, all of whom suffered mercy rule defeats at the hands of top three, will be left to fight it out for places.

The three competitive teams are the two American entries – USA Fort Walton Beach and USA Ink Daddyz, both from Florida, and both undefeated on Day 1 – and Great Britain, who lost only to USA Fort Walton Beach by 12-7 in the final game of the day, a game that was closer than the score might suggest.

Earlier, GB had beaten Canada by a score of 13-3 this morning, and then steamrollered France by 25-2 in four innings and Curacao by 30-5 in five innings this afternoon.

A GB team containing a number of international rookies and very few veterans of more than the last European Championship has gained in confidence throughout the day, and was completely in the game against the tournament favourites, Fort Walton Beach.  But that game also served as a demonstration that little mistakes can cost you against tough opposition.

“I thought that overall we outplayed them,” Head Coach Steve Patterson told the team after the game was over.  “They’ll come back with more the next time we meet them – but so will we.”

But before GB got to their encounter with USA Fort Walton Beach, they ran up the runs against three easier opponents.

GB v Canada

This morning’s opening-game 13-3 win against Canada has already been described on the BSF website.  See: http://www.britishsoftball.org/news/view/gb-slowpitch-opens-world-cup-with-win-over-canada.

GB v France

Next up at 1.30 pm was France, who are not really a national team, but rather the club team from Brevannes near Paris that hosted the first-ever European Slowpitch Cup in 2007.

This game was over almost as soon as it began.  Whereas GB had started slowly in the opening game against Canada, here they put up 14 runs in the top of the first inning on just five hits, five French errors and six walks issued by two French pitchers.  It was the prelude to a 25-2 win.

Slowpitch can be a hopeless game if pitchers can’t throw strikes, and neither French starter Thomas Malecot or his replacement Alexis Sardella was able to find the plate with any consistency in what was a nightmare opening frame for the French.  The base hits in the inning to go with all the Gallic generosity came from Kirstie Leach, Claudine Snape, Ruth Macintosh, Adam Haywood and Chloe Llewellyn.

France replied with a pair of runs on three hits in the bottom of the first inning, but those were they only runs they scored in the four-inning game, as GB pitcher Brad Gilmour gave up only five hits.

GB added six runs in the second inning, four in the third and a final run in the fourth to roll up their mercy rule score on a total of 19 hits plus nine French errors.  But at least the French didn’t walk anyone else after the first inning.

Brad Gilmour had a perfect game at the plate with three hits and two walks, while GB newcomer Adam Haywood had three hits and a bunch of players – Kirstie Leach, Ian Kulka, Ed Watkinson, Ruth Macintosh and Chloe  Llewellyn – each chipped in with two.

GB v Curacao

The next game, against Curacao, an island off the coast of Venezuela that has produced some top Major League Baseball players, was almost a mirror image of the game against France.

Once again, GB batted first, and once again they scored 14 runs in the top of the first inning, this time on eight hits, three Curacao errors and five walks.  Walks will kill you – something that GB was to experience at first hand later in the day.

After four innings, the score was 21-5 in GB’s favour, but that wasn’t quite enough to trigger the mercy rule (20 after four) and there was just enough time left on the clock (no new inning after 75 minutes) to start another inning.  GB promptly racked up nine more runs in the top of the  unnecessary fifth inning to take the final score up to 30-5.

This time, GB had 22 hits to go with only four Curacao errors but a horrendous 10 walks.

Kirstie Leach had a single, a double and a ringing triple to lead the GB attack, while David Lee, Ian Kulka, Richie Browne and Areej Elmaazi also had three hits each and Claudine Snape drew three walks.

David Lee started for GB but struggled with control, walking three over the first two innings, and Brad Gilmour pitched the last three frames.  But the two pitchers held Curacao to eight scattered hits.

GB v USA Fort Walton Beach

Once it became clear, early on in the day, that the tournament had three good teams and five others, the 6.00 pm clash between GB and USA Fort Walton Beach was eagerly awaited by both teams.

And there was a connection between the two teams in the shape of Fort Walton captain Cheryl Trapnell, who was sent by the American Amateur Softball Association to deliver slowpitch coaching clinics in Britain last summer, and who also played on the Scottish team The Clan that won the last ISF Slowpitch World Cup in 2005.

Although she twisted her ankle early in the game, Cheryl led Fort Walton from the front, with two hits and two exceptional plays in the field at first base.

Despite the 68 runs racked up by GB earlier in the day and the 55 runs scored by Fort Walton, most of the runs in this game, with good defense on both sides, were scored in ones and twos.  After two innings, GB held their only lead of the contest at 3-2.

But the game was decided by a seven-run Fort Walton outburst in the bottom of the third inning on four consecutive hits and a crucial walk to clean-up hitter Skeeter Johnson yielded by GB starter David Lee.

That walk led directly to two of the seven runs, and after GB closed the gap, the final two Fort Walton runs that took the game out of reach in the bottom of the fifth inning were the direct result of a two-out walk to Andy Collins surrendered by GB relief pitcher Brad Gilmour.

Otherwise, as Head Coach Steve Patterson had said, GB had more than held their own, with 15 hits to 12 for Fort Walton.  Both teams committed only three errors.

But Fort Walton pitcher Timmy Chapel gave up only one walk while GB pitchers surrendered five, including two automatic walks to women with two out.  Those walks were arguably the difference, and when the teams meet again at some stage in the playoffs, GB will have to ensure that they don’t give Fort Walton another free lunch.

And GB will also have to tighten up on defense. GB players dropped three infield pop flies or line drives in this game that should have been caught – but managed to get a force out every time.  On another day, they might not be so lucky.

Brad Gilmour had another perfect game at the plate, with four singles in four at-bats, while Chris Yoxall had three hits including a long double and David Lee and Ed Watkinson had two hits each.

Friday

The full round-robin involving all eight teams will continue tomorrow (Friday).

GB will play Bulgaria at noon in the main stadium at the ISF complex that once served as a spring training stadium for the Cincinnati Reds, and then will have a key game against the USA Ink Daddyz at 6.00 pm.  That game will probably determine who finishes second in the round-robin standings, and second is a place much to be desired, since the team that finishes third will open the playoffs against Fort Walton Beach.

USA Ink Daddyz and Fort Walton Beach will play each other at 3.00 pm, a game the GB Team will be keen to see.

Day 1 scores

The full set of scores from Thursday is as follows:

USA Fort Walton Beach 16, Curacao 1
GB 13, Canada 3
France 17, Turks & Caicos 11
USA Ink Daddyz 23, Bulgaria 6
USA Fort Walton Beach 15, Canada 0
USA Ink Daddyz 37, Curacao 1
Turks & Caicos 9, Bulgaria 8
GB 25, France 2
Canada 31, France 6
USA Ink Daddyz 29, Turks & Caicos 10
USA Fort Walton Beach 24, Bulgaria 7
GB 30, Curacao 5
USA Ink Daddyz 17, France 2
USA Fort Walton Beach 12, GB 7

Round-robin standings

The round-robin standings after Day 1 are:

USA Fort Walton Beach (4-0)
USA Ink Daddyz (4-0)
Great Britain (3-1)
Canada (1-2)
Turks & Caicos (1-2)
France (1-3)
Bulgaria (0-3)
Curacao (0-3)

All eight teams will make the Double Page Playoff round that begins on Saturday afternoon, but teams that wind up in the top four round-robin places will effectively be in a double elimination situation with regard to their chances of reaching the final, while those in the bottom four round-robin places can only lose once before their chance to get to the final is gone.

25 January – “That was superb,” Head Coach Steve Patterson told a happy GB Slowpitch Team at the end of a long and eventful day at the ISF Slowpitch World Cup.  “Just superb!  I can’t tell you how much I’m smiling inside!”

And Steve wasn’t the only one.  The GB Team had just booked themselves a place in tomorrow’s final with stunning victories over both of the American teams in the competition, in games that couldn’t have been more different.

The only thing they shared was an almost unbearable level of tension and excitement.

After losing to both the American teams during the round-robin phase of the tournament, taking them down in consecutive games in the Page Playoffs was all the sweeter.

In the afternoon game, GB took on the undefeated USA Fort Walton Beach, and more than two hours later, after a seven-inning war of attrition that featured 56 runs, 44 hits, 14 walks and 18 errors, GB emerged as the team that blinked last with a 32-24 victory.

Just over an hour later, GB went back out under the lights, piled up an early lead against the USA Ink Daddyz, and then played great defense, holding the Americans scoreless over the last three innings to hang on to a 13-10 win.

As a result, GB will have the luxury of watching Fort Walton Beach and the Ink Daddyz fight it out at 9.00 am tomorrow morning for the privilege of taking on Great Britain in the final that will be played at noon in the main Plant City Stadium.

GB v Fort Walton Beach: The Beginning

When these two teams met on the first day of the tournament, Fort Walton Beach had more or less controlled a fairly even game and emerged with a 12-7 win.  Today, control was the last thing that Fort Walton had at any stage in a mad encounter that kept the spectators on the edge of their seats and the coaches tearing their hair.

GB came up in the top of the first inning and promptly sent 18 batters to the plate, with 13 of them coming in to score.  But GB had considerable help from their opponents.

Fort Walton Beach starting pitcher Timmy Chapel, who had pitched the full game against GB on Thursday evening, just couldn’t get anyone out.  After giving up three solid hits and a walk to start the game, he then walked three more in a row, and couldn’t get a pitch near the plate.

Andy Collins came in to replace Chapel, still with no one out, but was greeted with a barrage of hits and saw his teammates commit a bunch of errors.  By the time the inning finally came to an end, and Fort Walton Beach came in for their first at-bat, they were a baker’s dozen behind.

GB had nine hits in the inning, but the biggest blow was a crushing triple into the left field corner by shortstop Chris Yoxall that put the first two GB runs on the board and set the tone for the inning.  Chris went on to have six hits in seven at-bats, knocking in five runs.

No sooner had they piled up this lead, however, then the GB Team started to look this particular gift horse in the mouth. Three GB errors in the bottom of the first inning helped the Americans claw three runs back straight away, and it could have been more.

But GB then took complete control of the contest.  Fort Walton Beach failed to score a single run during the second, third and fourth innings while GB added two in the third, five in the fourth (during which Missy Wellborn took over the pitching chores for Fort Walton), and one more in the top of fifth.  The score was now 21-3, and GB was cruising.  Surely a mercy-rule ending was just around the corner.

GB v Fort Walton Beach: The Middle

But that’s when everything changed, and suddenly we a mirror version of the first inning.  This time it was GB pitcher David Lee who started falling behind in the count and then either walking Fort Walton hitters or serving up strikes that were dispatched with authority to all parts of the field.

When the third out was finally recorded, Fort Walton had scored 13 runs of their own on 11 hits, three walks and three GB errors.  Suddenly, the score was 21-16, and the terrible thought was occurring to most of the GB players and all of their fans that a game that had seemed completely in the bag could still be lost.

That it wasn’t came down to two things: the fact that GB kept on hitting and scoring runs and the fact that GB pitcher David Lee pulled himself together and gutted out the last two innings.  And the truth was that he had no choice, since GB’s other pitcher, Brad Gilmour, had left the game by that point with a minor muscle strain.

Undaunted by the nightmare inning they had just gone through in the field, GB started the top of the sixth with four straight singles by Emily Clifford, Ben Taylor, Areej Elmaazi and pinch-hitter Claudine Snape, sandwiched around a walk to Ed Watkinson.  Further base hits by Kirstie Leach and Chris Yoxall rounded off the inning and that precarious five run advantage was now back to ten, at 26-16.

GB v Fort Walton Beach: The End

But GB was still living on their nerves.  In the Fort Walton sixth, Areej Elmaazi dropped a catchable fly ball in centre field and Ian Kulka muffed an equally catchable line drive at second base.  Somehow, however, the Americans only managed to turn that into a couple of runs.

Back came GB in the top of the seventh and batted round for the third time in the game, scoring six more runs to stretch the lead out to 32-18.  A tiring Missy Wellborn chipped in a couple of walks and a double by David Lee was a big blow, giving him five RBIs to equal Chris Yoxall’s total for the day.

Surely that was that.

But like the Robert de Niro character in Cape Fear, who just won’t die no matter how much punishment is inflicted on him, back came Fort Walton Beach.  It was unthinkable that they could win from that position, but as the baserunners mounted against David Lee, who by then was pitching on fumes, the ultimate nightmare scenario once more reared its head.

Eventually, after six runs had scored, Walton Beach centre fielder Skeeter Johnson lifted a fly ball into centre field, and Areej Elmaazi made the catch that brought the carousel to a stop.  GB had their win, in a game that those who played in it will probably never forget.

“If we had to lose to anyone,” Fort Walton Beach captain Cheryl Trapnell said afterwards, “I’m glad it was you.  But,” she added, “I’m sure we’ll see you tomorrow.”

GB v Ink Daddyz: The Beginning

No sooner was the win over Fort Walton digested, along with a couple of buckets from a nearby KFC, then GB was back out to face the local Plant City team, the Ink Daddyz, who had made surprisingly hard work of defeating Canada in their opening playoff game by a score of 32-23.

This was the team that had taken a 9-8 extra-inning win over GB on Friday evening in what at that point had been the game of the tournament.

In that game, the Ink Daddyz had jumped out to an early lead and then saw GB claw it back.  This game started the same way, with Ink Daddyz putting up five runs in the top of the first inning against David Lee, who struggled with the umpire’s strike zone, walked two and was working constantly behind in the count.

But this time, GB wasn’t content just to chip away at the Americans’ lead.  Instead, they overwhelmed it.

In a first inning reminiscent of the Fort Walton game, GB sent 16 hitters to the plate and scored 11 runs on nine hits, two walks, and two Ink Daddyz errors.  Again, GB forced their opponents to change pitchers in the first inning, and Claudine Snape and Chris Yoxall, who continued his torrid batting, both had two hits in the frame.

However, that was almost the end of the GB offense for the evening.  Two more runs in the bottom of the third inning, driven in by Chris Yoxall and Ruth Macintosh, were all that GB could manage for the rest of the game.  Thirteen runs was the total.  Could they keep the Ink Daddyz at bay?

GB v Ink Daddyz: The Resistance

It wasn’t long before the Ink Daddyz began to chip away.

Two runs were scored in the second inning, and it would have been more but for a superb running catch by Ben Taylor on a ball hit over his head in left field.

A single run was added in the third.

Two more runs were scored in the fourth, and again it would have been more had it not been for a superb diving stop by Emily Clifford on a hard-hit ball between first and second and a flip from a prone position to David Lee covering first.  But the score was now 13-10, much too close for comfort with three innings still to go.

Brad Gilmour came in to relieve David Lee in the fifth inning, and suddenly the Ink Daddyz found runs harder to come by.  In fact, they found them impossible, as Brad and the GB defense shut the door over the last three innings.

In the fifth inning, a 1-6-3 double play closed the Americans down.

In the sixth inning, Ruth Macintosh made a difficult catch on a long line drive look easy, and Emily Clifford made a superb pick on a low throw in the dirt.

In the top of the seventh inning, with two on and only one out, Lucy Binding at third made a fine stop on a hard-hit ball to get the crucial second out on a force play.  And then Ruth Macintosh glided in to pluck another line drive out of the air in right field, and GB had their place in the final.

In that wild game against Fort Walton, GB had committed ten errors; against the Ink Daddyz, they committed one.

“At the end of that game,” Steve Patterson said, “we played defense – and then more defense.  And then we played more defense.  It was brilliant to watch.”

One game was kind of ugly.  The other was full of skill and determination.  Both games were wins.

And now the Gold Medal at the 2014 Slowpitch World Cup is just one game away.

 26 January

After scoring 45 runs in yesterday’s exciting wins over the two American entries in the ISF Slowpitch World Cup, the GB Slowpitch Team came into today’s final at Plant City Stadium with every expectation that the gold medal could be theirs.

A GB Team containing a number of newcomers to the squad and others with only brief experience of international competition has grown into this tournament, absorbing lessons and getting stronger along the way.

But today they ran into a team – the USA Ink Daddyz from the local Plant City area – who may not have had more talent than GB, but what they did have was a plan, devised from years of slowpitch softball experience, to shut down the GB offense.  The GB Team could see the plan in action, but never managed to adjust to it, and the Ink Daddyz ultimately ran away with a game that was close for three innings but wound up as an 18-3 six-inning mercy rule win for the Americans.

Earlier in the day, the Ink Daddyz had put on an equally impressive performance to stifle the offense of their compatriots USA Fort Walton Beach as well, winning the pre-final 15-3 and earning the right to meet GB in the title game.

In the only other game played on the tournament’s final day, France came from behind to beat the Turks & Caicos Islands by 24-16 to finish in fourth place.  A three-run home run by Thomas Malecot in the top of the seventh inning put the seal on the win, and so enthusiastic are the French about the event that they are pledging to send two teams the next time it’s held.

Final World Cup placings

1 – USA Ink Daddyz
2 – Great Britain
3 – USA Fort Walton Beach
4 – France
5 – Turks and Caicos Islands
6 – Curacao
7 – Canada
8 – Bulgaria

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