JUNIOR MEN PROGRAM HISTORY
Despite two-consecutive years with a silver medal finish (1981, 1985), the Junior Men’s National Team failed to reach the medal rounds at the ISF Junior Men’s World Championships from 1989-2001. In 2005, the team broke through to the medal rounds in 2005, however fell short of placing and captured fifth place. 2012 held the same fate for the Junior Men, who fell just one game short of medaling. Team USA finished the tournament with a 5-3 record, the first winning record for a USA Junior Men’s National Team at the ISF World Championships since a 7-3 finish in 1985.
The International Softball Federation hosted its first World Championship for Junior Men in 1981 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The USA Junior Men’s National Team completed round-robin play with a perfect 8-0 record to advance into the playoffs. In the playoffs the USA lost to Japan 4-1 in its opening game but rebounded to defeat Mexico 7-0 in the finals to move into the gold medal game. In the grand final the USA could not push a run across and lost to Japan 2-0 to finish with a silver medal.
At the 1985 ISF Junior Men’s World Championship in Fargo, ND, the USA moved into the play-off round with a 6-1 record in round-robin competition. The U.S. defeated Canada 3-1 in its first game to move into the finals where it would face New Zealand. The Kiwi’s knocked off the USA 1-0 but despite the loss both teams advanced to the gold medal game. It was New Zealand once again getting the best of the U.S. winning 2-1 for its first World Championship gold medal while the Red, White and Blue settled for a second consecutive silver medal.
The III ISF Junior Men’s World Championship was held in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada in 1989. The USA Junior Men’s National Team finished fourth after completing round-robin competition with a 6-6 record and losing in the opening round of the playoffs, 5-0, to Japan.
The USA dropped to fifth place in the world in 1993 at the IV ISF Junior Men’s World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand. With a 4-8 record in round-robin competition, the USA missed the playoffs for the first time in World Championship history. Eric Donaldson was the bright spot for the United States hitting .409 and was 2-2 in the circle.
In 1997 at the V ISF Junior Men’s World Championship in St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada, the U.S. missed the playoffs for a second straight time after going 3-7 in round-robin competition. One of its three wins came against Australia (4-3) who won the gold medal with a 6-1 win over New Zealand. The U.S. finished ninth.
The VI ISF Junior Men’s World Championship was held in Sydney, Australia at the same facility that hosted the Olympic softball competition just a year prior. The USA Junior Men were unable to produce the same type of magic that came in 2000 when the Women’s National Team won its second consecutive Olympic gold medal. With a 2-7 record, the U.S. finished ninth.
At the 2005 ISF Junior Women’s World Championship the USA had its best showing in more than a decade. The Red, White and Blue finished fifth with a 4-4 record and just missed the playoffs.
The USA Junior Men’s hopes of advancing to the medal round for the first time since 1985 came to an end in the final game of round-robin play at the 2005 ISF Junior Men’s World Championship in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada as Japan rallied for a 5-1 win. The U.S. finished fifth with a 4-4 record, which is its best record in a World Championship in almost two decades.